How to Write Webpage Titles

Web page titles describe the content of your web page. They are essential to get right if you want reader to visit your page, as well as search engines and RSS newsreaders to index them correctly.

The web page title should explain (at least) three things:

  1. Subject Matter
  2. Purpose of the webpage
  3. Knowledge offered by its content
  4. Benefits to the reader if they visit this specific page

This means that you need to write your web page titles with two things in mind.

Search engines index these titles.

So, write your title in anticipation of how the search engine will understand the text.

Don’t write: “Welcome to our award-wining company site.”

Do write: “XYZ Corp provides Wireless Content Management Solutions”

Which of these helps the reader the most?

People searching through search engines see this title in the results section. The page title is the sentence that gets displayed here so it’s important to make it relevant to the reader.

Don’t write: “Your browser doesn’t support this site. Download Flash to continue”

Do write: “Wireless Content Management Solutions tutorials for IT Managers”

Which of these companies do you NOT want to do business with?

Common mistakes when writing webpage titles

Common mistakes when writing web page titles are:

  1. Adding unnecessary words or phrases to the title.
  2. Writing overlong descriptions that dilute the page contents
  3. Using clichés, jargon or terminology that the reader will not understand

Writing tips:

  1. Emphasis how the reader will benefit by visiting this page. However, avoid sales pitches and corporate speak. No-one likes reading this stuff.
  2. Make headings that will be easy to read when viewed as a bookmark.
  3.  If your readers do bookmark your site, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to find you from their list of bookmarks, Highlight the page’s location within the context of the overall website, for example, if the page is one in a series of tutorials, then consider introducing it as follows, “Tutorials | Project Management | How to manage deadlines”.
  4. After reading this you can tell three things about the page, even before you visit it:
  • It offers a series of tutorials.
  • Project Management tutorials are available on this site.
  • The subject of this specific page is how to manage deadlines.

Writing headlines in this manner (or along these lines) gives the reader confidence in your site. The feel that you site will be organized and built with their needs in mind rather than for the company’s own self-satisfaction.