Now That's a Catchy Title!

Published in Marketing on Friday, July 8th, 2005

I like to think that I know about writing titles, how they are good for SEO and of course essential for getting a little click through love in either the search engines or your RSS readers. But the other day, it seems that I dropped the ball.

I've been around long enough to know that a catchy title is not only an essential component from the standpoint of having people visit your site, but it is also an essential element from the purposes of search engine optimization.

If you're not up to speed on the issue, have a read over at the Doctors House, as he has addressed the issue already.

Bad Title-age

So here's where I think that I may have dropped the ball. The other day, I made a post titled "Is Google up to Something?" (of course they are), and then later another one titled "A Google Toolbar for Firefox?".

Guess which one received more clickthrus according to Feedburner?

The more intriguing one, of course :-) Sure, they are both questions, but there is already a Google toolbar for Firefox, and I have a feeling people simply didn't click through on that title because they figured I was looking for something, as opposed to passing on the details of something that not many people had reported on yet (Google's official version of a toolbar for Firefox along with some other toys were released sometime yesterday.)

So perhaps the better title would have been "Google to release an official toolbar for Firefox?". That may have garnered some click-thrus. As it stands, "Is Google up to Something" received 255 click-thrus, while "A Google Toolbar for Firefox?" only received 30. I know that there may be other theories to why this differs so much, but I can't help but feel that I dropped the ball on the title.

Comments and Feedback

I didn't click through on either one, but that's mostly because Google is *always* up to something...I'm having a hard time keeping up.

Your last title *did* make me think you were looking for a toolbar, not informing us that one was released.

Ha, thanks Justin, that's what I thought (and yes, when I wrote the first title I thought the same thing - they are always up to something!).

Yep - I passed both, because Google is always introducing something new, and not alway something I can use.

Your new Google toolbar still wouldn't have grabbed me without saying what is special about the Official versus the one that already exists.

But in the long run, you will lose visitors. By the way, you surely know Nielsen's article on microcontent)?

Official Google Toolbar for Firefox - Spellchecker, Blogthis!, Search News and More!... Hmm, seems a bit long ;-)

Thanks for that link, Jens. I do not read Nielsen much these days, perhaps I should refresh...

This title was catchy enough for me. I came.

Strong titles also bring in the curious. I came in just because of the catchy title of this one.

Same here as Daniel, i click this because the catchy title is the catchy title.

I was also click on the google toolbar and leave a comment.
Well than i am one of the 30 guy who click on that not so catchy title.

I too think I'm smart when it comes to writing award winning headlines. Headline writing -and showing up in your titles- is obviously the most important thing one can do... but I think you've already established that.

Of course, it's always the dumb posts you put together in about 10 minutes and click the publish button at 1am that get the most hits. That is; of course, how it is in my case.

Home » Blog » Marketing

Check out the blog categories for older content

The latest from my personal website,

SiteUptime Web Site Monitoring Service

Sitepoint's web devlopment books have helped me out on many occasions both for finding a quick solution to a problem but also to level out my knowlegde in weaker areas (JavaScript, I'm looking at you!). I am recommending the following titles from my bookshelf:

The Principles Of Successful Freelancing

I started freelancing by diving in head first and getting on with it. Many years and a lot of experience later I was still able to take away some gems from this book, and there are plenty I wish I had thought of beforehand. If you are new to freelancing and have a lot of questions (or maybe don't know what questions to ask!) do yourself a favor and at least check out the sample chapters.

The Art & Science Of JavaScript

The author line-up for this book says it all. 7 excellent developers show you how to get your JavaScript coding up to speed with 7 chapters of great theory, code and examples. Metaprogramming with JavaScript (chapter 5 from Dan Webb) really helped me iron out some things I was missing about JavaScript. That said each chapter really helped me to develop my JavaScript skills beyond simple Ajax calls and html insertion with libs like JQuery.

The PHP Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks

Like the other books listed here, this provides a great reference for the PHP developer looking to have the right answers from the right people at their fingertips. I tend to pull this off the shelf when I need to delve into new territory and usually find a workable solution to keep development moving. This only needs to happen once and you recoup the price of the book in time saved from having to develop the solution or find the right pattern for getting the job done..