Before you write word one of your blog post, you should craft a great blog post title, one that guarantees your target audience will click a link and read your blog post. Thankfully, there is a science to writing blog post titles and page headlines.
Famous advertising icon David Ogilvy once quipped, “The purpose of a title is to get potential readers to read your first line of content.”
That sums it up. Collective knowledge has led the human species to blogging. The same laws that have governed headline writing for centuries also applies to writing blog post titles. Here they are, all seven of them.
- Grab the reader’s attention – You have to get the reader’s attention with the first word of your title. Give it some thought. What will appeal to your ideal reader? Be bold.
- Be specific – Tell your reader exactly what your blog post is about. Don’t beat around the bush, drop hints, or aim for subtlety. If your reader can’t figure out what your blog post is about from your title, then you need to rewrite it.
- Use strong action verbs – One sure way to spice up your blog post titles is to use strong action verbs, not weak or passive ones. “How to craft killer headlines” is much better than “Make your headlines really good.”
- Use power words – There are certain words that climb into readers’ minds and kick the dust up. These include words like “hoax,” “toxic,” “crazy,” and “immutable.” Power words conjure up strong images in readers’ minds. Make a powerful impact and you’ll attract good readers. Jon Morrow has compiled a list of 317 power words that every blog writer should know.
- Keep it short – Shorter blog post titles do better than longer ones. As a general rule, your blog post title should be less than 70 characters. That’s how long the title in Google’s SERPs are. Anything longer than that will get cut off. But you should aim for shorter, if you can.
- Promise a benefit – If you want people to read your blog post, you’ve got to promise them something. Make sure your blog post title communicates value or makes a bold promise, then your blog post must – it absolutely must – deliver on that promise.
- Use a keyword – I made this law last because I didn’t want to leave the impression that it was the most important thing about blog post titles. It’s important if you want to attract readers from the search engines, but a good blog post title must employ the previous six laws well before you ever plug in a keyword. Once you craft the perfect title, then look for the best way to drop in your keyword.
The seven laws of writing blog post titles also apply to writing sub-titles and sub-headlines. They also apply to writing website page titles and meta titles.
Follow these laws of writing titles only if you want to attract targeted readers to your blog. Otherwise, write what you want.