Titles are a first impression, and you only get one chance to seduce a reader into looking at your copy. Consider the following when writing a title:

• Your title often shows up first on Web search results.
• Your title can make a story seem more or less interesting than it is.
• Your title has to condense your article into very few words.

Luckily, there are several tips you can use for optimizing titles, such as writing the title last (or considering your first title a draft). This allows you to craft a title that truly fits the content. As writers know, articles can take their own direction once the writing actually starts, and thus it can be better to let the article dictate the title.

Secondly, read your title back to yourself. Does it capture the subject of the article well? Does it arouse your curiosity and make you want to read on?

When you read the title, compare it to the article. The title should include the most interesting feature of the article. The main subject of the article should be apparent in the title.

Also, contemplate the verbs you use in the title. Headline writers for news services are masters at this. For example, consider which of the following titles makes you want to read the article more:

• River Water Level Rises, Causes Flood Conditions
• River Surges, Flooding Hazard Grows

The second title’s urgency is heightened by its use of active verbs and exciting words, and therefore, will likely draw in more readers to the same article.

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