As a follow-up to our series on writing for the Web, we decided to focus on what NOT to do when you blog and how to drive traffic away running and screaming. You’ll notice we left out the tip “Don’t write insanely long blog posts” because, well, if you dive in deep to a topic it’s tough to limit to the standard 500 words—so let’s jump right into it!
Write vague headlines
According to Brian Clark of Copyblogger fame, eight of ten people only read headlines—which means only two fortunate souls of every ten continue to read the entire article. As a writer, that stings a little, but it makes sense. Your headline will appear in search results, feed readers, and subject lines with only a handful of words to stop readers cold and draw them into your article.
While you may have heard that authors often don’t title their books until they’re finished writing, this isn’t Eat. Pray. Love.—it’s a blog post. Writing the headline first can help you approach the article with a clear idea of what you’re trying to communicate and why it’s worth reading. This will force you to stay on message and write with direct purpose.