How to Write Attention-Grabbing Blog Titles
The most important part of your blog post is your title. If you don’t grab your reader’s attention with the title and get them to actually click through to your post, nothing you write inside the post matters. It doesn’t matter how great and helpful your content is. It doesn’t matter what offers or affiliate links you have in your post and it doesn’t matter who sponsored you to write it. If you can’t get them to read it, the blog post doesn’t do you much good.
And when it comes to getting free search engine traffic, your title is important as well. It is the most important factor when it comes to getting your content to rank. Yes, there are plenty of other factors, but a good title with the right keywords in it will do better than anything else you do.
How do you go about writing a good, attention grabbing blog post title then? I suggest you start with a working title for your post and craft your content. Then come back and work on the finalized headline, implementing as many of the tips below as you can.
Make it Interesting and Tell the Truth
You want to write an attention-grabbing headline. With that comes the temptation to hype it up and stretch the truth just a little bit. While that may get you some extra clicks, there’s a trade-off. You’ll lose credibility if you’re exaggerating or telling little (or big) white lies. You see a lot of those headlines on social media. You click through and end up disappointed because the post doesn’t fulfill what the title promised.
We’ve all fallen for the clickbait.
Instead, make it interesting without all the hype and stick to the truth. A great way to do that is to think about what’s in it for your readers.
Keep It Short and Engaging
Shorter titles tend to do better both with click-throughs on your blog and social media. Keep it short and to the point and think about engagement straight from the title of your post. Ask your readers a question. Make a statement that makes them think. Put numbers in your titles to get them thinking about what’s in the content (i.e. My 5 Best Tips To …). How-to’s are especially helpful.
Keep an eye out for titles that catch your attention. Copy and paste them into a swipe file and see how you can tweak them for your own needs and market. Try to use keywords that evoke motion. Co-Schedule has an awesome keyword analyzer that can help you put together awesome blog posts.
Work in Your Keywords
Last but not least, don’t forget to work your keywords into the title. I tend to do this last. Always write for your readers first and then work in what you need to do to make sure the search engines recognize what your content is about.
If possible, try to include your keywords towards the beginning of your blog title.
Ranking well for something your readers don’t want to read or don’t want to click on doesn’t do you much good. Focus on your audience and then optimize for search as an afterthought and you’ll do well.
Neil Patel has created an awesome free app that helps with keyword research. You can enter your potential keywords and the results will tell you how many searches there are for your keyword each month and how much competition there is for that particular keyword.
Implement these tips and get a few blog posts out there. Pay attention to what’s working and what isn’t. Each market, each blog, and each readership are different. Use these tips as guidelines to help you find your own style that resonates well with your audience and gets you the results you want.
How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?
Every few months we get some new advice from a blogging guru saying that our blog posts need to be longer, or shorter, or that they should be broken up into 10 pages of bite-sized chunks… it can make you crazy. Let’s talk about this. How long should your blog posts really be?
It would be great if there was a magic number that guaranteed best results, wouldn’t it? But that’s like asking someone to tell you how long your conversations with other people should be. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a few words or sentences; sometimes you have a nice long talk. It all depends on how much you have to say to each other, doesn’t it?
The same approach works well with your blog posts. Sometimes you’re sharing just a quick tip or a recipe for example. In that case something around 200 to 300 words will do just fine. Add some nice graphics and you’re ready to go.
Other times you want to go into a little more depth. You want to cover different aspects of a topic, share some examples and give your readers as much information as you can. In those cases, make it as long as you need to make it to ensure the topic is completely covered. The average top-ranking post on Google seems to be about 2,000 words. Long posts are great. They help establish your authority and if the content is great, they are often shared on social media. Plus, long posts give the search engines a lot of text to sift through and give you more chances to rank for long-tail keywords.
The best advice is to mix longer and shorter blog posts.
It will make your blog seem more natural and organic. Don’t force yourself to reach a certain magic word count if you don’t have that much to say on a topic. Stay away from the fluff and get right to the point. Your readers will thank you.
If on the other hand you have a lot to share in a different post, go for it. Break the longer content up into small paragraphs and help your readers stay on track with subheadings and bullet points. Make it easy to scan longer posts so your readers can get an idea of what the content is about before they commit to reading it all.
And if you’re finding yourself writing a few thousand words, consider breaking it up into a series of blog posts instead. It will help both you and your readers from getting overwhelmed with one long post. Link from one part of the series to the next to make it easy for your blog readers to follow along. Plus, the internal linking is great for SEO.
