Struggling with getting readers to your blog? It’s a common problem we’ve seen with a wide variety of nonprofits. But before you give up on blogging altogether, consider adjusting the way you write the blog post title with a few simple tips. A good title could be the difference between someone reading your nonprofit’s blog post or skipping over it.

Why Does It Matter?

According to Copyblogger, 80% of visitors will read the title, but only 20% will go on to read the rest of the post. You’ve heard about the benefits of blogging. The blog post title, sometimes called the blog post headline, helps you reap those benefits by convincing supporters to read your posts. It’s the first (and sometimes the only) information that a supporter or visitor to your website learns about the post before clicking on it.

Your post title pulls through to a variety of places, and, from there, can either encourage or discourage those that see it.

  • It’s most often what dictates the URL for the page.
  • It’s listed (often along with a summary or excerpt of the post) on the main blog page.
  • It appears anywhere recent blog posts are listed on your website, like your homepage.
  • If you’re using an RSS campaign to automate the email delivery of recent posts, the blog post title is often used as the subject of the email.
  • Search engines use the page title to list search results.

Qualities of a Great Blog Post Title

A blog post is not the same as a press release or a newspaper article, and it should not read like one. Instead, a blog post title should communicate to your readers what the post offers them in a short, succinct and compelling way.

It’s Accurate

Blog post titles should set clear expectations for readers. You don’t want a supporter questioning the truth of the title after reading the post, and you shouldn’t promise something that your post doesn’t then deliver on. Your supporters won’t appreciate the sensationalism. For example, don’t tell your supporters that a new report is groundbreaking if it’s very similar to the last report, and don’t tell them a campaign was successful when it fell short.

However, if the post takes a different point of view or includes anything out of the ordinary for your blog, be sure to call out these differences in the title.

It Promises Something

What does your post offer your readers? Why did you write it? Make your readers a promise through the title and fulfill that promise through the content of the post. When they know what they’ll get out of the post and that it poses a solution to a problem or need that they have, they’ll want to read on. To make the promise more clear, consider your nonprofit’s target personas and what matters to them.

It’s Interesting

Don’t be afraid to try new things and play around with your words, as long as your average reader will understand what you’re talking about. Does your audience appreciate a good metaphor, some optimism, alliteration or snark? Try to work it into your next title. But whatever you do, don’t create a blog post title that will be difficult for your audience to understand. Steer clear of big words and phrases that could be confusing to your average reader.

For example, add intrigue to a post updating supporters on your latest fundraising campaign with a title like “How We’re Changing the Tune of Music Classes in Public Schools” instead of a stale title like “Public School Music Class Fundraising Progress Update”

It Includes Numbers or Statistics

People love lists and statistics that are backed up with research. So when you’re writing a list post or a post about a new research study that you recently released, make that clear in the title. On that note, titles that use brackets for clarification — [Interview], [New Report], [Infographic] — performed 38% better than those without the additional clarification.

Blog post titles like “10 Reasons You’ll Love Attending Our Family Conference” or “30% of Animals in Shelters Never Find a Forever Home [New Report]” are typically pretty popular. Whereas “Family Conference Scheduled for October” or “Research Report on Shelter Animals” would likely result in fewer clicks.

It Uses Powerful Language

I’m not telling you to over-hype your posts by any means. Always keep the title in line with the content of the post. But when it makes sense for the content, using strong action words can emphasize the value of the post to your audience.

Some great options are:

  • Easy
  • Little-known
  • Quick
  • Key
  • Ultimate
  • Warning
  • Red flags

It’s 6-12 Words

If you’re writing a whole sentence in a blog post title, it’s probably too long. Your title sets the scene for your whole post. If it’s long and boring, people will assume the post itself is also long and boring. Aim for your blog post title to be less than 100 characters, or between six and twelve words. Hubspot found their sweet spot between eight and twelve words.

It Considers Search Engines

Want to rank for a specific keyword? When it comes to optimizing your content to rank in search engines, the title of your blog post is one of the components Google considers in its algorithm. For search engine optimization, you’ll want your title to:

  • Be under 65 characters (however, you can go a little over without much issue)
  • Put the most important information first (this is especially important if it’s longer than 65 characters)
  • Place the keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible (this is only relevant if you’re targeting a specific word or phrase through the post)

Whether you’re throwing out a wider net to search engines or you’re just sending it out to your email list, the title of your next blog post matters and deserves to be more than an afterthought as you load it onto your blog. Next time you’re writing a post, run through these tips to make sure you’re presenting an authentic and worthwhile representation of your blog post through the title.

Need some additional help nailing down the perfect title? Have any other tips on creating a great nonprofit blog post title? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.