15 Tips to Awesome, Eye-Jerking Post Titles

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Post titles are drastically under rated. Most bloggers fail to realize that their post title is the number one advertisements for each of their articles.

An article’s title has to put on the gloves and go head-to-head with dozens of other post titles in people’s RSS readers, email accounts, search engines, Facebook timelines and Twitter streams. It’s your job to get your post title ready to perform like the champ it has the potential to be.

I want my headline to be so compelling that it seemingly smacks my readers in the face with a sudden compulsion to read it. I want my post title to be so dramatic that casual internet browsers can’t help themselves but to dig deeper and find out what I have to say. Here’s how Darren Rowse from problogger.net puts it:

Many bloggers pour a lot of effort into writing engaging and interesting posts, but then just slap any old title onto it without realizing that in doing so they might be ensuring that their post is never read. ~ Darren Rowse

15 Tips to Awesome, Eye-Jerking Post Titles

15 Tips to Awesome, Eye-Jerking Post Titles

If you’re ready to start grabbing some attention and start driving traffic to your blog or website then this is exactly what you’ve been looking for. Here’s 15 tips that have assisted my blog in rapid growth:

  1. Be bold. Strong, powerful headlines grab people’s attention much more effectively and dramatically than passive ones. Make a bold statement about your topic that is sure to get their attention like ’14 Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic’ or ‘5 Vital Reasons to Use List Posts.’
  2. Use dynamic words. There are certain words that quite simply sound more exciting than others. Try to make use of words like awesome, killer, amazing, heart-pounding, thrilling, sure-fire, etc. Select exciting words that that you could use to review your favorite action movie. Here’s a few examples: Notice the word ‘Sure-fire’ in 5 Sure-Fire Strategies For Better Blogging or the word ‘Crucial’ in 5 Crucial Tips For WordPress Users.
  3. Get personal. Personal stories are much more meaningful than articles that appear as if they were written by a computer. Try some article titles like these: ‘Why I Don’t Use NoFollow on my Links’ or ‘How I Made $10,000 From Google Last Month.’
  4. Be short. Enough said. Really though. I preview all of my articles using the WordPress preview button in the editor. If the title pushes onto a second line on the post page then I shorten it until it only uses one line. Find a rule like that that works for you on your blog and stick with it.
  5. Be direct. If your headline isn’t a clear representation of what the article is about then the reader will likely not take the time to actually read your post. They will more likely feel like you tricked them and they will just leave your site and not return.
  6. Ask a question. I see a lot of intriguing post titles that come in the form of provocative questions. Let me share a few examples with you: ‘Would you like to quit your job and make money online?’ or ‘How would you like more traffic to your website?’
  7. Be commanding. Tell your readers to do something amazing. Throw out an order that is extreme and your readers will follow. Here’s some examples: ‘Get More Traffic to your Website’ or maybe something like ‘Create Awesome Content and Keep Your Readers!”
  8. Be creative. This one is really the key to the whole list. Your only limitation in creating effective headlines for your blog articles is your own imagination. If you can create ways to break the mold on your post titles then you will be able to draw in users like never before.
  9. Use lists. Every day that I visit delicious.com nearly half of their bookmarks that made it to the front page are some form or another of a list. List posts are extremely attractive to a lot of readers. Check out these examples: ‘5 Things You Need to Know About Trackbacks’ or ’11 Beautiful Free WordPress Themes.’ These also make excellent link bait for others bloggers to link to and tweet about.
  10. Be Honest. There are few things that destroy credibility faster than clicking through a dynamite headline only to be let down hard with the worthless content.
  11. Be Unique. With millions of blogs in the world today, this task can become a real challenge, but the rewwards for the folks who are able to stand out are absolutely out of this world. Find a way to create a headline that nobody else has used before.
  12. Use Urgency. If you can develop a sense of urgency without making a potential reader feel pressured then you’ve just won the jackpot for pushing folks into your site. Use your headline to communicate why they need your article right now.
  13. Be Specific. Topics and headlines that are designed to every person in the world usually ends up appealing to nobody. Choose a specific topic and go after it like a lion hunting it’s prey.
  14. Be Useful. Sometimes when it’s all done, you need to step back and ask yourself this simple question, “Why would I waste my time clicking this headline and reading this article?” If you don’t have a good answer, you might consider adjusting it.
  15. Use Keywords. I listed this one last because I view it as the least important. Using strong keywords in your title can help your listings on Google but using them in the wrong way can take away from their effectiveness to human readers. Strike up a good balance here and you’ll be setup for success.

