Hi there reader. Welcome (back).
In this post I want to talk about the title of a blog post.
I’ve been reading a lot of stuff on the Internet that states (ad nauseum) that the blog post title has to be catchy, compelling & with a “sense of urgency“. Otherwise you might as well not write a post at all. They also state that having numbers in the title is a winner. (For example, I bet the “5 ways..” in the title of this blog was a like magnet…and, I have to apologise, I used it just for that reason.)
(Note – I updated the title to include the word “STUPENDOUSLY” as an example a ludicrous use of hyperbole in a blog post title.)
I find a lot of these techniques to be a bit “dishonest”. Oh sure, a lot of the blogs posts that have titles that have a number in them (“6 incredible ways to increase your readership”, or “15 secrets that we will never tell you”) do tend to deliver, but I hate the fact that this technique has to be used.
Personally, I don’t write my blog posts to be read. I know, that sounds weird. Certainly, if I get people actually taking the time to read it, then that is fantastic, but it is not the reason I write.
I write to get my own thoughts about technology and related subjects “on paper”. I helps me know what I know.
If you look at a thesis written for a PhD, do they ever have a number in them that is intended to draw in the reader? (For example, should a thesis titled “Constraining Global Biogenic Emissions and Exploring Source Contributions to Tropospheric Ozone: Modeling Applications” be better off as “12 Ways to Show how CO2 contributes to Ozone“? Sure, it’s a simple title that tells you, more or less, what’s it’s about. You do get the feeling of “Wow – I’m going to read that to find out what these 12 ways are”, but it sort of lowers the expectation of the thesis.
Now, I’m not saying that blog posts should have such lengthy titles, (for an example of a model for creating such titles, see the comic at the end of this post), but I just want to point out that some blog posts are written to merely “capture” something – a person’s opinion, or a their understanding of something, or to provide knowledge on something. They don’t necessarily have to be read by fifty thousand people within 6 hours of being published. Instead they are available for future discovery (for example, a person may do a search using one of their favourite search engines), or are shared by a small (global) group of people with an interest in that particular subject (a “community of interest”).
Having said that, a good title does help explain what the post is about, (and I intend to go back over my previous posts to make them a little bit more helpful.)
And here’s that comic I mentioned…
Click on the image to see more great “PhD” comics