What’s the first thing anyone reads when they come across your post? – the headline. You need to have great headlines to get readers to click your links – but writing great headlines isn’t as easy task
Writing Great Headlines: Here’s What You Need to Know
80% of readers never make it past the headline. According to some sources only 2 out of 10 people will actually click through to read the rest of the post. Your headline is the one chance you have to reach an audience that has a million other things on their minds – so let’s make it a great headline
Why Are Great Headlines Important?
The majority of people use headlines to decided whether or not to read your article and ultimately to visit your website. In other words, your content is only worth the headline it stands on. Well-written great headlines are important for the following reasons:
- Catching the Eye on Search Engines – Type a phrase into Google and you’ll be overwhelmed with the number of result that show up. You’ll notice that there isn’t a ton of information to decide whether any particular link is worthwhile. You have a title, or headline, there’s a short excerpt from the webpage usually called a meta description and there’s a URL. The most important of these is the largest one – the headline so let’s make it a great one!
- Grabbing the Attention on Social Media – In the same way great headlines can grab one’s attention on a search engine it can do the same on social media. Coupled with great social copy, the headline of an article is the only way any reader knows what your article is about.
- Further Engage Your Loyal Readers – Great headlines have the ability to impact the way your loyal readers interact with your website. Web readers skim pages and one of the best ways to grab their attention as their eyes scan down the page is to have an intriguing headline that may actually get them to stop and take a minute to read your article.
- Search Engine Optimization – There a many factors that contribute to search engine optimization, or SEO, but headlines and page titles rank among the top. Your titles become a very important part in ranking well and generating traffic from search engine results. The trick here is to incorporate your focus keywords into when working to create great headlines that are friendly to web crawlers and your end user – the reader – themselves.
How Long Are Great Headlines
You’ve probably asked yourself this question before and with good reason. Your headline needs to convey your promise of what’s on the other side of a link you’ve post and it needs to do it quickly. The truth is that the length of your headline depends on the message you’re trying to get across but here are a few things to consider when crafting great headlines:
- You’re going want to make every word count – most web readers scan their social feeds and google results and they’re going to scan your headline as well. Typically a web reader will digest the first and last 3 words in your headline, so make them count.
- Great Headlines Fit in within 70 Character – 70 characters should be enough room to summarize your article or blog post into something that will intrigue a reader to click through. Your headline should be precise, topical and to the point. Make sure to get creative when trying to incorporate your keywords.
- Your headline should be understandable out of context – Try handing your headline over to some who hasn’t read your article yet. Do they understand what your article is all about from just your short copy? If they don’t you have some work to go – if they do you’re on your well on your way to creating great headlines.
- Hit the Keywords – It’s time to get creative when writing your great headline. Make sure to include your keywords into your headline wherever possible. Remember you’re not trying to trick the reader into a click rather you’re trying to give them just enough of a clue as to what your article is about so as to get them to click through and read the rest of the post.
Who Am I Writing My Great Headline For: Search Engines or People?
When you’re crafting your headline you want to keep people in mind first. Write your headline in away that brings context to your content, both your audience and search engines will appreciate it. Search engines want people to write for people and your headline is your one line descriptor to both – so make it great!
“Google wants people to write for people. People often need keywords to bring context to the content and ensure them that the content is what they are looking for.”
If your headline is over-optimized for search engines your headlines may start to look like keyword filled spam. Keep people in mind first when crafting your great headlines, it’s what Google wants.
People like being asked questions, it’s engaging, and it’s also one of the more effective ways you can craft great headlines. Questions appeal to readers emotions and prompt an answer. If you ask a question your audience needs answered they’ll be more inclined to spend their time on your content by clicking through.
“How Well Do you Know West Edmonton Mall?”
Pro-Tip – Try including the word ‘you’ in the body of your question. It’s engaging and adds a personal touch
“Not Sure What to Do This Weekend? Here’s What’s Going On in Edmonton”
Pro-Tip – If your question can be answer with a yes or a no try answering it in the headline
Here’s How to Write a ‘How-To’ Headline
It’s no accident that thousand of books titles have started with ‘How-to’ – it works. The ‘how-to’ headline solves a problem for the reader or allows them a process to learn to do something new. Your readers come to you with a problem and you offer a complete guide on how to solve it. “How-to” suggests to the reader that there is somebody else out there with the same problem they have and have found a solution.
“Here’s How Red Deer Can Help You Host Your Next Business Conference”
Pro-tip: If one client/customer had a question chances are another had the same. Try answering frequently asked customer questions in a ‘how-to’ blog post.
“How to Make the Most of Your Weekend in Edmonton Without Breaking the Bank”
3 Reasons Why You Need to Use Numbers in Your Headlines
The number headline is one of the most effective approaches you can use. Numbers represent facts and when a reader is skimming through hundreds of other posts online you want them to get the gist of your article in as little time as possible. Numbers help our brain organize things into a logical order. They help provide a quickly defined expectation and help structure your blog in the long run.
“5 Things to do this Weekend in Edmonton That the Whole Family Will Love”
Pro-Tip – Stay away from even numbers. Using odd numbers in your headlines suggest to the reader that the content has been made from the nuggets of information available, making it more authentic, than even numbers
“Here’s 7 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About West Edmonton Mall”
Pro-Tip – Keep your numbers under 9. Research shows that we struggle to process more that 9 items in a row.
Heres Why You Should Address the Reader with Your Headline
Addressing your reader personally is a great way to grab their attention. In a climate where mass marketing is taking a backseat to one-to-one marketing, using a bit of a personal touch can go along way. Try phrasing your headlines in way that addresses a single reader by using the word ‘you’ more often while making a unique offering to your potential audience.
“Here’s What You Need to Know About Hosting Your Business Conference in Red Deer”
Pro-Tip – Try honing your headline down by addressing one specific problem rather than a general topic. It will help personalize your headline.
“Get the Most Out of Your Next Road Trip to Jasper by Following These Simple Rules”
Pro-Tip – Don’t be afraid to mix and match headline styles. Try using techniques form all the different styles to make your headlines unique and engaging.
Try Writing Your Headline First
Your headline should be the first thing you write when composing a blog post – why? Your headline is a promise to readers and it’s job is to clearly communicate the benefit you’ll be delivering to the reader in exchange for their valuable time.
You probably have an idea of what your blog post is going to be about. Take that idea and crystallize it for both you and your readers. Writing your headline first helps narrow the focus of your post and directs it in a way that stays true to the promise you’ve made.
Well, there you have it the Strong Coffee guide to writing great headlines. This is be no means a definitive sources or formula for writing attention grabbing traffic generating headlines but rather just a just a list of suggestions and examples to work off of. Try combining the information here examples you see in the real world. What headlines draw you in? How do others craft their headlines and what can we learn from them? Your headline is the first thing anyone reads when they come across your content, make it count.