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Is Your Blog Title Worth the Click?

blog title ideasCongratulations – You’ve done it!

You’ve written an informative and entertaining post to engage your audience of ideal clients. Now it’s time to bring the readers in.

You distribute the post through all of your social channels, and await the massive inflow of comments, likes, follows, shares, etc…

There’s just one problem. No one is clicking.

So what’s up? You’ve written a great piece that has the right tone, information and easy-to-follow format your audience is looking for. So, why won’t anyone check it out?

In this instance, it’s probably safe to say that your title just isn’t worth the click.

Understanding Reader Patterns

An average of 8 out of 10 blog visitors will read a title. Of this average, only 2 out of 10 will actually click to read the rest. That being said, we can reasonably come to the conclusion that average and/or subpar titles are to blame for low readership. Obviously, we want better for your post!

The good news is that with so many boring title ideas out there, your interesting and engaging title will stand out from the rest to represent your fabulous piece of content.

In fact, testing conducted by Marketing Experiments showed that the most effective headline (based on clarity and specificity) brought in 3 times more readers than the least effective headline of the test group.

blog title ideas

Just a portion of the articles/blog posts I saw scrolling through my LinkedIn feed this morning.

Engaging the Previously Engaged

Today’s online readers have seen it all. If your audience is seeking information in your field, chances are, they’ve read other articles on similar topics before yours landed in their news feeds.

While it’s impossible to determine what each individual reader has or hasn’t already seen, doing a little research and putting some effort into coming up with a killer title will help your work stand out. That being said, it’s not always easy to come up with awesome blog title ideas.

Researching Blog Title Ideas

Sometimes, the one that comes to you first really does seem like it’s good enough to engage your target. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. You’ll need to do some research and refining before you find one that will get readers interested in what you have to say. So let’s find out: is your title worth the click?

Tip#1: Could You Be More Specific?

You’ve got your topic, and that’s a great first step. But, for your title, could you dive deeper? Truth is, your readers have seen just about every broad topic article your industry has to offer. Now they want to see something that answers their real-life questions in a specific, meaningful way.

How can you help them do this? A great place to start is by checking out online forums and blog comments in your field. What are people asking experts? What questions are left unanswered at the completion of other posts in your field?

Find a question that you can answer in detail, and create a title around it.

blog title ideas
For example, let’s assume that your topic is “shutters for your home.” Now, that’s a pretty broad topic, so let’s zero in on a specific style, material, installation process, etc… that will help your readers find answers to their more specific questions. We’ll start with “Wood Shutter Installation in Your Home,” and go from there.

Tip #2: Are You Sure You’re On Point?

Now that you’ve come up with a working title that will best serve your target audience, it’s time to get writing. As you write, pay close attention to lines that carry significant weight. Not every sentence will be a one-liner (and not all of them should be!), but there will be one or two in each paragraph that naturally stand out from the rest.

For example, the first title I came up with for this post was “How to Create an Attention-Grabbing Title.” As I wrote, however, the concept of a whether a title is worth the click came up.

From here, I decided to run with this unique concept and the title evolved into  “Creating a Title that’s Worth the Click.”

Going back to the shutters example from the previous tip, let’s make it “Installing Wood Shutters is Easy” instead of “Wood Shutter Installation in Your Home.”

Tip #3: Are You Offering Deliverables?

At this point, you’ve got a blog title idea that suggests a unique benefit to your audience and conveys your writing style. Now what? It’s time to offer the goods. “Installing Wood Shutters is Easy,” suggests a solution, but doesn’t necessarily let your reader know that the solution they’re looking for is a click away. So how can you let them know that you can help?

Easy. Make sure your headline offers tips, steps, how-to’s, or asks a question. The idea is to offer concrete, specific info about what your reader will find when they click on your post.

Now your title could become something like”5 Tips for Easy Wood Shutter Installation.” Better? Yes.

Are you done?

Nope!

Tip #4: Are You Using “Stand Out” Words

Alright, you’re getting close. Your new title is “5 Tips for Easy Wood Shutter Installation.” It sounds alright, but it doesn’t really stand out yet. So how do we make it stand out? By adding words that make it stand out, of course!

Some of the best stand out words for this are action verbs and adjectives, but let’s not get too out of hand here. One well-placed adjective or verb will be sufficient.

