When it comes to writing your blog posts, is the title you choose a bit of an afterthought? Something thrown together and shoved up there without a second glance? Have you ever considered if the title you pick makes a difference to how many people actually go on to read the post?
While there will usually only be a few little words in your post title, they are the most powerful ones that you’ll write because, for most of your potential readers, it will be the only thing they see. If they’re seeing a link to your blog via RSS, in a social media stream, in search engine results or as a link from another blog, that’s pretty much all you’ve got to entice them to click through and read on.
So what kinds of titles do well?
Firstly, think grabby (yes I made that word up, but I’m sticking with it!). You want your titles to attract attention and draw people in, so use your words to grab them by the shoulders and shake them! Let them know, in no uncertain terms, that this is an article they need to stop and read.
Another thing that really encourages people to read on is the promise of solving a problem they have. You know your readers better than anybody does, so think, what problems do they have? What can you write about that will help them? Mixing these two things together is a powerful combination and one I often use for the Green Room.
Finally, ‘How to’ articles or numbered lists will often outperform other kinds of posts. Blog readers always want to know how to do things and numbered lists are great because they let the reader know exactly what they’re getting. Usually (although not exclusively) a shorter list will also work better as people have limited attention spans online – they want answers but they want them quickly!
When I suggested the idea of doing a Blogcademy in Austin in August Gala and Shauna looked at me like I’d gone totally mad. ” You know it will be utterly boiling down there then? It’s practically on the Equator!” they replied. “Ahh ya wimps, how hot can it really be?” I responded. Well more fool me because when we stepped off the plane last week and were greeted with 40°C+ temperatures, I’m finally understood what living on the sun must feel like.
OK, so I’m exaggerating… but give me a break, I define porcelain. I’m so pale my skin is practically see-through and I wear factor 50 when there’s even a hint of sunshine! The intense heat was totally worth it though, and I would have stayed all summer long to spend more time with the amazing girls (and token dude) who came to the workshop last weekend. Is it bad to have favourites? Maybe… but this class was totally up there as one of the most enjoyable so far. As our last US date for 2013 we certainly went out with a bang!
The workshop was held at VUKA, a giant co-working space near where we were staying. Although there was no natural light inside (something I wish we’d known before but oh well!) and the service from the staff was less than wonderful, the food trucks over the road and juice bar two blocks away made it the perfect spot for us. It was also huge and it was really great to have the option of using tables this time too – like a proper classroom!