SearchEngineLand has a good post on how to get more traffic to your blog: 25 Tips To Optimize Your Blog For Readers & Search Engines.
I want to expand on one point which deserves more attention: Have Descriptive Titles.
While describing the content is certainly a great start, you can achieve a lot more clicks simply by applying direct marketing theory to your headlines.
Direct marketers found that headlines were important – often the most important part of their campaigns. How do you write a headline that makes people feel compelled to click?
Here’s a test. Which headline do you think was more successful?
- Are you afraid of making mistakes in English?
- Do you make these mistakes in English?
The second headline produced far more inquiries and orders.
The second headline arouses a readers curiosity and self-interest.
Now let’s take a look at Digg. Often, the most successful stories appeal to self interest, arose curiosity, and provide news. Digg may be new, but these old theories hold true, as the top stories are often using traditional attention getting methods, whether the writers realize it or not.
Here are a few examples from the top Digg stories today:
- Why Steve Jobs didn’t mention Leopard & the Mac (Reader reaction: “Why! I want to know why!”)
- Who is planning the next war (Reader reaction: “Who! I want to know who!”)
- Paypal Doesn’t Want Slain Soldiers’ Families To Receive Aid (That headline is both news, and arouses curiosity as to “why”?)
- Public can purchase $100 laptop (Reader reaction “tell me how I get a cheap laptop?”)
….and so on. Pretty simple, eh.
When crafting a headline, try and fit it into one of the following categories:
- Self-interest. Offer something the reader wants.
If you can combine those three elements, your headlines will be even more compelling, and readers are more likely to click. When evaluating your headline, ask yourself – do I give news? Do I arouse curiosity? Do I offer something people want?
If you don’t do at least one of those things, the posts are less likely to be clicked.
If you want to read more on direct marketing theory, I suggest you grab a copy of “Tested Advertising Methods” by John Caples. My good friend Sophie recommended this to me a few years back. While it is getting a bit dated in places, a lot of the theory still holds true, and I find it works very well on PPC landing pages.