On Titles and Taglines

Everything you need to start writing

I’m sure you’ve heard the following words spoken by Shakespeare’s Juliet:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other word would smell as sweet.”

Okay, I get the sentiment. If we called apples “pears”, and pears “apples”, each fruit would still taste the same as it does. The name wouldn’t change the physical characteristics of the fruit.

But if we called apples “mudfruits,” would anyone actually think of eating them? Just the anticipation of putting something with the word “mud” in it in my mouth is enough to make me gag.

So it is with the name of your blog. You could have the most incredible content, the most breathtaking photos, and most interesting interviews, but if your potential audience is turned off by a boring or half-hearted title, they won’t even click on your link. All the sweetness held within your page will go completely unnoticed.

The point is, if your audience knows they’ll be getting something good from your content, your blog’s name won’t much matter. But if you’re just getting started and still need to convince your audience to click on over to your page, you’d better have a name that gives readers a clear idea of what to expect from your content.

Choosing a Title

When you start a new blog, you want your title to represent the content you’ll be creating. Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout is all about growing your blog’s audience through a variety of methods. Brian Dean’s Backlinko explains in detail how to grow your audience through link-building and SEO strategies. Sophie Lizard’s Be A Freelance Blogger is about…being a freelance blogger. Each of these titles encapsulate exactly what you’ll be reading about when you click on the link. There’s no guesswork involved. What you see is what you get. And the content you’ll get from those sites is incredible.

So on Day 2 of Blogging 101’s crash course, we were tasked with coming up with a title for our blog. Being fairly new to the freelance writing scene, I’ve opened myself up to writing about pretty much anything I can, as long as I’m getting my name and talents out there. So I went with Matt Writes for Life. I’ve read that titles such as “_____ Writes” are pretty generic, but I think the addition of “for Life” gives my title that extra punch to really explain what the blog is, and what I am, all about. I’m not just writing for the heck of it. I’m writing as a lifestyle.

Not only does this title describe my persona, but it also holds me accountable to continue updating the blog. Simply put: If I’m not writing, I’m not living. As much as my title benefits my potential audience by telling them what to expect, it also benefits me by keeping me on track to complete my goals.

Choosing a Tagline

Nike has “Just do it.” McDonald’s has “I’m lovin’ it.” Budweiser has “This Bud’s for you.” So why should a blog be any different?

As outlined by Tom Ewer of WordCandy, taglines are important because:

  • They provide context for your title, if it doesn’t already clearly indicate what you do.
  • They emphasize or draw attention to the purpose of your site.
  • They set the tone for your site.
  • They contain keywords that will help your site show up in searches.

That’s something that recently hit me during sort of an “a-ha moment.” I could have sworn I had a tagline before the Blogging 101 assignment was posted – even if it was probably a half-assed, generic one.

So I went to check out what I had put in the space next to “Tagline,” figuring I could come up with something better than whatever I’d had there in the first place.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. The space was completely blank. I had no tagline. Did I really not have the time to come up with a quick phrase to explain a little bit more about my blog? Didn’t I know potential readers wouldn’t waste their time reading a blog if it’s creator didn’t take the time to create a tagline? Didn’t I realize how important taglines are for improving SEO results?

After beating myself up for a couple minutes, I focused on creating a tagline that went well with my title, and really got to the heart of my writing.

“Why write if my life doesn’t depend on it?”

Just as with my title, my tagline explains that I’ve completely dedicated myself to writing. Through my blog, I’ll be working to improve and refine my writing, blogging, and publishing skills. My hope is to gain an audience by sharing the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way, but that’s secondary to actually putting my words on the page.

And, like my title, this tagline will hold me accountable to continue updating my blog – something I’ve struggled with in the past. If a day goes by that I haven’t posted an entry, I’ll feel as if I haven’t lived. And it’s not enough to post a half-hearted “I didn’t have time to write and I’m kind of tired but I’m going to post this anyway kthxbye” entry, either. I’m writing as if my life depended on it. As a freelance writer, it does.

Holding Myself Accountable

Get back to writing!

There may be a day or two in which I’m backed up with other work, but maintaining a blog revolving around the idea that writing is life will keep me centered on my goal of making a good living as a writer. I’d always thought of freelancing as a way to make some extra cash here and there, but that mindset lead me to a passive attitude toward my writing: I didn’t need to do it, so it didn’t matter if I missed a day or two.

Now, if I miss a day, it’s a day of building my skills and abilities that I’ll never get back.



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