“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…” – Shakespeare
One thousand years ago, a rose that was called an onion may have smelled just as sweet, but in the digital age–in the age of online searching, you need to name things correctly. If you want a rose to be found, clear across the World Wide Web, you better call it a rose–and then, you need to add a few more cogent descriptors to your title. Then and only then, your rose MIGHT be found, and after that, someone might say, “That smells sweet.”
Of course, some people may not want their writing [and their art] to be found on the Internet. They may be creating for creation’s sake, and they may have no interest in whether anyone else ever sees their work. In that case, the following does not pertain, but if you are posting things that you want others to see, you need to help people find what you posted, and that is where a good title comes into play.
Finding the book that you want to read is difficult enough in a library, where the holdings are confined in a room and are arranged according to the Dewey Decimal System. When you walk into the library’s book collection, you see rows and rows of potential texts. At one time, people had more free time, and thumbing through a tome maze may have been enjoyable. Today, people are busy, and they have little time for scouring through throngs of books.
Imagine how much more pronounced the problem becomes when we no longer have a finite room of books to explore and when we have the infinite string of data that is available to us on the web. To make matters worse, the Internet’s 21st Century viewers are in a huge hurry, as they flit here and there, from post to post. By and large, today’s viewers will not spend much time looking for you on the Internet. They don’t need to do that. They can find something that will suffice with hardly any effort at all, and that is largely because of the way that the other something was named.
“The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field.” – Genesis 2:20
Names have always been important. Even at the time of creation, when there were no crowded rooms of books and no Internet, Adam named the animals. Apparently, he knew, even then, that in order to better manage what was being created around himself, he needed to give things names–or identifiers. The case for identifying things is much more essential now.
I have written several articles about how Google plays a part in determining whether or not a blogger will be discovered on the web.
1 Trillion Google Searches Each Year
Steven Levy says that on Google, there are 3 billion queries per day and 90 billion per month or 1.1 trillion searches per year.
Google has a Free Keyword Planner that will help you name things so that they will stand out in Google searches. In my article about using Google Keywords, I show you how to use Google Keyword Planner. Here
Two and a half years ago, when I began blogging, I used Google’s Keyword Planner and named things accordingly. I don’t even do that anymore. Once Google finds you and realizes that you are posting reliable information, you are in reasonably good shape. Posting often also helps Google to begin trusting you.
Especially in the arts, names play other important roles, too. For a scientific or mathematic treatise, the title of a book might be more straightforward, but for more creative works, the title of a piece needs to suggest the tone of the work that it is naming. I have begun writing poetry. If I titled a book of poetry Poems or even Jacki Kellum Poetry, I doubt that I’d spark a great deal of response, and those words are totally unlike the tone of my poetry.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a poem that I named On Silver Sheets, I Sail. The title of that piece is very much like the tone of the poem.
On Silver Sheets, I Sail
by Jacki Kellum
Just before I open my eyes
I float along the misty skies.
I reach, I feel the soft, white hair
and fairy wings that flutter there.
I listen, I hear the slumber song,
The angel band that plays along
My dreams are in my pillow-pail.
On silver sheets, I sail.
©Jacki Kellum December 16, 2015
Last week, I wrote an article and shared several of my poems that stem from my being in the moment and writing from the present tense. As I read over the poems that I have written, I realized that all of my poetry has that dreamy, misty, sheet-sailing tone to it. I have been wrangling with what might be a good name for my own book of poetry, and there it was: On Silver Sheets, I Sail. Quite honestly, I could name my entire autobiography the same thing. In short, I DO Sail on Silver Sheets, and I always have done so.
Granted, a title should also have a more practical suffix–something that Google will recognize. When Google sees On Silver Sheets I Sail, it might deduce that I fly on aluminum foil. I don’t believe that Google sees things creatively; therefore, your creative titles need some more practical nomenclature, too. For instance, an effective title for my book of poetry might be: On Silver Sheets, I Sail: Jacki Kellum Poetry. The Silver Sheets part of the title is the part that has the potential for intriguing and tantalizing a passerby, but because I have worked two years at creating a brand from the name Jacki Kellum, Google would more likely jump on my name.
In summary, your title needs to have practical, searchable words in it. It needs to have words that Google can identify and can direct viewers accordingly. After the reader gets to your post, however, your title needs to be interesting enough–even arty enough–to draw the viewer completely inside. For that reason, there is value in infusing your title with as much lyricism as you do your work itself. Your title is like a red carpet that you roll out before your work–it is the way that you set a stage for your writing or your art.
Bottom line: A rose by any other name would NOT smell as sweet–at least not if it was sniffed from clear across the World Wide Web. In fact, unless you title your work correctly, using the Google Keyword Planner, your rose probably won’t be sniffed at all, from way across the web, and unless you have a creative hook in your title, you probably will not catch your reader anyway.
The magic formula for naming your blog posts is:
- Use some creative and arty words to set the tone
- Use some practical words so that Google will find you