Blogosphere: Being Clever isn’t Always Smart

Continued from Part Thirty-One   

New to the Series?  Start with Part One                   

Blogosphere: A series
Part Thirty-Two:  Title Your Posts for ACTION


Image: I made this one.

One of the most common mistakes we make in blogging has to do with how we title our posts.
Instinct tells us that the more clever we are, the more attention we will get.  While that would be
 true if people reading our titles had anything to do with it, the idea falls apart when you realize that where you show up in a web search has more to do with how the web robots (or spiders) rate you.  …and that, dear friends, is done with key words.  
Each of your posts is entitled to a good heading.  As a part of the package that makes what you have to say both attractive and interesting, a good title can do much to draw in the reader.  
Think about the posts on other Blogs that draw your eye.  Do they have  titles which catch the eye,  are they the kinds that inform or make a promise?  
Are the following titles good or bad?   


  • You Can Create GREAT Blog Titles
  • 13 FREE Resources to Help You NOW
  • Are Your Blog Posts Going Unnoticed?
  • 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Catch the Eye of Your Reader
  • Do YOU know the SECRET of Compelling Post Headings?
  • Captivate Your Reader Using 3 Simple Rules

Each of these titles are geared to catch the attention.  They use some of the more powerful “magic words” in the Blogosphere.  Words like FREE, Sure-Fire, Secret, and Simple are pretty much guaranteed to pique the attention of your reader.  And what about a promise of  10 Ways, 3 Rules, or 13 Free…  Readers love a list.  In fact, a bullet-point or numbered list will draw the eye in any post.   

Notice the use of ALL CAPS in SOME (but not ALL) words in a heading.   Most Blog Hosting Services do not allow BOLD or varicolored text in a heading.  The judicious use of CAPS can help.  Keep in mind, however, the long-standing rule about CAPS.   They are considered rude if used exclusively.   CAPS ARE LIKE SHOUTING AT YOUR READER.  And most readers are annoyed by that.   

Not sure what kind of title works best?  Aside from surveying other Blogs, experiment on your own.  Try out a new style, look for words that get action.  Fine-tuning takes some time, but the result will be worth it.   

Continued in Part Thirty-Three  



8 responses to “Blogosphere: Being Clever isn’t Always Smart

  1. Something to consider in naming a book or chapter! Thanks Richard.

  2. Ricky,
    What alternatives do you use when you want to emphasize something (but not shout) when you cannot underline, italicize or bold?
    What are the different levels of emphasizing and how to convey each of them?

    • Good question, Maria

      I have a few methods for that, because I’m one of those writers who wants to make sure that the reader get any emphasis I suggesting. While I’m not sure this is the best way to treat a reader, here is what I do.

      Sometimes–when I want to make a point!–I use “M-dashes, or “–” to break something out.

      I have been known to use *asterisks* for the same purpose. Using asterisks, however, is non-standard, so you should use them more than once in your piece. This signals to the reader that it was not a typing error, but exactly what you meant.

      The last of the three is the ‘single quote’.

      Probably the best way, and the way that does not rely on a “trick” is to simply build the stress into the sentence itself. You do… know what I mean. Right?

      Hope this helps.

  3. One of my most popular posts this week:


    I expect it drew readers in because of perceived relevance to their own cyber lives. : )

    Thanks Rik!

  4. I like my occasionally clever titles … [whimper, sniff] I find that if a title is too mass market – like your examples – it’s a bit of a turn off. They read like the subjects of email spam and I have to fight the urge to delete before reading. Having a clever title attracts a different sort of reader, hopefully one that will hang around and contribute.

    • Excellent points, Jo!

      Your titles always draw me in.

    • Ah, Jodi, see, there’s the rub.
      I like snappy titles, too.
      In Blogging, however, clever titles are pretty much only good to catch the eye of those who frequent your blog or who are subscribed.
      They don’t do so well when it comes to being found by Internet search.
      It’s hard for me too. I love to get clever. But I also want people to show up on UhW on their own.
      What to do? What do do?

  5. Pingback: Blogosphere: Zeroing in On The Truth « Uphill Writing

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