The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Monday, February 9, 2015

Perfidy Valence

European bull in thought
European bull in thought (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why Perfidy Valence?

      One afternoon last year I woke up from a power nap with an odd term on my mind--"Perfidy Valence".   I accepted the term with a fleeting moment of clarity as though it was something completely natural to me and made perfect sense.  Then, as I became more fully awake, the phrase continued to stay on my mind while losing any significance to my real world of thinking.   However I felt compelled to write a blog post regarding the phrase and to use "Perfidy Valence" as my blog post title.

      The advice most often given to bloggers in regard to increasing site traffic is to use titles that will draw readers.   Commonly the tactics include using a question that interests many people or presenting an idea that will appear useful to others.  Overly technical or obscure titles typically do not attract readers since there is nothing in the title for them to connect to.

What Attracts You to a Blog Post?

      Perfidy Valence strikes me as a blog title that would attract few visitors.   You who visit this particular blog post will most likely be regular readers who are visiting out of habit, reciprocity, or just to see what I had to say.  Those of you who have dropped in might have have done so without even noticing the title of the post while others may have read the title and thought little of it since--well, because I sometimes come up with weird stuff and this was just another one of those things.  

      Then there will possibly be those who drop by because they were intrigued by the title.  Perhaps the phrase had some sort of actual significance for some.  For others the pairing of these words evoked a sort of puzzlement that attracted them to the post out of curiosity.   If there were any of you who fell into these categories, I hope you don't feel scammed that you were lured here under any sort of false pretenses.  For that matter I hope regular visitors aren't thinking something like, "What an idiot!  There Arlee Bird goes again with some oddball notion."

It's a Legitimate Question

      From my view on this topic of blog titles, it's not so much the words "perfidy valence" that are the real focus here.  Some readers may have expected something about a villain from a movie western or a post about science.   There are many things the title could suggest since the word "valence" has a range of meanings and "perfidy" is a word that is somewhat charged with emotion and negativity.

      In the past I used another term derived from a dream on this blog--Dynamic Flow,  After googling the term I found that others had actually used it, though I had no recollection of ever having heard it before.  I ended up with the post Dynamic Flow: The Dream as well as Dynamic Flow:  A Guest Post By Halina Goldstein.   Later I recycled my dream post as Deja Vu Blogfest: Dynamic Flow.   I can't say that any of this took on viral post proportions, but I did get some interesting reactions on all of these posts.

       However I do think legitimate questions are raised in regard to using obscure blog post titles.  Can a title of this nature increase readership?  Might using this sort of title cause a new visitor to feel ripped off after reading the post?   In this present post I think my topic is a fair one, but could my title be construed to be a deception?    

        Does using certain key words (such as sex, football, best-seller) or other names or phrases which have topical significance (for example Obama, ISIS, Kim Kardashian) in a blog post title constitute a rip-off if the blogger does not actually discuss to any great extent the word or name used?  

         Do you usually make an effort to formulate titles for your blog posts that you think will draw new readers?    Are there any particular titles that you have used that have had a particularly good response or even caused your blog post to go viral to some extent?   Are there any blog post titles that have backfired for you?

         What made you visit today's blog post at Tossing It Out?


76 comments:

  1. Great now I have 'The man who shot Liberty Valence' stuck in my head. Maybe Perfidy is Liberty's older brother? lol

    Overall my comments are dropping off and it's kind of making me mad. There isn't a lot of reciprocity going on...people visiting/commenting on my blog vs. how much time I spend commenting on other blogs. I thought it was good etiquette to make a reciprocal visit. Due to that frustration, I have no new posts in the can.

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    1. Count me among the guilty. I've been doing better than last year, but still I need to reciprocate my visits better. Sorry, JoJo! I do appreciate your regular visits here and on my other blogs.

      Lee

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    2. Damn! My comment was already used on the first post!

      Delete
    3. CW are your comments dropping off as well? Like JoJo says?

      Lee

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    4. Depending on how stressful the workday was... plus, there is another problem which I am about to address on my page.

      Delete
    5. Oh no, this I've gotta read.

      Lee

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  2. I was curious about that phrase.
    I try to arrange my titles with the most interesting items first.
    However, I read recently that titles with numbers - top ten type - attract the most visitors.
    Although as I've discovered, just announce that you are posting the latest Thor movie poster and you'll get thousands of extra visitors.

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    1. Don't understand the Thor fixations, but I've always heard that lists are great ways to attract traffic.

