• Does your blog have an effective tag line?

    by  • May 15, 2008 • Blogging • 5 Comments

    A tag line is a critical part of any business venture, whether it is a Fortune 500 company or your personal blog. It can be used to segment you, or what your company does, better than your name or company name can do. But many blogs either don’t have a tag line or they have one that is completely ineffectual in promoting themselves and their blog. For this reason, it is important that you have a tag line.

    Here are ten tips for creating (or optimizing) a tag line for your blog so that not only does it effectively do what it needs to – tell people what you do – but also is created with the greatest impact in those few words, more bang for your buck, so to speak. So if you are struggling with your tag line, here are the ten things you should consider so your tag line can be the best it can be.

    What exactly is a tag line?
    A tag line is something that enhances the name a bit better. For example, Jennifer Slegg is the blog name, but “Search Engine Marketing Consultant” is the tag line, and it drills down a bit better for anyone who happens upon my blog but doesn’t know me, that I am an SEM consultant.

    How should you choose?
    It should be something that describes who you are or what you do, if it is business related. If it is your personal blog, it should either be descriptive about yourself or something that means something to you. On JenSense, that tag is “Making Sense of Contextual Advertising” which describes precisely what the blog is about. Shoemoney is “Skills to Pay the Bills”. The Consumerist is “Consumers Strike Back”. Gizmodo is “So much in love with shiny new toys, it’s unnatural”. Make sure your tag line delivers the message you wish to send.

    Who is it for?
    Who is your audience? Your tag should reveal something about who your intended audience is, or it could be presumed from the tag line give. JenSense is obviously about contextual advertising, while Valleywag’s “Silicon Valley’s Tech Gossip Rag” is obviously for those who are interested in the latest scandals and tidbits about companies and people well known around the Valley.

    How will it benefit your audience?
    Sometimes people need that incentive to make them click, and the easiest way to do this is to reveal how it will benefit them if they click. Shoemoney is going to give people skills to make money, and you know that from reading the tag line. So think what you can do to benefit your visitors, and use it as a teaser that people can view in the search engine results.

    Using a tag line can also become part of your brand. The easiest way to consider this is to look at product marketing and how their slogan has become part of their whole brand identity. Do the same thing with your blog, consider your tag line as a part of your product marketing and consider how you can then leverage it to become a part of your brand identity. When I hear Skills to Pay the Bills, I think of Shoemoney’s blog.

    Looks good in the search engine results
    You want to make sure that it will look good when your homepage pops up in the search engine results. If it gets cut off in an inopportune place, your message could be completely different from what you had intended. A good rule of thumb is to make sure both the title and tag line are 65 characters or shorter in length. And don’t forget that some blog platforms add >> or :: to the titles, so take those into account. But with Google updating so frequently, you will be able to check and correct if necessary within a short time frame.

    Sounds good
    It is important that your tagline not only looks and reads good, but that it also sounds good. Imagine someone hears you have a blog, but has no idea what you do exactly. So if they ask you “So, what is your blog about?” would you be able to use your tag line as a response? If so, your tag line is doing what it should – telling people what your blog is and what kind of information or blog entries they would find if they visited. You never know if you will end up advertisng on a podcast or doing your own radio show where the effectiveness of your tag line verbally could make an impact.

    Include keywords but only if relevant
    Sure, you might want to load your tag line with keywords, but make sure it isn’t too spammy looking and sounding. While it might pass the search engine muster, it also needs to pass user experience muster if you want them to click on your search result. Nothing screams “SPAM!” more than a title tag with nothing but keywords. So make sure it passes the spam sniff test!

    Don’t steal
    Sure, you might love the “Skills to pay the bills” tag line, but that doesn’t mean you should, um, “borrow” it. Because some tag lines are so well known, people will instantly see it and know precisely where it came from and people will judge you on the fact you stole someone else’s tag line. So make it original and unique, not only for branding purposes but reputation management purposes too!

    Get feedback
    Struggling to find a great tag line? Ask for suggestions or opinions on the tag lines you have already come up with. A friend suggested “Making Sense of AdSense” as a tag line years ago when I began JenSense, and all it took was a little bit of tweaking to turn it into “Making Sense of Contextual Advertising” and into a killer tag line that still is effective four years later. Ask on forums, start a poll on your blog, ask on Twitter (I am @jenstar) , or even just IM your closest friends for opinions.

    An effective tag line on your blog can help brand new visitors know exactly what your blog’s purpose is and can give them a clue what to expect. Just make sure you deliver on your tag line and it doesn’t leave them expecting one thing and you deliver something completely different 😉

    Anyone have any favorite blog tag lines that always stand out to you?


    Jennifer Slegg is a longtime member of the SEO community and is an expert on social media, content marketing, Google AdSense and search engines.

    5 Responses to Does your blog have an effective tag line?

    1. June 2, 2008 at 10:37 am

      Great article – since blogs are such a big part of ecommerces these days, your tag line is just as valuable as anything!

    2. June 24, 2008 at 1:41 pm

      Jenn – Is the blog tag line necessarily the same as the title?

    3. July 14, 2008 at 12:56 pm

      Great article… we can’t think of any tag lines off the top of our head but everything you say is on point. Now time to start thinking of a good one for us…!

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    5. January 13, 2009 at 3:08 am

      So long as you put out good content then it shouldn’t matter whether it’s for money. Blogs in general are free to read so the reader is already ahead of the game I think. And probably most of us who have made a few dollars still aren’t making much of an hourly wage when you look at how much time goes into a quality site (I hope people think mine is quality).

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