Friday, December 5, 2008

Give Your Readers a Clue with a Great Tagline

Does your blog have a tagline? It probably needs one.

A tagline is a succint, unique phrase that tells readers what they'll find at your blog. It generally adds a bit of information that your title doesn't provide. A few examples:

  • Deal Seeking Mom: Real Deals for Real Moms
  • ParentHacks: Parenting tips from the real experts: actual parents
  • Simple Mom: Live Simply, Stay Sane. Life Hacks for Home Managers
  • Scribbit: A Blog about Motherhood in Alaska
  • Consumerist: Shoppers Bite Back
Why is a tagline important?
Copyblogger author Brian Clark insists that it's important that you can succinctly describe what your blog offers, "If you can’t deliver a message in a handful of words to consumers, you’ve missed the target." And forget about remaining mysterious. The idea of enticing readers with a mysterious blog title, he says, is overrated.

Search engine marketing consultant Jennifer Slegg notes that your tagline becomes part of your blog's brand in the same way that a slogan becomes part of a company's identity. When you hear, "Just Do It", for example, you probably think of Nike.

ProBlogger Darren Rowse agrees that hooking your readers with a great tagline is crucial, not just because it's the second thing your readers see, but because its one of the first thing search engine webbots see as they scour the web. Your tagline is at the top of your page, Rowse says, where words have more weight in the eyes of these bots. Including key words in will help your page rank. Just be careful not to sound "spammy", cautions Segg.

The more obscure or unrelated to your main topic your blog's name, the more you need a tagline. Some blogs, however, don't need to provide any more information. The blog name 5 Dollar Dinners is self-explanatory. Even in this case, though, a tagline wouldn't hurt.

Creating Your Tag Line
Can you describe your blog in eight words or less? How about five words or less? Give it a shot.

Effective taglines:
  • are no longer than they need to be
  • don't have to be super-clever (but it helps)
  • roll off the tongue
Ankesh Kothari of BlogClout (whose tagline is actually larger than the title of his blog), suggests asking yourself the following questions if "What is my blog about" isn't cutting it:
  • What can you be the best in the world in?
  • What differentiates you or your blog?
  • What is the corner stone of your blog?
  • What topic is your target audience most interested in?
Remember, taglines can be pretty broad so as to allow for a wide variety of posts. Scribbit's tagline "a blog about motherhood in Alaska" allows for posting diversity. And just so you know, "I'm (name). This is my website." probably won't work unless you're famous like Heather of And yes, that's her current tagline.

If all else fails, suggests Segg, ask your readers to come up with a tagline that suits your blog. Hold a contest or post a survey like The Snagsta Blog did last month.

Sources and further reading:
Does your Tagline Create Clarity or Mystery?
The Importance of Blog Taglines
The Best Website Taglines Around the Internet
Do Blogs Need Tag Lines?
3 Blog Tag Line Tactics
Does Your Blog Have an Effective Tag Line?

So what's your blog's tagline?