According to a study done a few years ago, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will continue reading beyond the blog title.
Everyone has a short attention span when sorting through blog headlines, so it’s mandatory to have engaging and cool blog post headlines — if you want to hook your reader and rank with search engines.
So many blog marketers claim to have a magic bullet formula for creating cool blog titles for their posts. But I don’t think any such formula really exists. There are plenty of us who market online and feel smug about our ability to hook the reader with clever headlines. According to Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, CEO of MECLABS, the world’s largest independent research lab focused exclusively on marketing and sales,”There are no expert marketers; there are only experienced marketers and expert testers.”
Here are some tips for writing cool blog titles and a case study(below the fold) that will get you more traffic.
Communicate value to the reader
I can’t overemphasize this point. When the reader finds your title in a Tweet or bookmarked on delicious.com, will your title promise to meet a need that will cause them to click the link? Not everyone will be hooked and drawn to your blog but those who have a need or pain will arrive at your site. The blog title 12 Critical Things You Should Never Tolerate(more on this later in the post), has driven thousands of readers to Barrie Davenport’s website. The title SCREAMS out to those who have tolerated and allowed people or situations to hurt them.
Create 3 unique titles
List out 3 primary keywords that are in the body of your post. We want to try to include keywords in the title that are relevant to the keywords in your post. Now jot down an eye-catching title using each of those 3 keywords. (See the case study below the fold)
Insert targeted keywords
It’s important to include keywords and keyword phrases in your title that you have a chance of ranking for and that have decent monthly search volume.
Use the free Google “keyword tool” by clicking here. Enter each of your chosen 3 keywords and see if any of them have significant search volume. Next do a Google search for that keyword and look at the competition on that search page. Look to see if there are giant websites and for any opportunities to take over one of the competitors spots in the rankings(there are 10 organic positions). Based on those 2 factors(search volume and search rankings) choose your top keyword and insert it in your blog title.
Clever is not necessarily better
It’s very tempting to write a clever post title with metaphors, rhymes, or tricky language. But you want your reader to understand clearly from the get-go exactly what your post is about. If they don’t, they may click away. So try to use straightforward, clear language in your post titles.
Also, there are some overused blog title techniques that can make your readers weary if you aren’t careful.
List post titles like: “Top 5 Reasons to Begin Yoga Classes” or “96 Ways to Triple Your Blogging Income Without Ever Sending Out An Email” should be used sparingly. Don’t get me wrong — a list post is effective, especially for readability within the body of your post. But don’t rely on a list title for every post.
When you do write list posts, remember bigger is not always better. At some point, you’ll get diminishing returns, as your readers eyes will glaze over and they won’t finish reading the post. For example, “100 Ways to Monetize Your Blog” might be more useful as free download rather than a blog post.
According to Michael Aagaard of Unbounce, “In the more classic marketing and advertising world, there seems to be a consensus that the most creative headline is automatically the best one. . . . I have seen very little data indicating that this assumption holds water in online marketing. In fact, I have yet to see a creative headline beat a clear headline in an A/B test.”
Trim the long title
Long titles are generally not catchy, and Google will display ellipsis […] in the search results. Long titles with keyword phrases do not prove to be better blog titles. Users want to quickly scan to find what they’re looking for without having to guess what the rest of the title is saying.
Keep your titles short, catchy, and clear. Your keyword density will have a better ratio and have a better chance of ranking. You’ll also see better results on Twitter since shorter headlines fit the 140 character limit better.
Blog title case study
Barrie Davenport wrote an article a few years back for the popular blog Pick the Brain. The article 12 Critical Things You Should Never Tolerate really popped and is one of the more popular posts. It still generates good traffic for Pick the Brain, as well as referral traffic to Barrie’s personal development blog, Live Bold and Bloom. To date there have been over a half-million Stumbles and more than 5000 Facebook likes for this article. It is on page one and position one in Google for several long-tail keyword phrases that are also found in the blog title.
As you can see the title is crisp and pithy. The title has emotion in it and is short enough to display and be easily read in Tweets. The title also uses keyword phrases that have good traffic and where there was low competition in the SERPS (Google rankings). For example, “critical things” has traffic volume of 5400 per month and “things you should never” appears 18,100 per month.
The blog title keywords help the blog post rank on page one for “things you should never tolerate” and several other variations. There were some other SEO (search engine optimization) techniques that could have moved the article onto even higher traffic search pages–we’ll address that in future posts.
I’m not saying that you should never be super creative in your blog titles but that there are more considerations than just a clever hook.
Creating cool blog titles is about finding the balance between pulling the reader in and taking on a more analytical approach and focus on giving your readers a carefully crafted headline that will not only hook them but will help them find you as you rank in Google.
Please like this blog post if you find it helpful and leave a comment about your experience in creating blog titles.