If eyes are a window into the soul, titles are a doorway into your blog content. They are the first impression readers get of your blog, so you must be able to convince them that your content is worth reading.
80% of people read headline copy, but only 20% actually click through, showing that a majority of headlines aren’t enticing enough to capture a reader’s attention. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy to writing successful headlines, we’ve got some blog title tips that will send your clicks and readership numbers soaring.
1. Consider Your Audience
Before you decide on your tone and approach for the title, you need to know your intended audience. Are you trying to catch the eye of someone lazily scrolling through a newsfeed or that of a busy professional? This will help determine the specificity you’ll be using in your title, as well as which keywords might resonate best.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a great starting point to see what words users are searching for. For example, the Keyword Planner shows that the word ‘jacket’ receives 49,500 monthly searches with high competition, while ‘coats & jackets’ has a comparable 40,500 monthly searches and low competition. By utilizing this tool, you can figure out which keywords your audiences are searching for and where you can provide value.
2. Understand the Importance of the Structure and Aesthetic
Short and sweet—that’s the golden rule when it comes to writing titles that will actually draw people in. Concision may be tough to stick to when you want to convey a lot in your headline, but the point of it is to convince people to stay and read your post, where all the information will be found. If you want more organic traffic and better clickthrough rates, stick to less than 70 characters for your title, because anything longer than that will get cut off with those dreaded ellipses. However, when it comes to individual platforms, the ideal title lengths vary. LinkedIn has the greatest allowance for characters (80-120), while Twitter should have the shortest headlines (40 characters).
For punctuation, parentheticals can increase your post’s performance by 38%. It helps to clarify what your content is going to be about—again, the specificity—, while the brackets lend an air of authority to your post.
Finally, if your title is going to feature some sort of number, use numerals instead of typed out words (i.e. 7 instead of seven). Titles that include numerals perform four times better, with more shares. While you should never force numbers into your title if they don’t belong, just make sure to use numerals when the opportunity presents itself.
3. Choose Your Words Wisely
Keeping the guidelines above in mind, it’s time to start crafting your headline. One of the best ways to connect with your readers is by using ‘you’ or ‘your’ in blog titles, addressing them directly. It draws people in and gives the post a personal feel, like you’re offering a tailor-made solution for your reader. “How to Write the Best Blog Titles” is very straightforward and impersonal, but “The Best Titles to Make Your Blog Stand Out” is far more compelling for a reader.
When you’re picking adjectives to use, make sure they are strong and punchy without sounding like you consulted a thesaurus. There is no need to use the word ‘superlative’ when ‘best’ can get the point across just as well—and saves you valuable character space. However, don’t shy away from bold words either, like ‘exclusive’ or ‘surprising,’ because posts that have a higher emotional level tend to get more shares. Just make sure you don’t fall into the trap of clickbait-like language, such as “You’ll Never Believe X” or “Here Are the 7 Hidden Secrets of X,” because it can come off as tacky and unprofessional.
4. Hook the Reader
Short, sweet, and mysterious. If your blog title were a person, it would be the attractive stranger you lock eyes with in a hazy bar. Essentially, you want your title to catch the attention of your reader and make them want to know more. Maintaining an air of mystery is important, because this compels people to click through and read your post to get more information. At the same time, you don’t want to be so vague where readers scroll past your blog because they don’t know what it’s about.
While you don’t want to put your main point in your headline, specificity through numbers and statistics actually increases post popularity by 36%. They can help reinforce your legitimacy and expertise if there are solid figures to back up your points, and they also serve as an indication that your piece has been broken down into a digestible format for readers.
5. Write, Revise, Write, Repeat
So now that you have your title written, write down five more. It’s important to play around with different options for your blog title, restructuring and revising it until you’ve settled on one that has just the right amount of mystery, emotion, and characters. Send the title to someone else for feedback and revisions, because you want to make sure it has the same impact on an outside reader. This may seem like a lot of work for a small amount of copy, but this is the text that determines whether your post will get read—so it has to be the best that it can be.
Keep in mind that you should write the title after your blog copy is finished, because it’s easy to feel trapped by your headline when working on content. It’s a good idea to have a rough title to use as a guide, but the refined version should be the last step of writing involved with your blog. There are also online tools, like the Hemingway App or the EMV Headline Analyzer, where you can input a final headline to determine its emotional value or readability and make tweaks where necessary.
In order to drive readers to your blog, you need to draw them in with compelling titles that hit all the right notes. Though the copy may only be 70 characters long, these titles are essential to the success of your content. The extra time and effort you put into crafting the perfect headline will pay off when it sends people to your blog post, eager to read more.