Writing a Strong Title

From Gerald R. Lucas

A strong title should do two things: (1) get the reader’’s attention by making her curious and (2) accurately inform the reader of the post’’s topic, subject, and purpose.

The Media: Free or Controlled?

This title is weak because it asks a question rather than take a position and makes the reader believe that the writer is indecisive. Does the writer have an opinion and will it be presented in the essay? No, there’’s nothing wrong with an exploratory essay, but generally if your title takes a position, it will be stronger. The above title suggests indecision.

A strong title will present the subject of the post as well as the assertion, even if it is just a hint. Like an opening sentence, your title should get the reader’’s attention, so make it brief and dynamic. A title that’s too long or too detailed may dissuade the reader from even continuing. Try to be succinct and interesting:

Star Trek’’s Positive Vision: The Future of Humanity

While a bit long, this strong title explicitly states the essay’’s subject and offers a positive connotation about the subject to the reader. While it may not address the topic explicitly, it does provide a subject and a direction that the essay will develop. Notice, too, that this title likely elicits curiosity from the reader: how does Star Trek offer a positive vision of the future? Well, she’ll need to read it to find out.

Notice, too, this title could be displayed as title and subtitle, perhaps even more appropriate for a blog post:

Star Trek’s Positive Vision
The Future of Humanity

Finally, Kathy Treman adds that strong titles show the post’s purview and reveals information by being specific.[1] The above post will cover Star Trek’s vision, not its history or special effects; this purview is clear by the title. The first example above hides information by asking a question: the reader doesn’t know which position the post will argue.

Every noun and verb should be capitalized in your title. Do not enclose your title in quotation marks or italicize it. Also, do not use end punctuation.

Note

  1. Treman, Kathy (December 20, 2009). "Tips for Creating a Strong Title". Retrieved 2019-01-01.