      Lee

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  3. Perfidy Valence certainly is a tongue twister to say. On my particular posts, I don't formulate a title that might attract readers. I usually try to sum up what the post might be about in a few words as the title. What attracts me more to check out new blogs is the name of the blog itself. Unique titles always wants me to take at least one look.

    betty

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    1. Sometimes the blog name will attract me the fist time, but after that the intimation of content will draw me in.

      Lee

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  4. I don't usually pay much attention to post titles, especially on blogs I visit regularly. This one did make me curious, though.

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    1. I agree about the blogs I visit regularly--if I'm going there anyway I usually don't pay much attention to the blog post title. But when it's an unfamiliar blog then I might be more apt to visit because of that the title suggests the content will be about.

      Lee

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  5. What made me stop? I know the blogger has good stuffs to offer and I enjoy reading 'em!

    And I'm with JoJo -- the first thing I thought of was the Gene Pitney song from the Jimmy Stewart "Liberty Valance" movie. ;)

    I think blogging in general is gradually dropping off and how people are doing it is changing. More and more blogs seem to just be self-advertisement and "marketing promotion" of books and so forth -- part of an author's online presence, with much less thought given to interaction than there used to be.

    Perhaps many people who used to blog now interact online in lots of other ways (FB, Twitter, etc). Or perhaps it's just me -- I have much less time to blog than I used to, so maybe it just feels like everyone else does, too?

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    1. This change in blogging has been brought up numerous times lately, but I suspect this may be an illusion resulting from being a part of a community. Out of the millions (billions?) of blogs out there most of us tend to circulate in a community that we started in and don't see much beyond. Our blogging community has changed in the direction you describe, but I think this might be seen differently if we expand beyond this specific community. This is one advantage to Blogging from A to Z in April--we try to draw new bloggers into the community.

      And thank you for your kind opening words.

      Lee

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    2. I'm with you, Chris. I'm an author, but I try to come up with content on my blog other than "buy my book," and I get turned off by other blogs that are overtly selling. Problem is, a lot of those seem to get plenty of visibility.

      There's a lot of noise out there, and it's hard to be heard. I signed up for Blogging from A to Z to see what happens.

      And yeah, the song is playing in my head, too!

      Delete
    3. Nadine, I do understand why authors (and others) try to use their blogs for direct marketing purposes, but I agree that this can be a big turn-off if overdone. A nice balance is best to me. I've seen some blogs where nearly every post is about whatever latest book or product the blogger is trying to sell and often they have no comments. I wonder what their traffic is like and more importantly if their blogging efforts have any positive impact on sales.

      It can be difficult to be heard or get eyes and minds directed to ones blog site. The social interchange seems to be the most assured method for most of us, but it is very labor and time intensive. A to Z is a good way to become immersed in a community, but no one should expect it to be the magic traffic fix either. As I have always maintained from the first Challenge, it's a community involvement thing that requires interaction. A to Z is just one facet of making a blog successful.

      Hope you have a good A to Z experience! The main thing is have fun!

      Lee

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  6. teehee--it seemed whimsical to me and whimsy is generally entertaining, so I popped over. Though to be fair, you were in my feed in a particular order, so MOSTLY you just didn't have a title I SKIPPED (depending on my mood I will skip heavy and USUALLY I will skip stuff that just doesn't appeal to me--taste may vary)

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    1. I think a title of a blog should designate something that will attract certain readers. Typically if a post is about crochet or sports for example, I might just move on. But if I'm planning to visit that blogger anyway then I'll go ahead and see what they have to say no matter what the topic.

      It's kind of like an advertised lecture. If it's a topic of which I have no interest then I'm not even going to consider spending my time (and maybe money) to go hear it. But if I see that my friend is delivering the lecture (and especially if they've invited me directly), then there is a good chance that I will go in order to support my friend.

      Subject matter is very important to any of us with limited time--and who of us don't have limits in time?

      Lee

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  7. People used to buy Real Estate and long time ago they would buy big pieces of land in India just on an imaginary ( or in dream) picture. You wrote a post and that is actually a way of dealing with something that must have been compelling you to work with the word.
    Good decision.

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    1. The imaginary land scheme has been very common in the U.S. as well--especially in the West. And not so long ago--in fact they still do it.

      The wonderful outlet of blogging is that we can vent ideas and concepts quickly with little investment other than typing them up and posting. I can toss things out to the public and get rapid feedback.

      Lee

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  8. I stopped by because I'm a pretty regular visitor but I kind of expected a post about newscasters who lie or some such idea. I do try to use post titles that will catch a new readers' attention. Not sure I usually succeed. I'm not nearly clever enough.

