Writing Great Headlines – 6 Routes To Success

Writing great headlines are a surefire way to supercharge your traffic – after all, in the blogging world, first impressions count. By definition, you’ll only get one shot at doing right. Ergo, it’s essential that you nail it at the outset. Your article or post title says a lot about what you’re going to discuss, why the browsing public at large should click through and what you’re bringing to the table. Considering what’s on the line, it makes sense to make sure that you’re writing great headlines for maximum effect. Here are 6 quick tips to send you on the road to success…

6 Steps to Writing Great Headlineswriting great headlines

Target the Headline to Your Audience

No matter how hard you try, you and your content can’t be all things to all people. Therefore, it’s necessary to pick a target and go for it. For those looking for solutions to a problem, use the “How to…” approach, which advertises a quick guide to a common issue. Controversy always sells, which is why an “insult” headline like “Here’s Why You’re Failing at XYZ” is typically effective.

Play With the Formula

As with any variable in your SEO success, A/B or split testing is an integral part of the equation. Try out various title approaches to find the right one for your blog or at least specific article types. You’ll get the hang of it sooner or later if you keep at it. Mix up your titles in terms of length, word choice, type and more. It’s more important that you perform some in-depth analytics on your blog posts to see which titles resonate with your audience.

Leverage the List

We all love lists. Even if you disdain the format for its formulaic appeal and regular appearance at the top of the SERPs, you’ll still click on a list if its content appeals to you. There’s no shame in it, and a numbered list is a surefire way to attract page views to your post like flies to honey. Just remember to make your list one of actual substance and be sure to title it accurately.

If It’s ‘Ultimate’, It’s Link Bait Gold

If you use the word ‘ultimate’ in your blog title, it’ll attract views like no other. An Ultimate Guide delivers a succinct, tightly structured play book for tackling a specific task. They’re a nearly foolproof way to attract traffic from a narrowly-defined niche. Of course, you can make your Ultimate Guide as broad as you’d like, and that gives you a lot of options for appealing to a broader spectrum of readers.

Don’t Be Coy, or ‘Truth in Advertising’

Not to name names, but the Yahoo! Home Page is the perfect example of what not to do when writing great headlines. You’ll find it rife with abuses of the audience’s trust by putting out deceptive headlines for articles that don’t deliver on their promise. Be straightforward when naming your posts, and you’ll promote long-term audience interest in your author name and brand that keeps giving over time.

Hold Something Back

Nobody buys the cow if they can get the milk for free. When crafting that perfect blog title and headline, it’s important to leave something to the imagination and not answer your own question in the title or at the very beginning of your post. Your title should draw in viewers and the article should expand on your thesis. Force casual readers to click through to the main body of your post by augmenting the headline with a brief summary of what’s to come.

Final Thoughts on Writing Great Headlines

When you write a great headline and use it as your page title, it almost inevitably means more social media referrals, organic hits and an overall greater click-through rate as a rule. More than anything else, the titles you choose will determine whether or not the average person ends up paying attention. Choose yours wisely and you’ll see the results over time as your ROI goes through the roof.

 

About 

Matt Beswick is the founder of Hidden Pixel and an SEO consultant, working with clients of all shapes and sizes, and the co-founder of Pet365.

51 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. I think headlines play a killer role in promoting a blog post. Sometimes your post idea may a little bit old fashion. But you can get a bunch of visitors with a right headlines with some creative ideas

  2. Headline is the best meth to forcing visitors to visit your site. Also for writing attractive headline its an biggest success in blogging. i lie your all points.

  3. There is a great example of the Hold Something Back method that I recently saw on Pro Blogger. Instead of saying “Why I Switched From GoDaddy To Host Gator,” he made the title “Why I Switched Web Hosts (And Who I’m With Now)”. Of course this makes you want to click it and read on… I need to start utilizing this method.

  4. Hi Matt,

    A great headline is the first step to drive traffic. In blog post, article, sales letter, forum ,etc…Generally applicable to content marketing.

