post titles

Last Updated 27th January, 2018 — Ever wondered how to consistently write effective blog post titles? It’s one of the most important skills to have in the online world. Let’s look at a graphic summary and then jump into some big details below:

blog post titles

An introduction to blog post titles and headlines

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

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

Now, I’m not saying that I always write effective titles for my blog posts – I still have so much to learn and there are countless websites that do them a whole lot better than me. But, I’ve been asked about my methodology a few times now and thought it might be something a few of you might like to read.

So here we go!

A question about titles from Frank

In a post about mailing lists I got a question in the comments section from Frank which got me thinking about this topic some more:


Now, Frank’s question is primarily about email subject lines and crafting them so that people open up your emails. But seeing as there is a lot of similarity and crossover between email subject lines and blog post titles and so I am going to talk about it all in one post.

What makes for an effective post title?

Let’s start this post by talking about what makes a title effective.

To my mind there are a few things we can talk about here – each one slightly more challenging than the last:

  1. It should catch their eye
    The very first thing a title needs to do is catch someone’s eye whether they see it in an email, Facebook feed, Tweet or whatever. Cutting through noise is hard.
  2. It should 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. It should cause an engagement or action
    Some people will share or like an article simple 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. It should assist your longterm Google rankings
    A good title not only gets people interested in the article but also helps you to rank well on Google. More about this later.

You might write a title that you really love and think is clever as hell but unless it is leading to these types of responses you will be wasting your time.

How to write effective post titles

Okay so writing a good title is not easy.

We all know that.

It takes a lot of practice and it also requires a lot of testing to see what works and what sort of tiny variations you can make to elicit a big change in performance.

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.

Today’s post is not going to be a formula that you can follow – mostly because I don’t follow one myself. Rather, what I want to do is just give you a few different things that you can think about and do each time you sit down to write.

Hopefully that helps you get results.

1. Always consider your target audience first

Before you write a title for a blog post you need to think about your target audience.

Who are they? What do they do? How old are they? These are all important questions that can have a big impact on how your titles form.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is the question: what problems do they have?

If your title can tap into that anxiety (and perhaps 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. Successful websites that are aimed at professional corporates “feel” completely different to music sites for teenagers. That’s important.

2. Think about where they are reading the title

This point relates heavily to Frank’s question about email subject lines because when your title is designed to be read in an inbox you need to factor in things like mobile screen sizes.

phone screen

Here’s a screen shot of two emails that I sent to myself using some pretty lazy examples of my own headings. You can see how on my iPhone the subject gets quite cropped and the text underneath plays a really big role. If you have a large percentage of people reading your emails on their mobile you’ll need to pay careful attention to how much fits.

3. Know exactly what short and long-tail keywords you’re targeting

Keywords are a vital part of blogging success.

You need to know exactly what keywords your blog as a whole is targeting, and you need to know what keywords each individual post is targeting and how that helps to create a big blog-wide picture. To do this well you need to know a little bit about short and long-tail key phrases and how they all work together.

Here’s an example if you aren’t sure:

Short-tail: grow a blog

Long-tail: how to grow a blog in 2017

As you can imagine, short-tail keywords are extremely competitive and difficult to rank for. What most people now do is try to rank for a series of longer-tail alternatives where you add an extra bit of information on the end to target a smaller group of people.

I’ve written a bit about keyword research for blogging before so I won’t go over it again in too much detail. At a minimum, you want to spend 20 minutes to an hour researching and making sure you can compete and are targeting the right things.

4. Pick a post title strategy and work your keywords into it

So now we are up to the bit where you actually start to draft some titles.

This is where it gets lengthy!

It’s at the point where we have to communicate our ideas to our readers, show them what we want to achieve, generate some curiosity, and also add in the key phrase for the benefits of Google SEO.

Each thing that you leave out makes for a less effective title.

So how do you do that?

Well, the best bet is to use some kind of title strategy that gives you a little method or guideline to follow.

