The headline is the most important piece of any blog post. Without a snappy, descriptive headline that sucks readers in, your post stands no chance of getting read. The best content can be instantly killed by a bad headline. It’s just that simple.
But don’t worry, there’s good news. Writing better blog headlines is actually pretty easy. By following these helpful tips, you can start writing powerful headlines with your very next post. And once you do that, you’ll find that your promotion efforts get much more results than before.
Here are my top 5 tips for writing better blog titles, so that you will no more have to worry about how to write better blog headlines. Add your own tips by leaving a comment.
Top 5 Tips on How to Write Better Blog Headlines
1. Keep it short—You need to grab your readers’ attention as quickly as possible. They should be able to glance at your headline and instantly be sucked in. Remember, online readers tend to scan content in an F-shaped pattern, and many studies show that most people only read the first few words of your headline. This means you need to keep it short and put the most important information at the beginning.
But this isn’t the only reason to write brief headlines. Think about social media marketing. If someone Tweets out your post and you have a long headline, they won’t have enough room to add their own comments to it. Also, if someone decides to submit your post on Digg, ReddIt, or a similar social voting site, a long headline could exceed an allowed character limit.
2. Don’t mislead your readers—I’ll never forget the first time I was misled by a blogger. The headline was a top 10 list offering tips for better online marketing. When I clicked the link to read the story, there were only 2 tips. The author said that if you wanted the other 8, you’d have to come back and read his next few posts. Nowhere in the headline did it say “Part 1” or anything else to indicate it was a series. I felt duped. And what’s worse is when I checked back a few weeks later, he never added the other tips.
Don’t lie in your headline. You may be able to trick people into clicking on the post that way, but as soon as they find out you’re full of it, they’ll leave and probably never come back. By all means, you can be creative and clever, but above all else, your headline needs to be clear and honest.
3. Don’t overlook the proven headline templates—Like I just said, feel free to be creative in writing your headline. In fact, I believe experimenting and testing different types of headlines is very important (more on that later). However, it’s also foolish to ignore proven headline templates that just work. List headlines (like this one), how to headlines, benefit-driven headlines, leading question headlines, and insider knowledge headlines (the secret of___, or things you didn’t know about ____) have been proven to work time and time again.
Don’t believe me? Check out the homepage of Digg, ReddIt, Sphinn, or whatever other voting site you can think of. More times than not, the majority of the headlines will be in one of those formats. You can also see these headlines used on the covers of the most popular magazines. They suck readers in.
4. Optimize your title for search engine traffic—If you optimize your posts correctly, you can get traffic for years to come through the search engines. Of course, content optimization starts with writing a keyword-rich title. So, do some keyword research, and incorporate relevant terms in your posts.
One word of caution: Never sacrifice readability for the sake of SEO. If the keyword just doesn’t make sense in the headline, don’t use it in there. It’s better to have an interesting, catchy headline than a boring, optimized one.
5. Experiment—While I believe all of the tips in this list can help any blogger improve his or her headlines, the truth is we are all in different situations. What works for one blog may not work on another. The only way to find out what works best for you is to test out different styles of headlines. Never assume anything. Keep experimenting until you get results that show which headlines your readers respond best to.
What tips would you offer for writing better blog headlines? Share your ideas as comments.