Online audiences are notoriously low on attention spans, especially since they’re reading content on their mobile phones during any spare minute. For article pages on Slate.com, for example, most readers only read about 50 percent. What? You have to hook people with a compelling title. How? It’s a bit of an art form, but these five tips will ensure you’re soon writing searchable, clickable titles like a pro.
A title full of puns or inside jokes can be amusing. However, clever titles can confuse audiences and prevent them from understanding your message. If they’re confused, don’t count on a click. Titles that sound pretentious or condescending will also make readers run the other way (or X out). Write clear, succinct titles that say what they mean, and use wit appropriately and sparingly. Titles should be friendly and invite your audience to keep reading.
Your website’s domain name should also follow this rule, especially if you’re new to blogging and establishing your own site. As you acquire Web hosting services during the Web development and design stage, ensure your domain name is both clickable, relevant and catchy.
While you want to say what you mean in your titles, you also don’t want to give away the farm. (Sigh, it’s a balance). Tell people what the article is about in your title, yet don’t reveal the whole story. Leave a little mystery that will capture the reader’s attention and make them want to read on to discover the rest of the article.
Avoid depressing titles. Who wants to read an article when they know from the title that the story is going to be negative? If your story is on a serious subject that has sadness in it, feature positive aspects of the story in your title. A title like, “Local Girl With Illness Wants 1 Million Facebook Friends to Inspire Her Fight” is more clickable than a title such as, “Local Girl Dying of Rare Genetic Disease Wants You to Like Her Facebook Page.”
Don’t try to draw readers into your article with a title that has zero relevance to the subject matter. A misleading title may get a click, but a reader will quickly abandon the article and resent you for wasting their time. You’ve just lost a reader, fan and follower, and probably for good. Think of your titles as a first impression. Be interesting with your titles, yes, and be honest.
Optimizing your title with keywords will enhance your search engine visibility. Don’t make your title sound awkward for the sake of SEO. (Sigh, it’s a balance). Awkward wording for optimization can be off-putting. Integrate keywords into your title naturally, and make sure your title makes sense.