How much time do you spend coming up with your blog titles? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Less?
Do you choose a title before you write a post, while you’re writing it, or afterwards?
Do you have a set strategy or framework for choosing the perfect title, or does it vary depending on your subject and your mood?
While there is no formula for writing the “perfect” headline, there are some strategies that can give you the best chance of having your social media followers and blog readers actually click on your posts.
This post will outline my quick and easy formula for writing clickable blog titles!
1. Don’t stress out over your blog titles before you start writing
I find the best titles come to me AFTER I’ve already written a post. Sometimes you need to have a clear idea of the “hook” you’re using before you can come up with a killer title – and often that hook only comes to you WHILE you’re writing the post.
That said, I find it helpful to come up with a working title before I even start writing. 9 times out of 10, I’ll change this title later on, but I find it gives me some direction and focus as I write.
2. Choose from some popular blog title types
We find simple “How To” titles (like this “How To Start A Blog” title) to be highly effective for getting clicks.
There are many possible types of headlines you can use. Some of the most popular blog title types are:
- Questions: “How Do You Stay Productive?”
- How-To’s: “How To Stay Productive”
- Newsy: “Just Released: Latest Research on Increasing Productivity”
- Guarantees: “Following These Tips Will Increase Your Productivity by 50%”
- Ways/Tips/Tricks: “5 Ways/Tips/Tricks For Increasing Your Productivity”
- Benefits: “Get Your Work Done Faster and Start Making More Money Today”
- Listsicles: “Top 10 Ways To Increase Your Productivity”
A brief word about using benefits in your headlines: One of the most important jobs your headline has is to stand out from the dozens or even hundreds of other headlines vying for your readers’ attention. And one of the most effective ways to do this is to use a strong benefit in your headlines.
When people see a headline, one of their first thoughts will be, “What’s in it for me?”. Make sure your headline clearly addresses this question, and then deliver on this promise in your actual content.When people see a headline, one of their first thoughts will be, “What’s in it for me?”. Click To Tweet
3. Focus on blog title accuracy
It’s relatively easy to come up with a headline that gets clicked – just come up with a headline that makes an outlandish promise! (e.g., “10 Tips To Increase Your Productivity By 10,000%”). The problem, of course, is that peddling these types of crazy headlines will ultimately destroy your credibility.
Whichever headline format you decide on, make sure the basic premise of your title is accurate. You want people to click on your headline and be genuinely pleased with the content they discover. It should meet their expectations, and deliver on whatever promise the headline made.
4. Use adjectives in your title to add some pizazz
The beauty of using adjectives is that they can inject some fun, whimsy or interest to just about any type of title.
Some of the ones we’ve used on our blog include:
- Ridiculously Good
- Killer (e.g., “Secrets Of A Killer Blog Post”) (Please link)
If you think you’ve settled on a great title, try adding a carefully placed adjective and see if takes your title from great to AMAZING…you might be surprised!
5. Keep your blog title short to medium-length
The folks at Kissmetrics suggest that six words is the ideal title length. If you can’t stick to six words, they suggest putting your most important words in the first three and last three spots – since these are the ones people pay most attention to.
Of course, the research varies a bit, with other studies suggesting slightly longer titles. For instance, Hubspot’s research found that slightly longer titles did best, at least in terms of getting social media shares. They found that titles of 11 or 14 words were ideal.
Another consideration is this: What’s the ideal title length not for readers, but for the SERPs? (search engine results). Keep in mind Google cuts off titles of more than 65 characters – this means any words or characters that fall outside this range won’t show up when someone sees your post in a Google search.
This is a great reminder that there is no “perfect” title length. Be sure to test out a variety of lengths, and see how they perform with your audience!There is no “perfect” title length. Test various lengths to see how they perform with your audience!Click To Tweet
6. Optimize your blog titles for SEO and clickthroughs
If you want your blog posts to rank for specific keywords or phrases, using these in your titles is paramount. But using keywords in your titles is ALSO super important for getting people to click on your posts in the SERP’s.
When people search for a particular phrase, they’re far more likely to click on search results that closely match their search term.
For instance, if someone searches for “How to choose a web host”, or “choosing a web host”, they’re more likely to click on a title that closely matches their search term:
SERP listing for our post, How To Choose a Web Host
But as you may have discovered, headlines written just for the search engines are often dull and uninspired.
While it’s important to include your keywords in your title, you also want to make sure your title is catchy and clickable. Use your main keywords, but don’t stop there: consider incorporating an element of mystery or intrigue to get readers to actually want to click through.
7. A/B testing can make all the difference!
Testing out various headlines on your audience may seem like a whole lot of work (it is!!!), but the right headline can make all the difference in the world. If you don’t believe me, check out this case study. By adding one word – “Supplement” – to their headline, one company not only dramatically increased clicks, they improved sales by a whopping 89%!
Bonus Tip: Many bloggers find it helpful to write a number of possible headlines before deciding on the best one. In fact, the content curators at Upworthy regularly have their writers come up with 25 titles before they settle on the perfect one!
Looking for more headline help? Check out my post, The Ultimate Guide To Writing Social Media Headlines That Get More Clicks.
Do you have a formula for writing clickable blog titles? Care to share it with us?