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5 Tips To Writing Irresistibly Clickable Blog Titles

This is a guest contribution from Jackson Nwachukwu, lead blogger at DailyTipsDiary.com.

You’ve just been inspired and you’re ready to write the blog post you hope will be a hit.

The title not might be the first step in your planning process but it’s fair to say that most people automatically start thinking about what they will call their hit post.

After all, you don’t just want any blog title. You want one of those blog titles that gets readers excited before they’ve opened your post.

An average of 8 readers out of 10 will read a blog post title, while less than 3 out of the same 10 readers will read the rest of the article. This simple statistic shows how your post title greatly affects the entire content of your post.

So you stop.

Image courtesy of artur84 on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In order to quickly get a reader’s attention, you need to find smart ways of coming up with ckickable blog titles.

Imagine a reader typing a few keywords on Google search engine. Google returns a list of search results and your post title has emerged along side with other related blogs in your niche. What do you think your reader does first?

It’s very simple. He or she will scan through the list and choose for the best post title. Based on my “3E’s Blogging Rule exposure, experience and expertise, here are 5 tips that will help you write irresistibly clickable blog post titles.

1. Let Passion in

Search engines aren’t the main audience you need to write for, so it’s important to let some passion into your post title.

I made passion first on the list because it can determine the mindset your readers has when they open your post.

You can’t do well at something you have no love for and the same applies to writing a blog post. The only way to breathe life into a post title is to let passion take control of your writing. Once there is passion every other ingredient needed to write a catchy post title will surface.

2. Keep it Short but Focused

Your primary reason for writing a blog post is getting people to read it. Right?

To help connect readers to your blog post, you need a post title that clearly spells out what the post is about. The era of writing super long titles is over. When writing your post title, try to keep it short but also informative and compelling.

These two titles can give you a heads up:

A post title like “5 Tips To Writing Irresistibly Clickable Blog Titles“ is much better compared to “Writing a Post Title: Top 5 Tips on How To Write A Post Title That is Clickable”.

3. Strike a Balance on Keywords Used in the Post Title

When it comes to thinking about SEO, using keywords in your blog title is advised But it’s important not to overdo it. A clickable post title should makes sense and be easy to read so don’t try to stuff awkward keywords into your title.

Looking at our two blog post titles again. The first title has eight words while the second has later has 17. In most cases, post titles with 10 words containing at least 2 keywords is considered SEO rich and will do better both in ranking and in attracting the attention of readers.

4. Make the Grammar look Good

Just because search engines don’t care about grammar doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Today, every reader wants to read well-structured blog posts that includes good grammar!

It becomes even more important when writing your post title because that is the first thing a reader will read before deciding on whether to read further or not.

More than once I have skipped over an article because of the title. If you don’t pay attention to grammar, you never know how many readers click away without reading your posts.

5. Know Which Special Characters to Use on your Post Title

There are handful of special characters you can use on your post title and those that I consider a no use characters.

The following special characters can be added in post titles: single dash (-), colon (:), question mark (?), exclamation mark (!)

  • The single dash (-) can be used to separate words in post headline
  • The colon (:) same goes for the colon, it can be used to separate words in titles
  • The question mark (?) this usually used when a title begs an answer, which means the title itself, is a question.
  • The exclamation point (!) this character is used when a title is meant to make the reader excited about a thing.

The following special characters CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be added in post titles: Ampersands (&), Greater than/Less than Symbols (< and >), the Pound Sign or Hash (#) the “At” Symbol (@).

Here is a Breakdown of these NO USE special characters

Ampersands (&) : This makes your post title URL to error out because you had the web browser  confused as to detecting  where your HTML code either begins or ends

“At” Symbol (@): The “At” Symbol (@) is a commonly used character associated with email addresses.  However, when it’s written as @ in post title URL, it confuses the web browser or RSS reader which interprets it as part of an email address rather than a web address.

