Monday, June 25, 2012

Having a Hard time with Headers and Headlines

I've been learning to blog and write articles for about 6 months now. I've learned quite a lot along the way, but blog headers and article headlines have become a challenge: 

Blog Header (or banner)
So... I'm trying to snazz up this blog's format. It's going slowly, but I did manage to figure out how to change the columns - I got those columns of stuff over there on the right going...more or less! Having all the extras on the right seems to be less of an eyesore and less distracting from the blog post itself. But I'm still finangling with the order of stuff & placement of things...

Ok, so now I want to find something cute to do with the header/banner. I thought adding some sort of cutsie writing-ish pic(s) up there, or maybe just some sort of scrollery background print or something would snazz it up. But I've spent hours googling for free Blogger or Blogspot banners or headers and just can't seem to find anything that works. I don't know exactly what I want, but I think I'll know it when I see it. 

If anybody knows of a free banner stash somewhere, please share!

Article (or blog post) Headlines
I've read so much about how important titles are for articles, and blog posts too for that matter, to grab reader's attention and all that. Some of it conflicts though -- like Do be catchy, Don't be cutesy, etc. etc. 

This is the most recent guideline from mediapiston.com, that I'm going to use next for my articles and blog post titles. The guideline references copyblogger.com suggestions, which I used for my first attempt at a reader grabbing headline: 
5 Reasons Why My Sexist, Cheapskate Manager was the Best Boss I Ever Had!

I got lots-o-feedback about what a great headline it was, but as of today -- it's had a whopping 72 whole page views... and it was published six months ago. So I dunno folks... what might have been a better reader grabberring title? 

Sometimes, the Yahoo! editors change the article titles from what I've submitted. I assume they know best, so no complaints there. 

Occasionally, just the displayed headline is changed. For instance, my title "Going Cheap on Wedding Ceremony Music Can Ruin Your Wedding Day" was changed in the front page feature display box only to Wedding Tip: Don't Skimp on Music just to make the headline small enough to fit inside the feature box. It might be a better title though, I'm just not sure. 

One clever title that's all mine and I'm proudest of is 
Not Wild About Oprah's Book Club 2.0 Pick. I don't seem to think up catchy headlines like that too often, so I'm hoping I'm getting better at title thinker-uppering.

I've heard some folks entire job is to just make up news and magazine article headlines like that. I'm so learning to appreciate how really tough a job it is!! My gosh, for this blog post -- I've spent the week spinning around "H" topics, like "Hopping" as in blog hop, "Healthcare" but no SCOTUS decision yet (although I've given up on politics for blog post topics), and such until "Headers" and "Headlines" popped up, just today. So it's not the greatest blog post headline, but at least I had something to write about...

Hope I can Hop up something to blog about for "I", hmmm... "Inspiration" maybe... 

5 comments:

  1. I have never been a maven when it comes to creating titles...

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  2. Can't wait to see your new banner. For my book review blog, I used a photograph that was not copyrighted and I think it looks interesting. Dig up your own photographs and see if you can do something. Goodluck

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  3. Sometimes we are to close to our own site to be able find the right, look and words that reflect what it is the site or us are all about. Having someone else who is not as invested in the project can help find a solution or end product that works for you. My thoughts only, Susan from LinkedIn

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  4. Headlines do seem to be very important in terms of grabbing reader interest. There is a great website called cracked.com which excels at amazing post titles. I think starting with a number "5 Reasons to....7 Things that I.....10 Most.... etc..." is always a great way to go.

    Melinda ~ http://www.momonthemake.com

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  5. Welcome to the world of freelancing writing, Marla! I've been doing it for more than 19 years and love it, but it is indeed ... challenging. I invite you to drop by my writer's blog at http://doreenpendgracs.com/. We have some really amazing discussions on the writing life and making a living as a freelance writer. Do subscribe and join the discussion. We always love welcoming new voices.

    Regarding headlines, I choose never to go with anything too crazy or wild. I don't think readers like being fooled into reading an article or a post. Come up with a title that grabs them, but is a true reflection of the content.

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