Blog Post Titles: How to Write Winners Even if You Suck at It

Blog Post Titles: How to Write Winners Even if You Suck at It

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Blog post titles.

There are so many posts that teach how to write’em.

Great solid advice.

I know the ins and outs of how to write a winner by now.

How come I still suck at it?

No, really.

Do I think it’s impossible to get better at writing great blog titles?

Of course, not.

Anything is possible with practice.

However we all need inspiration every once in a while – some of us more often than others.

Blog Titles for the Rest of Us

So in this post, I decided to show you where to find inspiration for a great title when you’ve got nothing in that pretty head of yours.

Empty post titles

(source)

1. Blog Titles from Your Inbox

This one is easy, effective, and inspirational for more than just blog titles.

First, create a separate email account with any free email provider (I love Gmail for this because they now allow you to switch between different accounts very easily).

Then, sign up for any and every possible email list in your industry.

Your inbox will be quickly flooded with all sorts of ideas for the great headlines – just use your own “click-o-meter” to judge the title on its face value.

Moreover, you’ll get a good feel for what kind of emails to send to your own list… and what kind not to, for that matter.

Take a look at this one I got from Ryan Deiss; definitely made me click!

email post title

2. Blog Titles from Twitter

This one takes a bit more time to set up, but the research factor is priceless.

Plus, you’ll learn how to get Twitter followers in the process.

You’ll need to set up two accounts:

1. A new account on Twitter (you did know that Twitter allows you to have more than one account, right?).

This account will be automatically fed with some of your favorite blog RSS feeds, so it’s appropriate to present it as a news feed of sorts to the potential followers.

Take a look at how I did it with my @SEOTrafficCafe account (no longer in use).

2. An account on Twitterfeed.com, if you don’t already have one.

Twitterfeed.com (now a part of Bit.ly) allows you to post as many RSS feeds as you like to as many different Twitter and Facebook accounts as you like – all on auto-pilot.

Why would you want to use it over any other automated RSS posting service?

One word – tracking.

Twitterfeed allows you to tracks the clicks any one of your shared posts gets on any social media platform.

It looks something like this:

 

You see those yellow tabs showing me right away how popular a particular title was on Twitter or Facebook?

That’s what I am talking about.

There are other benefits to setting up Twitterfeed to feed your new Twitter account with industry news:

  1. It creates a great “to-read” list for you and your followers.
  2. It allows you to feed as many accounts as you’d like and choose which specific accounts you’d like to share a specific feed with.
  3. It gives you a chance to acquire more Twitter followers.

3. Blog Titles from LinkBaitGenerator.com

This tip came from Gerald Weber.

LinkBaitGenerator.com is another great source for inspiration when looking for a good blog title.

If not that, at least it’ll give you a good laugh.

Here’s a screenshot of the tool along with the generated blog title for “traffic generation” as a seed word.

blog titles generated by linkbait

Marketing Takeaway

I wish I could write great titles – anytime, every time.

But until that happens – and IF that happens – I’ve got some resources to help me out along the way.

And you do too now.

Great blog titles: here we come!

 

traffic generation cafe comment below

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116 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Thanks so much for sharing about LinkBaitGenerator and TwitterFeed, Ana! I’ve been struggling for some time now to come up with a really good title for my blog posts and from how you explained here about these tools, these may be things I just need.

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are so very welcome, Adeline; writing great headlines comes with practice and this great tools can definitely move us in the right direction.

  2. Just FYI Ana, clicking on your link to pagerank.com gets a 404 message, and pasting the URL manually gets this message, “PostRank services have been sunset as of May 1, 2012. We invite you to access the new social reports within Google Analytics.” That’s what I get for reading your article a year late.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Thanks for letting me know, Corky.

      I knew that the service was taken down, but forgot to edit the post.

  3. There is a quote from famous ad man David Ogilvy that goes “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy…”. This applies equally to web as it did to print. Blog headlines, page titles, website H1′s need to be written, measured and tested in the same way that a print headline would be.

    • Ana Hoffman

      And since that’s what most of us do on a regular basis, we know just now true that statement is, James.

      Thanks for coming by.

  4. Simon

    I love this blog :).

    This might sound a little market:y, but doing “IF…THEN” is a great way to “make” anyone open anything. I think everyone, at least in western society, is fed up with marketing, so any claims – made in the headline – have to be paired with a hint of proof for that claim.

  5. Vonita Brown

    Hello Ana, I love you blog and the writing tips. I am brand new to blogging and suffering terrible with writer’s block (go figure). your writing is helpful and insightful and practical.

