As we continue to examine blog basics, I noticed that someone on Triberr made a point that many of the posts being submitted had very vague titles (if you don’t know about Triberr, read Indie Authors – How To Use Triberr to Grow Your Blog. Hm, sounds like a post for the indie author blog doctor :). As authors, it would seem that we would know how to write a great title, but not necessarily so. I know for myself, coming up with my book titles can be the hardest part. And so it may be for blog titles as well. So let’s cover blog basics and the critical importance of your blog title.
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – What’s In A Title?
First, you want your title to reflect the gist of what your post is about. Seems simple enough but many people miss this critical point. I’ll see a blog post that will say For Today or something like that. Huh? Make your title captivating. Make it something that I think I want to know more.
Here’s an example. I write the Reed Ferguson mystery series and I write a post about one of the books. I want to title it in a way that lets my readers know about this book in my mystery series. So not A Book For You, but My Reed Ferguson Book. Not very good, but keep reading.
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – Where’s The Hook?
You want to make sure you hook your reader in. If statistics are to be believed, 2 in 10 people will actually read your blog post. So you’d better make the title something that will grab people. Try to make your title hook the reader emotionally, or peak their curiosity. Google on blog titles and you’ll find a wealth of information about creating compelling blog titles that will have those readers actually reading your post.
My previous example had no hook, so let’s get one in there. How about Why You Need to Read This Reed Ferguson Book or I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Read Reed Ferguson (ha ha). Maybe A Must-Read Reed Ferguson Book. Get the idea?
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – Who Cares About SEO?
You should, if you want your blog to be found among the millions that are out in cyberspace. So think about SEO (search engine optimization) and keyword research when you are creating your title and the post you write (here’s a bit on keyword research: Guerilla Online Marketing For Authors). Here are some things to think about with blog basics and SEO:
- Research a keyword or keyword phrase that you are going to use in your post and include it in the title (more on this below).
- Make your title 60-70 characters long, with your keywords toward the beginning (more on this below).
- Don’t use the same keywords near the beginning too often (it can make it look like you’re using automation software, which is bad for SEO). This is an issue with some of my posts because I want people to recognize the series I have so I’m breaking that guideline a bit but I mix up some of my titles with alternating phrasing.
Back to my example: there really isn’t a keyword in there. So I do my research and decide I want to use mystery series as a keyword phrase. So now I have The Reed Ferguson Mystery Series – Why You Need to Read Them.
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – Who Cares About SEO (Part Two)?
You want to get noticed by Google (and Yahoo and Bing) so make sure you do some keyword research. Basically this is finding words or phrases that people are searching for. I see people make this mistake a lot: I can tell by reading the content of the blog that they’ve not thought about keyword strategy at all. But believe me, smart marketers do because they want people to find them.
Also, Google indexes 70 characters for your blog posts (don’t worry, blog basics is going to change to advanced blog basics soon and we’ll go over this :)). And remember to try to have your keywords toward the beginning of your title, not only because of SEO, but so that it doesn’t get chopped off by Twitter or another sharing service. And don’t go over 70 characters for your title or it gets chopped off by Google and other search engines.
Back to my example: it’s decent, but maybe I can make it even more compelling. How about The Reed Ferguson Mystery Series – A Must-Read For You. Or
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – What Else?
A few other things to think about are how your titles are seen in other places. Consider these things when creating a title:
- If people link your post on their blog, your title is all their readers will see. You want something that’s going to compel those readers to come on over to your blog.
- If someone is scrolling through your categories, they see only the title (this is usually the case for feed readers and RSS feeds as well). A blah title will not get readers to open the post. A title that lets the reader know what’s in the post will.
- Odd titles don’t make you look like an expert, they make you look like you’re not sure what you’re doing.
So remember, don’t neglect your title. You may not always hit a home run but if you consistently have great titles, you’ll likely see a rise in readership.
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