In yesterday's Fun with Feeds, we talked about how readers use feeds. Now that you've had a chance to practice a little bit with your own feed reader, you undoubtedly have a better idea of which types of posts attract you, as a reader, right?
Your feed reader may give you the option to list only the titles of your feeds. That's the setting I use in Google Reader, because I have well over 750 posts to peruse every day. This "titles only" setting is commonly used by bloggers, who use their feeds to find inspiration for their stories, and are most likely to link to your blog or website, if you are a blogger or writer. We WANT other bloggers to link to us, right? And obviously, we want potential readers to find our stories and read what we've worked so hard to write. So here we see another reason why post titles are so vital (in addition to helping with search engine optimization).
Remember, the title of your post should be very literal - it does not be a literary work of art, or "intriguing." Dont' make it a bump-sticker slogan. Make it something the reader is likely to search for. If you're writing about how to change the oil in your pick-up, a good post title would be "How to change the oil in your pick-up," not "Oil, Oil, Toil, no Trouble," (Because no one is going to search for that, or know what you're talking about from their list of several post titles in their feed reader).
If you have control over the settings on your blog or website, consider adjusting your settings so that your feeds display the title and an excerpt (usually the first paragraph or so, unless you want to write up special excerpts for each post). This will encourage serious readers to actually visit your website. Also, remember that as a writer, the next most important part of your post besides the title is the first paragraph. You'll want to put your primary keywords here, and really give the reader an idea of what your post is about - give him or her a reason to click on your post and keep reading.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.