    • Welcome, Vonita!

      You know I used to have problems with writing blocks all the time when I first started, but then excellence comes with practice! Now I can spit out a blog post almost on demand. lol

  6. Hello Ana,

    Coming up with catchy titles is something I always struggle with as well because I write the news section for our website. Unfortunately I am one of those people that constantly need inspiration, I will definitely start using Postrank.com now.

  7. Ana,

    Again many thanks. I just set up my blogs on Twitterfeed thanks to you. I am truely amazed at all the good information that you have on your blog. I can’t believe you just started this about a year ago considering how many followers that you have. I hope as your following grows you will be able to give the same “personal” touch to all posts and especially the questions.

  8. Great tips, link bait generator looks interesting I put in ‘web design’ and it said ’7 bizarre ways web design can kill you suddenly’ I guess I’d get a good click through rate but not sure about my bounce rate!

    • Your 3 SEO ideas are good. I went to a seminar recently and based on some info there, I have started to use some long tail phrases for my cosmetic dentistry blog. At first I was skeptical, but your article reinforces that I should do more of it. The seminar speaker indicated that 5 to 7 words phrases were actually better than 2 to 3 word phrases. I am not sure that I totally buy into that yet, but the longer phrases do extend and cover more territory.

  9. Part of my problem is that sometimes I lack the confidence on the final decision of the title. I tend to doubt myself if what I’ve written is the right approach to something. I guess with more experience it will allow me to gain more confidence, I guess part of the lack of confidence is that I tend to over analyze and look too much into the tiny details.

    -Jean

    • Ana Hoffman

      Yes, that’s often a problem for many people. Just be bold – it’s your blog and you can say whatever you want.

  10. Having eye catchy blog title is the best way to attract visitors whether they already know the online game or not. There’s that high possibility of getting decent amount of visitors by just having the best blog title for you post.

  11. As someone who struggles with titles quite often to the point of overthinking and making it even worse, thanks for this post. I’m going to dig deep into PostRank and see what I can learn. And if Google bought them out, it’s definitely a worthwhile and valuable site.

  12. Ana,

    Thank you for the awesome resources you have provided! I really had no idea you are allowed multiple Twitter accounts..that is priceless in itself. Thanks again..Gabriel

  13. Using the examples of others is always a great idea – not that I’m condoning plagiarism, but sometimes we need to draw inspiration from what’s worked for someone else… I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, right?

  14. This is a great list of resources. I struggle with creating catchy blog titles. I am now off to implement some of the information you shared here. Thanks a bunch!

  15. Thanks for the post. Working on getting better at titles.
    Making Youtube videos with good titles is really important too =D

  16. Wow, okay, these are great tips. Never knew about PostRank or using Twitterfeed. Thanks for helping me add some more tools to my toolbox!

    Figuring out blog titles is probably the hardest part of the whole process, IMO.

  17. I have to admit it can me a lot longer to come up with the title than it does to write the entire post.

    And then on some days it’s just all too much and you come up with something you know is not great but the washing cycle finished two days ago and you just can’t afford to mull over titles any more…. sigh!

    Thanks for the resources, The only one I know well is Twitter Feed.

    ~Marcus

  18. Love the tips Ana!

    Do you prefer twitterfeed to Hootsuite?

    I just wrote a reflection article on the toddler years so I enter this on linkbait. I thought I would share as they are a bit comical:

    7 cynical ways politicians have exploited toddler years
    or
    5 ultra-secret government projects involving saying goodbye to the toddler years

    Will have to try Post rank next!

    Thanks,
    Rajka

    • Ana Hoffman

      I actually use Twitterfeed for this specific function as described in the post, Rajka.

      For anything else media-related, I use MarketMeSuite.

      The titles are hysterical – will definitely draw attention.

  19. Benjamin Hübner

    Blog Titles (Page Titles) are very important to attract readers!

    Here is a nice tool I´ve found a long time ago. It´s not to come up with good blog titles, but its great to analyze / compare them. I´m using it constantly to find the best title / headline after brainstorming. Its completely free and requires no opt in or something like that, it can be found at :

    http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/

    Feel free to add this to your bost if you like :)

    By the way, the data from PostRank is also determined by your post content, not just you title….just something to keep in mind.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Thanks for stopping by, Benjamin.

      Analyzing and comparing are two important aspects too, so thanks for sharing that link.