Greater Than and Less Than Symbols (< and >): The two are used as tags to enclose HTML elements. This is usually used in text formatting, styling and other mark up languages and these characters, when used on your post title, cuts off your title URL.

Pound Sign or Hash (#): This character works specifically on links in certain sections of a webpage.

Let’s see how this works. When you look at the comments on each post written on ProBlogger, it has this Hash (#) symbol. So I picked this post:

Don’t Be Lazy: 9 Ways to Blog Smarter and Harder. When you click on the comment stats or icon on post pages, to access the comments on this post, you will see the link look like this http://www.problogger.net/archives/2013/06/18/9-ways-to-blog-smarter-and-harder/comment-page-1/#comment-5204560 .

Hope you have seen the Hash (#) attached to the suffix of the post link? Now imagine you added this tag on your post title. You will confuse the browser by directing you to the comment page!

In a nutshell, using any of these special characters (apart from the ones I specified earlier) on your post title kills your chances of getting your blog post translated properly by web browsers and above all confuses your readers.

In Summary

There is no right way to write blog post titles. However, learning writing tips like these will put you ten steps ahead of your competitors.

Which other methods have you been using to write blog post titles that attract readers?  

Jackson Nwachukwu is an entrepreneur, a freelance writer and the founder of Content Practical Media. Are you looking for a creative web content writer or copywriter to help grow your business website/blog’s traffic and increase sales? Hire Jackson to write for you.

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This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

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Comments

  1. Jake Johnson says:

    Great tips Jackson.

    Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks has been a great help for me as far as coming up with titles that are enticing to the readers and the search engines.

    Definitely some great things to keep in mind.

    Keep up the good work.

    Jake

    • Hello Jake,

      Guess I will have to check out the Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks to have a feel of it…

      In all what we must keep in mind is to deliver as we have promised our readers.

      Thanks for leaving this awesome comment Jake.

      Cheers!

    • I too love Jon Morrow’s work. He has inspired me and many in a community in which I work. I’m the webmaster for Site and Vision radio show which is focused on helping the disabled community take advantage of more opportunities. With you continued success.

  2. Passion counts for a ton Jackson! Great tips here buddy.

    Test. Which titles get the most clicks? Use these type titles. No need to deviate from what rocks.

    On the flip side stop using titles which generate few clicks. Pay attention to your popular posts widget. If people liked the title in the past they will dig future variations as much.

    Have faith. Never fear writing a controversial or emotionally-charged title. Be ready for the backlash of course….lol….because you will see it.

    Practice, test. Add numbers to titles too…..people dig numbers because numbers create order in our minds.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    • Hi Ryan,

      Passion is key to a successful blogging, it has made me achieve some great blogging success. This is simply the reason why I put it first in all I do.

      Thanks for your contribution and call to action, I really appreciate buddy….

  3. Hillary Augustus says:

    Wow! What a post to bookmark…

    Jackson you have really inspired me to write a reader clickable post when next I write.

    Thanks so much for sharing…

    • Hey Hillary,

      I am glad this post inspired you! Now is the time to write that awesome reader clickable blog post titles…

      Thanks for reading mate!

  4. Serdar Kara says:

    I’d give SEO and non-SEO titles a healthy mix. I still want to give my readers the feeling that I really want to share valuable posts and not just there to rank on certain keywords. Works for me.

    • Hello Serdar,

      Yea you really got the message of this article! It must not always be SEO and keyword ranking, sometimes we just have to come back and embrace the core facts about blogging which is “sharing valuable posts with our readers hence encouraging reader engagement”

      Thanks for a wonderful comment…

  5. Michael Belk says:

    Jackson, you are right on target #1 and #2 because that is really want people want to read, more of you. It is true that by making your titles attractive to readers makes them attractive to the search engines.

    I was just thinking about my strategy needs to change to a more personal approach. I also agree that posts need to precise unless you are trying to explain something.