Share What You Know

I have a feeling that many of you probably have some tips that you practice on your site when developing headlines for your articles. Share them with us in the comments section and help the rest of us to grow and develop better post titles.

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76 Vibrant Comments

We would love to hear yours!


  1. January 24, 2011

    Brad Harmon said:

    Here’s two thoughts on #4 Be Short.

    1) Make sure your site name, separator, and post title is 70 characters or less including spaces. Nothing is more frustrating than having a killer title cut off on a Google search result.

    2) Make sure you leave enough room for people to retweet your post. Leave enough room for the “RT @yourtwittername: ” since many won’t use the retweet function.

    Great list Nicholas.


    • January 24, 2011

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Brad,

      Those are both great points.

      I hadn’t even thought much about the retweetability of the post title but that’s definitely the right idea especially to folks who are active on that platform.


    • March 26, 2011

      Matt | ExpertVagabond said:

      I’ve just started shortening my post titles, and have noticed a positive difference. Especially with retweets on Twitter.


  2. January 24, 2011

    Shree said:

    You have cited some great points here. They will be of immense help for article writers.


  3. January 24, 2011

    Ward Cosbyson said:

    Hey Nicholas,

    That is so true. So many bloggers are so good at writing their contents but entirely forget about the impact their titles can make. I struggle with it myself before and I can testify the points on the list are just ideal for all bloggers to follow through if they intend to increase the chances of their blogs getting read.

    Ward


    • January 24, 2011

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Thanks Ward. Like you, I know first hand that these points can make it happen.


  4. January 24, 2011

    Jenny said:

    Title is the most important part of post or article and it is require making that kind of title which give idea about whole post like the above post title.

    I like to read this blog because every time I get detail information like the above post. I think in above steps no need to add any points because this is the compete and perfect post,

    I really feel happy after read this post and I am totally agree with you.

    Hats off sir,


  5. January 24, 2011

    Brankica said:

    Nicholas, I can not add anything of value here, and really can only say thaaaaaaaaaaanks.
    First I love the way you made the list, cause titles are my weak spot and the best thing is that you gave examples.
    I am tired of reading same old general posts about stuff. Give me examples and I will learn.
    So hopefully my thick head will learn these one by one. If not, I will hurt a tree and print it out 🙂


    • January 25, 2011

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Ha ha. Well don’t hurt too many trees but it’s alright if you do need to print it. I’m sure you can get recycled paper at some stores. 😉

      I’m glad you enjoyed this and hopefully it’s a help to you.


  6. January 24, 2011

    Murugappan said:

    Great post Nick. I’d like to add another point to this awesome compilation. I’ve always seen people using special characters in their titles which I always regret and I’ve also seen many of my friends giving it a thumbs down.


    • January 25, 2011

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      By special characters do you mean question marks and exclamation points?


      • January 25, 2011

        Murugappan said:

        Nah! Not that, except a few special characters including (! ? . – : ” $). I see people using many other special characters too. Say, for example characters like ^, *, and a lot more which often appears to be disgusting.


        • January 25, 2011

          Nicholas Cardot said:

          Ahh. That definitely makes sense. I also think that when people use those it can make a title look really, really spammy.


  7. January 24, 2011

    tushar said:

    in my opinion, using words like KILLER, SUPER, ULTIMATE in every title without making sure that they are worth using is not the right strategy….bloggers should refrain them from making it a habit


    • January 24, 2011

      Ryan Critchett said:

      I must say, I agree with this to a degree! Anymore, “KILLER” and those kinds of descriptive words scream “untrustworthy internet marketer!”

