What do your blog post titles say about you?

First of all, I want to say that if don't have Deb Ng in your reader, PUT HER IN NOW. She is a leading US blogger and she talks 100% good sense about the world of blogging, why we do it, and how to do it better.

Recently she blogged about Headline v Content: Does the Carpet Match the Drapes? As we all know, a good title is important when writing a post. But there's also the question of getting your title to match with your post. We've all clicked through, enticed by a juicy title tease only to get the cold shower of a blah post, or one that's on a different topic.

Deb asks which comes first: the great title or the incisive post? I know from working in the magazine business in New York, often a grabby coverline is the beginning of many a feature story. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's like saying "I'd like to read about that" then you go and find the story, develop your opinion and invite others to join in (that last one is the benefit with blogs as compared with magazine stories).

I'm working on a post right now that began with one small kernal and a title. It's taking more time to flesh out. But I'm more excited about it than some of my posts (is it a blogging sin to admit that?).

How about you? Do you write the post first, the title first, just slot in a title at the beginning then change it?

– Jennifer Howze (www.jenography.net)

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About Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze is the Creative Director and co-founder of BritMums. She blogs about family travel at Jenography.net, tweets at @JHowze and Instagrams at @JHowze. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel, CNN.com, Allure, SELF and Premiere, among others. She won The Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a health article in Seventeen magazine.

14 Comments

  1. 15 November 2010 / 08:08

    My approach differs. Sometimes I get an idea for a title and a post develops from that, other times I have a post but I’m scratching my head for a title for quite a while.
    Some posts are given titles to catch people’s attention – we’ve all done it.
    I think that I’ve done this less as my blog has got a little older. I find that linking to it with various tag lines on twitter is more effective than tweeting the same title over and over, however catchy it may be.
    Becca xx

  2. 15 November 2010 / 11:21

    Thank you for your kind words – and your perspective. My preference to write the headline after is only because I’m so disappointed in grabby headlines where the content doesn’t match the title at all. However, if your method works best for you, rock on! It’s all about good content and it doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you get there!

  3. 15 November 2010 / 11:41

    I think I stick something down initially, do the post and then go back and tweak till I feel happy with the title at which point I publish.
    I’m with Deb Ng though content has got to compliment your title.
    Michele x

  4. 15 November 2010 / 12:06

    I like the fact that it’s easy to change the titles but that the first one is the one that ends up in search and as the title on the url. Sometimes that’s a bummer, as usually I need a bit of a warm-up.

  5. 15 November 2010 / 12:15

    I always start with the blog post, and have great difficulty with good titles. A lot of my titles are I feel much more boring than the blog post itself unfortunately, which probably doesn’t encourage people to find out more, but my creativity doesn’t seem to extend to titles – not sure what I can do about that really.

  6. suburbia
    15 November 2010 / 12:45

    Always title last, in fact sometimes I forget to put one at all and then have to go back republish!

  7. 15 November 2010 / 21:11

    I always write the post and then agonise over the title…
    interestly my most read blog was entitled : the content of this blog may upset some readers!
    It is really hard to get an eye catching headline which reflects the blog content but presumably as your blog matures so will your readership so titles are not as important?

  8. 15 November 2010 / 23:12

    Interesting. I always write the blog entries first, and then the titles, which are either boringly straightforward or extremely obscure and frequently a joke with myself.
    I like the obscure ones better as it means I’ve had some inspiration and I like a weird headline in other people.
    There’s an element of desperation to it sometimes though and it doesn’t help that long ago I established the conceit of beginning every blog title with ‘On…’. I’m pretty sure I’ve used the same title more than once at least once too.
    Not sure it puts me off if I click over on the basis of a title, which I frequently do, and it wasn’t what I was expecting topicwise, although I agree it is a letdown if it’s not as interesting as I’d hoped.

  9. 17 November 2010 / 10:08

    I write a post, then strain my brain for a wacky title. Occasionally I manage to think of something if I’ve had sufficient caffeine.
    I think images are equally important to titles, as far as grabbing attention and gaining interest. And images usefully break up text for readers like me, who suffer from kid-induced-short-attention-span disorder.

  10. 18 November 2010 / 09:15

    Sometimes the title jumps out screaming ‘I’m here’. Then at other times the post is written & I will think about a catchy title. However, I am learning that you must not trick your readers. I know how annoying it is when I’ve been conned so I try to keep that in my mind as well!!

  11. 19 November 2010 / 11:04

    Oh I’m all about the headlines! Years of working in the newspaper industry does that to you.
    Many times I’ve clicked through on a post, read it and thought ‘I would have been here so much sooner and faster if it had a better headline’
    I find it best to say to yourself; What would make me read it; what would make me click through?
    This applies to any area of blogging (it’s my job to tell corporates how to write ‘magnetic headlines’ and believe you me, they really really really struggle!)

  12. 19 November 2010 / 16:55

    The problem is that it’s two different skills. Writing a good blog post is one thing, but coming up with a really catchy, appropriate or funny blog title is another completely and one I find much more challenging. I usually write the post then stare at the screen for ages. But this post has given me a great idea for the BMB discussion site…..

  13. 27 November 2010 / 21:04

    I hate thinking up titles with a passion! Usually I’ll stick something vague in the title field before I start, then I’ll write the post and hope inspiration comes to me in the meantime.
    When I first started blogging over 10 years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for authors to not bother with titles at all, especially in the teen blogging niche that I was part of. That was when blogging was a bit more like filling in a personal diary.

  14. 27 November 2010 / 21:06

    I hate thinking up titles with a passion! Usually I’ll stick something vague in the title field before I start, then I’ll write the post and hope inspiration comes to me in the meantime.
    When I first started blogging over 10 years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for authors to not bother with titles at all, especially in the teen blogging niche that I was part of. That was when blogging was a bit more like filling in a personal diary.