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How To Write Attention Grabbing Blog Post Titles – With Examples

If you can’t write your own title, maybe you can cheat and use The Linkbait Generator. (Image source)

A blog post’s title can make or break the success of an article. Bloggers strive to create attention-grabbing, irresistible headlines that result in full reads, improved conversions and social sharing. Writing great titles isn’t always easy, however, and it’s crucial to meet quality expectations within the rest of the copy.

Openability

Often, readers are exposed to an article’s title in search results or on social networks, so they must click on a title to read the entire piece. Copyblogger notes that titles follow the 80/20 rule:

Eight of ten people will read a title, but just two of ten readers will continue reading the article.

A great blog post title improves your Tweet click-through-rate

Exceptional titles have better results. More importantly, some titles are so intriguing that readers may share them with their networks, without actually reading the article themselves.

There are a few different approaches that lead to improved open rates:

  1. Eight words or less. Titles of eight words or less are the generally accepted standard and have been found to be the most effective. Twitter limits posts to 140 characters, and re-tweets add to the overall length of a tweet. Therefore, shorter titles are better suited for social sharing.
  2. Clarity. Blog post titles should clearly convey what the article is about, leaving no ambiguity for readers.
  3. Problem solvers. If a post is aimed at a specific reader population and solves a common problem, titles that communicate this benefit are very effective.
  4. Sensationalism and big claims. HubSpot.com says off-the-wall, wacky titles pique readers’ curiosity, leading to increased open rates.
  5. Incorporating target keywords. Keywords are important in titles for two reasons. First, post titles are typically used to form URLs and can have a big impact on search engine rankings. Second, web searchers often make a broad scan of content and are more likely to click on titles containing pertinent keywords.
  6. Using catchy phrases. BrickMarketing.com points out a few noteworthy catch phrases that entice readers to click. “How To,” “Top 10 Ways To,” “Tips For,” and “Top 5 Resources For” are good examples.
  7. Create controversy. People are drawn to drama. Blog post titles that trigger an emotional response or touch on a controversial topic are likely to intrigue visitors to read further.

Backing up title claims

Attention-grabbing, sensational titles improve open rates, there’s no doubt about that. But bloggers should also heed the content of the article when crafting titles. A sensational title promising a benefit should follow through, or the writer risks alienating his audience. Relevance plays a crucial role in long-term success, so bloggers should keep the following in mind when crafting titles.

  • Back up claims. Writers should avoid making promises not fulfilled in the full article.
  • Provide valuable, quality content. Poorly-written content can quickly cause readers to bounce and hurt a blogger’s reputation.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing. Keywords are important for search engine optimization, and writers should incorporate relevant keywords into titles when possible. But keywords that don’t flow naturally with the title turn both readers and search engines off.

Blog title examples: the good, the bad, and the ugly

The good: “Top 10 Ways to Improve Click-Through Rates”
The bad: “Google AdWords Click-Through Rates”
Why: The second title is vague, uninteresting and doesn’t offer readers a benefit. The first title, however, uses a catch phrase and promises readers will learn something useful.


Warning: This example contains a horrible racial slur and is only included to support the notion of controversy (and how a brand can do themselves a lot of damage), and does not in any way reflect the opinions of Unbounce.

The good: “Papa Johns Fail: ‘Lady Chinky Eyes’ Goes Viral”
The bad: “Papa Johns Employee Offends Customer”
Why: The second title is bland and boring, and while some readers will click through to the full article, most will pass it by. The first example, on the other hand, uses sensationalism to invoke curiosity. Most readers encountering this title will be intrigued by the racial reference and curious to learn the rest of the story.

Eeps. Sure, be controversial – but never utilize subjects such as race or religion – unless you want your stock price to drop overnight.

The good: “Mobile Health Tech Tops CES 2012 Trends”
The bad: “CES 2012 Features New Tech Gadgets for Health and Fitness Management”
Why: The second title is too long and likely to get cut off on certain social networks. Furthermore, the first title is more concise and incorporates keywords naturally.


