How to write blog post titles

E ver wondered how to write compelling blog post titles consistently? It’s one of the most important skills to have as a blogger.

An enticing and eye-catching title can help a blog post that might otherwise have gone unnoticed, get thousands of social shares, hundreds of comments, and a boost in Google search rankings.

Write a boring title, however, and even the best blog post will get skipped.

In this guide, you’ll learn the secrets behind writing highly effective blog post titles. 

There’s no magic fill in the blanks formula here. Just a few proven steps you can follow each time to help your post get noticed.

Let’s dive in!

What Makes for an Effective Blog Post Title?

There are a few things we can talk about here, each one slightly more challenging than the last. A compelling blog post title should:

#1 – Catch their eye

The first thing a blog title needs to do is catch someone’s eye, whether they see it in a Google search, an email, their Facebook feed, or Twitter timeline. Cutting through the noise is hard.

#2 – Get a click 

The next thing you need to do is get them to click through to read it. This is much more difficult than it sounds – some formats only have 0.5 to 1% click-through rates.

#3 – Cause an engagement or action

Some people will share or like an article simply based on whether they think their friends will like the article’s title. More likely, however, is that your title encourages someone to read your excellent content.

#4 – Assist your long-term Google rankings 

A good title not only gets people interested in the article but also helps it rank well on Google.

You might write a title that you really love and think is clever, but unless it’s achieving these types of reactions, you’ll be wasting your time.

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5 Types of Blog Post Titles That Get Clicked

Now you know what makes an effective blog title, let’s take a look at some popular types of blog post titles that get clicked.

Conductor analyzed different headline types to find out which readers prefer:

  • 36% preferred headlines with numbers
  • 21% liked reader-addressing headlines
  • 17% preferred how-to headlines
headline preferences

Titles with Numbers 

Turns out, we’re fascinated with numbers. Our brains are attracted to numbers because they automatically organize information into a logical order. 

  • A number is better than a word.
  • Small numbers are more digestible than large ones.
  • Odd numbers appear more authentic than even numbers.

If you use a number in your blog post title, use the numerals rather than the text. For example, use “7 Best WordPress Plugins,” rather than “Seven Best WordPress Plugins.”

How-to Titles

How-to posts help people achieve a specific desired outcome through a tutorial. 

Think about when you enter a search in Google. Most of the time, you want to find something out, so you naturally type, “How do I xxx.” And as a result, you click on the search results that start with “How to xxx.”  

For example, you ask: “How do I install Google Analytics on WordPress?” You’ll click the answer that says: “How to Install Google Analytics in WordPress.”

how-to example

Here are some more How-to examples:

Resource Guide Titles

People love thorough, in-depth resources. Guides usually come with a promise, such as “The Ultimate Guide” or target a specific audience, such as “The Beginners Guide.”

Question Titles

Posing a question in your blog title causes intrigue and curiosity, so readers have to click to find out the answer.

Reader-Addressing Titles

Putting a “you” or “your” in the title makes a post personal to the reader.

More Tricks for Your Titles

You’ll notice in the examples above there are a few other tricks to catch people’s attention.

  • Freshness: Adding the year to your title lets people know straight away how fresh your content is.
  • Title case: Capitalize the first letter of most words. Use this free tool to convert anything to title case.
  • Colons, Hyphens, and Brackets: All of these add emphasis or pause to your title, so it stands out.
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6 Steps to Writing Effective Blog Post Titles

Writing a catchy blog title is not easy.

It takes a lot of practice. And it also requires plenty of testing to see what works and what sort of tiny variations you can make to improve performance significantly.

But there are some things you can do every time, sort of like a routine, to ensure that you get the best possible chance of success.

Let’s take a look.

Step 1 – Draft Your Blog Post Title

Your first draft is simply a rough version of your post title that you‘ll tweak and perfect later.

#1 – Know Your Target Audience

Before you draft your title, you should have already chosen a topic for your blog post that addresses a problem that your target audience faces. 

Who are they? What do they do? How old are they? These are all important questions that can have a big impact. 

For example, successful websites aimed at professional corporates look, feel, and sound completely different from music sites for teenagers. That’s important.