Here are some examples:

  • Shock value
    Two titles that have worked really well for me personally are Why I Hate Copyblogger which was published on Copyblogger itself and an email I sent with the subject Goodbye Old Friend about switching to my new responsive theme. Both caused a big stir, but had the downside of a bit of negative feedback for scaring people! Note that these don’t address all of our criteria.
  • Scarcity
    Human beings are hardwired to minimise loss and as such using a title that indicates that readers are already losing something, or that there is a limited amount of something available to them can be incredibly effective. My most effective example of this is probably Why Blogging is a Waste of Time because so many of the readers were already heavily involved in blogging.
  • Time sensitivity
    Time sensitivity is closely related to scarcity – if there is a limited amount of time available people will be more likely to act. My favorite example of this is from Glen who actually uses that phrase in the title Time Sensitive: How to Reach 100,000,000 Unique Visitors in Just 6 Months. If you don’t feel compelled to click this link you might actually need to see a doctor. Another big example from this week is the article Google Search is About to Make a Major Change.
  • Exclusivity
    Sticking to our biological needs, humans really love being part of something exclusive. We can see this awful ego in action all over the place with premium memberships; the clubs and groups you join when you buy a Porsche, for example. Even just hinting at something exclusive can be very powerful.
  • Fear and anxiety
    Marketing is normally about solving a need that someone has (although we could argue that these days marketers create artificial needs to sell us crap…). If you can incorporate a fear or anxiety into your title you’ll generate immediate interest. The title How a Single Guest Post May Have Gotten an Entire Site Penalized by Google does that extremely well because we’ve all done guest posts and we’re all kind of scared of that penalty. Note: Please only do this is you feel the fear is necessary and your post has some answers. Don’t just aim to scare people.
  • Extraordinary value
    Titles that communicate an extraordinary amount of value often do really well, especially if the article itself actually follow through with the promise. I tried to do this with a post called My 9,381-Word Guide on How to Start a Blog and Dominate Your Niche. It took a long time to write but the results have been pretty good. In my opinion Glen is the king of these types of titles with examples like How 3 Guys Made Over $10,000,000 Last Year Without a Single Backlink.

These are just some very basic examples. I’ll try to give you a few more tactics towards the end of the post in case you want to go deeper on how to work these motivations into your title and headline writing.

5. Keep your title in view and constantly tighten it

When I was in university someone told me to read the essay question every few minutes to stop myself going off track.

It was very good advice.

I like to keep my title in view and read it again and again as I type each paragraph. This helps me stay on track, but it also forces me to review the headline and tighten it up as the post evolves – which it always does.

On average I would say that my titles get re-written at least 20 to 40 times before I publish.

Sometimes the title will change because you realize that there is a better topic/angle for your overall blogging strategy, other times you just figure out better and better ways to say what you want.

The main iterations of this post’s title went:

How to Write A Blog Post Title
Why My Blog Post Titles Take Hours to Write
My Method of Writing Effective Blog Post Titles
How I Write Effective Blog Post Titles
Why Writing Blog Post Titles Can Take Hours
Why My Effective Titles Take Hours
How I Write Effective Post Titles (and Why it Can Take Hours)
How I Write Effective Titles (and Why it Takes Hours)

(Dear Google, I am not keyword-stuffing here. 😉 )

Each one of these variations also probably had two or three versions that I toyed with. Sometimes I will sit there and do this until I feel solid about it, other times I will revise the title as I write the article itself in order to get the whole entity flowing together.

6. Publish your post and tweak for different versions

Okay so this is where the “art” of title-writing starts to turn more into the “science” of title-writing.

Once you’ve finished writing the perfect blog post you hit publish and then start to take care of all the other versions of your post title that need to be addressed.

For example, the way your title appears on Google, Facebook, your blog itself, and your mail out can all be completely different if you so choose.

I touched on the mail out above with the iPhone sizing so let’s talk more about the appearance in the search engine rankings here.

With a plugin like All in One SEO Pack or Yoast’s WordPress SEO you can actually change the title of your posts so that they appear different in Google.

For example, here’s a result from Blog Tyrant:

search result

As you can see, the blog post title is too long and gets cut off. The tricky thing about this, however, is that the title length that Google shows will be longer depending on the key phrase that was searched. In the old days it was around 70 characters and so we could easily cater for that. Not anymore.

So it’s important to think carefully about the main key words you want to rank for an ensure you have a good appearance for that main target.


You can track all of this in Webmaster Tools and other SEO tools.

Here you can see a post where I’m getting a 46% click through rate from Google for the displays where I rank in the first position. This could be better but depends on lots of things like the type of search people are doing (how-to’s vs general info), the number of ads around it, etc.