    I really needed to hear this. I will look at your blog for more. thanks

    • Hi Michael,

      Passion and writing a short but focused blog post titles are core in blogging. I always try to make this count each time I writing a new post.

      I am glad you enjoyed reading this post.

      Thanks for deciding to look up my blog, I will be there to warmly welcome you…

      Your comment rocks!

  6. Ophelie says:

    On that last point: I see why using special characters (specifically @, and #) in the URL is a bad idea; does this still hold true if you modify the URL to remove these characters, while still including them in the title?

    • Hi Ophelie,

      There is certainly going to be a change when you modify your post title and clean off the NO USE special characters. All you need do is do a further promotion on the article to give it a new life…

      Thanks for reading Ophelie,

      Cheers!

  7. Carlos Coto says:

    Hey Jackson, great post!

    Good to know about the No USE special characters… I just didn´t use them, but I didn´t know why… I agree with Serdar Kara, I also use some keyword rich post titles, but also I use emotional titles… having to do more with copywriting headline techniques, than SEO keyword rich wording…

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hey Carlos,

      I am glad you now know about the NO USE special characters. I also like your concept of writing emotional titles, this can be a better way of connecting more with your avid readers.

      Thanks for dropping this awesome comment…

  8. I like how you list passion as the first Tip in the list. Readers really do need to know that your blog post is filled with passion, and the title should communicate that. I would also add that a great picture brings readers in also. If there is an artistic, imaginative picture, it also draws me into the reading, along with the title. Your second tip was also a great one. I had a professor in grad school who would always tell us “Be brilliant, be Brief!” Words I love to live by. Readers and followers (along with the rest of the world) are busier today than they were a few years ago, therefore we want all our writing, especially titles to be brief, and of course brilliant. I like to keep my titles to 5 words or less, I prefer 2 words, but sometimes that is difficult. Either way, I try to be passionate, brilliant, and brief… all at the same time.

    Great post, thanks again!

    • Lilliana, you really got deep into the message of this article, I am glad you read and analyzed further…

      Passion is always my NO 1 when it comes to things that have to do with blogging. It’s been keeping up and running and has brought me this far.

      Your Professor’s concept “Be brilliant, be Brief! is awesome and mind taking, hope you don’t mind if I borrow them? LOL…

      Thanks for an awesome comment Lilliana.

  9. Kiesha says:

    Hi Jackson,
    These are some awesome insights! Even though I’ve never used these special symbols in my titles, I didn’t know they could cause errors. Thanks for clearing this up. Great titles are important, but it’s even more important to deliver on the promise by the end of the post. You’ve definitely done that here.

    • Hi Kiesha,

      We meet at ProBlogger for the first time today! I am glad it was on this special day of mine on ProBlogger.net

      Your words “Great titles are important, but it’s even more important to deliver on the promise by the end of the post” summarizes the topic of this subject.

      I am glad you got cleared on this one Kiesha…

      Thanks for an awesome comment.

  10. Writing quality headlines has become my main focus for our blog. The difficulty I think is finding the right balance between being informative, succint, and of course it is SEOed. Is it better to make it longer but more informative or vice versa?

    • Hello Abhiroop,

      I like this line of your comment “Writing quality headlines has become my main focus for our blog.”

      This is key to a successful blogging. Thanks mate for reading and commenting…

  11. I don’t reckon you should ever use “special characters” in your blog post titles, unless you have a really genuine reason for using them (like you are writing a post in a foreign language). Just using characters to draw attention is going to result in higher bounce rates for your blog posts because people are probably going to click and then realize that you weren’t offering what they were looking for.

  12. Amrik Virdi says:

    There is just no reason in writing misleading or complicated blog titles.

    Audience who fell mislead will begin to leave your blog and may never come back. Steer clear of vocabulary that’s vague.
    When it doubt, have a team member study over the work to make sure they are able to tell what the post is all about without reading it.

