Writing Short Article Names

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Short article names both save space on the page, and also improve readability of article listings.
This short HOWTO will show you how to shorten an article name.

Introduction

For this article, we will use this name as an example:

  • How to improve pacman download speed using alternative download managers

We will cover a few techniques that will help us shorten the name. There are probably many more techniques that do not apply to this particular example, but you will still get insight into the concept of title editing.

WARNING: Literal translation of this article may prove to be a challenge for most languages. Please try to find alternative titles that may serve better for your language. Also, other languages may require different techniques than English.


Avoid using question form

Instead of saying How to improve, simply say Improve.

Now compare the two:

  • How to improve pacman download speed using alternative download managers
  • Improve pacman download speed using alternative download managers

Rewording long parts

The text Improve pacman download speed' is rather long. Instead, we will say Speed up pacman download

Now compare:

  • Improve pacman download speed using alternative download managers
  • Speed up pacman download using alternative download managers

Avoid facy words

Facy words (like alternative in our example) are not only fancy. They are used less often than ordinary words, and thus tend to be longer. It is well known that words that are used regularly are in most cases shorter, so try to find an ordinary alternative for your words.

Instead of saying alternative, you may say other.

Comapre the two versions:

  • Speed up pacman download using alternative download managers
  • Speed up pacman download using other download managers

Deviating from technical words

This may be frowned upon by some of the more technically oriented users, but most people would not mind at all. Avoid technical terms if that makes your article names shorter.

Instead of saying download managers, you may say downloaders.

Compare:

  • Speed up pacman download using other download managers
  • Speed up pacman download using other downloaders

Review the result

Do not get too excited yet. We still need to review the two titles and see if they still communicate the same meaning.

  • How to improve pacman download speed using alternative download managers
  • Speed up pacman download using other downloaders

Okay, we see the end result is a much shorter article name, but what about its meaning? Well, it certainly seems so. But now we have a different problem. Pacman is not a downloader. So, both alternative download managers and other downloaders imply that pacman is a downloader, which is not what we want. We need to change the meaning by saying external downloaders.

Compare:

  • How to improve pacman download speed using alternative download managers
  • Speed up pacman download using other downloaders
  • Speed up pacman download using external downloaders

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