    I always love to collect swipe file from sales letter, email, etc… as my arsenal so that all I need is to pull up the swipe files, modify to suit my needs and use them. So, I don’t really hate the email promotion I received daily because we all need to learn and grow daily ,lol

    Cheers,
    Ming

  5. Great tips Matt!
    Titles are like the door into a chamber. Poor titles means closed doors. That means no one gets in. Good catch attractive titles are of course open doors that attracts visitors. So if you have a great headline, it will be good to use it as page title.

  6. I totally agree that we should pick the headlines with great care, as they have a huge influence on the CTR. Nevertheless, we should also pay attention to seo, as to use the main keywords in the headline.

  7. Beautifully written tips for those who don’t the importance of headlines. For bloggers who are not getting success should try to include some unique headlines for getting traffic from the search engines. When a blog has good headlines visitors also love to visit the blog again and again…

  8. One simple strategy (that seems to work really well!) writing headlines such as “10 ways of…” or ’8 interesting point on…” usually work pretty well. Headlines should be interesting as they are detrimental to your CTR. Plus the fact that they show up on Google search results too and is the first thing a potential visitor sees when he looks something up on search engines.

  9. Great advice! Headlines are my number one problem when I write my blog posts. I normally need 25-50% of my time to come up with a good headline as it is vital to get my blog posts viral…

  10. Headlines are like the doorways. They should be simple and at the same time, attractive. Some people are too good at giving titles. It can easily attract readers. I really liked the title for this post ;-) You got me by the title. I hope it will catch others too

  11. Headlines are your first chance to get the reader’s attention. A good headline can change the outlook, but the rest of the content has to hold the reader’s attention.

    Tabloid magazines are seen by some as trashy, but they are good at writing headlines. Copyblogger recommends you learn from their headlines.

    The next time you are in a supermarket line study the magazine’s headline.

    Be open about the intent of the headline, it made you want to read.

  12. Headlines need to be the most important task on creating content.

    Number one, it needs to be as attractable as possible.

    And number two, the SEO aspect needs to be included into your headline.

  13. We create a lot of “pro-consumer” content that’s meant to educate customers and help them to understand their rights after a car accident. We’ve found that if you ask a question that has an element of fear, people will click through and want to read the article. It sounds like a cynical approach, but with us I don’t feel that it is, because our goal is to genuinely provide all of the answers. But I would have to say that eliciting fear or anxiety with a headline is an effective approach.

  14. That’s true headline really count but good headline without unique and quality content is no headline. content is king no matter how poor your headline is your content will still play some part but when the headline is good with poor content, then no way for the headline because people are after the content and not really the headline just that headline help attract more readers. thanks for sharing

  15. Hi Matt!
    great tips.if you have a great headlines then bloggers attract to your blog.because first impression is the last impression.so headlines is the first key to success in your blogging articles.i like your tips.

  16. Hi Matt,

    Excellent article. This is true that Head lines or titles are the main things which every one does have a look on the first sight and It is rightly said that ” First impression is the last impression ” , So if the titles are catchy and good then you can attract visitors.

    Very well written post.

    Thank you

    Mark

  17. One of the simplest ways to write great blog headlines is this: take inspiration from popular articles (be it from other blogs or your own blog). And tweak it better than the previous one..

    Great share pal :)

  18. Headlines focus the main purpose of the blog from which reader come to your site. Headlines directly attracts visitor mind. Write a great one and you will have success!
    Thank you.

  19. I’ve done the link-baiting before and although I did get a lot of traffic to my website, the conversions were very small — seems people liked the title but not the content I guess. Have you had any luck? Thanks for the write-up!

  20. Brilliant tips on getting those headlines for your post. I have not been able to experiment with this much but I remember creating an article with a catchy headline and it did well to attract some eyeballs.

  21. its not easy writing a good headline, so many variables and factors you have to think about when writing a headline for online purposes. if it was for a newspaper it would be for shock, but online you have to consider seo.

  22. Have the “numbered list” trend begun to be too much? You know that “10 ways to” or “5 best themes for..” and stuff like that.

  23. I have been covering latest technology news for many big websites, and writing the headline for a specific breaking news is one of the most toughest task in my list. One can easily write a whole story in the post, but title is the only object of your whole work that attracts the readers from all over the internet to open and read your words. I am totally agreed with your tips. Good Work (Y)

  24. I have taken Journalism classes in college and the teachers always preached the importance of headlines. You really need to have a grabber with words that resonate. If you can write good headlines, you are ahead of the game.

