How YOU Can Write Effective Titles

Titles are the first contact you make with your visitors. If the title is poor, it’s likely to be the last contact as well. Your titles appear in the search engines, on your site, in links on other people’s sites and in your RSS feeds. Even if you publish full feeds, many feed readers only show the actual content if the title is clicked. Getting that click is the title’s job.

Unfortunately, in the rush to publish, you may find yourself concentrating more on the copy than on the title.

So how do you write titles that are effective?

1. Speak directly to your audience and be specific.

‘Security Update for WordPress 2.0 Users’ is better than ‘Update for WordPress Available’ but not much. “Protect Your WordPress 2.0 Blog, Download The Newest Security Patch Now’ adds a call to action and introduces some urgency.

2. Appeal to your readers’ self-interest.

Your readers are no different than you are, they all want to know, ‘how does this affect me’? What do I get out of this? Tell them. This is perhaps the most important quality of a title, make a promise to your readers, and deliver on it.

Are You A Blogger? Save Time and Increase Your Productivity With BlogDesk

Feed Your Children Nutritious Meals For Less Than 5 Dollars Apiece

Improve Your Golf Swing By Following These Three Simple Steps

3. Deliver An Important Message

Skin Cancer Can Be Treated If Detected Early Enough – Get A Checkup Today

Reduce Your Grocery Bill By 60%

Protect Your Computer From Spyware With A Free Download

4. Deliver The News – If you’ve recently improved a product or service, let people know.

Improved Feed Reader Allows You To Subscribe With Drag and Drop

New Office Software Instantly Converts PDF Files To Excel.

5. Ask a Question – This technique engages the reader instantly.

Do You Drive Every Day? Would You Like to Save 30-40% On Gas?

Tired of Eating The Same Thing For Dinner? Get 3 New Recipes Every Day

The goal of every title is to engage and entice. The underlying rule behind every title should be, make a promise, then deliver on it.

Now lets talk about some things you shouldn’t do .

Don’t assume too much . Be direct, but don’t get too familiar.

We Know You Want to Impress The Ladies, Here’s How

That’s a pretty big assumption and it’s too personal too quick. Here’s another way to lose readers;

Everyone Wants To Lose Weight, Lose Ten Pounds in Ten Days

Don’t use large words . Keep it simple. Use instead of utilized, car or truck instead of vehicle. It’s simple, never use a large word when a diminutive one will suffice.

Don’t use the word free unless you’re offering something for free but don’t be afraid to use words like guarantee if you offer one. Words like quick or easy are attention getters. Use them if they apply. Just don’t break the promise you made in the title in the copy.

If you’re still stuck, do a few searches on the web, look through some magazines and if you find yourself reading an article, take a close look at the title to determine why it was effective.

If all else fails, start your title with the word ‘how’.


  1. you missed one of the most important aspect!

  2. DG

    Too late to play guessing games Roy, go ahead and edumucate me. ; )

  3. dvg

    Wait. Where’s your post on improving my golf swing?!

  4. DG

    Can’t help you there David, you’ll have to write that one. Last time I went golfing I barely broke one hundred,

    on 9 holes… ; )

  5. Interesting and informative. Thank you :)

  6. Sorry DG.
    I didn’t want you to go guessing! Actually I was writing a post on it. You can find it here:

  7. Great tips ansd so true. I sell real estate and so often I see many of your rules being broken. Thaks for helping to keep myself in check. Great input for ad writing!!

  1. 1 Writing effective titles for your copy or article – A MUST! « Questioning SEO Web Content Writing Doubts

    […] Writing effective titles for your copy or article – A MUST! Posted on February 9, 2007 by MrDoubts I came across an interesting article on “How You Can Write Effective Titles” by DG. […]

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