Too often, many essay writers (especially beginners) make the mistake of focusing too much on the body of the essay that they forget one essential component of the essay, the title. The title is worth the precious first two seconds it takes to catch the attention of any would-be readers. It’s a quick, short line that doesn’t seem to entail too much thinking, yes. But without a good, crisp-sounding title, the rest of your essay is dead.
So what makes a good title for your essay? It has to attract a lot of attention. It doesn’t matter if the attention you’re getting is good or bad, as long as it pulls readers in to read the body of your essay. This is how you can do that.
1. Go straight to the heart of the matter.
When the goal of your essay is to convey information, your title should do the same as well. An essay title that is straightforward and direct may not be clever or cute in any way, but it quickly informs your readers what your essay is all about. If they’re interested in the nitty-gritty of what you have to say, they will easily dive in and read.
2. Pique at readers’ curiosity.
People like to be in the know. They are especially drawn to things that raise their curiosity and satisfy it. An essay title that can intrigue people and pull them in to read the body of the essay is a winning title. Using a question as your title is the common way to do this. You can also play with words to come up with a witty title that has double meaning.
3. Begin with a How To.
A title that begins with a How To works like a charm because it quickly attracts people who are looking for easy solutions to their everyday problems. A good example is the title of this article. If it weren’t for the How To title that told you this was going to be a helpful post, you wouldn’t have come as far as this point reading about how to write an effective title for your essay, would you?
4. Relate to your audience.
If you were your reader, what would you want to see for you to give your precious time and attention away? You should be able to answer that question when you are trying to write a good title. A title that your audience can easily relate to, just like essay content that people find is about their own lives, is a title that has served its purpose.
5. Use a numbers headline.
A number on your title is a shot at practicality. You are offering your readers something specific for them to hold on to. For example, “25 Reasons Why the Student Loan Bubble Will Burst Soon” is more compelling than “The Impending Doom of the Student Loan Bubble,” even though both titles say pretty much the same thing.
A title that’s longer than seven words is often too long for most readers. The advice to use exact and specific words in the body of your essay also works well for your title. Keep it short and sweet. You’ll catch more readers that way.
7. Use cheap tricks.
Finally, it’s okay to use a couple of underhanded tricks to make your title stand out. If you’re discouraged to use too many exclamation points in your body, the title is the best place to put them. Italicize certain words, or use foreign words that need to be italicized. Whatever gets a reader’s attention works.