  20. Ana,

    I can’t thank you enough for these resources. I personally did not know about several of the services you mentioned. The Linkbait had me laughing out loud for real. I actually saved a couple and really think I will end up using them. Hope my readers have a sense of humor.

    I appreciate you,
    ~Robert

  21. Thank you for this post Ana. The timing was perfect! I just now took a break from stressing over the title of the post I’m currently working on. On my way to PostRank. :-)

  22. There certainly comes a point in a bloggers career where the title becomes completely irrelevant. This is quite rare and in a fun twist of irony – you are one of those bloggers …. writing about how you suck at titles LOL.

    The reason it becomes irrelevant is because bloggers, no Marketers like yourself consistently provide such valuable -tangible-actionable information every time.
    Sure the post title helps but when I see a post by Ana Hoffman then it almost becomes irrelevant what that title is – I know there is something of value to take away and I will click to check it out.

    That being said – the title of the post is always going to win out in the end – at least in relation to the stats we actually want (read click through rate) but then if you can’t deliver on the expectation set out by the title then you will lose that ‘click through’ anyway.

    Of course – all that aside, I LOVE TITLES and I reckon I’m not to shabby at coming up with a good one every now and again (if I don’t say so myself ;) )

    • Ana Hoffman

      It is quite ironic I guess – LOL!

      Thanks for all the kind words – you know I love the flattery!

      Yes, following through with the promise in the title is imperative to click throughs.

      You are GREAT at titles!

  23. Great resource, I really never heard before Post Rank, but I will look into it, usually I will go to Copyblogger or Digg, to find some inspiration, and most of the time I will go to Gary Halbert’s website to look at his headlines to get ideas.

  24. I’ve seen a number of threads about blog and page titles over the years. One post I read says do this, and another says do not do this. I do like catchy titles that spark ones interest. Some people say they have good luck with them, and others say they avoid them. Guess it depends on what I am searching for or looking for at the time.

  25. Hi Ana! How do you always know what blog post and tip to write for me next! :D I always have trouble coming up with blog post titles. With my site, most of my posts are short but catching the readers attention is really important and that can be really hard. And of coarse I also want to keep in mind SEO too so a title that can do both? Whew!! Thanks for the tips!

  26. Hello Ana,

    Thanks for the suggestions about PostRank and Twitter Feed. I will bookmark and use those sites now.

    I have been told by my local customers that my catchy one line ads caused them to call me so getting the Title right is so important. People hit delete so fast now in the email inbox that you must capture their attention.

    I am now using Comment Luv and GASP as you suggested last week. I have used Disqus for a few years now and hope there is no conflict with other comment plug ins. I am no programmer, that’s for sure.

  27. It definitely depends on many thing, but for sure descriptive title that target long tail keyword can be helpful and again mostly topic in content body is important.

  28. Hi Ana,

    For start I like your “new” layout (migrated to the right, the left column).
    Also how you manage your slugs and the first phrase “blog-titles” plus in bold – to stress, even more, the SEO factor :)

    Excellent idea to use PostRank for inspiration. It isn’t easy sometimes to have catchy titles, for social media and seo-friendly!
    Tried Linkbaitgenerator in the past and it’s a great tool too.

    Cheers,

    Gera

  29. Hi Ana, I love your tips. They are so practical and easy to understand, even for technically inept ones like myself. :) This one is so timely, I was just sitting around, waiting for a great headline for a ‘pillar post’ I am working on. Doesn’t quite work that way, does it? Thanks for your awesome advice, will definitely look into all.

    Yours is the only SEO /Link building blog that I follow religiously. Many thanks

    • They just don’t come that easy to most of us, do they, Marya? Just as an encouragement that you are not alone in this: I still haven’t written a single post for the next week.

      And you are definitely very welcome – I am honored I stay on your reading list!

  30. Laurie

    Thanks for this, Ana! Blog titles have never been too hard for me to write, but every once in a while I do get stumped (doesn’t everyone?) so these are great tips for *those* days.

  31. Dr. Bob Clarke

    Great information Ana.

    I have used Post Rank before but mostly to see how my own posts compare, which is good information. But I have not used it for checking headlines of other blogs. I agree with you, I believe the Post Rank is a huge reflection of headline.

    I am with Jane in that I use #2 extensively. Also use Gmail for this. I use it not only for headlines but also for ideas on entire emails. I figure what peaks my interest will also do it for others!

  32. Chukwuka Okwukwe Chukwuka

    Hmm! Oh well, postrank.com just scared the … out of me and I’m off to it. Perhaps when I have the ‘writers’ block’, I’ll rely on this.