One thing that’s good to note here is that you don’t want to change your title too much on Google (or anywhere else…) such that people get mislead when they arrive on your post and see the actual title. That will cause a big increase in your bounce rate.

If you want to test the effectiveness of your subject lines for mail outs it’s a good idea to segment your list and split test different versions and see whether you can get any meaningful results that you can learn from and replicate next time.

Some more tips for writing effective post titles

Now that I’ve kind of gone over my own process for writing effective titles, I thought it would be a good idea to give you a few miscellaneous tips and resources that I have found useful over the years.

In other words, here are some things that I couldn’t figure out how to fit into the main content:

  • Jon Morrow’s free eBook on writing headlines is probably the best resource on the internet for headline development. I regularly refer to it to “borrow” ideas. You’ll need to submit your email to get it.
  • Write a lot. There’s a story here that Brian Clark made Jon Morrow write 35,000 headlines in one year in order to help him become the best at it.
  • Copyblogger has an absolute boatload of headline material that you can get all in one place. Man I really hate these guys.
  • Find people to learn from. I regularly look at ViperChill and ViralNova to see whether they have any super-successful post titles that I can adapt to my own blogging formula.
  • Study your real results. Learn to look at your data and see what is getting the actual results that count. That could mean subscribers, sales or some other metric important to your blog. Once you know, copy those posts.
  • Be scientific. Tools like AWeber, VWO, etc. can help you use different testing methods to see what is working most effectively.

In the end, writing effective titles is just like any other skill that you want to develop – it takes study, practice and a lot of testing to get it right.

What is your most effective title?

I’m really kind of curious to see what kind of post titles the Tyrant Troops have come up with. If you know what your most effective title has been please write it out below in the comments. We might all learn a thing or two from your success!


Join in. The comments are closed after 30 days.
  1. Thanks for that. Just when I think I have got a grasp on things, I get more information that sends my mind exploding. I write titles and I am just starting to learn about google rankings and there is a wealth of information out there. When I write titles for my You Tube more so at the moment. I like to frame the title into a question. As I am new to all this and so tied up in other things, I have not even checked to see that maybe my titles are what are holding me back. I’ll just put that on my every growing list of things I must learn and practice.

    Wow you change your titles from 20 to 40 times, I best get working on practising my title.

    1. Yeah titles are super important on YouTube as well. Can make a massive difference.

  2. Hi Ramsey,

    Another great post with lot of things to learn. I have recently started working with Yoast plug-ins title feature mentioned by you. I think this is an awesome features as we can target both user and search engine at the same time with 2 different and the same time attractive titles.
    I am really enjoying and learning many tips related to blogging day by day.
    Thanks for another wonderful share. 🙂

    1. Yeah I really love that feature as well. It’s very important.

    2. I do the “two titles” bit a lot with mine – I’ll use one title that’s a bit more SEO friendly as the actual title, then something that’s a little more “Upworthy” viral-ly on my images that get shared on social media.

    3. I just created my webpage. Now I read your comment and I want to try Yoast too. Thanks for sharing, it’ll help me a lot!

      1. No worries!

  3. How I Write Effective Post Titles (and Why it Takes Hours) | Digital Marketing Blog on April 20, 2015

    […] (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Source link […]

  4. Great post! I try to get good creative title ideas from sites like ViralNova or BuzzFeed that can go with my niche or topic. Sometimes from BlogTyrant too lol

    1. Ha ha. Stick to ViraNova I think.

    2. I’ve done that with BT, too. Took the title idea and worked it to my blog post topic…or it helped me discover an article idea!

      1. I do this with ViperChill.

    3. Joana Liberato on March 19, 2017

      BuzzFeed is great to get ideas!!!

      1. True!

  5. Diana Marinova on April 20, 2015

    Interesting read, Ramsay. But changing your headlines 20 to 40 times? That’s insane! Mine undergo up to five changes, rarely up to ten but never so many times…

    One thing I have noticed on your blog is that your titles are usually super long – in your opinion, does this play a role into Google and readers liking them more?

    I have found out that three types of headlines work best for me:
    1) if there’s a question (the answer to which is in the post)
    2) a statement of some kind that is on a controversial topic or issue
    3) list type of headlines (X reasons why to do something, Y steps to doing something, Z ways to do something, etc.)

