(Title changed from implication that I had a video of a certain High School Musical actress and the pop-singing / actress daughter of a country singer wrestling in mud, sans clothing).
Post a day gives this advice for increasing hits to your blog through effective use of post titles.
Personally, I have always found misleading headlines to be an irritation. I would rather my titles were pertinent and they certainly need to be short and punchy as the article suggests. The content, not the headline, makes the post and when titles are misleading people are unlikely to stay around or come back. Sure, the promise of “X and Y mudwrestling naked” or “fly BA business class for free!” or “win a Kinect” might increase my hits from average of 30 a day to 3000 but it wouldn’t be valuable hits and I desire quality, not quantity. Of course I would like more comments on here (hint, hint) but referrals and search engine terms shows I’m getting the right kind of traffic.
I’m not sure how much a good headline really draws people to blogs though. I’ve always used tags for that and when I look at the search terms that direct people here, it is nearly always the tags. The only instance I can think of where a post title has led to hits is “social commentary in science fiction” and that is pretty direct and to the point.
Bad journalism really annoys me and misleading headlines annoy me even further. Let’s take The Daily Mail‘s story “Facebook causes cancer“. Ignore for one moment (if you can) the horrendous pseudo-science in this article that the newspaper has become famous for, and just read the content. Does the headline justify the content? No, it refers to a lack of social interactions and hours and hours spent with technology and the potential health problems associated with a lack of personal interaction, too little sunlight, physical inactivity and the effects of monitors on our brains. Nothing to do with facebook or cancer specifically! The Daily Mail is not the only newspaper guilty of this sort of behaviour though.