March 7, 2013
What to Title Your Posts
What about my Tips on Thursday, Meet the Author, Writer Wednesday... those are pretty generic titles? Yes and no. Alone they are generic, but they are always paired with the featured author or what the tip is about. You may also have noticed the last few weeks, I'm moving away from those titles. Why? First, I used the titles Tips on Thursday, etc to help brand the theme of that day. I have been using the same schedule for a few months now and I think my readers know what to expect each day. So I don't need those monikers. You will notice I continue to use the graphic to continue my branding of those themes.
What should my titles be?
According to a marketing analysis I did with HubSpot's Market Grader, titles should be 75 characters long. And you thought Twitter was limiting! But it actually makes great sense. with 75 characters the full title should show up in the url and when your RSS feed shoots the post to Twitter and adds in hashtags and other info (your Twitter handle, the url, etc) it takes up all 140 characters.
For those using Blogger as their blogging platform, the title is your number 1 SEO opportunity. Use words in your titles that people will likely use to search for the topic you are writing on. For a book review, that would be the title of the book, author's name, and possibly review. There are a number of tools to help you determine popular keywords. The keywords you use in the title should also appear in your text, so it is a good idea to write your post first and then see what words you use most often.
Due to a Google update you DO NOT want to use "guest post, guest blogger, guest writer" etc. in your title. Google is basically forcing everyone who publishes on the internet to create a Google+ account (it has to do with Google Authorship/Author Rank, if you want to search for more information). Using the above terms or similar variations can negatively impact your ranking in search.
You want titles that catch the reader's eye. We are bombarded with information and after a while we don't really see new information anymore. Your title should be the hook that brings readers to your blog. While the book title may be popular for the search engine, it doesn't set you apart from 50 other bloggers who are reviewing the same title, which leads me to the final tip...
For those who already create unique titles for their posts, you know that it can be difficult to come up with one. And I hate to tell you this, but you really need 3 - 5 titles for each post.
Yes, you read that right. One title doesn't fit all - all your readers that is. When advertising your post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. you need to have different titles that would reach different audiences. So while the official title of your post should be optimized for the search engines, your advertising titles should be tailored to the readers.