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Article Submission Guidelines: How To Format Titles Correctly
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Did you know that before publishers look at your article, they will first read your title to be sure that it abides by their article submission guidelines?

If your title does not pass muster, the article is often declined right away, as the title is seen as an indication of the quality of the article.

I know you invest serious amounts of time on crafting your articles, but how much thought are you putting into your titles? Titles are so important in the success of an article that we’re going to spend the next few posts going over specific ways to improve your titles.

In this post we’re talking about formatting–yes, incorrect formatting can get your article declined in a heartbeat.

Here are 5 tips for correct formatting of your article headlines:

Your Title Should be in Title Case.

That Means the First Letter of Each Major Word Must be Capitalized. It is not required to capitalize common words such as “a”, “the”, “to”, “for” etc. – either way is acceptable.

DO NOT PUT YOUR TITLE IN ALL CAPS (see, that doesn’t look very nice, does it?)

And do not simply capitalize the first letter of your title, as if you were just writing a sentence.

Rather, Capitalize the First Letter of Every Major Word.

Your title must contain correct spelling and/or grammar.

Correct spelling and grammar in the title is essential – the title is usually the first judgement a publisher makes about your article, and anything other than correct spelling and grammar immediately indicates a poor quality article.

For example:

Incorrect grammar: How To Choose A Article Submission Service
Correct grammar: How To Choose An Article Submission Service

Incorrect spelling: Wedding Jewelerey
Correct Spelling: Wedding Jewelry or Wedding Jewellery

Your title should not be just a single word.

Your title must be at least 2 words long.

For example:

Unacceptable title: Parking
Acceptable title: How to Park a Car

What does it say to a publisher or reader when they see a title that is just one word long? It gives the impression that you just didn’t care, that you didn’t want to put the effort into creating a helpful title.

Do not enclose your entire title in quotation marks.

There is no need for quotation marks–just type in your title without them.

Do not put a period at the end of your title.

Your title is not a sentence–it is a headline. There is also the possibility that the period at the end of a title can serve as a mental stop for the reader which may break the flow from your title into your article.

In any case, most publishers do not like to see a period at the end of a title, so don’t do it!

Conclusion

Most of the time when someone makes one of these mistakes, it’s simply because they didn’t know any better.

How did you do? Were any of these guidelines new to you? What changes will you make in your next article title based on these guidelines?

Next time we’ll go over some more detailed title writing tips to help you craft headlines that attract publishers and readers.


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16 Responses to “Article Submission Guidelines: How To Format Titles Correctly”

  1. Thanks so much for another great article! These are all very good suggestions. The title is so important because that is the first thing anyone will look at, plus it is given weight by the SE,

    Anyone doing article marketing should absolutely follow all these title principles!

    Thanks.
    Lorraine

  2. I write from the UK and have a problem with some of the guide points on headings. Are these essential rules? For example, no publication in the UK and most of the rest of the English speaking world, except for the USA, would accept an article with a capitalised heading. It is viewed as old-fashioned and incorrect. It makes no sense. Why would words in a heading be capitalised? Why would a four-letter word like ‘that’ have no caital but a three-letter word ‘Dog’ would? What sort of rule is this? We see American newspapers as looking very quaint and a little like ours were in Dickensian times.

    Also, I refuse to spell words the American way as the people that I write for do not like or accept this eg theater (we write theatre as the word is derived from the French). And, ironically in view of your example, we spell the word as jewellery not jewelery which would be a mispelling in English.

    Can I have your views and comments on this? After all, the English could claim to have some views on the English language. We do not mind how Americans spell … but it is different – not correct or incorrect. Just as in the same way that Americans should not tell us we drive on the wrong side (the left) but should say that we drive on the ‘other’ side, compared to the US. There are good reasons for this that go back way into history. All the world travelled on the left for the same reason (to keep their sword arm free when passing a stranger) and it was Napoleon who changed the rule as he hated the English. It is odd that you follow a dictat from French dictator!

    Regards and best wishes from a transatlantic reader.

    Roger
    rhaywood@issuesmanagers.com

  3. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Roger,

    Thanks for your comment. These guidelines are for articles used in article marketing, rather than for newspaper headlines and such. You may capitalize the first letter of each word if you like–the point is not to capitalize every letter of every word and not to only capitalize the first word of the title.

    Your Title Must be in Title Case or Your Title Must Be In Title Case
    That Means the First Letter of Each Major Word Must be Capitalized. It is not required to capitalize common words such as “a”, “the”, “to”, “for” etc., although you may. Either way is acceptable.

    Again, this is referring to articles that are published via article marketing, rather than newspaper articles.

    The spelling issue that you pointed out has been corrected. Of course the differences between U.K. and U.S. are acceptable either way.

  4. Re formatting titles. Absolutely spot on except for one thing.

    You give as an example of incorrect spelling Wedding Jewellery, and the correct spelling as Wedding Jewelry.

    An unfortunate example I would suggest as UK residents such as myself would regard the former spelling as perfectly correct. Whilst of course the latter is the U.S. version.

    If you put them into WordWeb they are both seen as correct.

    I would suggest that spelling differences between U.K. and U.S. are normal and acceptable either way.

    Regards,
    Chris Haycock

  5. Olia says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for the great tips.

    Does this apply to books – novels, non-fiction?
    Single titles can be very effective in this case.

    That’s the only website I have.

    Warmly,
    Olia

  6. Stephen Yap says:

    Hi,Steve.
    I usually find your advice and tips very useful.
    However, today I have to disagree with the example you give of incorrect spelling.
    I always use the word “jewellery” for a collection of precious ornaments.This spelling is the British variant,and is used in more countries and probably by more people than “jewelry”.
    As a British-based writer I am rather surprised that you don’t accept “jewellery” as correct.
    In principle, your comment about the need for correct spelling is right.It’s just that you have chosen a bad example.
    For communication on the Internet both British as well American variants of spellings should be acceptable.

  7. Becca Lee says:

    You are so right Steve. I have seen such terrible grammar and spelling as well from people that supposedly know how to write articles. I also hate to see all caps. WHY DO PEOPLE THINK THEY HAVE TO SHOUT? lol. Sorry, couldn’t resist. I am an aspriring article marketer and always look for your tips. Keep it up.
    Becca

  8. Tom Nolan says:

    Good advice but your spelling example is very US-centric. ‘Jewellery’ IS the correct spelling in the UK and Ireland – and, as far as I’m aware, in Australia and New Zealand. The USA is not the world, you know.

  9. it is very useful information, as a teacher of grammar ,i am highly impressed

  10. Dan says:

    Good stuff thanks. It may seem like common sense but there are mistakes that we all have made. I especially like the idea of not including a period at the end of the title

  11. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Tom and Stephen,

    Yes, thank you for pointing out–a misspelling of a misspelling! The post has now been corrected. Differences between U.K. and U.S. are normal and acceptable either way.

  12. Steve Shaw says:

    Olivia–we are speaking of articles used in article marketing, rather than novels.

  13. Elda Titus says:

    Thanks.. I need to spend more time on my titles.. I usually have one, although when I market the article.. usually provided two more and that is where I do not spend the time I should. Have printed out the article for future reference. Keep these great tips coming:-)

  14. Thanks for the info, its often easy to keep submitting articles but to think about the effectiveness is key. Must do more of this myself. Thanks again.

  15. Robert Ochoa says:

    I just finished an article on Helium and how they survived Google;s panda algorithm change. I for one need to make sure my formatting is correct as well as many other aspects of article writing. I will be back often.

    Thanks

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