The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

14 May 2007

The oncoming title waive

Terry Hull asks: "Do Your Headlines Draw Readers In Or Drive Them Away?"

No, really:

Many bloggers labor to write an intelligent, well-crafted article, only to top it off with an awful headline. If you wrote a book, would you spend only a few seconds developing the title? Likewise, if you have spent several minutes or more writing a good blog post, take a little extra time to give it a decent headline. A headline that says something. A headline that draws the reader in. A headline that tells your prospective visitor what your article is about and why he should take the time to read it.

Sometimes I have a title, and sometimes I have an article, and once in a very blue moon I have both at the very same time. And I don't deny that there have been times that I wrote an article only because I had a title. (I blame this on the Beatles, who, after their first album was completed, recorded LPs and singles as wholly separate units, though you'd never know it by looking at their US releases.)

Anyway, here's a list of memorable titles from last year. Decide for yourself if I'm in the wrong business.

Posted at 10:48 AM to Blogorrhea

You are, without question, King of the Post Title.

You are, therefore, a Titled post titler.

Which is pretty cool, all told.

Posted by: Jennifer at 12:59 PM on 14 May 2007

Chaz, Without a doubt, you write the best titles for posts of any blogger I have ever read. Hands down. No question.

Posted by: MikeSwi... at 1:21 PM on 14 May 2007

Charles, your headline-writing skill is universally heralded. I can truthfully say that I had specifically you in mind when I wrote in my aforementioned piece:

There are marvelous headlines that are inscrutable and yet so exquisite – so creative, intriguing or provocative – that one glance and the reader cannot turn away. And there are some bloggers who are so popular, whose devoted followers hang on to every pixel they post, that the headlines just don’t matter. But if you are among the 99.8% of us who are neither celebrity bloggers nor headline-writing wizards, then at least give us a headline that signposts what you have written.

On your list of your own headlines, I particularly like: “I shot the serifs" (for a post denigrating the Comic Sans font), "Everybody was feng shui fighting" (for a piece that mentions numerology, which lives next door to feng shui), "Oh, the manatee,” and "Mi casserole es su casserole” (for a post about casseroles in Minnesota, not Mexico, but who’s counting).

Regarding my recommendation that bloggers give us simple, straightforward blog headlines, you are the exception that proves the rule. Most bloggers who might attempt to imitate your wit, broad range of musical and literary references, and ever-ready pun-in-cheek are likely to come up way short. For those of us in that 99.8%, I still recommend: just give us a headline that tells us what your post is about. Meanwhile, Charles, we all hope that you will continue to serve up uniquely Dustbury titles.

Posted by: Terry Hull at 2:28 PM on 14 May 2007

Yet somehow that asshat Wittgenstein gets away with "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus".

Where's the justice?

Posted by: Adam at 1:01 AM on 15 May 2007

Wittgenstein? A beery swine. Sloshed, even.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:08 AM on 15 May 2007