Many people, including me, spend a lot of time writing articles and posts simply to forget (or omit) to concentrate on a good and proper title.
As with this post, the titles that are often seen bear no resemblance in quality or, sometimes content, to what is to follow. But a good title can reap rewards far greater than you might imagine.
Because the title is the doorway to your words of wisdom and is seen by both human eyes and those of the search engines.
How many times have you clicked on a link or GLOSSED OVER a link by what you saw in the title? For me it is crucial. I might very well click a title that reads “Obama: Neuter My Cats” but overlook the one that says “The Whitehouse Arranges For President’s Cats to be Neutered”. The content might be the same but in the first case I might read it, in the second I likely won’t.
Therefore, your title acts as a headline or an advert and is no less persuasive than those adverts we see each and every day on TV and in the press. People have less and less time to pour over the multitude of messages that come their way each day. If your message is to reach them you need to give it a bit of a helping hand.
More than that is the fact that titles can themselves rank in the search engines and therefore bring your message to a larger group of people and particularly to those that are actively seeking the information you are offering. The title carries more weight in search engines like Google and if you include your important keywords then so much the better. You will be a rank above others.
So how do you create a fab title? Well, the answer might be less than obvious. Simplicity and clarity will win the day. None of your fancy-pant dressing up. If Obama neuters his cats then that is all he does. Put it plain and simple. If your keywords include “Obama”, “cats” and “neuters” then you will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Simplicity means that not only are the titles easier to read but that they are more likely to be read. Search engines love shorter titles too. Less really can be more.
That is not to say you cannot be creative. Short titles should be punchy and constructed to attract- “Obama Orders Cat Neutering”, “Obama Cats Under Threat of the Knife” etc. Nothing needs to be boring.
You can get more attention by being controversial or shocking – “Obama Swipes Fertility Rights From Cats”.
Don’t forget that by creating your title you are creating a window into the post itself. If people don’t like what they read in the title then they are unlikely to step further into your post. If there is a need to fill (with your post) then show that you are filling it in the title. Lure people in.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It can be difficult to create a headline title that is both short, punchy and descriptive. Sometimes you need some creativity. There is plenty to be had – just look in magazines and newspapers for inspiration.