If you saw the blog post titles below, which would you want to click and read?
- “recipe for Last night’s soup”
- “My Spicy, Dare-I-Say Sultry Tortilla Soup Recipe”
- “Whale sharks and othr stuff”
- “I Swam With a Whale Shark, and It Blew My Mind”
I could be wrong (seriously, it does happen sometimes) but I’m gonna guess that most of you would click the #2s and pass over the #1s. These second titles are not only more informative but enticing. Sultry soup? Hey, I’ll try it!
When writing a new post, it may be tempting to downplay your title and throw more effort into your post, but don’t do that, por favor! After all, the title shows up in so many places on the web and speaks volumes about your talents. Just look at where people may come across your headline:
- On your blog, of course
- On our global tag pages (assuming you’re using tags!)
- In search engine results and even in your post’s URL
- On links to your site from other bloggers and web sites
- On Facebook, Twitter, etc.
When someone is scanning any of these places, you have just a few nano-seconds to capture their attention with your title.
A Very Quick Headline Primer
One of the best ways to improve your headline writing skills is to look at other blogs, and analyze the titles. What do you like? Dislike? How are they enticing you? Or boring you? You’ll notice that the homepage of WordPress.com, known as Freshly Pressed, typically has intriguing headlines. That’s not accidental — we want to showcase great headlines, not just great posts.
Some quick tips:
1. Use capitalization consistently and triple-check your headline for typos. A typo in a headline is a death sentence for your poor little post.
2. In most cases, try to use a verb, which makes the headline more action-packed (the opposite of dull.) Avoid the passive tense if you can.
3. Be clever. Try to entertain with the headline alone. Give your readers some enticement to click the headline and read the full post.
Boring: Flight Lesson
Better: I Took a Flight Lesson
Best of the three: I Survived My First Flight Lesson (But Barely!)
Alrighty, readers, I’d love to hear from you: What are your headline-writing tips? How did you make your headline go from boring to beautiful? Share away.