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    1. Lying newscasters! "Perfidy Valence" could have worked for this topical subject. Sometimes I've started with a title and built my post to accommodate it--like this post today!

      Lee

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  9. Yeah, but who's the man who shot Perfidy Valence?
    Oh. Wait. That's Liberty Valance.
    My bad.
    Carry on.

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    1. I'm supposing somewhere in the deep recesses of my subconscious mind "Liberty Valance" had some influence on this dream term. As to "perfidy" maybe I had heard or read the word at some recent time before I had the dream. Who knows what crazy brain dumps are dredged up by the dreaming mind?

      Lee

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  10. LOL - Who shot Perfidy Valance?

    Great web copy (or post titles) often come from classic titles, such as "The Secret...", "How to..", etc.

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    1. We've already been seeing and will see many more variations on 50 Shades of Grey. Sticking with the familiar resonates with reader in some way I'm sure. But if it's a false hook, is that fair? I guess all's fair in love, war, and blogging.

      Lee

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  11. What got me clicking was the image you used to go with the blog title. It got me curious. I once had a blog post titled "It's like Dora the Explore Meets Darth Vader". That got a lot of clicks. The topic was how sometimes you can describe a book by saying "It's like this meets that."

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    1. I've heard that image is another important factor in getting clicks on a post. Thank you for pointing that out.

      In the example you cite you used two popular cultural icons in a unique juxtaposition. I think a title like that is good for arousing curiosity which will pull in readers. That's a good one!

      Lee

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  12. I visit pretty often so this was just one of those visits. I will say that titles do pull me in to articles but I think the writer is what makes me stay. If I read a title and start realizing it was a ploy to get me to read I will stop and leave the page without even finishing the article.

    cestlavie22.wordpress.com

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    1. So true! I do the same thing. I feel kind of ripped off when I think I'm going to get good info and end up with nothing new and it's not presented in an interesting manner.

      Lee

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  13. The titles I really dislike, on both blog posts and YouTube videos, are the clickbait titles. I particularly dislike them when they pretend to be against the very thing they then proceed to shill for, like MLM companies (one of my pet hates). "MLM a cult?" "Can you really make money with [MLM name]?" "Is MLM a pyramid scheme?" Just be honest about your subject matter; don't lure people in by pretending to be against it and then so obviously turn around and endorse it!

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    1. This is such a common ploy and it's really a time waster much of the time. I want to be entertained or informed and not tricked into taking valuable time to experience something that I would not have looked at if I had known what it was. I have blocked blogs and FB sites that have regularly used this tactic.

      Lee

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  14. We just try to make our titles as interesting as possible, and we try not to mislead.

    Also, can I just say, I absolutely HATE clickbait titles. "What this man did next will make you cry." Those are just the laziest, most idiotic way to formulate titles, and it just kills me that it works on people.

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    1. Oh yeah, this is a tactic used by so many of the fake-o news sites like the ones on landing pages like AOL or whatever. I fall for it all the time because I want to know and then it's some site that takes forever to load, is filled with ads, or there really isn't anything pertaining to the tease. And usually the tease is really stupid anyway. But it works on me a lot! I'm such a sucker and for some things I never learn. Now excuse me while I go look at this new naked actress photo.

      Lee

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  15. I've found it's kinda hard to make science and Sci-fi sexy. Then I noticed images from ComiCon and all the hot women wearing sexy super hero outfits. Hmmmmm ... maybe there is a way to sexify my blog after all.

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    1. Sex sells and works as a come-on, but I think most readers want substance in the end. Well, that's what I'm always hoping.

      Lee

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    2. Time to make geeky science and Sci-fi sexy. Snort.

      Delete
    3. Go for it! Will we have to give your blog an AC rating on the A to Z Linky list?

      Lee

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  16. Ok. If I'm totally honest (and I always am), if this wasn't your blog I probably would have passed on the post. My feeds are set to regulars and newbies. Regs I know and enjoy posts so i go regardless of the title.

    Newbies have to work at it. Is that mean? Probably. I like titles that tell me what I'm in for.

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    1. Fair enough. I would probably do the same unless some word or something in the title resonated with me. You're right about the new bloggers as well as bloggers we're not familiar with. If they don't have a "gotcha" catch then I will likely not be hooked.

      Lee

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  17. I visited your blog post here just because I saw it in my news feed. But I am guilty of looking at the titles and deciding if it sounds interesting to me, or if it looks like I can get something out of it.

