How To Write Solid Headlines When You Are Mixed with Old Title Regret

Today I’m struggling with “Old Title Regret.”  It’s something that happens to every blogger.  You write a piece and you think, “Yes, I should call that post – WHEN PIGS FLY…” and then you realize the whole post has nothing to do with pigs at all, but you’ve already hit ‘publish’ and so you just sit home and cry.  You open an old bottle of tequila that your grandmother gave to you before she went out to pasture.  And I don’t mean before she keeled over and died, I mean your grandma only ever drank her tequila, alone, out there in the pasture where she could find some goddermned peace.  That’s what you want now, peace.  Peace from the sting of your shitty old, blog titles!!!


Blogger’s Regret causes you to see the word – BLOG – everywhere!


As I look back through my old posts, I think that has happened many times.


For example, I think…


“Sometimes It’s Hard to Know Who’s Right” should’ve been called:


“General Admission Blunder-Bash!”


That would’ve made more sense.  After all, it was about going to a concert and struggling through the spoken and unspoken rules of general admission.


“Why Do You Dress Like That?”  should’ve been called:


“Stop Picking on my Sweater, Lover.”  I have a sweater, the lover doesn’t like it.  It’s simple.  I should’ve kept it simple.


Then there was “2801”  — This is NOT my version of a “Space Odyssey.”  This is what wordpress does when you’re a jackhole and forget to put a title up.  That post should’ve been called, “Muscle Man,” well, because it’s a picture of a muscle man.


The internet likes the obvious.  When you call things what they are, the internet gods love you.  For example, if you have an orgy and tape it and then post that tape on youtube, google wants you to call the video, “My Orgy.”  People will find it if you call the video, “My Orgy.”  People would also find it if you called the video, “google,” but that’s not ethical.  Now, google doesn’t want MY version of a title for my orgy video.  I would prefer to call it something like…


“One Night in Bang-c*ck.”




“Sisters of the Naked Slip N’ Slide”




“Tequila, Roofie, Memoir.”


C’mon, you know you want to…


Google does not like those titles.  You see, google is very literal.  So, horn-dogs would not be sent to “Tequila, Roofie, Memoir,” – no.  Google would send only roofers, Mexicans, and Non-Fiction writers.  On second thought, that’s exactly who I would want to watch my orgy video, so maybe my title writing ain’t so bad after all.


Problogger, the holy grail of blogging over-think says, “The purpose of a good title is to get people to read your first line of content.”


Well, if that’s the case, here are some WINNER titles:












14 FAGS FOR $1  (This one is about cigarettes.  Don’t be crazy.)




Anyway, I’d click on any of those.


I think the problem, for me, most of the time, IS time.  I need the ability to let my titles percolate.  In other words, more percolation time equals better title.  But, sometimes you have to hit publish even if your title is simply, “7089.”


Sometimes you just have to get it out there.


What about you guys?  Do you struggle over title creation or are you a well balanced person who just doesn’t give a cran-raisin about this kind of thing?  Sweet Mother wants to know.



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Photo creds:  blogkeys, feature, tequila, problogger



34 thoughts on “How To Write Solid Headlines When You Are Mixed with Old Title Regret

  1. I am definitely not a well-balanced person…which is why I love that little word at the bottom of the post that only you can see: “edit.” I use it a lot. Even after I’ve posted something. A looong time after. Who’s to know The folks who already read it probably won’t reread it, and even if they do,m they probably won’t remember its first title, and the new readers will think you are as clever as you want them to. heheheheh

    1. ooooohhhh, i so understand. i have edited posts month, MONTHS, after hitting publish like a loon. no one cares at that point, but i do. oh, i do. wink, wink, nudge, nudge, para, you are NOT alone! lol. xo, sm

  2. I fell behind on Sweet Mother – I’m glad to be back! This is really timely for me, because I feel like I just FINALLY got my title mojo back. I definitely think clever titles get people in the door (or reading the first line, like you mentioned), and I appreciate a good one. Of course, I probably couldn’t pass by “My Orgy” either if it showed up in my WordPress reader…

    But, you are being too hard on yourself! You publish every day! And I think your titles are fab! (Better yet, I’m never disappointed by what follows.) Even “2801” is hysterical; I would start telling people it was on purpose because you were trying to emphasize the emptiness of society’s labels or some shiz like that. 😉

    1. i fight with titles, content, sidebars, you name it – and we have a tussle on here. it’s all part of the fun, i suppose. glad you’re back, jules! momma has missed you. xxoo

  3. If it’s initial views from curious strangers you’re after then I’ve found that using proverbs as post titles works really well. There are a lot of people out there Googling things like “who first said ‘honesty is the best policy’“.
    Furthermore, any question that people are likely to Google will work well too, especially if it’s pet related. e.g. “how far does a hamster run in a day”.
    See where you end up when you try those. (My other blog would love to have you as a visitor) 😉

    1. wait, which is your other blog, mee? can you leave me a link here? and that is so interesting about the proverbs…i’m with you about the questions, though i never think i come up with enough of them. i think it’s an art form, sort of like the editors who make those movie trailers… xoxo, sm

  4. lol! I am dreadful at post titles, and sometimes wish I could afford to hire someone to write pithy, witty titles for me. I’ve resisted the urge to let WordPress title my posts for me because, as you pointed out, they number them and that’s usually worse than anything I come up with. Unless it’s a really good number. But how often does that happen? 🙂

  5. I’m terrible at titles! I wish I could come up with something interesting like any of those, but I try and then I look at them and they’re confusing and weird. Awkward. So I usually go real cut and dry! Plain and simple, but boring!