      Depending on how trained your eye is 😉


    • January 25, 2011

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      I agree. If the content isn’t awesome, people will definitely be disappointed in titles like that and they do often come across as spammy. And this is also compounded by the fact that more often than not, bloggers are naively led to believe that their articles are much better than they really are so they thinking their ideas are killer or ultimate when really they are just sharing what’s already been shared all over the net. It’s bad for credibility.

      Use them carefully.


  8. January 24, 2011

    Ryan Critchett said:

    Nice – Be bold, totally with you. I used to be a bit timid to post something bold.

    Unique – Definitely all about it. You’re right man, millions of blogs out there! I’ve found that even if you talk about something someone else is talking about, but you COME FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE, that it’s still considered new and unique!

    It’s so true – Titles catch you. It is the determinant! Nice post as usual.


    • January 25, 2011

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Thanks, Ryan. Also as you develop your writing and being to grow your confidence in your ability to provide useful and unique content, you’ll be more willing to use bold titles. Don’t sell yourself short though. If you make something worthwhile, then get the title ready to compete for you.


  9. January 24, 2011

    John Soares said:

    Nicholas, I spend substantial time crafting post titles. They are essentially the headlines that will draw in readers — or send them away.

    Typically I create a list of potential titles at the top of the post as I’m composing, and then I edit the list as I go along. I don’t determine the final title until right before I’m ready to publish.

    And even after I’ve published a post, I’ll sometimes change the title when I think of something even better.


    • January 24, 2011

      John Soares said:

      I used a question for my latest post title. Unfortunately, CommentLuv doesn’t include question marks.


  10. January 24, 2011

    Martin Stellar said:

    Best tactic: sit still and only write the title, even if it takes a full hour. Once you’re done, go write the post. Pure magic.


    • February 1, 2011

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      I almost always have mine written before I write the post, but after the post, I do periodically adjust it again.


      • February 1, 2011

        Martin Stellar said:

        Me too. Very often I tweak and improve my headlines midway during the process. But having them written before the article means that the article itself is focused. If the headline comes first, the article delivers on it. Makes for much better writing.


  11. January 24, 2011

    x-tra said:

    I guess I maybe should use more time on my titles in the future. I haven’t given it a lot of thoughts, but can see that it is very importent.

    Thanks for sharing.


  12. January 24, 2011

    Whiztechy said:

    Very Useful tips Nicholas, Titles are best way to attract readers and drive traffic. I must admit that it takes me lot of time to decide for perfect title and I always prefer to add title after finishing my post completely.


  13. January 24, 2011

    Derek Jensen said:

    It was certainly a great experience when we worked on a blog post together to see how not only you create eye-jerking titles, but eye-jerking content.

    Listen to your inner voice, drive for the opportunity side, and visit the thesaurus.


  14. January 25, 2011

    Pacquiao Mosley said:

    I totally agree with you. Some writers I know, just don’t know how to put a compelling title despite the fact that their write-ups are worth to read. I already share it to them and I hope they read this one. Thanks for another great tip man!


  15. January 25, 2011

    Armel said:

    As for me, I am just making my title interesting so that it will attract users to click on it. I have also read somewhere that Market Samurai features title suggestion tool. I haven’t tried it but heard a lot of good reviews about it.


    • February 1, 2011

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      I didn’t know that Market Samurai offered that feature. That’s pretty neat.


  16. January 25, 2011

    Amitash said:

    This post and the 15 Irrefutable Qualities.. post are very useful to me. Great!


  17. January 25, 2011

    Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing said:

    I started testing the question theory in 2010, backing it up in the ending call to action.

    Yes indeed, it doubled-tripled the community participation per post.

    It works.


  18. January 26, 2011

    Ron Leyba said:

    I love and like your tips Nick! Awesome!
    Can I add something else?