    Adding to my to-do list to revisit my stats and see if/how I can further improve my headlines, thanks for the great food for thought 🙂


    1. The length is defo something that I experiment with. It’s not always good and I usually end up tweaking them for search engines. Some of the shorter email subject lines have worked well, and there’s always Barack Obama’s classic email title “Hey” that was their most successful ever.

      1. Ramsay, didn’t you once have an email subject along the lines of “Goodbye?” Any time a reader sees a site as a favorite resource and believes it might go away, it gets their attention. Not that any of us should do that…

        1. Yep, mentioned that on in the post. Goodbye old friend… was a pretty big one. I actually didn’t fully think it through and hadn’t thought that maybe people would think BT was closing down.

  6. Philip Kleudgen on April 20, 2015

    Hey Ramsay,

    nice tips here. I’m currently training to write better headlines also. One thing I noticed is that any kind of numbers included do very well.

    So maybe you could have pushed this title even further by using something like

    10 Insides How I Write Effective Post Titles (and Why it Takes Hours)

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m sometimes not brave enough to do the really full on titles, I think.

  7. G’day Ramsay,

    Great post here. Really thorough. I particularly liked checking how the title looks on smartphones. I know for a fact that I check most of my emails first on my phone before my PC, so that’s pretty important.

    1. Thanks mate. I knew there were some of you out there reading on mobile!

  8. Ceci Flanagan-Snow on April 20, 2015

    Excellent (and well timed for me) article. It’s easy to become complacent about one’s blog and emails. I now feel prodded to do more and pay more attention to it.

    I do my own blog plus I do a bi-weekly newsletter for an NPO and getting the NPO’s members to open the newsletter has always been a challenge.

    Ceci (from Canada)

    1. Hope it helps!

  9. Sarah Beeson on April 20, 2015

    Awesome advice as always! I can’t remember where I saw it, but someone (really helpful I know!), uses Twitter to test out their blog titles. Tweeting the title with a question and seeing what engagement/response they get! I’ve only 400 followers so haven’t tried it myself yet as my reach is quite low, but I really like the idea…has anyone tried anything like that? =)

    1. That is a really interesting idea. I think I might have to test this one out.

    2. Great idea! (why didn’t I ever think of that?)

  10. Great post (and title). I may need to spend more time working on my titles as I thought the 10-15 iterations I went through were a lot!

    I have found that numbers are good but sometimes they do not work great for converting readers into subscribers. My theory is when people see numbers in the headline they are expecting a list post and therefore tend to skim your content.

    With that said, a post title that has done great for me has been: “11 reasons your blog could fail”


    1. Interesting. I usually have pretty good results with the number posts – especially if they are really different and bigger like my 41 Tips that Put 10,000 Subscribers on My Mailing List.

  11. Hi Ramsay, mine’s “7 great recipes for couples’ night in that are ready in 15 minutes or less”, inspired by BuzzFeed.

    1. That is a sweet title!

    2. I’ll hazard a guess that each goes like this….”bottle of wine and the guy does the cooking for a change.”

      Smart Married Man

  12. Hello Ramsay,

    I’m fairly new to this whole blog thing, it’s something that helps distance me from the stresses in my life. Although I preach against avoidance! Anyways, I thought the article was most helpful as always and highlights the importance of getting the balance between SEO and a captivating headline. Something I can struggle infinitely with! I have been reading your site for sometime now and have found some great advice and guidance. I’d be happy with a small community of committed readers each month to make it all worth my while. Just a little more exposure lol. But I must admit the enjoyment from writing is enough. Looking forward to more great tips!!

    First time commenter, Paul

    1. Glad you’re enjoying it around here! Thanks for leaving a comment.

  13. David N Johnson on April 20, 2015

    My two best were “Why relationships are more important than ROI” and “How to know if your a social border or a social networker”

    1. Nice!

      1. David N Johnson on April 20, 2015

        That’s supposed to be hoarder not border! Haha

  14. The most important part of title crafting is knowing your audience. I have old post titles I’m embarrassed to mention because they were NOT EVEN CLOSE to what my readers would find attractive.

