I was prompted to write the by this very funny post on the excellent xkcd.com, which highlights what I think is a growing problem of attention grabbing headlines to try and drive traffic. Everything has to be a ‘5 things…’ or ‘You won’t believe…’ type of headline and format of post, rather than a headline giving an idea what the post is about.
I do like to make snappy titles to my blog posts, but that is to make them more readable and memorable, if you were blogging about Enterprise Software and Accounting (possibly the two most boring subjects known to man) you would do the same. I do the same with presentations, for example to make my point that mobile solutions need to think about rapidly changing platforms I brought in a host of mobile devices from the last 12 years, it is a trip down memory lane, a little bit of fun and it helps to emphasize my point.
What I don’t do is artificially squeeze a topic into the standard format that is said to generate more traffic to a blog. I think this is selling your soul for clicks and if your writing has no soul then how can you expect to engage the readership you want to reach? I personally tend to avoid clicking on headlines or links like “This video will blow your mind – MUST SEE”, the chances of my mind being blown are slim and I am fairly sure that if I don’t see it, then life will go on just fine. I suspect most of my readers feel the same way about attention grabbing headlines, so probably nobody is reading this anyway.