    I just want to say thanks, Ana.

    I’ll check the other tools though but I think I love the Postrank thingy more.

    And…

    Your sidebars swapped sides. Mind my asking why?

    • Ana Hoffman

      I switched the sidebars to see if it increases traffic conversion and bounce rage on TGC, Chukwuka. I’ll let you know if it works.

  33. Anna,
    I always learn something from you. I had no idea there were sites that ranked titles. I’m going to look into it. All I’ve been doing is checking Google to see how many people are searching for title and then change it accordingly.

  34. This is a great post, as usual. I’m off to check out the PostRank tool. Incidentally, one internet marketer told me once that the best way to improve your headline-writing skills was to study – and emulate – the blurbs on Cosmo covers. They can make anything sound sexy!

  35. Sam Adodra

    Ana, I like your sense of self deprecating sense of humour. It comes over as humble but ironically ends up being great content itself. Sometimes it’s not just about being as flash and hard sell, it’s about building the relation and you’re doing a great job on that. Well done! Sam Adodra

  36. Okay, maybe I’m just having an off day, but am I the only one have trouble figuring out how to get around PostRank? I’ve added the widget to my blog, but I can’t figure out how to even register, let alone log in. The Beta list signup isn’t a registration, and I’m not seeing how to search as you suggested. Any way to get a few tips? Sorry, but I’m like anyone else cruising the web….if I have to hunt for something, I’m going somewhere else.

    • Erik Rose

      Hi Therese,

      The site seems to be in a holding pattern – maybe it has something to do with its recent acquisition by Google? When I went to register, it went to an expression of interest form hosted by Google, so I think it’s a case of waiting it out.

      Erik

    • Hi, Theresa – they just switched to the new interface a day or two ago, so I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet. So I am no help with it for now – sorry.

  37. Erik Rose

    Looking forward to checking out PostRank properly once it is ready for me – sounds like a good resource… Thanks Ana

  38. Great post Ana, it’s a brilliant reminder that we don’t have to sit staring at our screens trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s all out there!

    I use Feedreader and I subscribe to around 250 feeds at my last count.

    I love your idea of using a Gmail account to sign up to loads of relevant lists too.

    Great stuff to share, thanks
    Steve

  39. Awesome post, as usual. Now how ’bout one on how to generate content without really trying? Just kidding. Having a great title is half the battle in writing good content. Thanks for the boost in the right direction.

  40. Ana,

    You forgot link bait generator.

    You just enter a keyword to two and it generates a title for you. some of them are kind of silly but still good for a laugh and occasionally you’ll get some really good ones.

    Great when you just totally have writers block. :-)

  41. Hi Ana,
    This is another quality post from you. It will take me a while to put these into place, but I’m sure going to try them. Thanks so much. Sally

      • I posted a new post on Wed. It’s checked below. Right now I’m having some issues. I bought an SSL Certificate from my host, but I also use Cloudflare and I guess Cloudflare has to do something with my ‘A record’. I’m thinking of stopping Cloudflare because they take to long to get back with me when there is an issue.

        Anyway, thanks for visiting the site. Right now I’m sick and wanted to post today, but these last couple of weeks, I’ve been under the weather, so to speak. Thanks. Sally

        • I used Cloudflare a while ago – liked the service, but they showed a cached version of my blog too often.

          I switched to Incapsula because of it.

          • Thanks Ana. I’ll give them till tomorrow and then cancel the account if they aren’t able to correct things. Thanks so much for your help. I’ll check out Incapsula. Sally

  42. Hey Ana,

    Another awesome post! PostRank seems like it could be very helpful, thanks for that.

    Why try and reinvent the wheel, when it comes to blog titles? Take what works, make it fit you and use it. I sometimes sign up for and stay on lists, just to see how they word their emails and titles. If it’s working for them, it can work for you too.

    Now I’m not saying to copy other peoples titles word for word, but look at how they word them and follow suit.

    Thanks for sharing this Ana, very helpful post! And of course have a great day!

  43. Stuart

    Ana, I’ve played around with blog titles before – how to create cool ones, how to ‘hook’ people in so that they are more likely (but not guaranteed) to read your content.

