Though I suspect few people actually stop to think about it, titling blog posts is actually quite a bit harder than writing them. In reality, most of what is interesting about a post boils down to a few words: NYC soda ban is not an issue of freedom pretty much says it all. But you want people to read, to understand the finer point that you’re trying to make. So a truly good title gets people in the door, but doesn’t give away the whole plotline.
That isn’t actually all that easy to do. As I remember one of my content-heavy friends noting, statistically the best titles are the “list” titles: 3 ways to shoot your dog, 6 things never to do on a date, The 100 most creative people in cajun music. They tell you what you are going to be reading about, without actually imparting any of the important information, so that you’re forced to click-through if you’re interested. And the click-through, the view, is the metric of all things holy in commercial blogging.
Where title writing gets interesting to me is for non-commercial bloggers. You could argue they don’t exist, in that even those who do not make direct money off their blogs are still trying to get people to read it (otherwise, why write it at all?), but I do think the motivation set is different. The longer I’m at this, the more I realize I don’t really mind if people get the main point from the title, since my whole endgame is to nudge people around with the knowledge contained in the points themselves. So the title is actually a fairly good means to that end, provided I can do it well.
But that presents its own set of problems. Writing your main point down into a few words that are difficult to misconstrue is not an easy thing, especially if your chief talent is in science rather than communication. In the long format of a post, I feel that I can be forgiven for rambling; as any writer will tell you, it is the concise, dense prose that is the hardest. And what could possibly be more concise than a title?