    The title that STILL draws the most readers for me has been number 1 or 2 in the Google SERP’s for YEARS. The only post that outranks is another I wrote on the same topic. Here’s the thing, it’s found when people search for a massively popular TWO-WORD combination.

    Without divulging the title (you know how competition goes), I can explain it like this:

    [The two keywords]: [Something to the effect of ‘The x-number areas of focus’].

    It’s a how-to post that weighs in over 1,200 words.

    Half of my audience is at the rookie level of my niche and are seeking 101-level how-to articles. Many others want to improve their overall skills, so I’ve got an article that identifies a COMMON PROBLEM AREA and how to fix/improve it. This type of title continues to be popular with my readers.

    1. LOVE it!

  15. Wow Ramsay, you just kicked my old ‘Writing for The Web’ courses’ butt! I remember our whole college class struggling to write catchy titles which is hard enough, but add to that SEO, long tail keywords, length for mobile… yikes. Writing titles is a really hard skill to master, worth it’s weight in gold to a blog. Thank you for giving me such a terrific article on this subject.
    PS – have you considered adding a ‘donation’ box to your blog? Hint hint.

    1. Thanks so much. That kind of feedback really makes the writing process worthwhile.

      No, no donation box here. A simple tweet or share is enough for me! Thanks again.

  16. I noticed in the email you sent out to your list, the word “Post” was missing in the title; the subject line and link of your email were “How I write effective titles (and why it takes hours).”

    Any specific reason for making the title in the email shorter?

    1. It was a keyword that I wanted for Google, but assumed that the people on my list would probably know what I meant. But you’re right, I did want to make it a bit shorter for the email format.

  17. Renard Moreau on April 20, 2015

    [ Smiles ] I can relate to this.

    The titles for my posts actually takes longer to create than my actual posts.

    1. Ha ha.

  18. “Want More Traffic From Pinterest? Stop Pinning Images That Suck” did really well for me last week, and got a bunch of repins. It’s probably the fastest I ever had a blog post take off.

    I love that ebook from Jon Morrow and steal from it all the time too – funnily enough, I stole my “sucks” headline idea from his post on Copyblogger, “20 Warning Signs That Your Content Sucks”.

    The Buffer Blog has an outstanding post with 30 headline formulas; when I’m stuck, I’ll often go through it and write one headline using each formula until something clicks.

    1. Oh I hadn’t thought about them. Nice suggestion. Thanks.

  19. There is so much psychiatry that goes into building a successful blog. After reading this post and several of your others, it makes me wonder if I need a psych or sociology degree to have a successful blog.
    Good info per usual……

    1. I sometimes think about that. I do read a lot about it. Although I think the main thing is to keep testing and tweaking.

  20. Thank you Ramsay. I’m just starting my blog and working really, really hard to build a lot of traction. I actually try to model my blog posts after your “How to Write the Perfect Blog Post”.

    I literally copied it into a Word document and model my posts (fitness niche, not blogging/IM) after that one. I pay close attention to your intro, sentence/paragraph length, sub-headings, bullet points, font size, and overall post length (I shoot for 2000 words)

    You’ve been extremely helpful and I just wanted to thank you.

    As for headlines, I like to use the following tips:

    *Use a number, preferably odd (Neil Patel talks about this)
    *Use the term “how to”
    *Make the headline personal somehow using “I” or “My” (my guess is that people want to know how YOU solved a problem or accomplished a goal that they’re struggling with)
    *Inject emotion
    *Use a parenthesis, or semi-colon, or dash to offer a hidden or unexpected benefit
    *A big promise (again, something that SHOULD solve a problem or help accomplish a goal)

    Here’s a great example that I had to click on in my niche:

    “How to Get Ripped (and hate your life) in 10 Minutes or Less”

    It includes emotion (within a parenthesis), a number, and the term “how to”.

    It’s a great, great headline.

    Anyway, thanks for everything. I used to focus on low-level SEO, but now I’m following your blogging advice and trying to write something worthwhile that people want to share.


    1. Hey Raza. Thanks so much for that feedback. Have you been getting good results using that formula? I’m really happy you like it.

  21. Ramsay,

    Great advice as always. I am just starting out so still experimenting with different titles and what works best with my future audience. I really liked all the suggestions that you provided in this post and the actionable advice.

