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Whether you’re writing a blog, a newspaper or a book, a good title is vital to your success. There is not point spending hours pouring over the content of a blog post and perfecting it, making sure you have your references and points listed correctly, only to give it a drab title such as “My First Post”, even if it genuinely is your first post.
Instead, you need something with punch, a literary firecracker that shouts “Here I am, read me!”
It can be difficult at first to find the right headlines for your blog posts, but as long as you are aware of the importance of spending time on the post title as well as the post content, you’re half way there.
We’re going to look at the whole process of writing good headlines for your blog, from understanding their importance and place in your website to drawing on the content of the post to inform the reader.
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How Good Headlines Can Improve Your Blog
Remember that first impressions really count. If you’ve already got a great-looking blog, then you’re half way to creating a good impression; with great headlines you can totally wow your visitors.
After all, you want them to come back again, don’t you?
Good titles for your posts will help you to grab attention of people using search engines. For instance, if you wrote a post talking about iPads and called it “The Unstoppable Power of the iPad” you are likely to draw more attention than an article called “Why iPads are Great.” The same principles apply to people that are already subscribed to your website with an RSS feed reader, just as they do for RSS news aggregators, which usually stick to searching the post title and first few words.
Ultimately, good headlines will improve the standing and reputation of your blog. Not a bad result from spending a few extra minutes on writing a post!
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What Makes a Killer Blog Post Title?
The answer to the question is you. You’ve written the post, polished it a few times, and checked to make sure any links take the reader where they’re supposed to go. So it is now time to focus on the headline.
To the right is an example that shows how to create a killer headline. Rather than describe the news that an actor who guest-starred in a TV show is set to make a return (something like "James Corden is Back") the headline teases the reader into clicking for more by hinting at a line of dialogue from the episode (in this case, "Doctor and Craig, Sitting in a Tree").
There are several things that you should bear in mind when writing a good headline:
- Grabbing attention is vital, but make sure that your post fits the promise of the article headline (see next section).
- The best headlines and titles are brief – short, snappy titles that are easy to understand.
- You can be descriptive with titles in order to briefly reflect the contents of the post.
- A really great title will convince the reader that they simply have to read what you have to say. Tutorial articles such as this one need great titles.
Of course, you might do it all the other way around – your blog post might actually have been inspired by a great headline that came to you in a flash of inspiration. If this is the case, just as it is important not to let your post down with a poor title, don’t let your title down with a poor post!
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Backing It Up: Writing Good Posts
In addition to creating great headlines for your posts, you need to be able to provide content that backs up the promise of the initial punch of the headline.
For instance, there is no point using a headline for a list article such as “10 Great Free Money-Making Tips!” only to feature a single suggestion in your list. As well as looking pretty unreliable to your readers, it might not go down too well with the search engines either.
Instead of selling the reader short, you need to be providing headlines and articles that genuinely complement and feed off each other.
Also note how your post will be displayed on your blog. If there is an excerpt from the post displayed below the headline (either using a specifically written summary or just displaying the first few lines of the post) you will need to make sure that this is of equal quality to your headline. Think of these lines as a subheading to draw the reader in while providing a spoiler-free preview of what the article is about.
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Grow Your Blog With Great Titles
As you can see, posts with great titles can help to draw new readers to your blog, and improve your brand and its reputation. By backing up great content with great post titles – and vice versa – you are creating a good first impression to newcomers and will soon be on the way to building a blog that people will want to revisit.
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Author’s own experience as editor of http://www.kasterborous.com. Screenshot from the same source.