Above all, enjoy the process of writing and pay attention to what your readers prefer. If your short posts tend to do better, consider keeping your posts short and to the point. If you’re getting a lot more engagement and social media shares on longer posts, combine a few of the shorter blog post ideas into a longer one. And whatever you do, don’t get hung up on a number of words.
Why Breaking Up Your Content And Making It Easy to Scan Is Important
Let me ask you something. How much content is thrown at you on any given day? It’s a lot, isn’t it? We’re bombarded by articles, social media posts, emails, podcasts, videos etc. We come across a lot more content than we could possibly consume any given day. And chances are that a lot of it is good stuff.
As a result, we’ve all gotten pretty good at scanning and then picking and choosing what we actually want to read, watch, or listen to. And that’s why it is important to break up your content and make it easy for your readers to scan through it.
If you can’t show them at a glance what the post is about, chances are pretty good that they’ll move on to something else. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to process a wall of text staring back at me. Here are a couple of different things you can do to break up your post and make sure it’s easy to scan.
Use Headlines and Sub-Headings
Take a look at this post. Do you see how I’m breaking the different elements of making a post easy to scan down into subheadings? You can do the same with your blog post. Think of the outline of your post. Each point in your outline could be a subheading. Start with those and then fill in the content.
Or if you prefer, start with the content and then go back and add the sub headings. Create the content and work in the subheadings in whichever way works best for you. The only important thing is that they are in there before you hit publish.
Keep Your Paragraphs Short
Reading online is a lot different from reading something on paper. Books, newspapers and magazines can get away with long paragraphs. Online it’s a different story. Text is harder to read on digital devices and our attention span keeps shrinking.
One of the most effective things you can do to keep your readers reading is to keep your paragraphs and sentences short. Don’t make it much longer than three or four lines.
One sentence paragraphs are okay too.
Use Lists and Bold Important Key Terms
Next you want to go through your content and see if there’s anything you can present in the form of a list.
- Use a list instead of several related sentences.
- Use a list to share examples.
- A list is a great way to break things up and grab your reader’s attention.
- Lists can be as long or short as you need them to be.
People love lists are more likely to share those than the same content, not in list format.
And let’s not forget about other formatting options. Bold important key terms, italicize them, or underline them for emphasis. All of these formatting options make it much quicker and easier to scan a piece of text and figure out what it’s about without having to read every single word.
Pull Them in With Graphics
Last but not least, let’s talk about graphics. A picture is one of the best ways to convey within seconds what your blog post is about and generate interest. Just scroll through your Facebook feed and look at what’s getting your attention. Or how about browsing through Pinterest? Images hook you and grab you in. They are also a great way to break up longer sections of text. Make sure you use them to their fullest advantage. And speaking of graphics…
A Picture May Not Be Worth A 1,000 Words, but You Need Them in Your Posts
You’ve heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”. I’m sure there are quite a few pictures out there like that, but when it comes to a blog post, that isn’t always the case. Even so, you want to make sure your posts are visually appealing and attention grabbing. Good pictures are a great way to accomplish that.
A Picture Can Draw Readers In
A picture will draw readers in and make them read your blog posts. Don’t believe me? Have a look at some of the major news sites, big blogs or even your Facebook feed. It’s the pictures that grab your attention in combination with the post title.
Try to find an image that tells the story of your post. The image should tell at a glance (with the help of the post title) what the blog post is all about. Of course, you’re not limited to just one image. If it fits the topic, grab a few to illustrate what you’re talking about or show step-by-step progress.
When looking for images, those with lighter backgrounds tend to do better than darker photos.
You Need Pictures for Social Media Shares
We talked about Facebook already and how important images are there to grab your reader’s attention. But it doesn’t stop there. Think about other social sites your audience participates in. It doesn’t matter if it’s Pinterest, Instagram or even Twitter. A good image will stand out and draw people in. Without it, your chances to get the click and more importantly the read and interaction on your blog are slim.
But it doesn’t stop there. As you get traffic to your post, those readers will be more likely to share your post on social media if it has a good image or two. Of course, making it easy to share with social media buttons doesn’t hurt either.
For social media posts, you’ll want to pay attention to the layout for each picture. What looks good on Pinterest may look cut off on Twitter. Pay attention to the necessary dimensions for images and adjust accordingly.
But Where Do You Get Those Images?
Now that I have you convinced that you need good images, the next question is, of course, where do you find them? You have a couple of different options when it comes to getting pictures.
1) You Can Take Them Yourself – If you’re a decent photographer and can find the subject matter you need, by all means go ahead and take your own images. Photography equipment aside, this is the cheapest and most authentic option. The downside is that it takes time to set up, take the picture, process it after and get it in a format you can use you on your blog.