    In a recent episode of the Fizzle podcast, they talked about that you can also test your blog post titles on social media. The example that they used is Yik Yak as it anonymous as you are therefore not able to leverage your authority. Of course, this depends on also on your target audience and the kind of social media they use. Anyway, I like the idea so I thought I share here.

    Thank you for all the great work!


    1. That is a really cool idea… thanks for sharing.

  22. Catchy titles may get clicks, which I know is the purpose, but I get so turned off these days by titles which promise intrigue or a solution to my problem and then it’s just basic, common sense stuff; it sometimes gives me negative feelings toward sites, especially when you see affiliate links.

    1. Hi Sherrie.

      I actually worry about this a lot. I try really hard to not mislead readers, but at the same time I do focus a lot on basic content.

      Thanks for bringing it up – it’s a good reminder.

  23. I try to put something tangible in the title. Do you worry about the paradox of choice with so many options?

    1. Sometimes it’s tough when you’ve written an amazing post and you don’t want the title to ruin it. But I think you just gotta go for it and keep testing.

  24. Michael D Gorman on April 21, 2015

    I think Gary Halburt said that titles are the secret to good copy – how many times have you read an article on the strength of the title, even if the article itself did not turn out to be so hot?
    I can understand it, I strive to be relevant but controversial if possible, bland and safe never gets any votes 🙂

    1. Very true.

  25. Ryan Biddulph on April 22, 2015

    Hi Ramsay,

    It’s funny how sticking with what works, works lol. Like CopyBlogger and Jon Morrow, these blogs/guys know what’s up. Work off of their blueprint to snag ideas and add your twist – from personal experience, etc – and you will pull in readers by the boatload.

    One strange idea that evaded me for years, was this: I didn’t realize that it makes little sense to spend 2 hours to write a post, and 30 seconds to pick a title. When I changed that ratio a bit and spent minutes, then longer, picking blog titles, more people clicked on my links and I saw greater traffic, and sales, and my presence expanded.

    EXCELLENT tips Ramsay!!!

    Tweeting and Pinning.


    1. Thanks mate. Yeah, I agree with that. Took me a while to realize that it was the title that was the block to a great post getting picked up properly.

  26. Hi again,
    Every time I read your posts, I start anew and think I can do this blogging, I write two or three articles and then go on with life again. Then one day, I read my e-mails, get another great post from you and write again for a while…….. and so it continues. (what I actually want to say is you inspire me!)
    But, I do have a question, I’ve been working though many posts and W3 school articles and almost everything I can fit into one day, but still can’t get this FOCUS KEYWORD and SEO TITLE thing.
    When you use your awesome post titles, how do you know what is the focus keyword and seo title?
    I know this may be a “dumb” question, but I am still struggling with it, if you have written a post about it, or are going to, please let me know where to go look!
    Thanks, be blessed

    1. One thing you can do is to use Google Traffic Estimator and target the highest traffic keywords with the lowest competition.

  27. Hi Ramsay,

    Great article . I’m totally going to use the formulas to create titles! Thank you for a wonderful resource!

    1. Glad it helped!

  28. Niladri Chatterjee on April 26, 2015

    A really helpful guide. Thanks Ramsay. Usually I use some catchy words like Ultimate, Killer etc. Those words prove to be really effective. However, shocky titles always draw a huge attention from anywhere in the social media.

    1. As long as it doesn’t trick people I think it’s okay.

  29. Infinite Loop Designs on April 29, 2015

    Good insights on this article. Thanks for the knowledge!

  30. Hello Ramsey,

    Thanks for posting this excellent structured approach to writing blog titles. One thing I find that titles with fear and anxiety tend to do better for us in the search results compared to other forms of approaches you have mentioned. The number approach for example 19 ideas to … etc. also is a good strategy both for content and blog title writing.

    Rahul K.

    1. Yeah, but, as I said above, it’s important not to scare people for the sake of it. Perhaps on important articles about climate change or crime, but not just for making money. I try not to anyway.

  31. Peter Ewin Hall on April 30, 2015

    Defintely been doing boring titles. Just broken free with “Ditch the Big Dream” for shock value.
    I’ll let you know if it works!

