Clickable Titles – Bait and Switch?

I’m packing up my bags today and leaving my pretty garden behind, alas.

I’ll be in Charleston, SC over the weekend, prowling the streets and doing a little book research, then I’m in Providence, RI all week, winding up in Boston Thursday night and Friday. If anyone wants to hook up, ping me!

So, I’ve been working harder at creating better blog titles. This is one of the conventional pieces of wisdom for increasing blog traffic – a title that’s nicely clickable. I can see the point, and I know I have a tendency to do obscure, poetic titles that amuse only me and tell no one what the blog post is actually about. And it’s made a difference, too, both here and at Word Whores.

But I’ve noticed something else, too.

A lot of venues are getting this memo. Blogs, news outlets, what have you. Because the almighty click is the most important part, I’m finding that my level of dissatisfaction and disappointment is growing. Why? More and more, the article or post I click on isn’t about what the title led me to think it was about.

I’m not talking about people who title their blog posts “Crazy Sex!” and then say “now that I’ve got your attention…” That’s just a stupid, annoying trick which only alienates your readers and isn’t funny at all. I’m thinking of a post titled something like “Making Your Story Compelling,” and I read it and it’s all about the writer wondering how to make her story compelling. It’s not a false title per se, but I do feel misled. I didn’t get what I hoped to.

Now, some of this is just par for the course – it’s always a gamble whether something you read will satisfy you. But I’m encountering this more and more. Some “news” sites are particularly bad, offering enticing headlines and then a three-line “article” that completely fails to deliver. Not their problem, right? They already got my click.

However.

I’m starting to notice which sites are the most egregious violators and learning to know better than to fall for the lure.

At the same time, I’m trying to be aware that when I title my posts, that they’re interesting and informative of the content – in an accurate way.

Erf. Maybe I’ll go back to poetic and obscure…

4 Replies to “Clickable Titles – Bait and Switch?”

  1. I hope you have a fun and safe trip. =o)

    I don’t know. For some blogs I regularly visit, I don’t pay attention to the blog title. I’m more like ‘hey, Jeffe wrote a new post’ and go read it. But if it’s a new blog, or one I don’t visit often, I guess the title does determine whether I click through. Ultimately, though, it’s the content that keeps me.

    I just checked my own blog titles. They seem pretty straightforward to me, but I know sometimes I throw something obscure and strange in. (Which, when ya think about it, fits. Sometimes I’m obscure and strange.)

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