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 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.
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