Even the greatest, most informative blog articles can have lackluster results if the title fails to draw readers in. On the other hand, titles that promise outlandish content or outrageous benefits not fulfilled in the copy can quickly send the most dedicated readers packing.

Crafting blog titles should never be treated as an afterthought, because an article’s title plays an integral role in the success of a post and the impact it has on readers.

— Angela Stringfellow

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About Angela Stringfellow
Angela Stringfellow has spent the last few years of corporate life working in marketing management in the healthcare industry before transitioning her real-world marketing experience to the web. For the past several years, Angela has worked as a consultant with businesses small and large to build comprehensive social media campaigns, blogging and editorial strategies and enhance overall brand reputation and media presence, with a primary focus on Web 2.0 technologies and content marketing.
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Comments:

  1. Stephen Cawood

    Although I’m getting tired of seeing titles that start with “Top X ways…” I have to admit that it’s an effective technique. But it’s being so overused, I also have to wonder if people will just tune out that technique.

    I’m tempted to write a post title “Top 1 Way to Write a Title”

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    • Oli Gardner

      You should totally write that post :)

      (1)
      Reply
      • Steve Young

        I second that! I feel the same way about the top X ways. I usually tune out of them unless the “to blah blah blah” is interesting. But most are not.

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  2. Nathan Dippie

    I agree but until it stops working we will continue to see top 10 … for 2012 etc titles! Also don;t underestimate the power of a controversial post, one of my biggest hitters was a post which looked sparked a heated debate, which in turn drove traffic and increased subscription rates. Thanks for sharing this useful article :)

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  3. Brandon

    Great post Angela.

    You know, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of the title/headline. I remember reading a book called The First Hundred Million by E.Haldeman-Julius (fascinating read, by the way) and in one section he discusses the massive jumps in sales volume that some of his company’s books would get just by changing the title.

    Same exact target market. Same exact content. Just a simple title swap. And all of the sudden a losing project transforms into a barn burner.

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  4. Quentin Aisbett

    Thanks for this Angela. It’s a great resource to bookmark and come back to. After all, as you have pointed out 8 of 10 will read the title but only 2 of 10 will read the article.

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  5. MerryWhy

    This is a great resource Linda.

    I really appreciate that you stress the value of quality content. A title is nothing if the content isn’t valuable.

    In my experience, titles which create urgency are also very useful. Eg: What Mother’s should do before age 5, etc.

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  6. Tweet-Parade (no.27 Jun & Jul 2012) | gonzoblog.nl

    […] How To Write Attention Grabbing Blog Post Titles – With Examples – A blog post’s title can make or break the success of an article. Bloggers strive to create attention-grabbing, irresistible headlines that result in full reads, improved conversions and social sharing. […]

    Reply
  7. Marc Poulin

    Some sites prefer targeted visitors who are likely to become customers rather than a high volume of vsitors. I wonder if there are blog title techniques to attract mostly the former.

    (0)
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  8. Tweet-Parade (no.27 Jun & Jul 2012) - gonzoblog.nl

    […] How To Write Attention Grabbing Blog Post Titles – With Examples – A blog post’s title can make or break the success of an article. Bloggers strive to create attention-grabbing, irresistible headlines that result in full reads, improved conversions and social sharing. […]

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  9. Praverb

    Another excellent post thank you very much for the breakdown…

    Clarity is something that we can all learn, especially since Twitter is so competitive at times.

    Thank You!

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    very nice

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  15. Mohnesh Kohli

    Title should not be more than 65 character as Google shows 65 to 70 character in search engine results. Nice article I read and shared in social media

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  16. Julia McCoy

    Agreed! The title is the “make or break” factor for the life of any blog post, or article.

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    […] The title of a blog post can make or break its success. When trying to write an attention-grabbing (and “link-baity”) title, keep these things in mind: openability and backing up claims. Here are some good, bad and ugly examples. (Unbounce) […]

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