But more important is the question: “What problems do they have?”

If your title can tap into that anxiety (and hopefully solve it), you’ll find yourself getting a much better engagement rate.

Always know who you are writing for and what issues they are having. 

#2 – Know Your Target Keywords

Next, you’ll want to conduct your keyword research. You’ll have the main keyword and several related keywords that support your blog post.

Although there’s only a slight correlation between the usage of keywords in the title tag and rankings, you should include these keywords in your blog title to make it clear what your post is about.

usage of keyword in title

#3 – Check and Improve on Your Competition

Once you have your idea and target keywords, make sure you research the front page of Google and your main competitors to see how you can improve on what’s out there.

From there, you can draft a working title, such as a simple “how-to” headline. For example, the headline I started with for this particular post was: “How to Write Blog Titles.”

There’s nothing flashy or eye-catching about that.

But it doesn’t matter because you’re going to use it as a starting point and improve it later. 

Now that you’ve drafted your blog title, you can move on to Step 2 …

Step 2 – Write 5-10 Blog Title Variations

Yep, that’s right. As if writing one title was hard, you now have to write a stack of variations.

But there’s a good reason why. In fact, there are 3 compelling reasons:

#1 – Practice makes perfect

Just like a concert pianist practices 6 hours a day to perfect his performances, a blogger has to practice writing if they want to improve their blogging skills. And that includes writing titles!

Plus, there’s also scientific evidence that proves the creative process moves through five stages. So by forcing yourself to write five blog post titles, you’ll soon have another five without even thinking about it. 

It’s actually a well-known practice that Upworthy and Buffer follow. 

#2 – You can use these different blog titles elsewhere

When you publish your blog post, you’ll want to promote it in various places, such as email newsletters, social media, and search engine listings. 

But you don’t have to use the exact same title in each place. In fact, it’s best to use different titles on different platforms as you’re appealing to slightly different audiences. Plus, each medium allows different title lengths. 

For example, BuzzSumo found that post titles with 12-18 words (around 80-95 characters) performed best on Facebook:

number of headline words and average facebook engagements

That’s considerably longer than the blog title you could use for search results. Currently, Google displays the first 50-60 characters of a title in its 600-pixel space. (Note: characters can vary in width; for example, “w” takes up more space than “l”.) 

#3 – You need to test which title will perform the best 

Once you’ve created 5-10 potential blog titles, how do you decide which one to use? Well, that comes down to testing titles against each other to see which performs best. And like we said above, some headlines will be better suited to different platforms. 

Step 3 – Boost Your Title with Power Words

By now, you should have a list of potential blog post titles. But in this step, we’re going to give them a boost by adding some “power words.”

Power words are words that trigger a psychological or emotional response. They’re called “power words” because people simply can’t resist them!

They can be used anywhere on your website, but you’ll definitely want to use them in your title to entice your visitors to read your blog post.

Here’s a selection from the different types of power words.

  • Greed power words play on scarcity and FOMO or make something sound more valuable. 

Examples: Bargain, Don’t miss out, Exclusive.

  • Curiosity power words will make your blog post titles and email subject lines impossible to resist.

Examples: Little-known, Sneak peek, Limited.

  • Sloth power words make your content sound more digestible, and your titles more enticing.

Examples: Easy, In record time, Replicate.

  • Lust power words don’t have to be sexual. They can describe an intense desire for any item. 

Examples: Enchanting, Intriguing, Mind-blowing. 

  • Vanity power words will make your visitor look more attractive and more successful.

Examples: Amazing, Elegant, Jaw-dropping.

  • Trust power words help to speed up the trust-building process.

Examples: According to, Proven, No strings attached.

  • Anger power words stir up irrational emotions, so you need to couple them with the solution.

Examples: Disgusting, Preposterous, Sick and Tired.

  • Fear power words make people fearful of what might happen if they don’t take action.

Examples: Beware, Caution, Disastrous.

For a comprehensive list, check out this enormous list of 700+ power words that you can use in your blog titles.

Step 4 – Analyze Your Blog Titles

So far, you’ve created 5-10 blog titles and given them a boost by adding power words.

Next, you’re going to analyze them using a free tool.

