Source: Anonymous Collective (Flickr)

Source: Anonymous Collective (Flickr)

What makes you decide to start reading a blog post? More often than not, it’s because of the post’s title. That is, after all, the purpose of a title, whether it’s a title for a blog, a newspaper article, a book or a dissertation. Regardless how good the rest of your writing is, without an effective title it won’t get read.

Writing good titles is also important when it comes to promoting your blog posts. Search engines look at a blog post title as well its page’s URL to find words relevant to the search being done. Prominently using relevant keywords in your title is one of the best ways to optimise a page’s ranking.  The spotlight also falls on your title when your post is shared on social media sites, when listed in your blog’s archives and when it appears in links. An engaging title will get noticed and clicked on.

Unfortunately there isn’t one formula to writing great titles, but here are seven useful tips to try.

1.       Make it short and focused

2.       Include relevant keywords, but don’t overdo them (see point 1)

3.       Ask a question

4.       Answer a question (How to…)

5.       Use the list approach (The top 10 benefits of…, 5 tips… 7 ways…)

6.       Include a benefit (How you can save time by…)

7.       Be controversial

Try a variety of our tips and follow up by tracking your posts to see which titles are effective. Track each post’s views (did your title attract readers?), its shares (did your readers find your content valuable and did your title deliver its promise?) and its comments (did both your title and content engage your readers?). Use this knowledge to write better future titles.

The best way to improve, as with any writing, is to practise. And practise. And practise.

We’re still practising too! How would you rewrite this post’s title?