5 Tips to Write Better Blog Titles

Write Better Blog Titles

Just because you build it doesn’t mean anyone’s going to come.  Yeah, it worked for that farmer in Iowa, but all he did was plow under his corn and summon some dead baseball legends.  In the vastness of the internet, there’s a lot of great content that never gets seen.

While there’s no guarantee that writing better titles for your blog will lead to an influx of visitors, it definitely doesn’t hurt.  Here are five tips to help you write better titles for your blog posts.

Keep Blog Titles Short

Make sure you accurately convey what the post is all about, but try to keep it succinct.  Doing so has a few key benefits.

First, shorter titles are much easier to scan.  Users will thank you for this (by actually reading your content).

Second, shorter titles are easier to share, especially when you’re talking about a social space like Twitter that has a 140-character limit.  The easier your content is to share, the better the chances users will do so.

My Goal: less than 70 characters

That way you can use the entire title as your title tag which means it will display in its entirety when it comes up in a Google search (as in the image below).Title Tag in Google Search

Put Important Words First

This is better for both the people and the robots that come across your content.  People are impatient, especially online.  Putting important words first helps to cut through the clutter and get interested readers to your post.

Also search engine robots tend to give more value to words at the beginning of phrases.  So whenever possible it makes sense to put these keywords early in blog titles.  However, remember you’re writing for human readers.  It’s important to understand search engine optimization, but none of your efforts matter if your titles are awkward and unappealing to users.  Try to balance the needs of humans and robots when writing your titles.

Use Terms That Are Searched

Make sure you use the kind of terms that people will likely search for when trying to find your content.  It seems intuitive, but this tip is often overlooked in titling blog posts.  You don’t have to do intense keyword research if that’s not your thing (although a bit of research can go a long way), but you should at least give some thought to what people who are looking for your post would likely type into a search engine.

Ensure Accuracy

Avoid the temptation to come up with that awesome title that is kind of, sort of tangentially related to your blog post as long as you read it with an open mind.  For example, if I come across a post entitled “Tips to Get a Sick Dog to Eat” but find what’s basically a long pitch for a specific dog food, I’m not going to be happy.  Chances are my dog is sick and not eating.  I’m not looking for a new type of food.  I’m looking for specific things I can do to make him eat.  By ensuring your titles are accurate you can help provide genuine value to your visitors.

Be Creative When Possible

Truth be told, there’s no formula for how to write a perfect blog title.  Some posts lend themselves to straightforward titles (like this post).  But others allow for a bit more creativity.  Don’t be afraid to add your own personality when appropriate.  One great way to do this is through creative word choice.

A great creative post will have a few key features.  It will:

  1. Pique a reader’s interest
  2. Describe what the article is about
  3. Use keywords that are relevant to search traffic

Some clearly forego point 3 in their quest for creativity, but the best titles will incorporate as many of these features as possible.

Here are a few creative titles that recently stood out to me and lead me to open the post:

SEO Drummers & The Same Old Tune
Tools, Twitter and a Ton of Opportunity
When NORAD tracked Santa: Bruno Bowden on the TED Blog
Capturing Speed on a Tokyo Train
Bone-Rattling Sound: New Speakers That Are Made From Bone

Your Thoughts

Did you find any of this information helpful?  Did you think any of it was off base?  Have any examples of titles that piqued your interest lately?  We’d love to hear from you.

Related Reads

4 Simple Ways to Write Better Headings

6 Nonprofit-Specific Web Content Tips

Figuring Out Who the Heck You’re Writing For

Using Emotion to Connect with Website Visitors

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David Hartstein is the storyteller and measurement guy at Wired Impact where he routinely reads and writes about nonprofits and web geekery. He used to teach elementary school and often walks around barefoot. You can catch up with David on Twitter at @davharts.

4 Comments on “5 Tips to Write Better Blog Titles

  1. 1 Samantha June 30, 2012

    Yes this article helped me. I think coming up with blog titles is the worst!

    1. 2 David Hartstein July 1, 2012

      Glad you found the post helpful Samantha.

  2. 3 Brian V Moore September 3, 2012

    Hi David,
    I have a blog titled “Talk straight, talk clearly and talk with respect.”

    Would it be better as “Better relationships? Talk straight, clearly and with respect.”

    1. 4 David Hartstein September 4, 2012

      Hi Brian. First off, are you talking about a specific blog post? Or the name of your blog as a whole?

      It’s a little hard for me to answer which is better without seeing your website analytics. If you have a way of doing so, I’d look at what kinds of keywords are currently driving traffic to your blog. If a significant portion of your focus is on relationships, it makes sense to me you’d include that phrase in the title of your blog post.

      Let me know if I can be further helpful.

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