Writing a better blog post

Last week, I was bouncing around the internet, and ran across some articles about writing better blog posts. The first thing I saw was an idea generator for blog posts. This made me think “if you don’t have an opinion or experience to share, why are you blogging in the first place?”

Next, I found some websites to analyze/improve headlines. Maybe this is an area where I could use some help. My headlines are usually on topic, but a bit dull: the word “review” followed by a short story or book title. Would more people visit my blog if I had headlines like “This book will knock your socks off!”?

I took the headline of my latest post, Pod People? What Pod People? to a headline analyzer at http://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer.

Apparently, my headline scores a 62 (presumably out of 100).

I received a B+ in “word balance”, with 20% common words, 40% uncommon words, and no emotional or power words. Apparently 40% of my words managed to fall into no category at all. You can see examples of what they consider emotional and power words here: http://coschedule.com/blog/how-to-write-the-best-headlines-that-will-increase-traffic/#word-balance. I don’t personally consider most of the “emotional” words emotional, and most of their power phrases would make me close a browser window.

Next, the site informs me that my headline is a question. I probably could have figured this out on my own, since the headline has not just one, but two question marks.

The site then tells me my headline is a bit short and could use more characters. I open up a thesaurus, and find that I can replace “Pod” with “Capsule”. Capsule People? What Capsule People? This only brings my score to a 63.

The site also tells me that six is the optimal number of words in a headline, as people only read the first three and last three words. Apparently, the linear reading method I learned as a child is all wrong. Now I want to get a job writing newspaper headlines, so I can insert nonsense words. I could change “President Obama Authorizes Airstrikes Against ISIS” to “President Obama Authorizes Tennis Ball Airstrikes Against ISIS.” It might get this guy’s attention:

No idea

The site goes on to advise me to include searchable keywords in my headline. Apparently I’ve used non-searchable keywords?

Finally, I’m told that my headline is neutral in sentiment, and that I need to aim for positive or negative emotions. “I hate those darn pod people” earns me a 64, while “I love those wonderful pod people” shoots me all the way up to 71. Sadly, I’m still only in B+ territory.

Should I consider changing my headlines? Instead of book titles, I could describe the emotions I experienced while reading. My next headline: “Floating down a river of despair, hoping for a waterfall.”

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11 comments

  1. I be suspicious of emotin’ titles.

    But I will run a few posts through the analyzer.

  2. Tajima Jenkins · · Reply

    I actively avoid clickbait headlines. They just annoy the crap out of me. And you’ll never guess why!

    1. Tajima Jenkins · · Reply

      Also, love the dog meme

  3. This is great! I chuckled a lot! “Capsule people”!! Wonderful, just great. Words, especially mine in this particular sleep-deprived mindset, cannot express what a kick I got out of that line. Thank you!

    I’ve been seeing quite a bit in my reader feed regarding headlines lately, and I learned a new term, “clickbait”. Ever hear of that? It’s what they call those headlines that you just can’t help but click. I get suckered into a lot of shoddy reads because of those clickbait headlines floating around Facebook. Like, I just HAVE to know 10 things about highways I never knew before. And the funny thing is, I already knew most if not all of those 10 things. The headline suggested that I didn’t know them, so of course I had to see if they were right.

    Maybe a good clickbait headline for a book review could go a bit like, “10 reasons you shouldn’t put this book down” or “5 things you need to know about x”.

    1. I’m guessing those clickbait headlines will go away soon, at least in their current form, as more people recognize them as signals of an uninteresting article. I really hate the ones that say “You won’t believe #9!”

  4. Good Post.. Liked it

  5. Oh no, you used unsearchable keywords…how on earth did I find you? I must have accidentally stumbled into an alternate dimension where there are people who care more about the quality of their content. 😉

    All the advice about headlines gives me a headache sometimes. I know the headline is important if you want new readers to be attracted to your post, but I’m not sure all the hair-pulling is worth it.

    And hey, I loved your pod people headline. 🙂

  6. I liked your pod post title. It drew me to read it. I’m not a blog that has thousands of viewers but you had my attention and “capsule people” would have done nothing for me. You scored on wit rather than searchable words …in my case at any rate.

  7. Lol – thanks for the (informative) chuckles 😀

  8. I’ve found some of those “how to be a better blogger” tips helpful, but when I follow them too strictly my writing feels so formulaic. It takes the fun out of it for me and, I suspect, my readers.

  9. Oh, the pleasure of a sardonic scepticism. NOW I know what a click bait means! Though I suppose I should re-title all my reviews for the sake of others. Maybe its time for the negative headline and deepest secrecy. ‘You will regret it’ ‘Don’t go there’ ‘Only crippled ex-nuns will understand’

    Enjoyed a fellow traveller mocking the norms.

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