  25. Hi Matt, Awesome post. Headlines is most Important because Headlines is attract the Audiance, Headlines is focus of the blog….I think Headlines is needed for the blogs..Well thanks for sharing this information..

  26. A great headline is always attractive and describes the entire post in hardly two to ten words. This title showcases the entire purpose of the content below it. Sometimes making the people keep guessing about the content by giving it a tricky posts also helps but not all the times. However, your posts is very informative, thanks for sharing.

  27. An extra ordinary, not so common, creative and innovative headline might increase the generation of blog traffic because the way the headline is written itself explains the reader about the quality of content included in that post as the headline alone defines the entire post or article in a better way.

  28. I recently had to go back in and change a few of the headlines on my posts. Until recently I had no idea the weight the headlines carried.

    Thanks for sharing this post!

  29. The entire post totally depends on the headline. Headline gives a definition or declaration about the entire post. Headlines are important because they attract audience. Nice post,Thanks for sharing.

  30. Headline should not only be informative but also catchy, headline with questions or informative like Tips are great way to grab eyeball.

    For example- This article which attracted me because of it’s headline.

    Thanks for sharing

  31. Hello Matt,

    I do agree. Headlines are the ones that can attract a visitor and make him read it. Sometimes, they might not be SEO-friendly. At such stances, I use different headlines for title and SEO

  32. I like the tips that you have given. I agree that we should write some great headlines. The headlines should grab the attention of our readers and it should also be interesting. If the headline is not good, nobody will read the blog post.

  33. Brilliant tips on getting those headlines for your post. I have not been able to experiment with this much but I remember creating an article with a catchy headline and it did well to attract some eyeballs.

  34. Thank you for the information
    I am new to blogging and I have been strugling with it a little bit, I have found the information on your website very useful.
    Gareth

  35. You know what. I’ve made a swipe list too, lot like Ming Jong Tey. And I’ve found it to be veeery useful. I also keep a PDF of “attention-grabbing” words, sorted with categories or niches they’d be useful in. It’s very helpful, after all.. if you say the right words, the right people will listen to you!

  36. Catchy titles are still the king to attract buyers. John Chow also explained about headline writing. And absolutely it must e something that attracts the readers/buyers. But yes, those catchy titles must satisfy with the real content.

  37. Great! I really liked the part about holding something back and adding the keyword ‘ultimate’ to your post.
    First of fall. holding something back is a great idea, as it retained the viewer’s interest and challenges his intellect to pursue the set information until it has been attained, yeah, its a good way to attract visitors thus traffic.
    Secondly, adding the keyword ‘ultimate’ to your blog title gives your blog title an edge because something ‘ultimate’ means it covers all aspects of what one’s to expect when reading your article. For example, ‘The Ultimate guide in creating a website’ is a cool and attractive blog headline.. Frankly, anything you post the keyword ‘ultimate’ turns to a gold mine. Thank You and Great Article

  38. Headlines are very important. I agree, they are like doorways. If headlines are enthralling then you can gain more and more visitors reading your topic everyday.

  39. Catchy Headlines always attract more visitors to a article.When you are trying to stand out among a 10 other search results in google,headlines do matter a lot.

    So i agree with Matt in the aspects of the article.

  40. Thank you for your valuable blog. A sweetable headline is the first step to drive traffic. If you have a blog with a good headline then you can expect visitor to visit the blog again and again. I seem a title is the base of a article , so poor title mean poor article which can’t attract the reader. My advice is that while making article be alert about title.

  41. I had a lot of luck with the word “Attention!” in my headline of my blogpost. People clicked the mentioned blogpost like crazy. I wonder if it really was the headline.

  42. Hi Matt, I always use sometimes to think of the headline of my post. I hope that the headline can really attract people to read on my article. Sometimes, it is difficult to attract people to read something that seems like unrelated to them.

  43. Hello Matt
    Ya headlines are the first thing a visitor intact with.So we must have to take a good and interesting headline,which attract searchers.Thanks for these tips.These will surely helpful to me.

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