Yeah…I’m not good at naming posts. I’ve never had a talent for it and I am so jealous of people who can come up with that perfect title off the tops of their heads like it was no big deal. It’s a very big deal! Unless someone is very familiar with your writing already and willing to give your posts a chance because they like your style, the titles of your posts are pretty much the only way you have of attracting new readers so how can you craft the perfect one? Well clearly I’ve no clue but my jealousy has led me to carefully observe all of your post names and I’ve noticed a few trends.
Post names can basically be divided into a few simple categories, each with their particular strengths and weaknesses.
This is your short and sweet descriptive title. XX Review, My thoughts on Fanservice, Current Show – Episode 4… You get the idea. These titles are meant to tell you exactly what the post is about and nothing more. It’s fantastic if you’re looking for something specific but it does lack a bit in originality. One of the problems with “XX Review” is that I’m not getting any sort of feel for what the review will actually be like. The writer’s personality is not coming across in any way and I don’t know if it will be positive or negative. This title doesn’t give me any reason to read this review of XX over any other review of XX.
As I said, it’s great when you’re looking for something specific. When I was trying to round up all the reviews for particular shows for my “Favorite Shows of 2017” post, these were the articles that came up first and where the easiest to find. Although, frankly, as long as you have XX somewhere in the title, you should be ok for search engines. For my money, these types of titles work best if you have a blog name or blogger ID that’s already very evocative. If your called (I’m making these up, sorry if I stumble unto a real person) “the frisky reviewer”, then a frisky review of XX is already a little more unique and there’s no need to spice up the title at this point.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have those imaginative or poetic post names that are fun to read but give you very little idea what the post is about. These can be fantastic when use sparingly, as they’ll grab the attention of your readers and you’ll get clicks from people just wanting to find out what you’re talking about but anyone actually looking for the specific content you’ve created (a “Get Ready With Me” post written from the POV of Hisoka – I’ve always wanted to write that….) is probably never going to stumble across your post.
These titles also have some pretty drastic diminishing returns. Let’s face it, eventually readers are going to lose interest in randomness. We all have a limited amount of time to devote to people’s blogs and it’s normal to want to concentrate on posts that are most likely to interest us.
Or joke title. I try and fail at this regularly. When done well these can be brilliant but it’s terribly risky. Humour in general is highly subjective and what you may be considering a witty title can come off as stupid for someone else. Not to mention that a topical reference will quickly date the post and the author, and become gibberish to anyone who doesn’t know what you’re alluding to.
I don’t have any advice on these. Personally I always appreciate the effort of at least trying to be fun (when I can recognize it) but considering how many bloggers have openly said they dislike comedy, it may not be the best way to get them to read your stuff. I wish we could put in subheaders in our titles. I would use those to add jokes.
I like ridiculously long post names. I like the blog “My Long Post Titles”. These are usually the result of trying to clarify your topic after using an overly creative title or trying to combine a few of the ones above. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it per see, but if you regularly hot against the character limit of post titles you may be overdoing it. It’s also a sign that you might have a tendency towards run on sentences. I feel you. I sometimes realize at the end of a post that I only have two sentences. It’s a problem.
The clickbait title can be further divided into two categories that I like to call:
- The Juicy Bait: This is when you hit on a topic you know will generate a lot of interest and discussion and you actually have something productive to add to the discussion. It’s a topical and evocative title, usually with an implied point of vue, and the corresponding post elaborates exactly on that subject and point of vue in a personal and interesting way. These are great of course but most of us will only be able to come up with a few of these once in a while. A stars align sort of event.
- The Bait and Switch: This is when you realize a topic would get you a lot of views but don’t necessarily have anything to say about it. You craft that same showy title but end up with a shallow post that either recounts the same platitudes you can find in a million other posts or ends up missing the mark and discussing something else. Because the author doesn’t actually have any strong views on the subject, you end up with a tepid thesis and a neutral tone. This usually gets readers disappointed and makes them weary of your future posts unless you are such a great writer you can get away with it on the strength of your writing skills alone.
Have you ever come across a title that sounds like a doctoral thesis only to find it’s a bare bones top 5 list or series of inane “hacks” or something. Some people seem to have a gift for single sentences. They have these amazing, intricate titles that draw you in instantly but when it comes time to write an entire posts that gets a point across, they seem to fall apart. I blame twitter for this.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t use pretentious titles if you want. In fact, I think it’s really funny to have a really grandiose title for some silly little post clearly meant to be light reading. But I do tire of bloggers that only use titles that sound like Jeopardy answers (I mean questions, sorry) and deliver posts that are quite frankly run of the mill.
You know, I was hoping this little exercise would help me figure out how to get better at naming posts. It has NOT. New plan guys, if you give me an awesome post name in the comments, I’ll write a post to match it. Is that exactly the sort of this I said was not a good idea. Yes, yes it is. Could be funny though, right?