You’ve just written your blog-post. You step back and admire your masterpiece in all its glory. From the first word to the last, its perfect in its purposefulness and clarity (your subtle use of humour is a nice touch too) It’s nearing the time now that you send it out into the fray, and you’re sure that it will be well received. You suddenly notice that you’ve forgotten the title! You stay calm; you say, “it’s a title – I can whip one out easy,” but after a fruitless hour with the thesaurus, you start to wonder if you will ever find a title that does justice the quality of your blog.
Naturally, writing a title is difficult; there is pressure in choosing the few words that will represent your blog-post. It’s the first thing the reader reads, and as such it must set the desired tone for your writing as a whole. Fortunately, a good title will generally meet specific criteria, and knowing these criteria will help you in writing all of your future blog-post titles!
1. Structure – As far as literary guidelines go, your title should be succinct, at around ten words, and follow the custom of capitalising all the words in your title except: ‘a’ ‘an’ and ‘the’, which are always lower case except as the first word of the title, or following a colon.
2. Clickbait – We all know of those dastardly internet articles that entice us in with implied promises that are never met. Though not what you would call ‘classy,’ the over-exaggeration and misleading titles that writers are resorting to are indicative of the increasing competition for readers (or, clicks.)
Over-emphasis on a title to entice in readers will generally reduce the quality of your blog-post, but it is important nonetheless to realise the influence of the title. There are ways of achieving the desired effects of clickbait without having to compromise quality (or your principles;) humour is especially useful in attracting the attention of a reader.
3. Relevancy – in contrast to clickbait, your title should still be kept as relevant to the text itself as possible. You want to attract readers that will come back. Therefore it’s important that your title communicates the themes of your blog-post accurately, as to attract readers that have a definite interest in the subject of your writing.
For a blog-post of an informative nature especially, the title should concisely and coherently contain the major themes of the text, as opposed to a blog-post of more a social nature, which can be afforded more artistic liberties.
4. Searchability – Making sure people decide to click on your blog-post when they see it is one thing, but making sure they stumble upon it in the first place is something else. To maximise the exposure of your blog, it is essential that you incorporate keywords relating to the general category or demographic of your blog post. For example, if your blog-post is about certain key activities and locations in London, then the reader that will want to find your page will typically be a tourist; In which case, a title like ‘Affordable Tourist Locations in London’ might be appropriate.
In summary, do not panic too much overwriting your title. In these criteria, we have the benefit of real quality, allowing us assuredness of our title. It does not have to be a great work of literature; it has only to be a product of the circumstances surrounding your writing and the environment in which it will be read.