    1. Hope it helped!

  32. Follow Them 04.19.15 – Follow Us Follow Them on May 3, 2015

    […] Ramsay shares his advice on writing effective post titles. […]

  33. David Boozer on March 15, 2017

    Awesome Ramsay. I am still reading it, but I love this. There are many different ideas floating around out here about creating titles and headlines, but this one so far, is simple, to the point, and makes a lot more sense, thanks.

    1. Glad you liked it!

  34. Lisa Frideborg on March 15, 2017

    Hi Ramsay, Ha, I do this too – I change the title between 3-7 times on average once I start writing! You’re still way ahead of me though 😉 I often refer to Jon Morrow’s PDF and I’m glad to see that included in the list of resources. I think this is such a great post that I shared it with my Tarot blogging community. My most captivating title is rather long: List of Yes / No Tarot Card Meanings for Love & Romance Questions (I get around 300 hits a day on this post). Best, Lisa

    1. Jon is a legend! No doubt about it.

  35. clickworthy titles…. so often overlooked, but a major major important factor these days.

    Really like the title used by kelly mentioned above – Great stuff and certainly tons of actionable points in this post, thanks!

    1. Agreed!

  36. Robin Khokhar on March 15, 2017

    Hi Ramsay,
    Blog Title play an important role, So I will consider this post to be on of the much needed one to be read by each and every blogger.
    Keep up the Good work.
    And have a good day ahead.

    1. Hope it helps!

  37. My top 20 most popular articles (most visitors per month) are 40% posts that start with “How to.” After that, it’s topics that are very popular in my niche. Common problem areas, that sort of thing. I also have one in the top 5 that’s “the Ultimate guide.”

    Years ago, the popular thing was to write stuff using Hollywood names like, “Polish Your Car to Shine Just Like Bruce Willis’s Head.”

    I tried it once. I even Photoshoped an image…worth seeing what I did here (try not to laugh):

    Oh…laugh way! That was the first and last time I tried that.

    1. Ha ha. That’s good.

  38. James Bogash, DC on March 15, 2017

    It’s never that easy. I can come up with creative titles that are fun (Is Your Thyroid Worried about Bursting into Flames? an article about flame retardants and thyroid function) but it’s worthless without a large platform. So I have to choose between an SEO title or an engaging one–rarely do the two coincide.
    In other words, I don’t have enough readers to relying ONLY on them to read my content–I have to make sure that there might be some SEO stuff happening.
    And further–do I want my email titles to be engaging, or do I want people to know they are coming from me? Again–usually can’t fit in both.

    1. Good point but one saving grace is that your email title and Google title can be different to the post title, which contains the keywords. This can be done with Yoast or All in One SEO.

  39. Ahmad Imran on March 16, 2017

    Ramsay, great post, straight to my Buffer list for a share plus will perhaps go to my email subscribers as well at some stage.

    One observation about the title lengths, there are many articles and some coming reputable sources as well saying that it is best to keep the title length within certain character-length so they are not chopped.

    What I have found is that longer titles are fine too and perhaps more engaging and result-oriented. Neil Patel’s articles normally have long titles as well. SO I am trialling that now. But you are right that the front part of the title perhaps carry more weightage.

    Cheers and have a nice weekend ahead.

    1. Sharing with your mailing list is a huge compliment. I appreciate even the idea of it. Thank you.

  40. Donna Galanti on March 16, 2017

    I honestly never thought of changing my blog title once published but I like the idea of testing it out to see what brings the biggest draw. I am working on testing out the long title vs. short with the power words in the front. Great article!

    1. Let me know if you do any tests.

  41. Hi Ramsay,

    What a great post! I struggle with blog titles and I am worried that it may be the reason some of my subscribers aren’t opening my posts. I feel limited in what I can title my posts since my blog is fashion related. I never thought about the title being different in e-mail, such a great point.

    1. It might be interesting to test a weekly round up email.

  42. Ellis Derkx on March 16, 2017

    Hi Ramsay,

    First of all, thank you so much for this blog. It´s amazing how much you can help others this way and for me something defenitely needed since I´m a completely new blogging girl 🙂

    I have a question, not specifically related to this post, but I´m pretty sure you can answer this one. Do you know how it works with adding you tube videos to your BLOG? Is this legal and can you just add any video? I read different stories about this and I don´t want to use a video without having the permission.

    I´m working at the free platform blogspot right now, but am in the process of swopping to either Siteground or Bluehost. Do you know anything about Siteground?

