How important do you think well written article headlines are when it comes to blogging?
Surely an article’s content is the part that counts most and headlines are just something you simply add as an afterthought when you have finished writing your article, right?
In reality, if you want your blog to stand out from the thousands of competing bloggers, then writing good article headlines is one of the most important things you can do to entice people to visit your site.
Good headlines are so important that they are your 1 to 2 second window of opportunity to sell the premise that your article is worth reading or that your website is worth visiting. 1 to 2 seconds is the average amount of time that a reader scans an individual search item with their eyes before deciding whether to click on it or move on to the next one.
Effective headlines are one of the main weapons of choice for marketing teams because they work so well. The handful of carefully chosen words which make up a typical headline, if written well, can have the power to unlock people’s attention. This is how most news agencies sell their newspapers and even though some of the tabloid papers might have headlines which are a bit on the cheesy side, they still sell based mostly on their headlines.
So now we know how important headlines are, let’s talk a bit about how you can write better headlines. Below I’ve listed some tips you can use when writing your next article headline.
1. Make your headline as targeted as possible for your intended audience
Make sure that the headline you write accurately reflects the specific topic you are writing about or the solution you are providing. Your aim as a blogger is to get the attention of specific people who are searching the topic you are writing about and who will be interested in the content.
As soon as a web-surfer becomes a visitor of your blog, the baton is handed over to the content of the article whose task is to deliver to the reader the answer or solution they were looking for.
Therefore if your headline is misleading or your content doesn’t quite match the promise of the headline, then you are probably targeting the wrong people and your visitor will quickly become one of the bounce statistics in your google analytics report.
2. Use words which convey the promise of a solution or beneficial information
For instance take the following examples:
"xyz plugin will help triple your conversions"
"Why the xyz plugin will help triple your conversions"
Although the difference is subtle between the two headlines above, the headline beginning with the word “why” makes it far more effective than the first headline because it contains within it an implicit suggestion that the article will provide information about why the plugin works and the benefits of using it to get higher conversions.
Other effective techniques are to use numbers in your headline to convey a list of ideas or suggestions. For instance:
"7 ways to maximize your chances of making 50 bucks a day from your blog"
You may have seen many examples of headlines in the blogosphere using the above technique, and the reason is that this style of headline is very effective because humans love to quantize data into manageable chunks because it is easier for the mind to digest. Therefore when you begin with such words as “7 ways to…”, a large proportion of people will feel drawn to read such articles because of the promise of a quantized solution or list of concise suggestions or answers.
Other words such as “how to”, “what” and “when” are also very effective words to begin your headlines with. Don’t be afraid to be creative.
3. Include keywords in your headlines if possible
This is sort of related to point 1 but it warrants a separate mention. Keywords in your headlines are important because they are what your target audience are using to search for the answers to their questions.
Therefore having the keywords in your headline is like promising your prospective visitors a key to a door which may unlock some of the answers they are looking for.
In summing, your article headlines play a major role in the success of your blog in that they will usually determine whether somebody decides to click on your article link. Good headlines can mean more visitors, but whether they stay or not is then up to the quality of your content.