5 smart strategies for writing effective blog titles

blog-684748_1280An effective blog title invites readership engagement. While it may be tempting to write poetic or stylized titles, the best way to convince a reader to click on your link and perhaps even share it is to appeal to their curiosity in these 5 different ways.

1) Numbered Lists
Numbered lists are highly effective because they tell the reader that the content will be structured in an easily consumed bulleted manner. There is also the anticipation that the reader will gain new and valuable information on an old problem. An example of a good number list style title is 17 Kitchen Hacks For A Successful Dinner Party. This title will attract clicks because it offers problem solving, an easy to read format (list style), and a straightforward description of what the article is about.

2) DIY Instruction
People just love DIY articles. If you have easy to follow instructions and a unique project or an innovative solution to a common problem then this title will be a huge hit. An example of a great DIY title is DIY Dog Grooming: How To Save Money And Bond With Your Pet. This title will attract clicks because it offers the reader a unique and interesting advice that blends thriftiness with topics on pet care and relationships.

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3) Direct Question
Some of the best titles are direct questions that compel the reader to click through to the story to find out an answer. Asking direct questions that a reader can immediately relate to is the most valuable because it places the article squarely in the context of the reader’s experience. An excellent example of a direct question title is, Are You As Smart As A Fourth Grader? This title has an interesting way of asking the reader to think about education from the perspective of both an adult and also a fourth grader.

4) Emotional Appeal
A title with emotional appeal aims to pull on the reader’s heartstrings by using words with powerful imagery. Two popular strategies used are to either promote outrage or solidarity. An example of a title with emotional appeal that inspires outrage is, The Unethical, Illegal Way This Bank Got Away With Stealing Your Money. An example of a title with emotional appeal that inspires solidarity is, How This Brave Little Boy Fought For His Life And Beat Cancer.

5) Comparison
A comparison title asks the reader to consider two sides of a story and possibly make a choice. An effective and popular strategy for this kind of title is to set a “this versus that” scenario. For example, Android Vs. iPhone: Which Is Really Better? A second strategy that is equally effective is to pit one opinion against another like this, Why Slow Food Beats Fast Food Every Time.

Remember, you want to have as many eyeballs on your work as possible and the best way to accomplish that is to attract the reader to your story through an effective and interesting title. Use caution when applying strong words in your title so that you are not creating click bait, which is an exploitative technique to lure readers to stories with the use of over-the-top titles. Generally speaking, these kinds of articles will have inflammatory or aggressive titles but the story is underwhelming or poorly written.

For colorful and easy to read infographics that give great examples of these and other forms of effective titles try visiting Pinterest where bloggers regularly pin informative posts on how to create a solid title.

Be sure to come back to Maine on the Blog next week for more blogging tips from Sarah Cottrell!

Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Scary Mommy, Disney’s Babble, and Momtastic. Sarah runs a popular Facebook page, @Housewifeplus where readers laugh and share stories from the parenting trenches. She is a co-author in several books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine and National Public Radio.