Here’s a post from Clive Thompson that every blogger, author, newspaper reporter, etc., should read. He talks about the importance of writing simple headlines, avoiding double-meanings and with a focus on keywords. Sounds straightforward, right? As I scanned through my list of recent posts I think I’ve done OK, but then I see one like “Running Out of Time?” and I see I’m guilty as charged. As I think about it, when I’m scanning my various RSS feeds in Bloglines, I tend to skip right past those double-meaning headlines, just like Clive describes in his post.
It doesn’t stop with blog headlines, though. There’s a related point to keep in mind when titling a book. Although you don’t see too many cutesy book titles these days, inclusion of the best keywords in the title and sub-title are crucial when considering search results on Amazon, bn.com, etc. Do a bit of research before you settle on a final title/sub-title. Search (by relevance) each of the key online booksellers and see which titles tend to float to the top. If you feel you’ve got the most important keywords in the title, is there an opportunity to add other important keywords/phrases to the subtitle? Making the right choice here could mean the difference between being listed on the first page of the results or being buried somewhere deeper.