In the English language, titles follow a certain convention of capitalization. Titles of books and magazine articles, news headlines, names of publications, etc., they all follow this basic rule: You capitalize every word in the title, except for unimportant words (e.g. and, or, is, the), with the first and last words always being capitalized. Patricia Vennes’ post on Blogging Tips, CaPiTaLiZaTiOn, describes the overall rules to crafting a grammatically-correct title.
All too often I’ve been seeing a trend of blogs naming their posts with basic sentence case, as Engadget does. It just doesn’t look right, and it breaks decades of journalistic convention. You capitalize your name, John Hannibal Quincy Rutherford Wallace Smith, don’t you? Have you ever seen a book with only the first word of the title capitalized? Have you ever seen a printed newspaper without compliant case? Probably not.
If you want to be taken seriously, don’t ignore conventions like this.
Blogging Tips had a recent post, The Capitalization Wars, with a similar point. Interestingly enough, Blogging Tips displays their headlines IN ALL CAPS. However, if you read their posts in an RSS reader, you’ll notice that they appear “properly” there. How is that? The post titles use Title Case, but they use the CSS text-transform property to display them in all-uppercase. If you view the source of the page, they look normal, but the browser renders the headlines in all-caps. It’s a stylistic choice that can be easily reversed at any time.
Please, type your headlines in Title Case. It may seem like a minor pet peeve, but you lose some credibility in the eyes of the “old media” (and the grammar geeks) if you don’t do it “right.”