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    1. I'd say sensible more than guilty as we all must budget our time as is necessary. Why spend time with something that doesn't do anything for us? On the other hand we can miss some good information if a title does not accurately reflect the content of the post and we avoid reading because we think it's something that won't be of use to us. A blogger does have some responsibility in representing accuracy of content through a good post title.

      Lee

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  18. Honestly, I don't pay attention to titles of blog posts. I just stop by to visit whoever visits me. I guess if someone is perusing titles, an interesting one would compel someone to check it out.

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    1. I'd say most of us seasoned bloggers operate in this way. We know who we're going to visit and what to expect from them. A non-blogger for example will probably be more drawn to what the post title advertises that the post will be about. I think it's something important for a blogger to consider if they are looking for broader readership.

      Lee

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  19. I think for the most part I don't pay too much attention to the blog titles and it's more about whose blog I'm visiting (which was also the case in visiting your blog today). If I regularly visit someone's blog, it won't really matter what the title is. But if it's a particularly interesting or funny title, it'll be more likely to catch my attention.

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    1. Again an affirmation in regard to visiting regulars. However, if you were new to blogging and didn't know any other bloggers, what would draw you to a site for the first time?

      Lee

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  20. I visit because I always visit, but that's no secret.

    I haven't seen too many bloggers pull a bait-and-switch with a post title.
    If they do it, it had better be because the post needs more eyes on it (for a good reason). Though someone could just mark the post "urgent" or "please read" to accomplish that, but maybe it only works on current readers so expanding the circulation would be harder unless you asked for readers to pass it on. I don't know.

    For my titles, I try to be accurate. No sensationalism. No SEO implementation. Not even desperate stabs at uniqueness. Maybe that's one reason readers are scarce for me.

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    1. I haven't noticed the sneaky title tactics with most bloggers I normally read probably because like many others have noted I don't read because of the title but because of the blogger. I do see it often with some teases I see in tweets or various landing pages like Yahoo or AOL. Often what seems intriguing in the headline is just something silly or not what I was expecting.

      I do try for accuracy in titles, but I also attempt to make them clever in some way or say things in a way to pique curiosity.

      Lee

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  21. I came by because I come by.
    It does sound like a good name for a character, though.

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    1. It would be a weird name, but from a literary standpoint it could have significance. I suppose it's like a name that Dickens or Hawthorne might have come up with. I don't think I'll be using it, but maybe the message of the dream was that I should.

      Lee

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  22. Arlee Bird, you are such a moron! Perfidy Valence indeed. I feel scammed!

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I resemble that comment! Now you're talking out both sides of your mouth!

      Lee

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  23. To be honest with you Arlee, the phrase made me think or the movie "The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance." And the picture of the bull made me think it was some fable or tale. So, essentially, you snookered me into visiting. ;)
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

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    1. Do you have a special fascination with Liberty Valance? I'm not sure I've ever seen that film and I couldn't tell you how the song went. Glad you were snookered.

      Lee

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  24. I visit you always so I wanted to know what in blazes you were talking about since I have the IQ of a rabbit sometimes (I feel like Clarence). I use titles that I think work with what I am going to talk about and they are not earth shattering by any means:)

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    1. Those are probably good titles to use. Tell 'em what to expect and then give it to 'em.

      Lee

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  25. It was more the yellow bull than the title although that too. I have never given much thought to titles before, but you are right, they have significance and I must work on my choices. How about Kardashian Sex, or ISIS Football? No?

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    1. If you deliver what the title is suggesting then maybe you'll get traffic, but I don't think there's any guarantee. Go for it and see what happens. I wouldn't do it too many times though unless you become a big hit and people come to expect weird controversy on your site.

      Lee

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  26. Hey Lee,

    It was bordering on an amazing wonder that I even managed to get to your site with my soon to be retired, slower than a parked car, computer.

    I'm always intrigued by blog titles. I do some of the best out there, according to my zillions of adoring fans. I just come here to visit to see how things are.

    All the best and that's it until I get my new computer.

    Gary

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    1. Do you mean to tell me you're still working with that computer?!! I thought you had a new one in the works. I'm sure your new computer will make a world of difference for you. You might even get so fast that you'll feel a compulsion to sign up for A to Z just to show off your dazzling speed. And of course to show off your brilliant blog titles.

      Lee

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  27. Hi Lee. Even though you're in my read feed - and I was headed to bed, the word 'Perfidy' sounded so familiar(?) I couldn't shake it, and had to stop over to find out what was going on. Plus, the golden bull was a mystery... like Merrill Lynch? Curiosity got me.

