We all want more blog traffic, don’t we?

Well, follow these steps to improve your blog post titles and increase your blog traffic.

Why do we need to test?

Think about it – when a user is browsing on Google, seeing a link shared in on Facebook, Instagram, or even WhatsApp, the common appearance is twofold (threefold if you count the meta description, though this more-often-than-not ):

  • Post title: normally the meta title
  • Post image: the featured image

This is why the post title and the post image are the two most important parts of any blog post.

Remember, it doesn’t matter if you have the recipe for a cancer cure or a map of where to find the long lost city of Atlantis in your post, most people are evaluating whether to click on and read your post by your title and image alone. This is why it is important to test your blog post titles.

The focus of this post is to give you two tricks that you can use to improve your blog images to make them more clickable, and therefore to attract more traffic. Of course, you still need to write engaging content, but that issue is not addressed in this post.

A quick note about open graph meta tags

Yes, you can use open graph meta tags to explicitly say what image, title, description etc are used on certain social networks. But let’s be honest, how many of us actually set them to be anything different from the main title or image?

If you’ve got the time, then take a look at your social network-specific changes but do it after you take the steps in this post. After all, the point of this post is to help you write more effective titles whilst being efficient with your time.

Let’s get testing

Most bloggers that research how to improve their blogs have read some form of mantra about testing your titles. However, here is a very simple plan as to how to do it.

Step 1: write 5-10 blog titles per post

There are countless resources out there which are designed to help you write better headlines. Here are a few to get you going:

I know more is better here, but again, in the interests of being realistic with our time, write a minimum of five. I’ll explain why you need a minimum of five later.

For example, for this post, I’ve written:

  • How to get started with testing blog post titles
  • 1 simple trick to get more traffic from your blog post titles
  • Start testing your blog post titles with this simple trick
  • Testing blog post titles: a little prep goes a long way
  • How to write data-driven blog post titles

Make sure that these titles can all work as meta titles in their own right including being optimised for SEO, otherwise, you will be sabotaging your own results.

A quick note on clickbait

I am definitely not advocating writing misleading or incorrect headlines. This may lead to a spike in traffic in the short term but in the long term, you will erode your reputation and people won’t trust the post when they see what site it goes to.

Make sure you are treating the reader with respect and helping them find the information they are looking for with good quality content that backs up a good quality title.

Step 2: add them to a title testing tool

I like TitleTester, as it’s simple and free if you have your own audience to test with and paid options if you want them to supply the audience.

An alternative could be to use whatever tool you like for this, even perhaps a Twitter poll, though you’re only limited to four options there.

Load up each of your titles into the tool such as below:

Load your blog post titles into TitleTester

Then click through the options until you get the testing link. Keep the testing query as the default: Which title is the most clickable?

Now, all you need to do is to share this with a group of people that represent your target audience, such as your social media followers.

I know that this method is likely not to generate statistically significant results. Normally, I would advocate that you need statistical significance in order to do this. But in the interests time, this is more data-driven than just picking your favourite, or even worse, the HiPPO approach.

Step 3: use your winner, but don’t discard the others

Set your winning title to be the post title and H1.

Then, you can keep the remaining titles as they can be used as different tweets/social media posts when amplifying your content.

How did you go?

Let me know how you went with using this method. Did it work for you?

Image credit: Photo by Battlecreek Coffee Roasters on Unsplash

Sam Wiltshire

Passionate digital marketer with an interest in most things sport, especially rugby union, food, booze, tech and music. Just wanting to help small content publishers with getting more content ideas that resonate with their users at scale. My Medium page where I write about more conceptual subjects.