Monday, August 4, 2008

Do Blog Post Titles Matter?

I am conducting an [arguably unscientific] experiment to see how subtle title changes can greatly affect how much attention a blog post receives. While my experiment is still in process, I've actually seen enough to share my results.

On Tuesday July 22, I posted an article entitled:
"Product Management Tips for Listening and Sharing"

On Saturday August 1, I posted the same article using the title:
"10 Tips for Listening and Sharing on the Web"

The content of the posts were identical except for how I formatted the 10 bullets. In the first, I used regular bullets and in the second I used numbered bullets.

While the "10 Tips..." post has only been out for a couple of days, it has already generated 5 times the number of readers as the original post. This is impressive since I really tried to stack the deck against it. For example, I posted it on Saturday morning (weekends get the lowest number of readers), whereas the original post went out on a Tuesday (which typically generates the highest readership).

So, why the big difference?

Read 7 Reasons Why Numbered Blog Post Titles Work for some of the rationale.

I agree that numbered titles are more appealing. I also think the original title appealed to a more specific audience (i.e. product managers) whereas the "10 Tips..." title appeals to anyone interested in listening and sharing on the web.

Bottom-line: Titles do matter! So, if you're going to spend time creating a blog post or writing an article, devote a few extra cycles on creating a title that will grab the attention your effort deserves.

Interested In More Blogging Tips?


Matt Asay said...

5 reasons I agree with Shaun:

1. We are mindless sheep and like to be led.
2. We like allegedly pithy lists that will give us the 7 daily habits of highly successful readers.
3. I can't remember the other 3. (-:

I find it frustrating that often the best content draws the least traffic while anything related to Apple, Google, or Microsoft gets lots of traffic. Maybe we can't think beyond the lowest common denominator but I find it very frustrating.

Shaun Connolly said...

Well...those are some other reasons why. Yeah...well...ahem.

But seriously, your point re: "best content" is why a site like Digg, for instance, leaves me scratching my head. I've got a better chance of winning the lottery than getting onto the top page.

Anyhow thanks for your list of "5 reasons" why you agree with me.

Oh yeah...are you using the metric system or something? You count funny.