    Mine is: Be Updated or Be Current or simply Use Current Events

    What I am trying to say is, headline or post titles that pertains to a recent event always catch attention right?

    For example, if your blog is all about social media marketing or optimization and the latest buzz today is President Obama’s State of the Union Address, then you can create some compelling headline for your article that you will post the same date the SOTU will happen.

    Something like, How Social Media Helped President Obama’s SOTU Viewable Around The Globe.

    Sorry if my example sucks, but I hope I delivered and you guys understand what I am trying to say.=)


  19. January 26, 2011

    Matt said:

    Using keywords is important, of course. And you should use them if possible.

    But sometimes you can come up with a real zinger that’s a funny or super-punchy play on words. Then I think you should use that because while it won’t directly help your SEO it might get you some backlinks.


  20. January 26, 2011

    Claire Bright said:

    You really gave so much great ideas on choosing effective titles. I really like your tip on getting it personal & ask a question. It seems relevant to some of my content. I’ll surely be using this technique. Thanks!


  21. January 26, 2011

    James said:

    Thanks for the suggestions, but none of them I think are the most important: the title should reflect the subject matter. In a way your article is about “10 tips on how to pick a TOPIC to write about”. Maybe this is obvious, but the title has a few words to describe the scope and subject matter of the whole article, and being bold, etc, is secondary, and shouldn’t distract from the first purpose.


  22. January 26, 2011

    Allie @ FaqSoftware said:

    I read one time that it would be creative to cause a stir with your updates or status. Do you think a blog post that will spark a debate would be great for a blog’s reputation?


  23. January 27, 2011

    Desmond said:

    I agree with your #15 being on the bottom of the list. If you do a good job with your content and also #5 on your list (being direct), the search engines will reward you.


  24. January 27, 2011

    Delena said:

    I always laugh when I hear people say, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Most often, that’s the only thing people use to judge a book.

    And they take even less time to judge a blog post. A good title is most often the only thing that stands between an audience for a blog and ignominy.

    Great reminder, Nicholas!
    Delena


  25. January 29, 2011

    anthonynlee said:

    i thought i was doing ok with my blog post articles…because i do study copywriting, and spend a decent amount of time on headlines…however, i may tweak my strategy a bit, because you make some very good points.
    thank you


  26. February 1, 2011

    Lauren Ashley Miller said:

    I love this post! Tips #s 2 and 13 are definitely my favorite. Powerful adjectives can do wonders!

    I love the way you worded #13, the lion hunting its prey 🙂 That’s one I want to focus on for sure.

    Thanks for sharing the wisdom along!


  27. February 6, 2011

    Reza Winandar said:

    Be controversial, and you will get a lot of traffic coming your way


  28. February 15, 2011

    Lisa said:

    Nicholas:

    Brilliant! I have tried a few variations with my headlines, including a “negative” statement. Sort of like, “Google despises you”…just an example…they don’t really. Nicholas, seriously they don’t despise you.
    Anyways, once again, top notch post.

    Cheers,
    Lisa


  29. February 16, 2011

    Olle Lindholm said:

    Great post, as always! Titles are extremely important for all readers.

    I came across a series from Copyblogger that compliment what you wrote about here:

    http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/

    Happy Reading!

    Keep up the good work!

    Cheers,
    Olle


  30. February 16, 2011

    ah hong said:

    Frankly I am stuck in compelling post title vs. keyword post title. It’s the matter of striking the balance within the two factor and optimize it for both reader and search engine 🙂


  31. February 18, 2011

    Kavya Hari said:

    Actually, i agree with with your 15 tips Nicholas, because it has the excellent points and especially i would like to say points in this. Initially, if we write the article, we have to include humor of sense and all , then only folks are willing to read that articles.


  32. February 18, 2011

    Kavya Hari said:

    hello, i agree with your 15 points, but i would like to share one things,when you write the content or article additionally add humor of sense, it will create more awareness while read the content.


  33. May 26, 2011

    Jenny said:

    Great post, i have found that using lists and numbers in the title to be awesome.