Never place an adjective in front of a sneaky absolute adjective (any word that can’t take a comparative or superlative form). Do what “feels” natural, but unique. Now your title could become “5 Steps to Installing Wood Shutters the Easy Way.”

blog title ideas

Deliverables? Check! Standout words? Double Check!!

Tip #5: Have You Looked at What’s Already Out There?

You’re in the home stretch now! Your title is great, but now it’s time to make sure no one else has used this great title of yours. How? Google it!

Let’s say another post titled “5 Steps to Installing Wood Shutters the Easy Way” comes up in the results. Or maybe you just realize that other post titles are better. Either way, it’s time to get flexible and change your title up.

This is where you push your creativity to the max to come up with something even better. When I Googled “Creating a Title that’s Worth the Click,” it wasn’t found elsewhere. But, it also didn’t stack up with what I found on the first page of the search results. I did, however, find a way to make it a bit more engaging. I then ended on “Is Your Title Worth the Click?” I have to say, I kind of love it!

So back to our shutters post. If someone has already written “5 Steps to Installing Wood Shutters the Easy Way,” let’s change the title to “Are You Installing Wood Shutters the Hard Way?” or “Could Wood Shutter Installation be Easier Than You Think?”

This isn’t to say that all good titles pose a question, but sometimes tweaking your approach to offering deliverables helps you find a title that’s really worth the click. Mess with your options until you find one that sticks.

That’s it! The process is over. So how did your title stack up? If you’re left questioning its attention-grabbing abilities and haven’t gone through these steps yet, I highly recommend you do so. After all, if your title isn’t worth the click, your audience will never know about the awesome post that’s waiting for them!

Back to you! What makes a title worth your click? Let me know in the comments below!

About Cosette Jarrett

Cosette Jarrett is a marketing specialist at Red Olive, Inc. in Salt Lake City, Utah. She specializes in social media and content marketing, working closely with the Utah SEO team to develop and execute marketing solutions and social strategy. You can follow her @CosetteJarrett or connect on LinkedIn.

35 comments

  1. tobi says:

    Writing a great headline is the first step, but not having great content to support it is terrible, it will just increase your bounce rate and reduce conversion rate, I will say whenever you write an amazing post title make sure you have amazing content to support it. Great post Cosette! Thanks

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      Couldn’t agree more, Tobi! The title gets readers to view your post, while quality content makes them stay and engage. Thanks for your feedback!

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      Thanks, Serina! The title is definitely an important component of any good post. After all, it is the first representation of your writing that readers see!

  2. Terence Verma says:

    The real attractiveness of a post title would definitely have its impact in a broad niche, where there could be a surfeit of information. But, in a narrow niche because a very specific pain/delight is being addressed, the recipient will open- well most anything, to obtain answers and relief.

    Like you say…the body of the text must settle the idea of the title.

    Thanks for a great post Cosette!

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Terence! I agree that the importance of your title varies based on the post’s topic. Narrow niche topics will entice their target audiences more naturally. That’s where the whole process of finding an awesome topic comes in. Great point!

  3. Virginia says:

    I like to use the unexpected twist in a title. Example: Have You Jailed Your Rascal ? Playing and letting the inner child come out are mundane.

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      Virginia, adding an unexpected twist in the title is a great way to intrigue members of your target audience. The example you’ve provided would certainly catch the eye of a potential reader. Great point!

  4. Pam Hamilton ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Great article Cosette,

    I write a lot, and pretty well, if I do say so myself. But I really struggle with titles even though I’m well versed in the formula for creating them. You’ve just demonstrated the process for making the formula work.

    This should be required reading for people who write as a part of how they make a living. Thank you, I’m off to go create some killer titles : )

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      Thank you, Pam! I’m happy to hear that the process provided in the article has helped clarify the formula for title creation. Good luck in your writing! Sounds like you’re off to a great start!

  5. Jack says:

    Feh, titles/headlines are overrated. People like to claim they make a big difference but it is not nearly as big as the claims make them sound.

    It is just echo chamber noise.

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      Jack, interesting point of view. While the engagement benefits of a unique title may not be absolutely certain, taking the time to create a headline with your own spin and style really puts the cherry on top of a great article. Thanks for your feedback! Hope you enjoyed the read!

      1. Razwana ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        The headline (unless you’re a major brand) is the key factor in whether people click or not. It’s what made sites like Buzzfeed so successful, no?

  6. Sharadha Bain says:

    Excellent, very helpful article, Cosette. This addresses something I’ve been thinking about – how to persuade readers to click on article links within my newsletter. I can see that my headlines are the problem. Thanks so much!

