April 10, 2015

Crafting a Title to Get Read

Whether it's an article title, a blog post title, a subject line or a call to action, there is no doubt that crafting a good one takes a little art and a little science.
"The job of the headline is to get the first line of your copy read."
For every article, I could write 4 titles:
  1. the simple straightforward one that says what it's all about - it's useful and truthful
  2. the catchy or clever one - the content adds context to the title once you start reading
  3. the teaser that hints at the content, but is meant to garner opens rather than be useful
  4. the version for SEO using keywords and phrases that people might search for
I tend to start with #1 because it's often the idea that I jotted down to write about. After I finish writing, I might come up with a couple of choices that are more like #2. I tend to avoid #3 except in certain circumstances. Then a friend started talking about #4.

I resisted because it kind of felt like selling out. Giving up a #2 for a #4 just didn't feel right. After all, keyword phrases are commonly used and not unique. Then I decided to experiment. Just one at first. Then another a few weeks later. And now I do it more frequently but certainly not always.

sample of keyword searches that led readers to my blog
Now there's no doubt that using keyword phrases in subject lines has increased traffic to my blog. I know this three ways:
  1. traffic arriving through Google search has increased significantly and it's now the highest referrer
  2. readership of those posts tends to be higher than others that aren't as SEO-ish
  3. I can often find myself on page 1 when searching relevant keyword phrases
I'm not really sure why I didn't start sooner. Kind of silly when I'm obviously writing in the hope that others like you will read and find value!


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