    The way i go about these posts, is i just start writing the list, then i write a paragraph on each item, then finally i craft the title.

    A bit of a weird way to do it, however i have found this method to be very effective.


  34. June 17, 2011

    Prothom Alo said:

    Really this is a wonderful post, I found that i am missing so many points. Thanks bro.


    • July 6, 2011

      Jean @ White Cotton Gloves said:

      Yes i agree to that these article good content of idea it is a big help for me and so many point to be given.God bless:)


  35. July 9, 2011

    hldemo said:

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    • July 10, 2011

      Wilson said:

      Hi, i just happen to stumble upon this wonderful blog.

      I wonder why i didn’t come across it earlier when i was starting out. i would have made less mistakes which were completely avoidable had i known it.

      But then i guess i am glad i have/am learning the hard way 🙂

      Great blog, Nicholas, am coming back for more.

      MY VERY FIRST BLOG POST: Traffic is King… But This Comes First


  36. July 10, 2011

    Wilson said:

    Oops,there i go again 🙂

    Here it is !


  37. July 10, 2011

    Wilson said:

    Damn! Lol…

    No mistakes this time. Traffic is King, but this comes FIRST!


  38. October 7, 2011

    zes said:

    Absolutely true! Interest begins with Post Titles that grab your attention. Also works for banners and ads.


  39. October 14, 2011

    Brian Kinkade said:

    I must agree with you, about post titles being underrated. Most always it should be the best part of our articles, not saying that the content shouldn’t be. Our title is the first thing that people will see, and it should be enticing enough for people to click through and read it.


    • October 15, 2011

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Exactly. I know exactly what you mean by that sentiment. Folks fail to realize that it’s like writing a masterpiece and then hiding it in your basement where no one will ever find it if you don’t create a headline that gets folks interested.


  40. October 27, 2011

    Akash Kumar said:

    A very nice post Nick, I have been reading many of your post and I must say that some of your tips are really useful.


  41. November 11, 2011

    daniel said:

    you have sited some great point here thenx a lot.. dude.


  42. December 21, 2011

    Joy Parks said:

    Just want to thanks you Nicholas for helping me create better post titles for my site. Your post here was really enlightening. More power!


  43. January 29, 2012

    Sagar said:

    Titles really play an important role because that’s the only thing any user on a search engine can see. Anyways thanks for sharing these awesome tips. 🙂


  44. March 30, 2012

    mobiletracker said:

    Very good interest to read. By Regards mobile tracker


  45. April 9, 2012

    Sal Stevens said:

    My favorite is definitely number 6. I think questions are the perfect way to engage readers from the start and get them to keep reading your article/post.


  46. April 9, 2012

    Mary Guard said:

    Definitely a good post, and using keywords is always important on the web now adays!


  47. April 9, 2012

    Brent said:

    Excellent post thanks for the tips!


  48. April 9, 2012

    Michael Teen said:

    Thanks for the followup comments everyone! Very insightful and useful info


  49. July 9, 2012

    yvonne said:

    my new website word-witch is pre-launch and i am really impressed with your tips and book (which i bought and am using). i hope you don’t mind but i am going to hi-lite your misspelling of *rewards* in point number 11. it helps my point that even high-level writers can make mistakes.

    you rock my friend : )


  50. October 3, 2013

    Stacey said:

    Nice post Nicholas!
    Title is the first thing a reading could see, thus it will also effects if the reader will continue to read or leave.With your points here i believe many writers will be warned and start creating this “awesome,eye-jerking” post titles!


    • October 5, 2013

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Thanks Stacey. I’m glad that you found this tips useful. Thanks for stopping by.


  51. March 13, 2014

    Chris said:

    Self-serving active links will end up in the Resource Box where they are suppose to be and thus, user trust and referral partner trust (ie: search engines & other social media sites) will improve. When traffic referral partner trust improves, our members win and we win at a higher level together.


  52. July 14, 2016

    porn movie said:

    Admiring the hard work you put into your website and detailed information you offer. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.




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