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      I’m happy to hear that the information provided in this article has helped you address an important issue in your newsletter distribution! Hopefully the process will help you create attention-grabbing titles that get your target audience to read the awesome content you have share. Thank you for your feedback, Sharadha!

  7. Cosette Jarrett says:

    Kshitij, creating an awesome headline is definitely one of the trickiest tasks in blogging. I’m happy to hear that you found the information in this article helpful! Thank you for your feedback!

    1. Kshitij Gondhalekar says:

      Just had a look at your website. Your team seems to be thriving in a crowded niche , guess I can understand why now.

      P.S: Would also like to read like to read about some of your experiences with cats 😉

      1. Cosette Jarrett says:

        Thanks, Kshitij! I’ll pass your compliments along to the rest of my team!
        As for the cats, I’ve only got one, but have earned the “cat lady” title around my office since I talk about her on occasion. I’ve decided to go ahead and run with it. Why not, right?

        1. Kshitij Gondhalekar says:

          Actually I guess it seems more like “A piece of the real me”, and screams “approachable”.
          Way better than a “tagline”.
          Makes an instant connection.

          Btw… Do pass along my compliments to your little friend too 😉

  8. Kshitij Gondhalekar says:

    I guess this has been one of my primary concerns…This post offers fabulous specific insight! Thanks!

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      Kshitij, creating an awesome headline is definitely one of the trickiest tasks in blogging. I’m happy to hear that you found the information in this article helpful! Thank you for your feedback!

  9. Marcy McKay says:

    Really helpful, Cosette. I needed the reminder of using those “stand out” words. In the ABM, we all worked so hard to make our Landing Pages people with those words. Now, our blog titles should, too. Thanks!

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      Marcy, I’m glad to hear that the article was helpful! Stand out words definitely play a major role in grabbing the attention of your target audience. You also make a great point that attention-grabbing copy should be used throughout the entire site (all landing pages and additional content) for optimal appeal and conversion.

      Thank you for your feedback! I enjoyed your input!

      1. Marcy McKay says:

        Thanks, Cosette. I’m going to go to my website to search for those STAND OUT words now. I appreciate it.

  10. Michael "Osito" Schulz says:

    Hi, Cosette! Your guest blog is quite cohesive. I noticed that each subheading is also a question in the same general format, reinforcing the theme. You attacked the main deliverable, then over delivered. Thumbs up!

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      Michael, thank you! I’m glad to hear that the article provided you with the information it promised! I’ve become a bit of a stickler for formatting, so I’m also happy to hear that the post followed a consistent format that reinforced the theme for you as the reader.

      Thank you for your feedback!

  11. Lisa ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Cosette, this is great! I clicked, obviously. 😉 And I really love your process. I’m a headline wonk (is that a thing?), and I am really big on #4, but I almost never bother with #5.

    I love that this post is a different approach to headlines — it shows the thought behind the structure instead of just giving the templates. Your final sample headline conforms to the tried-and-true templates, but I love how you show how to get there.

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      Thank you, Lisa! I’d say a “headline wonk” is a thing! I also appreciate your feedback from the viewpoint of one.
      I’m glad you liked the process provided in the post. #4 is one of my favorites as well. #5 is something I’ve picked up concern for as a copywriter for SEO purposes, but you’re correct in that it doesn’t necessarily apply to all bloggers.

      Thanks again for the great feedback! Happy to hear that you enjoyed the article!

  12. Amandah says:

    What makes a title interesting to me is something that may be controversial, has some type of “shock” value (catches me off guard), strikes a nerve with me, e.g., polluting the oceans and animal abuse, or is related to my industry, like this blog post.

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      So true, Amandah. Great points! Titles with a little shock value always get my click! I also agree that keeping content relevant to target consumers is of utmost importance in creating/managing a successful blog. Thinking like your target consumer to generate interesting blog topics and titles is key!

  13. Jane says:

    A title is the key factor in a blog post. No matter how much effort we put in writing the post and formatting it, if the title doesn’t do the job, the blog post won’t be read!

    Thanks for these nice tips Cosette. Especially if we are on a broad niche, competing with the other sites that publish similar content is a challenge; a great title will help stand out from the crowd!

    1. Cosette Jarrett says:

      Great points, Jane! The quality of your title definitely determines the value of the entire blog post when you’re attempting to reach an audience of busy content consumers. I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

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