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5 ways to create catchy blog titles

If you write a blog, you need lots of readers. Well yeah, duh. You knew that already. But here’s the thing: kick-ass content isn’t enough. To draw a wider readership you need an attention-grabbing, irresistibly catchy blog title.

It’s a no-brainer. Given a choice of several blogs on the same subect, which one do you pick? The one with the most attractive title. Not only that, but a surprising number of people share well-titled posts without even reading them.

The trouble is, creating a great blog title isn't always easy. Here are 5 tips that will help:

1. Put it off until later

If you’re having trouble, don’t rack your brains for the perfect title before beginning the blog. Start writing and come back to it later.

You’ll obviously need a pretty clear idea of the subject matter and main points you want to cover – but a working title is perfectly OK at this stage. This post, for example, started life as simply Blog titles… How to. Catchy, huh?

You’ll find title inspiration as you write. Or, more likely, once you’ve stopped writing and gone to the gym. Or the pub.

2. Use numbers

Here are 3 good reasons why you should use numbers in your blog title:

  • Numbers guarantee an easily `skimmable’ structure. Your busy, impatient readers can speed-read their way down the page, scanning for relevant content.
  • Numbers promise substance. For example, if you see 7 Strategies for Getting More Website Visitors, you would expect at least one useful piece of content. The number 7 has automatically given the blog writer less scope for waffle.
  • They work. According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, blog titles with numbers perform 45% better than average.

Opt for digits rather than words (`3’ will always work better than `three’). And apparently, blog titles with odd numbers are more attractive than those with even numbers. Why is this?

Haven’t the foggiest, to be honest.

3. Include keywords

`How to’ and `What is’ are massively searched terms. Combine those terms with customers' FAQs and hey presto, you have a shareable blog. For subject matter inspiration, have a quick chat with the person on the front line of your business - the person who answers the phone. If certain customer questions are coming up frequently, answer them in your blog.

Do some keyword research around your subject matter. For this blog, I did a Google Adwords search around blog titles. Here’s a quick snapshot of what I found:

Blog titles              1,000
Blog headlines      70
Catchy blog titles 110
Great blog titles    70

It doesn’t take a genius to work out why I opted for the title of this post. And hey, it worked. You found it.

4. Keep it short and simple

Blog titles with 8 words or fewer attract more readers. It's that attention span thing again. If you make the title too long or - and this is a complete no-no - include corporate jargon, your potential reader will be off quicker than you can say `incremental paradigm shift'.

Also, short titles are more practical for Twitter sharing.

Don’t forget about Google’s character limit. You don't want your intriguingly gorgous title cut off in th-... Keep it below 70 characters and you’ll be fine.

5. Be bold and break the rules

One of the best titles I discovered during my research was this one. It’s from a list of the greatest money-making headlines of all time:

76 Reasons Why It Would Have Paid You To Answer Our Ad A Few Months Ago

For a start, the title is way too long. 76 is an audaciously ridiculous number of reasons and the over-use of capital letters disrupts the flow. Nonetheless, it’s attention-grabbing and effective – and it made tons of money.

If you’re brave enough – and crucially, if you have the content to back it up – be controversial. Be seductive. Challenge the casual internet surfer to become a reader.

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Or how about… Why copywriters are expensive.

Helen Beckingham is an SEO copywriter at Keyword Copywriting. Expert scribbler on websites, blogs and e-books, rather good bassoonist, terrible singer. Contact helen@keywordcopywriting.co.uk here