The title of this post was used for ironic reasons, since this post will argue that blog post titles should be more assertive if they want to attract more readers. That is, they should be posed as statements instead of questions.
This little blogger pet peeve of mine stems all the way back to high school, namely, first year English. My grade 9 English teacher taught us a bunch of pointers and rules for writing an effective essay. Organize your thoughts into a structured form with introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs. Link paragraphs and sentences together with transition words. Refrain from using personal pronouns.
Most notably, never make the title of an essay in the form of a question. She actually never taught us this UNTIL I had submitted my first essay of the school term. I lost marks from what I believed to be a very strong essay simply because its title was in the form of a question. She never said anything about it in class, but deducted marks anyway. I relentlessly argued with her about it, and eventually convinced her that I shouldn’t be penalized for something I was not taught in class. This somewhat ‘nasty’ experience definitely solidified that rule in my head for life.
The reason why argumentative essays have that particular rule is that using a yes/no question relating to the main thesis of the essay weakens the thesis itself. If one is writing a post that argues one answer over the other, using a yes/no question in the title will leave the readers to answer the question for themselves. Regardless of whether or not the reader agrees with you, your argument appears stronger if you answer the question yourself, rather leaving the reader do it.
For example, if I ever see a blog post titled “Are mages that bad in Wrath?” I will think for myself, “no they’re fine,” and skip ahead to the next post in my reader. If that post was instead titled “The Plight of the WotLK Mage” or something similar, I would be intrigued by the title, and despite my opinions supporting the contrary, I would wonder why the author thinks as such. I would read the article with a more open mind, perhaps even agree with some points, and be more inclined to leave a comment to debate with the author’s points.
When that line of communication is created between the reader and the blogger, that’s when the personal connection is made. That’s when the reader gets the impression of the blogger’s authority on the subject. That’s when the reader decides that he or she will continue reading future posts.
However, using the question format has its uses outside of argumentative thesis posts. The only reason why blog posts should be posed as questions is to spark conversation with an existing reader base. By using the question format, the author gives up a little bit of that authority and allows the readers to form their own theses and debate with each other. Through the comments section, the post itself becomes a forum of sorts that allows for multiple readers to interact with each other.
An example of this would be Larísa’s wonderful blog, the Pink Pigtail Inn. A lot of her post titles are in the form of a question, but for good reason. She has a large reader base, and they are all often invited to have civilized debate with each other, fulfilling the blog concept of a warm inn, managed by a lovable moderator and host.
However, if you’re a new or up and coming blogger, something as simple as making your title more assertive will increase the effectiveness of your post by a noticeable margin, simply because you are arguing your points to your readers with more confidence and authority.