The IsItWP Headline Analyzer tool helps you write headlines that drive traffic, shares, and rank better in search results:

IsItWP Headline Analyzer Tool

Note: The tool analyzes how your blog title will perform for SEO.

Enter your blog title into the box and click the ‘Analyze’ button. The tool grades your title based on a few factors:

  • Overall score: For best results, aim for 70 or above.
  • Word balance: Find a perfect balance between common, uncommon, and emotional words.
  • Word count: Blog titles with about 6 words tend to drive more click-throughs to your content.
  • Uncommon words: Use more uncommon words to improve your title and stand out from the crowd. 
  • Power words: Using power words, makes your title more enticing.
  • Common words: Use a combination of common and uncommon words.
  • Emotional words: Emotionally triggered headlines are likely to drive more clicks.
  • Headline length: This shows the number of characters in the headline.
  • Sentiment: Identify what sentiment your title triggers, such as positive, negative, or neutral.
  • Search preview: Make sure your title doesn’t get cut-off in the search results.

Let’s take a look at an example for the title:

“5 Insanely Easy Ways to Boost Your Website SEO Today”

headline analyzer 1

-> Here’s the analysis:

headline analyzer 3

-> And here’s how the title will look in the search results:

headline analyzer 4

You can enter your different blog titles, try tweaking them, and see if they improve.

Pro Tip: Remember, this is a tool that offers guidance. Don’t sweat on getting a score over 70 or finding the perfect balance of words. Use the prompts to see if you can improve your blog title.

Step 5 – Optimize Your Blog Title

After you’ve analyzed your title, you need to optimize it for different platforms. 

You’ll most likely use the blog title in each of these places:

  • Blog post title (the title that appears at the top of your blog post)
  • SEO title (the title that appears in the search results)
  • Email subject line
  • Social media posts

Each location accommodates different lengths. For example, you can have a longer Blog Post Title than an SEO Title. 

  • Blog Post Title:

“SEO Made Simple for Bloggers: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners (2019)”

  • SEO Title:

“SEO for Bloggers: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners (2019)”

If you tried using the Blog Post Title for your SEO Title, then it would get chopped off in the search results:

seo title cutoff example

If you use the Yoast SEO tool, you can vary your title for different places and optimize it accordingly. For example, you can shorten and lengthen the blog post title for SEO and Facebook.

  • Blog post title: 

“47 Things You Need to do Before Launching a Blog – [Free Checklist]”

  • SEO title gets shortened:

“47 Things You Need to do Before Launching a Blog”

Yoast SEO title preview
  • Facebook title gets extended:

“47 Things You Need to do Before Launching a Blog – [Includes a Free Checklist]”

Facebook title length

Pro Tip: One important thing to remember is that your blog title does not overpromise. In other words, if you say “Ultimate Guide” in your title, then your blog post needs to be the best possible guide on the subject.

Step 6 – Test and Evaluate

Now you have a selection of titles that you’ve optimized for different places, you’re ready to publish your blog post.

But rather than just use one title for each medium, you can set up some split testing to see which one gets the most clicks and shares.

Here are some tools to help you evaluate your blog titles:

WordPress

There are a few headline testing plugins for WordPress, both free and premium, that allow you to test headlines. But you can also run A/B split testing in WordPress using Google Optimize.

Email

Most email marketing services include A/B testing features, so you can enter at least two headlines and then see which one gets the best open-rate and the best click-thru rate.

Social Media

Buffer has built-in analytics to see how your social media posts perform. Here’s an example of what happened when they tested two different titles on Twitter:

  • Tweet 1: “A Scientific Guide to Hashtags: How Many, Which Ones, and Where to Use.” 
buffer a/b test tweet 1
  • Tweet 2: “The Research Behind Hashtags: How to Find What Really Works.”
buffer a/b test tweet 2

A subtle change to the title can make all the difference to your results.

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Wrapping Up

Writing blog titles isn’t easy. It takes time and patience, but the more you do it, the better you’ll become.

Now you have a 6-step method you can follow to write attention-grabbing blog titles that entice readers to click-through, read, and share your content.

How many blog titles do you write for each post? Let us know in the comments.

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