March 10, 2010
How Can You Improve Your Blogging?
When it comes to the web, being found by the search engines and read by visitors, the title of a blog post is very important. On the one hand, a title needs to pull in the visitors to make them want to read. This is a very important skill to anyone that writes. On the other hand, the title of a blog post needs to contain one (or more) keywords that will help the post to be found and listed by Google et al.
Often, this is not an easy balance to strike.
However, on top of this, there are other considerations. Firstly, the post title becomes a significant part of the url. Research suggests that Google prefers shorter urls to longer ones. But that should not be the main consideration.
Simple useability of the title for others ought to be important. Some titles are simply too long. I don’t want to single people or posts out, so please accept my apologies in advance, but this is an example of a title that is much too long. That title says what it needs to, but perhaps it ought to say less?
You may have spotted that this post has a ‘subhead’ at the top of the post. Perhaps the use of a second, lesser, headline can help to capture the attention of the reader and include more of the subject matter?
It is also worth pointing out that once you have pressed publish on your post (at least on Blogactiv), the post is added into our sitewide RSS feeds. If the title is then amended, it causes all sorts of problems further down the line because the url has also been changed.
We have had situations in the past where we have published a post, selected it as the Editor’s Choice for the day, and then the author has made a change. Suddenly, as if by magic, the number one post on the homepage has a broken link!! Worse of course, we don’t know it is broken – it worked when we read the post an hour ago! So, once you have pressed publish, please do not change your title.
The title is important for search purposes. The title is known as a H1 tag and is important for Google to understand what content follows. As I have mentioned, the title also appears in the url. This also has some value in search listings. In addition, a valuable percentage of incoming links to the post will use the title. This also has some search value.
Therefore, understanding keywords is important. That will be a post for another day, but for now, the Google keyword tool is a great place to start your research (and it is free to use).
Other considerations include the writing style of your headline. Copywriting is a very valuable skill and one that I have only mastered in small part – so this is not the advice of a professional. However, it is clear from every newspaper, magazine, billboard advert, direct mail campaign and email that a good headline matters.
Often asking questions is a good way to do this. Notice that this post has a question in the headline. Another useful factor to include is the magic word. This is the one word that everyone is interested in… YOU
We are most interested in ourselves. Simple human nature. Therefore, finding a way to mention the reader can add significantly to readership. A simple way to think about headline writing is to put yourself into the position of the reader and answer the most important question every reader is asking, “What’s in it for me?”
Good luck with making future headlines!Author : Stuart Langridge