    One tactic of mine is to list the benefit of the post in the title. Two examples that I’ve just come up with:

    - How To Feel Good About Yourself
    - 10 Ways To Enjoy Your Own Company

    Another tactic that I’ve recently came across is to use song titles and either keep them intact, or swap out certain words for blogging-related terms:

    - We Built This Blog On Rock & Roll
    - The Blogger Who Sold The World

    The most important thing, for me, is to mix it up. Try different angles, be fresh and funky. If people see something that they haven’t come across before, that they weren’t expecting, they’ll be far more likely to take notice of your blog post, and of you :-)

    • I do prefer the benefit-oriented titles – they are easier to write and might be more clickable, Stuart, no hard research on that one though.

      I once used a song by Dead or Alive in my blog title and got listed on the first page of the search for the song title. Not great, because it brought a LOT of untargeted traffic to my blog, screwed up my analytics and increased my bounce rate.

      I eventually got rid of all the mentions of the song, but I am still ranking for it – go figure.

  44. Thanks for the info on PostRank and How to use Twitterfeed.com, will give it a try. As having a GOOD title, is the deciding factor, whether your article is going to be read or not. Now I’m sure once you’ve put all the work into the article, just a bit more to get readers attention will not hurt.

  45. Now that’s what I call a Hot Blog Tip. Resources are tips and you gave us a lot to work with. I do things similar with marketing sites by looking at postal junk mail, flyer ads, infomercials and things like that. It never occurred to me to get inspiration from other posts and titles like that.

    BTW, don’t forget to include your keywords. ;)

  46. Ugh.. I always wrote plain blog titles and planned to change. Yet I’ve forgotten about them all over again – this is a good reminder for my scheduled post that needs a title rewrite!!

  47. Joshua

    Hey Ana! Great Article and thank you for the Pagerank Resource!

    I read in another article that a good majority of people share a post based on the title ALONE and never even read the article. So that makes it even that more important.

  48. Jane

    I love #2, simple, wicked and yet effective. Using our own click psychology is one of the best methods I would say. Yes I love Gmail for that switching comfort too, I switch between 5 accounts all the time LOL.

  49. These are great tips for great titles. Titles play an important role in getting traffic and more time spent on discovering an apt title is very much justified. Thanks for sharing.

  50. Hi Ana,

    I have been thinking a lot about creating my own swipe file with great headlines, but I still haven’t done it. I have a lot to learn about creating headlines, because I hardly do any research and I just add what I feel like, the headlines I believe that I would click on. That’s a great rule of thumb (at least for me it is). If I would have clicked on it, hopefully a lot of other people would as well. But, doing the research you are doing is the absolute best way to do it.

    Thanks a lot for sharing.

    Jens

    • In the perfect world, I’d have a humongous swipe file by now, Jens.

      However, since I am always short on time (we can relate to that, can’t we?), I dig for good ideas in the eleventh hour usually.

      Definitely, would help to be a bit more organized…

  51. Jacques

    Titles can surely make or break your blog, thanks for the Twitterfeed and Postrank websites, I have joined both, this surely will add value to my blog over time, thanks Anna.

  52. Hey Anna,

    I’m sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve popped by…I’ll add you to reader right after this post.

    Hey…you know what I love to do also, is keep my favorite emails headlines that marketers send to me that make me click them. I figure…if they were interesting enough to make me want to click to read…well…

    Take care,
    Brandon

  53. You’re right on target Ana, I am currently at a lost on how to give a title to my latest post. I would definitely consider your tips. I’ll check out PostRank.com first.

  54. Writing a blog title is harder than it looks. I think it’s difficult sometimes when you want to write for your audience or write for SEO purposes. When writing for an audience sometimes seems like it makes sense it doesn’t always according to Google and other search engines. Thx for the write-up.

    • That’s why using an SEO plugin or SEO theme like Thesis is great – you can add your optimized title that will show up in the search engines there and still have your “pretty” title for the readers.

  55. I love that you mentioned signing up for email lists to see their titles. I’ve also done it with some of the “gurus” to see what kind of content they were providing. Honestly, most of the time the titles are better than the content :)

  56. Susan

    This just opened up a can of worms! This post is a 10, according to PostRank!

    Thanks for the tips……anxious for the next post elaborating on PR tools and what you can do with them!

  57. Good tittles are always a pain, I think it takes me a lot more to write the tittle than the actual post.

    I will start checking post rank. It seems like a good tool and as i see it has google backing it up now.

    Thanks for the tips!

  58. I usually only use my email Inbox for good title :) Now I love the way to use PostRank. I’ve started looking into twitter every now and then.

    So far, Postrank does a great job to inspire me.

    Cheers,
    Ming