This week is a bit of a combination topic. We are talking a bit about K2 still as we address the topic of titles for your articles, but we're also including some SEO ideas, as well as some basic standards for good writing. We are, after all, trying to drive traffic to our websites with almost everything we do. If you produce your own content for your website, you'll want to go through these points carefully.
Titles are often under-thought, hastily put down tag lines that don't guide a reader or draw traffic nearly as effectively as they should. There's a lot you can do with a good title if you get creative and think like your readers. You should always ask yourself, "What would make me click a link to read that article?" Obviously, you want to feature your main idea clearly in your title, but what else? Here are a few tips and guidelines to keep in mind as you are nailing down that perfect title.
Who are you writing for? This is of primary importance. You should always take your audience into consideration when writing your articles, and the same goes for your titles. What will grab the attention of one set of readers won't always do it for another. You should put yourself in their seats and anticipate what they will want. Writing from your reader's perspective is how you create a connection, which is how you keep people reading.
Make sure your article title isn't misleading. You could draw some people in, but you may also annoy some readers if they take the time to follow the link to your article based on what they've read in your title only to find it has no correlation whatsoever. An article on the possible global economic recovery probably shouldn't be titled, "Free beer, love and money: How to have it all right now!" That title may get a few clicks, but your readers won't be happy once they get there.
Purpose of the Article
What are you doing with your article? Are you selling something, providing information, trying to make someone laugh? Make sure that you understand your call to action. Your reader should be able to understand this immediately as well.
Titles are like poetry, not novels. You are working with very limited space, so you must make every word count. Titles generally shouldn't be longer than it would take the average reader more than a few seconds to take in. Your language should be carefully selected.
The language you use in your title sets the tone for your entire article. Whether you're trying to be funny, sad, serious or all business, your title should convey that easily and clearly. Let your reader know how they should feel going into your writing from the get go.
Keywords & SEO
Article titles are hugely important for driving traffic to your article, and ultimately, to your website. If you overdo the keywords, it isn't effective and can actually end up counting against you in the search engines. Write naturally, but very deliberately. Choose your words and phrases for both search engine spiders AND human readers. The best SEO writing never feels like it's been "SEO'd," it just feels like a well written article, or title.
The bottom line is don't stress too much, but be as creative as you can...and take it very seriously, your readers will.