5 tips for picking powerful blog post titles

Strong titles attract readers to your blog posts. On the other hand, weak titles will deter readers from delving into your content.

Photo: ~K~

As Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com says, “On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.” Also, titles play a big role in how prominently your posts feature in Internet searches.

Here are some techniques to help you boost your blog’s appeal.

  1. WIIFM
  2. Keywords and powerful words
  3. Controversy
  4. Humor
  5. Research

Tip 1: WIIFM

What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) tops your readers’ concerns as they scan titles, deciding which blog posts to read. So, emphasize your post’s benefit to readers in your title. For example, use “How to retire at age 55” or “Stress-free retirement” instead of “Retirement planning” or “Using tax-exempt retirement accounts.”

Tip 2: Keywords, powerful words

Keywords are the words and phrases that your most desirable readers use to find you. Insert keywords into your titles.

Other powerful terms include

  • Best
  • Free
  • Secrets
  • Top Tips

I’ve also found that inserting names of famous people or organizations into my titles helps them attract more readers.

Tip 3: Controversy

Stirring up controversy or just asking a question draws readers. One of my most shared posts, ” ‘CFA credential implies a standard of care not always upheld,’ says Forbes opinion piece,” discussed a controversial opinion. Similarly, my “reader challenge” post titles benefit from my readers’ desire to express their opinions.

Tip 4: Humor

Humor pays. For example, dry humor drew me to “The U.S. Downgrade is My Fault,” a post by Rick Ferri on Forbes.com.

Tip 5: Research

Your best titles probably differ from other people’s. This is why I suggest you study what works for you.

You can gauge success informally by noting which posts attract the most visits. Alternatively, you can use free software such as Google Analytics to measure your posts’ appeal, which you can attribute at least partly to your titles.

Great blog posts about titles

How to Write Magnetic Headlines
How to Craft Post Titles That Draw Readers Into Your Blog
How to Choose a Headline Using 3 Little Known Secrets

Your best title tips?

If you have a great tip for boosting title-power, please share it as a comment on this post.

3 replies
  1. Robyn Bradley
    Robyn Bradley says:

    I love playing with titles/headlines. In addition to your tips, here are some others:

    –Ask questions: “Psst! Looking for the Secret Sauce to Retiring by 55?” Or “What’s the One Thing Most Investors Overlook?”

    –Use numbers, as in: “5 Easy Ways to Funnel More Funds to Your Retirement Plan” (as an aside, I recently read — forget where, unfortunately — that some studies show that posts with numbers in the headline have a better chance of being shared on FB)

    –Get Playful: “You Got to Know When to Fold ‘Em (Sing it with me!)” — this famous Kenny Rogers tune could be the spark for a post on when to get out of a certain fund/investment (I’m riffing here, but you get the idea).

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