    Regards,
    Amrik Virdi

    • Hi Amrik,

      I agree with you totally on this “Audience who fell mislead will begin to leave your blog and may never come back”

      It’s a reality and not a gambling…

      Thanks for a wonderful contribution buddy…

  13. Amrik Virdi says:

    There is just no reason in writing misleading or complicated blog titles.

    Audience who fell mislead will begin to leave your blog and may never come back. Steer clear of vocabulary that’s vague.
    When it doubt, have a team member study over the work to make sure they are able to tell what the post is all about without reading it.

    Regards,
    Amrik Virdi

    • Wow! Your words are great “Audience who fell mislead will begin to leave your blog and may never come back. Steer clear of vocabulary that’s vague”

      This is simply straight and real… I am glad you enjoyed reading this article.

      Thanks for like and for visiting my blog, I really appreciate…

  14. Whoa! Just in time, I recently published an a post titled “I’m tired of blogging” and it goes exactly according to what this blog post is talking about. The main the there is your blog title must still be on the scale of what your blog post is talking about and not just attracting readers to a post with a great title and a contrary content. Great post Johnson, keep it up.

  15. Ali Luke says:

    Great tips on writing clickable titles, Jackson (you certainly got me to click!) :-)

    I’m not quite sure I follow your point about special characters in post titles, though. My main concern would be them rendering correctly when the titles are posted to Twitter / Facebook / etc — and on that note, I’d also caution avoiding curly quotes.

    However, unless the special character is included in the post slug (the final part of the URL), I’m not sure why these characters would confuse the browser or RSS reader being used. The post slug can be different from the title itself (indeed, I almost always shorten mine from the titles — I’m following Copyblogger’s lead on this). In fact, with WordPress, special characters don’t even get auto-copied into the post slug. Maybe I’m misunderstanding you though?

    • Hey Ali,

      I am glad I got you to click on this post and reading further to drop your view about the post.

      I did specified the special characters which you can use and those which are NO USE. Please may I know which of them you are referring to?

      Thanks for your comment…

      • Ali Luke says:

        Sorry, Jackson, that wasn’t very helpful of me! I mean the “NO USE” characters. As far as I can tell, having them in the title of the post won’t cause any links to the post to break — only having them in the post URL will.

        WordPress automatically leaves all special characters out of the post slug at the end of the URL (and the post slug is customisable in any case) so I’m not sure I understand what the problem is with having the “NO USE” characters in a post title.

      • Ali Luke says:

        Hi Jackson,

        Sorry, I tried to reply to your above comment before, but it looks like my reply didn’t go through.

        I meant either kind of special character. As far as I can tell, WordPress doesn’t put ANY special characters into the post slug by default. (I realise other blogging systems may do — but I believe you can normally edit the post slug in any case)?

        Basically, I’m a bit confused by your post because it seems like you’re saying the title is always the same thing as the URL.

  16. Kalee says:

    I always love headline posts. I don’t know why, but I always struggle with it. I have been using the question, “would I read this article in a magazine because of the headline?” to help me improve lately.

    • Hi Kalee,

      When it comes to writing content, I pay much attention to headlines because it’s what determines if my potential readers will actually click to read further.

      Thanks for commenting on this post.

      Cheers!

  17. Graeme Benge says:

    I find this a great place to get some initial inspiration for blog post titles. http://tweakyourbiz.com/tools/title-generator/index.php

  18. Jason says:

    Thanks for tip 5 on special characters. I often use “|” to separate key words on my title, what do you think vs. “-”.

    • Hello Jason,

      Left for me I will prefer using “-” to separate words in my headline. Using “|” seems as if you are talking about two different things so I would say it’s not healthy for a post headline…

      Hope I answered your question?

      Thanks for reading.

