How To Make a Good Title
Whether you are writing a book, song, poem, or blog post to go to your website, one of the most important aspects of your creation is your title. Your readers will form their first impressions of your work based on your title.
Although a title is the first thing someone sees on your book, webpage, or song, it usually is created towards the end of a project. The reason title creation falls toward the end of a timeline is because a writer doesn’t always know what the story is about until it is near completion. Some of the best writers believe that the story actually directs the writer on where to go next.
When coming up with a title for your masterpiece, getting started can be the hardest part. We’ve put together some techniques to help you craft the perfect title, along with outlining some of the most common pitfalls to avoid.
Where to Start Looking for Your Title
You’ve spent time on your work, and you want it to shine. Trying to come up with the perfect title can feel like an insurmountable task. Even the best creators develop a sense of writer’s block when trying to title their work. That’s why we suggest going back to the basics with these tried and true brainstorming method
- Start with your writing
The first place to look for a title can be within your work. One of the major roles a title plays is giving the reader a glimpse into what your book, movie or webpage is all about. So a logical starting point is identifying the major themes throughout your writing to look for a connection. You should pay particular attention to thesis statements and topic sentences since these excerpts depict the major subject of your writing.
2. Remember who you are writing this for
Another item to consider when creating your title should be your audience. Depending on whom you are looking to target, your style and tone could change greatly. For instance, if you were targeting professionals, you would want to maintain a formal tone and title whereas if you were looking to simply draw people in you might use a list as a title.
On the internet, title creation is more important now than ever, simply because of the sheer amount of it vying for our attention. To create an effective title online, you should not only determine who your audience is, but also, you should take it a step further to identify how your audience looks for information. For instance, if you wrote a how-to article, your title could include phrases like “beginner, do-it-yourself, or tutorial” to alert readers to the tone of your content. Considering who your writing is for and the language that they use to find your content is key to crafting a title that people will gravitate towards.
3. Be bold, but don’t completely reinvent the wheel
If looking inward didn’t yield many results, you should also research how other people have titled similar works. This strategy is especially helpful when writing in a genre that expects certain titles. For instance, you might not want to title your sci-fi thriller “Trouble Out West” because it sounds more like a western. The easiest way to research how other people have titled similar works is a simple Google search.
Crafting a title can take just as much revision as the work itself did. That’s why it is important to brainstorm a list of potential titles. It’s likely that your first attempt at naming your work won’t stick, but you’re not alone. Some of the greatest titles didn’t get it right the first time. For instance, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s hit, The Great Gatsby, was almost named “Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires”.
Avoid These Mistakes When Creating Your Title
Coming up with your inspiration is only half the battle when it comes to creating a great title. Execution is the difference between a good title and a great title. Thankfully, you can learn from others’ mistakes and avoid common pitfalls.
1. How short is too short?
Leave the verbiage in the body of your content. Your title should be short and to the point. Short titles display properly across most advertising channels, including URLs, tweets, and headlines. The last thing you would want is for your title not to make it onto the page fully. A general rule of thumb is to keep your title to five words or less. If needed, you can add a subtitle to provide more context.
Like everything in the world, there are pitfalls that really short titles face. If you choose a one-word title or very common phrase, you run the risk of your work being buried under other listings. For instance, if someone would search for your title in Google, would they be able to find your work easily? In some scenarios, you could use search engine optimization or SEO to improve your rankings, but you may want to avoid this issue altogether.
2. If you can’t say it, you won’t remember it.
When coming up with your title, you also need to be cognizant of how easy your title is to say. A title that is difficult to pronounce could hinder your work from being recommended by other people. Because word of mouth is still a major form of publicity, you’ll want to make sure that people are saying your title right.
3. Think about the internet.
Even if your creation is a book or movie, it is likely that your work will be on the internet in some shape or form. This truth means that you should consider how your name will read on the internet because certain things don’t translate well.
One of the biggest culprits is punctuation. Because URLs won’t allow for all punctuation, you will want to consider how your title would read without it. Thinking about this ahead of time could save you some future headaches.
Put it into practice and make a great title
Now you know the techniques, tools and pitfalls to avoid when it comes to creating a title. Good luck!
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