How to Title an Essay – Complete Guide

Dec 10, 2020

Dec 10, 2020 | Guide

Title an Essay

The title is the first thing your readers will see before reading your essay. A title can boost your performance or hinder you from achieving your goals. In this article, we are going to share with you a few great tips that you can use to title your essay or book.

Why is a good title important?

A boring title cannot captivate your readers’ attention. Your headline should be to engage your readers and encourage them to read the entire essay. Without reading your entire essay, your professor or readers will not give you the marks that you truly deserve. Having a catchy title is critical while writing your essay because it’s among the first things that your readers will notice.

There is a difference between titling a research paper and naming an essay. The purpose of an essay is to attract and captivate readers so that they can learn from you. A research paper focuses on supporting claims and finding effective solutions to existing problems.

Every learner should know how to choose a captivating title for their essays. As a student, you need to brainstorm first. Brainstorming is all about coming with great ideas relating to the topic of your essay. After reading your title, your reader should understand what your essay is about without having to read the entire essay. When it comes to titles, less is more. However, your title should express the main subject of your essay.

Before we start getting ideas into your head, let’s discuss a couple of extra features that your title should have. A good title should be:

  • Believable: Most students do their best to make their headlines captivating such that they stray away from the main subject thus making the title inaccurate. Nothing will discourage your readers other than a title that cannot deliver the intended results.
  • Attractive: This should go without saying. All readers want to read attractive and interesting essays. And this should start with your headline.
  • Easy to understand: No one in the world enjoys reading complex and difficult to comprehend titles. Even the most learned person will stay away from complicated words and sentences. Therefore, do your best to avoid jargon and complex phrases.
  • Active voice: Since most titles contain verbs, it’s important to ensure that they are not in the passive but active voice.
  • Accurate: Regardless of the niche or topic, you should never go for an inaccurate title. Even if it’s captivating, you’ll end up confusing your readers. And this won’t end well on your side.
  • Short: Do your best to keep your titles brief since long headlines can end up confusing your readers.

Additional rules when crafting your title

Title all sections of your writing: As you write your essay, you need to create captivating subheadings for your readers to identify your paragraphs. You also need to ensure that your text is clear and well organized.

  • The title should be related to the theme of your essay: You should always go for a title that summarizes your essay
  • Capitalize words with exceptions: Capitalize all the first letters in your sentences. However, avoid capitalizing articles, pronouns, conjunctions, and prepositions.
  • Don’t underline your title: Since most topics are usually in bold, underlining it will lead to overemphasis. If you have to underline it, then you should not put it in bold.
  • Review your final draft: After coming up with a compelling and accurate title, don’t forget to review to check for structure, spelling, and grammar. Read it over again to find out if the title suits your essay. It’s always important to confirm that your topic is catchy to attract your readers.
  • Follow the rules when using a colon: Now that we are dealing with punctuation, it’s important to talk about the colon. The colon is important when you have two attractive topics in place. Use a colon to separate the two.

Coming up with a great title

Coming up with a good title for your essay is easy. However, there are a few principles that you need to consider. Here are a few great tips that will help you stay on track and avoid making expensive mistakes.

Write your essay first

Never start by creating a title for your essay. Coming up with a title before writing your essay will lead to an essay that is based on the title instead of the opposite. Writing an essay before coming up with your title will help you understand the concepts that relate to your reader. After writing your essay, read it several times before choosing your title. The last thing that you need to worry about after writing your essay is the title. Using this strategy will help you spend more time conducting research and writing the paper.

Consider your writing style

What will you be writing about? Which style is more suited for your paper? If the topic of your essay focuses on serious matters such as crime, health, or finance, your title shouldn’t be funny. It should be accurate and direct. If your topic is humorous, you can consider crafting a rib-cracking title. It’s always important to figure out the theme and tone of your essay before crafting your title. The tone of an essay can be funny, serious, informative, persuasive, or amiable.

Keep it simple

The purpose of a title is to name the essay. You don’t have to tell the whole story in your title or provide irrelevant information. All you need to do is sum up everything using a few words. You can also consider summarizing your thesis statement since it represents your main idea.

Use relevant words

As we said earlier, you should avoid fancy words. Using two or three keywords will help you save a lot of time in the long run. You should also avoid abbreviations and jargon.


Search Engine Optimization is one of the things that can help you reap the benefits of writing. As you craft your title, think of the words that are connected to the main idea of your essay. Typing the words on Google’s search bar will help you find quotations that will prove useful. You can easily create a title by selecting what you like.

Common mistakes to avoid

Here are a few common mistakes that most people make when coming up with a title for their essay:

  • Negative themes: You need to do your best to avoid topics that relate to sensitive and unethical issues. For instance, you cannot write positively about drug abuse, murder, or prostitution in academic work
  • Making your past negative experiences public: Your negative past belongs to you alone. You shouldn’t share it with your readers except for the lessons that you’ve learned along the way. When discussing the lessons that you’ve learned, avoid getting into the details.
  • Asking the wrong questions: Asking the wrong questions will negatively affect your work as it will not only confuse but also increase your chances of going for the wrong topic.
  • Being too personal: As we discussed earlier, your negative past belongs to you. Exposing them in your essay won’t do you any good. You should ensure that your essay stays professional by not adding personal details to it. Your readers are not interested in knowing how many women you’ve had in the past.
  • Missing the professor’s requirements: You need to understand the requirements of your professor before you start writing your essay. Failing to meet all the professor’s requirements may lead to the wrong topic. And this will negatively affect your grades thus leading to wastage of time, energy, and frustration.
  • Avoid being offensive: When writing your essay, you should avoid being defensive with the choice of your topic. Stay away from sensitive topics like abortion, religion, and politics to name a few.

Coming up with a creative title

You need to know how to write creative and interesting titles for your essays. Once you master this skill, you’ll have an easy time demonstrating your writing skills. Here are a few simple steps that will help you come up with a creative title:

  • Consider picking one sentence from your essay. This is one of the simplest ways to craft a good topic
  • Ask yourself the Who, When, What, Why, and How questions when crafting your title. A title that is comprised of a question has a greater chance of captivating readers and encouraging them to keep reading to the end.
  • Think about an image that is not related to your topic
  • Do your best to describe your topic using one word
  • Record all great ideas related to the topic at hand and rewrite them


To summarize, you need to keep in mind the four simple rules that are necessary to introduce a great topic and avoid making expensive mistakes:

  • Be aware of your content
  • Reflect on your tone
  • Focus on keywords and phrases
  • Keep your title simple

Creating a title is easy once you’ve written a good essay. Your topic should match your essay and not vice versa. By following the tips that we’ve discussed, you’ll always be a step ahead of your peers.

Author Bio:

Jennifer Holland is a professional writer at Best Essays with 3 years of experience who has been writing about education, student life, and career development for several years. She helps students get their dream job by offering them her excellent writing skills and knowledge.