    Thank you so much for your help and for making this available to the world!

    1. The videos thing is tricky but usually a YouTuber will select a permissions and privacy option when they upload that lets you know whether it can be embedded or not. But it’s not all clear cut, for sure.

      As for hosting, I’m a partner of BlueHost and you get a discount if you sign up through one of my links. I’ve never used Siteground so can’t really comment, but BlueHost is where I first got started and I do recommend them.

      1. Ellis Derkx on March 16, 2017

        Great, that helps me a lot!! Thank you so much! Happy blogging 🙂

        1. Welcome!

  43. Hi Ramsay, before I ask my dumb question I must admit first that it is early in the morning here right now and I just scanned everything and even the comments so please forgive me if there is anything here that answers my question.
    Since I started blogging I have been struggling with this question and in all posts I read about headlines I try to find the answer but never do.
    How does my keyword and title come together? If I go for a longtail keyword, must it be exactly the same in my title too?

    1. It’s always a bit of a trade off between good keyword placement and not making your title sound like a robot wrote it. I always just try and include the root keyword in at the start or the end of the title. If I’m going for longtail it usually works in pretty naturally. If you have an example of something you had trouble with I’d be happy to take a look.

      1. Thank you Ramsay. I think I’m starting to get it now. I went through almost all the links in this post and dedicated my time to really understand how keywords and titles come together.
        So eureka, I think I’ve got it 😉
        Thanks again
        see you in your next post

  44. Hassaan Khan on March 19, 2017

    Hi, Ramsay!

    I also look at my blog post title while writing the blog post. I’m glad to find out that you do the same. It’s a very useful blog post for bloggers.


    1. Agreed!

  45. Sandra Geddes on March 20, 2017

    Hi! I’m new to blogging and a friend recommend your blog. I’m finding it really helpful so far, thank you!

  46. Matthias Haltenhof on March 26, 2017

    Thanks for another good post!

    Just one thing: In the graphic you mention 70 chars, which is not the case anymore as you wrote. I always recommended 54 chars, which will work 95 % of the time.

    Keep it up!


    1. Oh yeah good pick up! That needs some updating!

  47. Agencia de marketing digital e criação de sites em BH on March 27, 2017

    Excelente content, thank you bro

  48. I have wanted to read this article for a while and I am so glad that I did! Titles are really tricky for me so this is a great resource. It also makes me feel better knowing that you also rewrite your titles constantly. Loved the trick about changing titles on old blog posts, some of mine really need that.

    1. Hope it helps!

  49. Leila Dorari on March 29, 2017

    Great post Ramsay, thanks for the inspiration! Now I have a new goal for this year – writing 35,000 blog post titles by December 31 🙂 So long now, I got writing to do…

    1. Ha ha. Please don’t do that. But if you do, please do a time lapse video and send it to me.

  50. Thanks so much Ramsay for all your well thought out advice. I’ve been dutifully following along and have stated my own blog using many of your tips. I have been revising my working titles multiple times before I decide on a title which is catchy without being too clickbait.

    1. Really glad you enjoyed it.

  51. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme oof this
    website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lott of times it’s challenging to
    get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and appearance.

    I must say you’ve done a very good job with this.
    In addition, the blog loads extremely quick for me on Internet explorer.
    Excellent Blog!

  52. Oh yes!!!

    This is a great article for me.
    I am searching such type of post for learning about generating effective titles for my blog posts.

    Thanks for this article.

  53. Swapnil Kharche on April 14, 2017

    Hello Ramsay,

    Day by day I am learning too much about blogging and SEO from your blog. This gives me too learning confidence about how to stay stable in blogging industry.

    Indeed, effective blog title plays the major role in Google SERP. A good headline maybe can’t fix poorly written content, but you don’t want to drive people away from excellent content either by writing a subpar headline.

    Such a great post. Thanks for Sharing.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

BlogTyrant on Tablet and Mobile
Free Ebook Guide
Ultimate Blogging Toolkit + Bonuses

Join our 20,000+ email subscribers for blog updates and get instant access to a 10,000-word guide on how to start a blog and build a sustainable business using keyword research, Google traffic, and a lot of tested strategies. Let us help you build a blog to support your family's income and help the community while you're at it!