If you’re blogging, you probably spend a bit of time on research, and most of your time actually writing the post. Then you might spend a little bit of time formatting the post, adding images, and even doing some SEO.
But, one of the most important parts of your blog post might get overlooked and not get the attention it deserves, because it is the smallest element of any post: the title.
As important as great content is, it often won’t do you any good unless you have a really good title up front.
Here are a few things you need to know about the importance of having a good, strong blog post title, with some tips.
5 Things You Should Know About the Importance of Blog Post Titles
Clear trumps clever in blog post titles
When I first started blogging back in 2009, I tended to gravitate toward being clever with my post titles. My go-to was usually a turn of a phrase or a play on words that sorta, kinda, maybe hinted at what the post was about. I thought I would make people stop and think, but what I really did was confuse them. I learned that while it was less satisfying on a creative level, it was more important to just be blunt and flat out tell people what the post was about. This doesn’t mean you can’t have an element of cleverness and creativity in the title, but it still needs to tell the reader what they are getting into.
Blog post titles are important for getting clicks
Most people who read your blog don’t do so because they are already on their site. Some might be reading it because they did a Google search for something, and your blog post showed up in the results. Or, they saw a link to your post on Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media platform. It might even have been the subject line of an email if they subscribe to your blog post. Regardless, the first thing they saw was the title. Think about how you determine whether or not to open up an email: you look at the subject line and determine whether it is worth opening. The same holds true for blog posts. Readers see your post title and then decide whether or not they think the content on the other end of the link makes it worth clicking on. A strong title sets the stage for a larger number of clicks.
Blog post titles are important for SEO
When Google and the other search engines crawl and index your blog, they don’t just look at the content. They are very interested in the titles that go along with your blog posts. Those titles are important indicators to the search engines regarding what your content is about. In other words, because titles are important for potential readers, they are important for search. Therefore, the title of your post should be keyword rich, which is one more reason why you need to use your title to clearly outline what the reader can expect to find.
Think in terms of lists for blog post titles
Some of the most effective titles come in the form of lists: “5 Ways to Write a Better Resume” or “Great Recipes for the Bacon Lover in Your Home” can work really well. Why? Because it’s direct and to the point. Readers know exactly what they will be getting on the other end. It sets the expectations, and you know when you click, that you will most likely have an easily scannable post. They can read the numbered or bulleted points, and determine which content they want to read.
Once you start using overly dramatic exclamatory phrasing, you start to veer into clickbait territory. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve clicked on a post titled “Things you Must Do” only to discover that most of them are things I really don’t need to do in regard to whatever topic is being discussed. Your information might be important, but is it the MOST important? Are they really things people MUST or NEED to do RIGHT NOW? Probably not. More often than not, the sense of urgency or declaration of importance is usually overstated. Even if YOU think your post offers necessary information, read over your post title and make sure it accurately depicts both the content and its importance.
Don’t spend all of your time on your post and ignore the title. It’s more important than you might think!