Last week I talked about formatting your blog posts – the importance of formatting and how to do it.
This week I am going to talk about yet another important thing! Writing great blog post titles.
Even more than formatting, writing great blog post titles is very crucial to the success of every post your write.
Formatting takes role when your readers are on the blog post page – when they are ready to read your post.
But your blog post titles decide whether your readers would read your post or not! That’s something very crucial isn’t?
If your readers are not impressed by your blog post title they will not click through it to check out your post – it doesn’t matter if you’ve done the best formatting to your post. That doesn’t count if your title is not powerful enough.
The importance of blog post titles
Apart from making your readers click through to read your blog your blog post titles play another crucial role.
They communicate directly with your readers even before they are on your page. See how powerful it is?
Say for instance, if they see a particular blog post title in social media, it will instantly help them to know what the post is about.
Take a look at one of my blog posts shared on Facebook.
The title immediately tells what is discussed in the blog post. Even before your readers have landed on your blog post, they already know what the post is going to be about.
This gives them some clarity on what to expect if they click on that link. And if they see exactly what they expected, this is going to make them happy.
But you have to make sure your blog post title is not misleading or the one that makes fake promises. More on that later.
Where to start with writing blog post titles?
This is a million dollar question isn’t? You know that you absolutely need a title for your blog post.
You also know its importance and hence how powerful it has to be.
But where to start with writing great blog post titles? Here you go.
You should start with your readers in mind
Of course! Because you write your blog post for your readers. And you want your readers to click on that title and come to your blog so they can read your content.
So your blog post title should be enticing enough to your reader!
Your title should therefore communicate the benefits of your blog post to your readers. In the sense that how your content will solve their problems.
Put them first. Put their problems, questions, pain points, challenges first.
So how can you find these? For this, you should first clearly know who your target audience is.
You also need to keep a running list of reader queries, problems, and trigger phrases. I maintain one central note in Evernote for this.
Whenever I get an email from one of my subscribers, I make a note of that question or the problem that he/she has raised.
I also look for such trigger phrases and questions inside the comments on my own blog posts, on other blogger’s blog posts, on social media and QA sites like Quora.
You have to centre your blog post titles (and the blog posts themselves) around these queries and trigger phrases.
Doing so will make sure that the title makes an impact; because it is powerful, your readers can relate to it so much.
This is another angle that you should start with when writing a blog post title. Why? Because keywords are important in two aspects.
First, if you want your content to rank well in search engines for popular keywords, you have to centre your content around those keywords.
And blog post titles are great places to incorporate your keywords because keywords in your page title carries a higher SEO weight than keywords in any other places.
Second, even though we always see keywords from the point of view of SEO, keywords are much more than that.
They in fact, clearly tell you what your readers want. Keywords are the phrases your readers type in to the search box whenever they want help with something.
I always use Semrush whenever I start writing a blog post and its title. Quite handy.
Here are a few things to note when writing blog post titles
Even though you start with the right phrases and keywords in mind, you should make sure that you follow certain dos and don’ts!
Keep it simple and to the point
You can include all the details inside your blog post. For now, your readers should simply know what they’ll learn from your blog post.
They want to know how your blog post will help them. So keep your title simple and to the point. Here’s an example:
Keep it interesting
It is also important that you keep your blog post titles interesting. In my last post I shared a statistic.
2 Million blog posts are published online in a duration of 24 hours (source). So if your title is not interesting, people are not going to care because they have numerous other titles that are begging for their attention.
Here’s a great title by Neil Patel:
The word “uncensored” instantly makes the title interesting.
Don’t forget SEO
Of course, you want to make sure that your blog post title helps you to rank your content in search engines for specific keywords.
This in turn helps to get your content in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Here’s an example from one of Brian Dean’s posts (he’s really great at this):
Don’t make fake promises
Now this is a warning that I have to issue at this point. While it is highly crucial that your blog post title is interesting and enticing, you should also make that you don’t make fake promises.
Using words or phrases that kindle hype works only if your content fulfils the promise.
If you make a promise in your title, and if your content doesn’t deliver what is promised, this is going to make your readers unhappy.
Additional tips on writing great blog post titles
Here are a couple of additional tips that I follow when writing blog post titles.
Write at least 5 variations of your blog post title
I’d say at least 5 variations. But you can go up to a maximum of 10.
Whenever I conceive an idea for a blog post I record the raw idea as it is. When I start writing a blog post, I use that raw idea as my working title.
I don’t write the title upfront because I’ve found numerous times that as I start writing the blog post, it could change course.
Starting with the title limits me and acts as a constraint. So I just let the writing flow freely.
But that doesn’t mean I just write about anything that comes to my mind. I still stay focused on the topic of the post.
However once the post is complete, I know the content matter of the post completely. I know what the post delivers and what it doesn’t.
So now I know how to craft a realistic title for that blog post.
I write one blog post title that is realistic to the content I just wrote and that conveys.
I then go on to write as much variations of the original title as possible. I select the best 5-7 of them.
I use those titles in the SEO title (if you use a plugin like WordPress SEO, you will be able to edit your SEO titles), as click to tweets, in sharing across various social media platforms, in my Newsletter subject and much more!
Even if you don’t use those additional titles, writing many variations of the original title is a great practice and over the time this will help you write great blog post titles.
Follow blog post title templates to kick start your writing process
It is not always easy to come up with a great blog post title. Which is why you need templates.
Have a few blog post title templates at hand to help you kick start the process. To start with you could make use of these 4 title templates.
And here’s a great list of 71 blog post title templates:
You have no excuse to not write a great blog post title
Well, given the key role your blog post title plays, you should take it very seriously.
Some bloggers spend hours and hours in putting together a blog post. But they don’t spend more than 5 minutes on writing a great title for that blog post.
They are missing out.
It doesn’t matter how great your content is, if your title is boring, and/or confusing and if it does not touch your readers, they are not going to click on it.
Let me give you another warning here! You should make sure that the content you write and publish is great.
Otherwise, a great blog post title won’t do the trick. People could click on your title if it is interesting.
But it won’t take too long for them to smell the quality of your content. And when they find out, they are simply going to leave.
So make sure you publish great content on your blog.
If you want help with this, take my Course: How to create killer content for your business?
If you do have great content, it is time to write a great title it deserves.