  19. Nikhil says:

    Thank you for sharing this important post… after reading and applying this tips in my blog title create a great response. its amazing………..:) thank you

  20. Susan Neal says:

    Excellent tips – I also think you need to make sure your title offers a clear benefit to the reader, and to avoid overly ‘clever’ headlines that don’t give a clue what the post’s actually offering.

    • Hey Susan,

      I like your advice “avoid overly ‘clever’ headlines that don’t give a clue what the post’s actually offering”

      This will be handy for other readers.

      Thanks for your contribution.

  21. Susan Neal says:

    PS It would be great if you had a Google+ share button on this blog – any reason why you don’t (or is it just hidden where I can’t find it!)?

  22. Osman Hameed says:

    Hey Jackson! Great Article.

    The one thing I’ve found that really works for me is using numbers. So rather than “Ways to gain web traffic” you could write “10 ways to gain web traffic”. This has helped to almost double the traffic to a few of my sites.

    • Osman,

      I agree with you totally on this! People are looking for tips that have been broken down in numbers for them to follow or apply in their daily activities.

      Ordinarily, a list post will receive more clicks than a normal lines of headline especially when the overall title is compelling.

      Thanks for a wonderful comment.

  23. Ops! I have & in one of my titles. Fixed. Thank you very much.

  24. Lakhyajyoti says:

    Another informative post Jackson. Surely I’ll follow your tips to write clickable titles. Thanks for the share.

  25. Steven says:

    Read newspaper titles and see how they are connecting their story with the title. News media are the best source of learning writing an effective title. The title is first attracted when visitor visit your blog. It should be interesting and eye catchy.

  26. Akshat says:

    Helpful post Jackson. I liked the way you talked about including your passion into blog post titles. Well done!

  27. Amanda says:

    I am guilty of using the ampersands on several occasions. Thanks for the tips! :)

  28. Akinsola says:

    I took my time to read this, thanks Chuks.

  29. Nitesh says:

    Thanks Jackson, I recently finished a blog design (WordPress) , i will make use of it as much as possible. Thanks again.

  30. Ricky says:

    I have seen CTR increase with more relevant titles its amazing even if you rank number for a keyword if your title is not optimal you could loose 14% of CTR! Great post thanks.

  31. Ankit Bansal says:

    This was totally worth the read. Titles can create wonders . Just the right title can make a post go viral. Thanks Chuks

  32. Louis says:

    My method is to keep it short and even shorter in the URL (throw away unnecessary words the search engine won’t include such as ‘the’, ‘by’, ‘to’, etc).

  33. Thanks for these awesome tips, I will try each and every one of them to lure visitors with titles itself.

  34. This was a really great article, in my opinion, the hardest part is finding a good title that will also rank well in the search engines.

    • Hi Alvin,

      That’s exactly the reason why utmost attention need to be given when crafting a post. Creativity and passion should be your back bone in time like this.

      Thanks for reading buddy!

  35. Danielle says:

    Thanks for the tips. I have been working on my blog titles lately. I’m wondering about parentheses. . .are those ok to use?

    • Hi Danielle,

      Parentheses don’t really have any serious effect, they can be used sometimes to give a short meaning of a word. However, if you ask me, I will say you write a clean blog post title with less of special characters…

      Hope I answered your question?

  36. These are some great tips Jackson. It is hard to strike a balance between writing for the search engines and writing for your core audience. It is important to always keep in mind that a solid title can help attract both types of visitors. I will make sure to point my clients to this blog when they ask how they should be creating Blog Titles.

    • Wow! Richard, I am glad to hear this…

      Your clients are highly welcomed here on ProBlogger at all time.

      Just as you said striking a balance between writing for search engine and writing for our audience is not an easy task, but it gets easier when you clearly define who your audience are…that will equally lead you into knowing how to feed Google with the right title to work with.

      Thanks for such a wonderful comment Richard.

      Cheers!

