It’s honestly a rather stressful moment.
You just published a piece of content you worked hard for weeks on and realize you got the title wrong, or have a better title.
Should you change the title or just leave it?
In this post I’d like to explain when you should alter the title of your content and when you shouldn’t.
If you’ve faced this situations before, share your story in the comments!
When you should change the title
I’ll admit I’m guilty of changes a handful of titles on posts, pages and vides over time. Some title changes have been essential, they’ve brought in thousands more views. Other title changes have rendered a post almost useless because people got confused.
- Before publishing
Play around, checkout examples around the web, reference your own best work, and get the best titles. This is the ideal time.
- Before emailing your list
You’re still in the clear.
- If you add new content and the purpose of the post changes
If the purpose of your post changes in the weeks or months after you publish it, feel free to change the title as the title should most accurately reflect your article. Using words like ‘updated’ or ‘new’ or ‘the date’ or just being more descriptive is A-okay.
- If you think of a better set of keywords
If you feel that inserting better keywords, or a keyword or two to begin with is a good idea, go for it. Your post titles need them after all. Just make sure people don’t see this as over-optimizing or spamming.
- After the “launch period” of the content has passed
Also okay. For example after I published my post originally on Blogger vs. WordPress (with that title) I realized people wanted a more complete list of blogging platforms. The new title connected with increased amounts of organic traffic.
When you should not change a title
According to the un-written laws of blogging, the internet and going viral, there are definitely certain times you should leave a piece of content alone so as not to confuse people. It really boils down to one moment listed twice below.
- Right when people are coming to read it
This is really confusing. It’s hard enough to find the posts we love on the web but imagine if the title keeps changing.
- Seriously, do not change the title right when people arrive with their coffees
This has happened to me before and I’ve had to just totally drop the post and wait until later because of a goofy launch. Equivalent of when the coffee gets cold and you have to throw it out.
Additionally, make sure that you don’t change permalinks after publishing. This can break backlinks all around the web and it’s mainly the title tag itself that Google looks at, so don’t change the permalink.
How is your titling going?
Do you find it easy to create post titles? Or are the edits something that keep you from releasing your best work? I know at least a few Dear Blogger readers are writing new posts now. Let me know your strategies for changing/not changing titles to help the community as a whole!