A lot of great writers suck at titles and this is what they taught me about writing…

Seth Godin has a title that scored zero in the headline analyzer

Linda Caroll
xo Linda
Published in
4 min readNov 14, 2018


Seth Godin has a post title that scored zero in that headline analyzer everyone recommends. Seriously. Zero. Zip. No score.

It all started with a stupid thing I read…

I honestly think I suck at titles. Like, I pull them out of the damn air.

One time I had an article I thought was pretty good, but no one read it.
Like, NO ONE. A big fat ZERO.

So I changed the title and in one day it had hundreds of likes. Which explains why I started reading about writing better titles. Because, duh! Suckage.

Anyway, so I was reading about better titles and I read one weird old tip that said to write 50-100 titles for every article and you’d eventually get the hang of good titles. My first thought was — are you frigging kidding? Um — no!

(because, if I had to write 50-100 titles for every article, you’d forget who I was before I wrote the next article, because hot damn that’s a lot of titles…)

So I got this crazy idea to check out the titles of some of my favorite writers and see how they fared. It was supposed to be incentive, but it backfired.

Which leads back to Seth Godin.

His blog post titles scored really low. 0, 26, 41. One of his titles got a 72, but that’s rare for him. Mostly, his titles all sucked. At least in that analyzer.

Neil Gaiman didn’t fare any better…

I grabbed 5 of his blog post titles and tested them, too.
He scored 27, 71, 64, 46 and 57.

Neil frigging Gaiman. He’s won the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards. First author to win both the Newbery and Carnegie for the same book. And his blog titles suck. Like, capital S, Suck! According to the analyzer, anyway.

Liz Gilbert and Mary Oliver don’t even have blogs and their titles still suck.



Linda Caroll
xo Linda

Everything is storytelling. I write about writing, marketing & Medium at https://lindac.substack.com/