This first impression: Considerations for the title

This first impression: Considerations for the title

While it’s certainly not as much work as crafting the body of a superb article, choosing a title for a piece is definitely an important element of the entire content creation process. An article title is a versatile web tool, providing opportunities to engage the reader and the search engine in equal measure. Thinking about the title and how best to use its effects will help the title selection provide a solid return on investment rather than unnecessarily burdening an otherwise good project.

Making a pun

The need for a good title is pretty obvious if one is playing a small game. Borrowed from Christopher Hitchens’ autobiography, Hitch 22, the game basically goes like this: pick a popular movie title and change it ever so slightly to get a “title that didn’t make it” – Quiet of the Lambs, American Pastry, Mister Zhivago, American Samurai and all the others demonstrate the importance of doing things right. A small change can remove the value of a good pun or funny turn of phrase in favor of something more pointless and nonsensical.

To that end, try to put some thought into the title. Reference to popular works – for example, a comparison piece does not go wrong by referring to “A Tale of Two…” Alternatively, the title can refer to a key quote or phrase in the body of the text itself. Don’t ignore something that seems to work, but double-check creative headline ideas against someone else’s opinion just to be sure.

Words are key

The title is an important part of the search engine optimization process. Keyword spiders and algorithms often look at the first words in an article, and the title is no exception. Including your main keyword in your title will consistently help return better results in internet searches.

However, this comes with special caveats: Some keywords, especially keyword phrases, are long and unwieldy and can detract from the aesthetics of the title. If the key phrase in question is “how to brew your own beer,” that’s one thing. It can be cleverly prefaced with how to brew your own beer as a sub-heading or addition to the main line. On the other hand, the keywords might be “Legal Advice, Car Accident”, which is harder to work into a clever headline. Experiment with a few approaches and consider putting just a few of the keywords in the title or breaking them into a new sentence.

Another trick is where to put the title. In many blog posts, the title will have its own section. However, consider also placing the title and its keywords in the body of the paragraph itself. Some search engines ignore individual title fields and focus on the content of the article itself, so this can help the writer not miss out on a good keyword return.

Brief please

Especially in the academic world, the titles of articles and papers tend to be long and quite dense. “Analysis of the Savior Archetype in Modern English Literature” certainly tells us what the article is about, but it could also easily be summarized as “The Savior in Modern Literature” and lose none of its statement of intent.

Also, keyword optimization becomes less effective the further one goes into the document, and this includes the size of the title. The right keyword effect opts for shorter, more effective use of titles, so avoid the temptation to put the entire subject in the title line. Choose simpler, shorter word choices that allow the important information to be expressed without going on and on.

Hyphenated titles are very popular for this reason. A single word can capture the intent of the message, such as “Delivered,” and then be followed by keywords. If we take an example from the news, maybe the keywords are “WikiLeaks” and “PayPal”. Then the headline could be “Betrayed – WikiLeaks Banned by PayPal”.

To joke or not to joke

Not every light-hearted article responds well to a joke headline. People are strangely picky and picky about when they’ll accept humor, and using puns in a title is a risky bet. Yet it undoubtedly works – consider the example of the Focker film trilogy starring Ben Stiller.

Obviously, if the article is a serious piece, puns should be avoided unless done in the spirit of dark humor. Serious work requires a serious title.

However, an important rule of thumb is to be very cautious about industries or groups in jokes. Consider who the article is intended for. If it is aimed at a wider public audience, such as a newsletter or advertisement designed to attract people to a site for discussion or purchase, then an excellent inside joke would be out of place. Not everyone understands jargon, so it has to be limited. On the other hand, a custom letter created specifically for plumbing professionals can easily get away with plumbing jokes and other internally recognized puns. As with any online endeavor, the goal is obviously to keep your audience in mind first and foremost when choosing a title, rather than just hoping they “get” it.

#impression #Considerations #title

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *