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Mistake #1 Descriptive

When you were in school, your teacher probably taught you the purpose of a title was to describe your writing. Your teacher was wrong. Descriptive titles are boring. The purpose of a title is to tell readers why they should bother to read your article.

The Internet uses tags and categories to describe content. Don’t waste title space describing content too. People do need to know what they are clicking on. So, describe the value of your content. This is a subtle difference that changes everything.

  • Bad Title: Baby Boomers & Social Security
  • Better Title: Why Baby Boomers Don’t Deserve Social Security
  • Best Title: You tell me by leaving a comment

Mistake #2 Lack of Focus

Many titles give you no clear idea what the blog is about. While the titles avoid describing the content they also avoid describing the value of the content.

Burst Blog has a good list of unfocused titles and how to make them better:

  • Bad: “Breaking News”
  • Good: “Iowa Caucus: Prognostications, Results and Breaking News“
  • Bad: “Month/Year in Review”
  • Good: “Year in Review: Best Homebuilding Products of 2007″
  • Bad: “Weekly Book Review”
  • Good: “Book Review: How The Dead Dream by Lydia Millet”

Mistake #3 Too Clever

So someone sends out a Tweet that says “Who’s Your Daddy (link)”. Are you going to click that? Maybe. But  you have no idea why you should bother to read the post. Clever is good. Too clever is fail.

  • Bad Title: Who’s Your Daddy
  • Better Title: Is Satan Your Daddy?
  • Best Title: You tell me by leaving a comment

Mistake #4 Generic

Generic titles are like clever titles but without the clever. Giving a post the title “Follow Me” will not get anyone to click.

  • Bad Title: Follow Me
  • Better Title: How I’m Going to Change the World & Why You Should Help
  • Best Title: You tell me! Leaving a comment.

Mistake #5 Cliche

If other people are using the title don’t use it too. Even if it’s The Greatest Title Ever, if you’ve already seen, it so has everyone else. You’re an author, you can think up something original.

  • Bad Title: Shock & Awe
  • Better Title: 5 Things that Shocked me senseless
  • Best Title: You tell me! Leave a comment below.

If you want ideas on how to write titles that will draw people in check out our post on Magnetic Blog Titles.

What do you think?

What makes a blog title bad? What do you think would be better titles for the examples above? If the title is too vague, feel free to come up with your own content.

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