Why The Headlines You Choose for Your Blog Posts Matter

What is the first thing you notice when browsing a blog’s front page?

What grabs your attention when reading news articles? What makes you want to click on a link?

Yeah, headlines are that important.

Yet most people work hard on a post, and just before they hit that “Publish” button do they stop and think about their title.

It’s not how this works.

First the headline, then everything else.

Why?

Because headlines can be the difference between having your post read or ignored.

Of course, there are no rules that will guarantee your post gets noticed, but you might want to consider some of the following.

Simplify

Readers prefer straightforward, short and simple titles to cute or cryptic ones. They want to know what the post is about, what to expect.

One important aspect of this is that you must not give everything away. A bit of mystery goes a long way. If you can make them wonder if you have found some secret solution to a problem that has been nagging them for quite some time, then do it.

It’s worth it.

Communicate

Like I said, it’s essential for readers to know what your post is about. Otherwise, they might not take the time to read it.

Key Words

This is not just about SEO, it’s not about pleasing the algorithms to land one the first page, but it’s also about clearly defining your topic.

What is your post about?

How would someone who has never read it go about if they were to search the web for that kind of content?

Grab Attention

I’d say this is the most important aspect. And one of the most overlooked.

Why?

Because odds are that your post is one of many on the same topic, and your headline is your best chance to distinguish it from others like it.

Imagine yourself searching for articles on a search engine or news aggregator — what would make you click your link?

Intrigue your reader, draw them into your post, make them want to read more!

Luckily, there’s a bit of an art to headline writing, so you can easily find inspiration. There are some tactics that are quite older than the Internet itself. Or electricity for that matter.

If they have worked for hundreds of years, I can’t see a reason why they’d stop working any time soon.

A few examples of blog posts that are guaranteed to want people to read your posts:

  • How to… – because who doesn’t work a nice article explaining them how to do something they don’t know much about?
  • How to… in 5, 10,15 Minutes – time, time, time. It’s never enough, and we never get it back once spent.
    How to… Like a Boss – entice your readers with this title. Odds are, there’s a part of them that wants to be a boss. Or so the legend goes.
  • Ways to… – ways, steps, tips. Use 7, use 3, use how many you like in order to teach your readers to do something.
  • … That Will Change Your Life – You better make sure you deliver on your promise, and don’t provide some generic content or vague advice.
  • Warning: … – People tend to want to read warnings.
  • The Ultimate Guide to …The Ultimate Guide means that you just have to read this one, and nothing else.

Of course, there are a lot of other ways to come up with a brilliant title. Lists tend to perform best, but you can also try to exclude some of the readers, which is something I have used in my recent ad of the 0 to 5 K Program here.

While certainly important, headlines are NOT everything. You still need to post something worthwhile. But coming up with an enticing title is not just the start of your post, it is an invitation for people to engage with your ideas.

If you put some effort into developing it you’ll find people take that all important step into your virtual space.


What is, in your opinion, the best headline you ever wrote?

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19 thoughts on “Why The Headlines You Choose for Your Blog Posts Matter

  1. My titles always come after the whole content has been done. I do this because, having a title first kinda limits me to what i want to point out. Loved your article…….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m laughing because what I do is set a title, finish the body of my article; re-read it several times and then modify my title to match.

    Starting my title keeps my idea and purpose in mind. But during the writing, I’m engaging a creative process. When it’s done, I usually have kept to the spirit of my initial title, but during writing, it expanded as new things came out. Then I change my title.

    That said, If I DO hold true to my initial title, my writing becomes much more focused and “Technical.” The creative process is still there, but the focus of creativity then becomes figuring out innovative ways to stick to my title. It’s still creative, and it’s more technical.

    I think for a lot of creative types who just want to say what they want to say, the technical part becomes a daunting process and can be frustrating and inhibitive.

    But then, writing is so mailable to the composer. Words are like clay. You can mold the words, the style and how you get to your end result in so many ways.

    Love your articles, Christian

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your compliment.

      Well, there’s nothing wrong with changing a headline once you finish writing a post.

      I write several headlines, then write and edit my post, and then choose the best title for my article.

      Now, writing is indeed an art, but also a craft. There is a technical side to it, no matter how much we try to deny it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL…Indeed, Christian. There is a technical side. I wonder though about the technical and denial. To deny, people have to be aware of technicalities. To go one step beyond that, I would say that once someone is made aware of technicality, the degree of caring about technicalities enough to engage them then becomes the choice.

        These choices define one’s style.

        Anyone can argue that technical skills will make or break a writer…or blogger.

        Again, awareness comes in to play; awareness of those in critical evaluation of technicality. To those who find real passion in the technical but are unaware of the writer’s purpose then a critical piece of evaluation of the technical is lost – That being discerning if the writer is just writing for his own pleasure and expression and sharing (which is simple enough) or is the writing trying to convey something for personal gain (Living, esteem, validation; convey a point in such a way as to persuade opinion and gain a greater consensus about a matter; to admonish without offense [or with clear intent to harshly censure]; to esteem a thing and inspire another….on an on…etc.

        What comes to mind are the technicalities of principles such as casual, enthusiast or professional/pro; hobby, garnering a living or persuasion of the masses [as in political].

        It’s an fascinating topic. The technical is a human concept; one by which we all consider of what we do and what others do.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I looked through my posts on my Stoic blog, and I’m having trouble finding a trend, but by far my most popular post was a simple title: “Passion, Criticism, and Stoicism”. So I’m trying to figure out why that one grabbed so much attention as opposed to others. For my book’s blog, to no surprise the most popular posts were the ones that had ‘free’ in the headline.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “death is the greatest liar”, ” alchemists at life”…some of the popular ones.
    You should have an open question day, where you allow followers to ask you any question about blogging, or something related. I’d like that! 😊🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I completely agree with you that the title of a blog post is so important. It’s usually the first thing we read, and if it does not convince us to want to find out more or to click on the title to read the post, then we could be losing lots of readers.

    I’ve seen many bloggers forget to give their blog posts titles, as well as giving their blog posts terrible titles that I’m sure many will pass by without taking a look.

    I also use a headline analyser to see if my blog title is going to get readers to read (and comment on) my post. The higher the score, the more likely the blog post title will attract search engines and readers. It’s worked really well for many of my posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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