  37. Miss Keta M. says:

    Great post Jackson, I struggle with writing “clickable” titles cause I want to say a lot with less words! I can admit (and other might also) its a juggling act to be grammatically correct, but still express yourself in your blog title! Thanks for the tips :-)

    • Hello Miss Keta,

      Expressing yourself in your blog title is great but it becomes even greater when you spice it up with passion.

      Thanks for an awesome comment…

  38. Hi,
    Nice tips. A good title is the basic part of a blog. It is very much difficult for getting a good title. A good blog title attracts every visitor towards the blog. So I think the given tips are useful for everyone. Thanks a lot for this helpful ideas and information.

    • Hey Manuscriptedit,

      I like your comment “A good title is the basic part of a blog” there is no gambling in this, get it right you smile, get it wrong and see some low CTR on your blog.

      Thanks for your comment…

  39. devamı says:

    Hey, I have seen CTR increase with more relevant titles its amazing even if you rank number for a keyword if your title is not optimal you could loose 14% of CTR! Nice post thanks!

    • Hey Devami,

      This is so sweet “even if you rank number for a keyword if your title is not optimal you could loose 14% of CTR!”

      Good post titles attracts high CTR because you made them clickable and it remains an ideal practice that rocks…

      Thanks buddy for an awesome comment.

  40. Hi,

    This is so true. I’ll scan for titles before jumping into the posts. Even when reading the posts, I’ll stick to bold words to fast read the articles. How I wish the whole article can fit into the title. Is that even possible?

    Thanks
    SC

    • Hey SC,

      Just like you said, I do scan for titles first ever before jumping into the main post. I believe any serious writer or blogger would pay attention to the title of his content following the competition in the market where everybody is delivering almost the same content.

      Thanks for your comment…

  41. Nrupen says:

    So far as my personal opinion, I can agree with you on ,”An average of 8 readers out of 10 will read a blog post title, while less than 3 out of the same 10 readers will read the rest of the article.”

    But your conclusion on it simply don’t connect, “This simple statistic shows how your post title greatly affects the entire content of your post.”

    In any article that is targeted to specific audience,
    - The Job Of TITLE Is To Grab Attention
    - First Few Lines Usually Introduce The Topic
    - Body Targets Problem Solution Or Whatever You Really Want To Share With Your Readers
    - It Ends With Call To Action or Something To Inspire Audience

    According to Digital Marketing Expert, Online Entrepreneur and Copywriter YANIK SILVER, your reader will read your article or not greatly depends on how you have transitioned from one part of article to another. Mess up with any one transition and poof, all gone.

    I also disagree that when user types something in Google, he/she looks for appealing title, according to Google’s heat map an average user clicks on what is first result.

    Which means while searching on search engines almost everyone bother’s only about what is first result and users rarely bother about appealing title.

  42. Rachel H says:

    I agree w/the note on the hashtags – the problem is that w/the new FTC disclosures on a blogs sponsored posts more companies want to include the hashtag IN the title. They mandate it in fact. I agree that its not ideal, but many bloggers who monetize simply have to use the Hashtag in the title.

    And while its not great website wise, I have to admit I am now geared MORE to only read only those posts that include the hashtag in the title because in a wall of text titles – they stand out.

  43. kyle says:

    Very nice article I usually struggle sideways with titles so I usually end up writing my post then reading it to get a title I like.

    Thanks for this post some pretty useful info here much appriciated

    • Hello Kyle,

      Really? That would be very tasking all the day long. I am sure the tips on this post will be of help.

      Thanks for reading and for wonderful comment.

      Cheers!

  44. prince says:

    Thanks for the awesome post sir

  45. Anil Kumar says:

    Thanks for sharing such a nice article..I also use these tips.

  46. Lukasz S. says:

    What we’ve had most success with is are short, focused titles that play into the curious mind of our audience or solve their problems – including words like “myths busted”, “FAQ”, “solutions” has always worked well.

  47. Jamie says:

    Hi Jackson,

    Great tips here. These are the definite things that every writer should always keep in mind while writing.