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Flash and Substance: Increase Website Traffic with Titles and Subtitles

Updated on January 7, 2012

You can increase website traffic with titles and subtitles. The first thing that users see when they search for a topic is a list of headlines. If yours is boring and vague, they won’t click the result to read its related creation. On the other hand, an intriguing and descriptive title brings readers to your page to increase website traffic. Though only a few online systems allow titles and subtitles in separate fields, you can take advantage of them no matter what you use for writing.

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.


Titles with substance are the most common type because they describe the main point of an article. The following are examples:

  • Eating Less
  • How to Find Focus Groups
  • Valentine’s Day Activities

Unfortunately, these titles are vague and uninteresting. To distinguish them from the thousands of similar ones that come up during a search, they require specifics. What are you offering that differentiates your article from others? What details are you providing to deliver on the initial premise of your title? Answering such questions improves the titles as follow.

  • Eating Less by Comparing Calories with Exercise
  • How to Find Focus Groups that Pay You Money
  • Free Romantic Ideas for Valentine’s Day Activities

The first title delivers on the premise of eating less by showing how calories relate to exercise. The second offers focus groups as a way to earn money, and money-making titles are always popular. The final example explains how romance on traditionally expensive celebrations for Valentine’s Day can actually cost nothing.

The specifics of these titles make them better than the initial examples. But they all suffer from one problem. In being so descriptive and specific, they are also dull and boring, hinting at articles that are as exciting as college textbooks. Nothing in these headings stand out over thousands of similar ones and may do little to increase website traffic.


A less common tact for constructing titles is to come up with something flashy. You can pump up your creative juices by fashioning literary headers that sparkle with wit and play with words such as in the following:

  • Running with Fries
  • Your Opinion Odyssey
  • Memories of the Silver Screen

These examples are intriguing enough to place them on the covers of best-selling novels or the trailers of blockbuster movies. But, like most such titles, they say nothing about the contents of their pieces. If a user is looking for specific information, he may find these titles amusing, but skip them in favor of those that answer his questions. Flashy titles by themselves fail to increase website traffic.

Titles and Subtitles

You can combine the benefits of flash and substance while minimizing their disadvantages. Simply put the flashy headline in the title and add the descriptive substance in the subtitle. To do that with any writing system, put both parts in one field and separate the two with a colon (:) or dash (-). The punctuation establishes the relationship between the title and subtitle as in the following:

The flashy headline draws the user in, while the description tells her exactly what she’s getting. This compels her to click your search result and increase website traffic to your page. These are actual titles that I’ve used. Feel free to click on any or all of them to see if the article actually lives up to the headline.

Let me know in comments if these techniques help to increase traffic to your writings. If you have any additional title tips, please put them there as well.


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