    There are some wonderful comments to learn from here today. Glad I stopped. I'll check back for more! (smile)

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    1. It's always interesting to see the comments a weird post will reap and my visitors give some of the best.

      Lee

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  28. Lee,

    You just visited my blog and I wanted to visit yours, but I have to admit I read your post because of curiosity. I don't think I've heard that phrase before. It's amazing the things that come across our mind in dreams. I have some doozies and may use some of them in the A to Z this year. I'm still mulling that over.

    Sunni

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    1. You should use them. You might find someone who can identify the dream ideas you've had or at least provide some clarification. When I invited my guest poster to talk about "Dynamic Flow" it was interesting to hear her perspective and know that I wasn't just dreaming nonsense (even though contextually I may have been).

      Lee

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  29. I always try and use an interesting title to each post when I can and a fair bit of my blog traffic is from one off visits. . . AH DAMN that does not sound good does it. . . .The blog folk only visit once.

    one of the most popular titles I have ever used is . . . . . . . Esmeralda and the wheelie bin in a post Bauhaus intellectual efficient learning structure . . . . . So I am not sure what that says

    Rob Z Tobor

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    1. You certainly lost me with that title so I would probably fall for it :)

      Lee

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  30. I'm horrible with blog post titles, so I just usually state the topic of whatever I'm planning on writing, or what's on my mind. I'm not that great of a blogger. :)

    I also have a sucky vocabulary, so I didn't know what either of the words meant, therefore I just visited out of general interest of what you had to say.

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    1. Don't denigrate yourself! You do fine as a blogger.

      I'll admit that I had to look up the words perfidy and valence. I had kind of an idea what they meant but I wanted to see if they worked together in juxtaposition.

      Lee

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  31. I thought the title was a phrase I never heard of that you would educate me on in the post:) "How to" titiles get a lot of hits on my blog. So do questions. I'm very specific with my titles so that people interested in certain topics will read and hopefully comment.

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    1. "How to" and question titles are both highly recommended as the kind that get higher traffic. I typically will be more likely to visit posts with those types of titles.

      Lee

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  32. I usually put a lot of effort in the blog title. Yeah, it needs to be catchy, but I don't like using sex terms to capture attention (even though I talk sex on my blog). Some things are just over used.

    I have read some blog posts solely based on the title, but only when I have limited time and want to visit some friends. I was on my way here to visit your post regardless of the title; but it did capture my attention. I thought perhaps it was a character name, and I was intrigued to see what "she" would be. Only a little disappointing; I love your controversial posts.

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    1. Now I'm thinking I should use Perfidy Valence as a character name. It's starting to grow on me and it has such symbolic implications..

      Lee

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  33. Roughly 98% of the time, my blog titles have no connection whatsoever with my blog posts, which suits me just fine.

    I myself have experienced a drop-off in commenting, which ties in with the dual fact that I'm building another blog from scratch (had roughly 130+ subscribers to my 1st) and a large percentage of my readership has changed over the years. I still get a lot of page views, which is directly due to me posting the link on both of my FB pages.

    As for visiting, I came by because I subscribe to your blog and at this point yours is but a stop on my journey through my 100+ blog subscriptions I read on a weekly basis.


    Father Nature's Corner

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    1. Thank you for your continued readership. I do understand how dispersal of one's work efforts can cause a like result when it comes to getting comments and so on. It happens to me as well.

      I think blog titles unrelated to the post are okay so long as they are not deceiving people into reading because they are expecting something specific and entirely different. If the content is better than what the title promises then that might be a different story.

      Lee

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  34. A bit late in the day - I guess blog titles do have a catch value now that I think about it. I've much enjoyed reading the comments and your responses to them. I like to keep own blog titles short and a sort of guideline to my post. I'm interested to hear that numbers in the title attract more visitors .. I'd heard the converse and also NOT to use dashes, semicolons etc .
    Thanks Lee, great post!

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    1. Never too late! If visitors come to my posts a year later that's fine with me.

      I've never heard about not using the dashes and semi-colons--I do that frequently I think. I also use parentheses. I wonder if those are a no-no or if this advice is even valid. I'd love to know the reasoning behind this.

      I have heard that the blog titles are very important to drawing traffic and that's very logical to me. Especially if someone's perusing blog posts through a reader or something. People in a hurry will tend to pick and choose the things that seem most interesting or relevant to them. Or even sometimes weird.

      Lee

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Lee