2) You Can Hire Someone Else To Take Them For You – This is where things can get pricey. But you might get lucky and find a couple of college kids with decent cell phone cameras that can get you the shots you need for a little beer money.
3) Get Some Stock Photos – The most time and cost-effective method for most of us is to buy stock photography. Sites like IstockPhoto.com and Depositphoto.com will sell you the right to use an image on your blog post for around $2. And since they are huge sites that connect you to thousands of photographers, you can find images on just about any subject with just a few keystrokes.
There are also free stock photo sites out there like Pixabay and Picmonkey. The photos are available to everyone, so don’t be surprised if you see your photos in other places.
What’s the Goal of Your Blog Post?
Before you sit down and write the first word of your next blog post, stop and think about what you want to accomplish with your post. What’s your goal? How is this blog post going to help you accomplish something to help you move forward with your business?
As you are walking through this process, keep it all in context of how you are helping your readers to solve their problems.
Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:
- Are you writing a post that you hope will get shared across social media and grow your reach?
- Are you writing a post that also invites readers to join your email list so you can get back in touch later?
- Are you writing a post to get the attention of a big brand you’d like to work with?
- Are you writing a blog post to start a conversation with your existing readership?
- Are you writing a blog post with the end goal of selling your readers a product?
- Are you writing a blog post to start a conversation with a fellow blogger in hopes of growing a mutually profitable relationship?
All of the above are valid goals for your blog posts and I’m sure you can add a few more to that list. The important thing is that you are aware of what you’re trying to accomplish with your post.
Then start with the end in mind. If your goal is to get the attention of a big brand you’d like to work with for example, think about a post you can write about your experience with one of their products.
If your goal is to grow your list, think of a topic that’s complimentary to your opt-in offer freebie. Write the content and then transition into an invitation to join your list and download the free report.
Do you see how much easier it is to craft goal driven blog posts when you know what your goal is before you sit down to write? You can reverse-engineer the entire process and make sure everything flows well and leads your reader to whatever action you want them to take at the end.
Being able to do that is pretty powerful stuff. It allows you to craft different posts strategically. Write a post that helps you grow your reach. Then work on one that starts the conversation with our new readers. Next work on getting them on your list and finally make them an offer. Intersperse this with posts that help you get the attention of potential JV partners and Brands and you’re all set to not only grow your blog and your audience but make money blogging as well.
How to Craft A Good Call to Action at The End of Your Post
If there’s one thing I see a lot of bloggers do wrong, including me, it’s not giving their readers anything to do at the end of the blog post. Put yourself in the shoes of your readers. You read a great article, get to the end and there’s no call to action. What do you do? You go back to Facebook or go watch some cat videos on YouTube. Why not give your readers something more? What if they wouldn’t mind learning more from you or connecting with you via email, joining your email list, or social media or even take you up on a product recommendation? That’s what a call to action at the end of your blog posts is all about.
Encourage Them to Comment And Interact With You
One of the easiest ways to craft a call to action is to ask your readers to leave you a comment. Invite them to share their own experiences on the topic, a tip, a recipe etc. In other words, ask them to comment on the post.
Example: What are your favorite ways to end your blog posts? Do you use a particular call to action? Leave me a comment below and let’s talk.
Invite Them to Connect Further Via Social Media
If growing your social media reach is a goal, consider adding some calls to action on to “like” the blog post on Facebook, share it on Twitter, pin it on Pinterest etc. Or share one of your social media profiles in the call to action and invite them to join you there.
Example: Got questions about crafting calls to action? Let’s talk about it on our Facebook page. (Link to your Facebook page).
Make A Recommendation
Sometimes it makes sense to make a sale and monetize your blog post in your call to action. This is also called pre-selling. You talk about a topic and then at the end make a recommendation for a product that helps your readers learn more or take the next step.
Example: There’s a lot more to be said about crafting a strong call to action. Take a look at this guide to learn more.
Invite Them to Join Your List
Often the best thing you can do at the end of your blog posts is to invite readers to join your list. Once you have them on your email list, you can invite them to come back and read other posts, comment on them, join you on your favorite social media platforms and of course make offers to your readers.
Getting them on your list should always be your first priority, so use that call to action often.
Example: I have a lot more to share on the topic of blogging and would love to email you with more tips and strategies on a regular basis. Just enter your name and email below and we’ll get started right away. As a thank you, I’ll even send you my guide to writing strong blog post titles that will grab your readers’ attention.
What are your best ideas for creating awesome blog posts? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.