  6. I understand you Mother…but my problem lies with story titles. My first book, “A Mother’s Love” was the 3rd title I gave this story. Like you, it had to percolate for awhile. Fortunately, writing a book takes more than just a few hours so I have the time to mull it over and change my mind if necessary. You get a hell of a lot less time with a blog post (especially when you write them daily) so you’re just going to have to get quicker with the titles that “hook” your readers. 🙂

  7. I haven’t even started to worry about my titles yet,,I’m still working on my content and trying to do a post all in one day,,,I’m beginning to realize that it’s ok to have several posts on the go,,,and they all don’t need to be published on one particular day :/

  8. Titles are hard, definitely. I’ve also read that your title should contain one of your post’s “key” words. And those key words should be repeated at least 3 times—once in the first paragraph, once in the last, and once in between.

    But heck if I can figure out what good key words are, either! 🙂

  9. I think titles are way important. I don’t usually think about Google searches, guess I should. I normally just go with what feels right and sometimes it’s a hit, sometimes a miss. Many times titles have come before I’ve even written about a topic, short story or chapter. :).

  10. I usually totally laze-out on my titles and just misappropriate song titles to my posts. Thus the Lady Gaga reference in my labor and delivery posts, Born This Way. Thirty years from now C will look back and see how kitschy/corny I was, as if she needed more proof.

  11. I like my titles; I don’t really give a hoot what I’m supposed to write. Well, okay, I give a hoot, but only a small one. Sometimes I write entire posts based on some witty headline. I live with children, so any chance I get to do what the hell I want to do, I take it.

  12. Sweet Mother,

    Let me help you. As I love you (I’ve been asked by other bloggers what’s this thing you and I have – to which I have replied: she’s fucking amazing, isn’t it enough?), here are some suggestions:

    1. All your posts should be called “Le Clown [insert more].

    That’s enough advice for one post.

    Le Clown

  13. I guess you can’t start calling them: The One About The Titles I Regret. Damn, Friends and their clever episodic names. I agree with whoever it was above (yes, I’m too lazy to scroll back up and find out who it was) suggested using the edit button. In fact, the post that got me Freshly Pressed was originally called something else for several days, then I changed it to “Why I Hate Witty People? and BOOM! The wordpress gods suddenly loved it.

    For the record, I like your titles. They’re always interesting without being pervy…as mine often are.

  14. “CHOCOLATE CAKE THAT MAKES YOU LOSE WEIGHT” where can i get one ? hahaha…
    Sweet Mom i think your titles always make perfect sense..
    i once struggled with title so i called it random ramblings … 😛 Needed something.. so

  15. At first I thought your blog post title said “All tit regret”. I immediately came over to read it, because my tits, are in fact, getting old. Now that I know what the blog is actually about, I suggest you use the word “tit” in any post you can.

    1. it’s funny that you say that because i thought of calling it tit-ling. instead of titling. you know what i mean…because it’s sort of spelled the same thing, but means something different…. anyway, insane minds think alike. bwaaahhhhhaaa. good to see you here, stace, as always. xo, sm

  16. I dread writing post titles because I know enough about SEO and writing compelling/concise copy that it’s so important. Yet, I find myself stuck in the trap of wanting to write something cryptically clever instead, which works not at all.

    But SEO/audience capturing titles are SOOOOO boring or worse, linkbait-y. Both make me feel cheap.

    I’ve made things slightly better by installing a plugin on my site that lets me have one title display on the page, a different in the search results!

  17. I like my titles to be just perfect. . . meaning sometimes they are floofy and overly thought out and full of shit. I’ve always been like this, even for high school and college papers. I know that I’ve accidentally turned stuff in before that said “Title Goes Here”, cuz that’s what I put at the top before the title has percolated in my brain.

  18. I make myself crazy over titles. Sometimes I come up with a great title and have to write a blog to fit it. That is crazy. Other times I make the title something like, “Figure out title later”, and then I write it and I change the name while I am writing it before I post it.

  19. Sigh…titles….I am a poet so titles are critical and never literal. I wish the world was more like poetry and that the Internet was too. But alas there is nothing poetic about google. Since my naiive mantra is to bring poetry to the everyday I will continue with titles like “ode to high thread count slumber bliss” instead of “never buy sheets at wal-mart.” you…keep on doing what you’re doing.

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