The Power of the Pyramid
Speak Loudly and Carry a Big Bag
I wrote these three blog titles in the past. They were not about Egyptian architecture, Theodore Roosevelt, or origami. Given those clues, do you have any idea what they were about? I’m guessing you don’t.
Unfortunately, I went through an “ah-ha” phase with my blog post titles. After you read the post, you might look back to the title and say “Ah-ha! Now I get it.” But it was rare for anyone to say that because my titles were doing the exact opposite of fulfilling their purpose.
Don’t Write Cryptic Titles
Titles are not meant to be appreciated after reading a post. Instead, they are intended to attract readers. And my clever titles (Yes, I thought I was oh so clever.) were not drawing any readers. People were probably looking at them, thinking “What?” And their lack of understanding caused them to pass without reading on.
Confusion does not attract readers.
Don’t Write Boring Titles
We live in a scrolling world where decisions to stick around and read are made in a millisecond. So don’t sabotage yourself by disguising your post about time management as an article about pyramids. Use those few initial seconds when you have a scroller’s attention and tell them exactly what you’re offering them: Time Management for Bloggers.
If that was the title, would you be thinking, “I must read that article!” or “Another article on time management (yawn)!” That’s the flip side of writing titles – the risk of sounding boring in your title.
You post titles must help you stand out from the crowd, so scrollers don’t think you’re offering a link to an article they read a thousand times before.
Be clear. Be original.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
Write Hybrid Blog Post Titles
If you want to attract readers in the few seconds you have their attention, craft hybrid titles for your blog posts. Tell them what the post is about but add a twist that convinces them your take on the subject will be original…or at least fun to read.
Start with the clear-as-glass title: Time Management for Bloggers. It is clear, but it’s also a snoozefest, right? A little tweaking can give you just enough quirkiness to turn scrollers into readers. Try Pyramids: The Key to Time Management.
You’ve informed scrollers that this is an article about time management, but the pyramids twist might make them curious enough to click through to your article.
Post Titles Shouldn’t be Afterthoughts
We are so careful to plan, proof, and edit our writing, but titles are often an afterthought.They shouldn’t be.
Take a minute to read your proposed title to someone…anyone…even that random family member walking through your kitchen searching for leftover cookies. They don’t have to read the entire article, just the title, and answer two questions, “Do you know what this article is about? Does it sound fresh or boring?”
If I were rewriting the title from the beginning of this post they would be:
Pyramids: The Key to Time Management
Surviving a Writers’ Conference with L.L. Bean
Battling Writer’s Bock Using a Paper Sword
I’d love to hear from you… Would these titles intrigue you enough to click through to the article? Tell me in a comment below.
Never overlook the importance of a title. It is a potential reader’s first impression of you and your writing and, if you don’t write a good title, it may be the only words you write that they read.
About the Author
Jodi Webb has written advice columns on organization, text for Nintendo DS games, trivia questions for charity fundraisers, and toy and book reviews in addition to annual reports, press releases, and company brochures. She’s written hundreds of articles for magazines such as Birds and Blooms, PTO Today, and The History Magazine. The former blog tour organizer at WOW—Women on Writing, she currently works for a small regional newspaper