You know, building a website is a combination of science and art. The science part is where you fiddle with programming codes, web hosting, the server setup and SEO to create an awesome and functioning website. The art part comes into the picture when you start creating content for that website. This includes coming up with attention-grabbing headlines and are able to convince your readers to read the posts.
For some people, creating an effective headline is simple while others find it a daunting task. Fortunately, there are some tactics that we all can apply to create the killer headline. The following tips are based on my years of experience creating blogs that attract a great amount of traffic.
Be Specific and Brief
Your headline is supposed to be a quick insight of your post so be specific and to the point. A vague headline would confuse your readers and certainly won’t sound as exciting. Tell your audience what they can expect to gain from your post… in a few words.
Keeping your headlines to the point not only let your readers quickly grab what you are trying to convey but also is search engine friendly.
I could have this post headlines as “How to Get Your Potential Readers to Click on Your Post to Read It”. While this does relate to having a great headline, was it specific? Not only was it lengthy, it didn’t tell my readers that I was going to focus on headlines. And more importantly, did you want to click on such a headline? Bet you didn’t.
Define Your Headline Before Writing Your Content
Writing an article without a headline is like going on a road trip without a definite destination. You will probably end up taking a longer time and a jumbled up article. Without a headline, you have only a vague idea of what you want to write about.
It’s very tempting to write the post first and then only work on the headline as a summary of your post. Try not to do this. You see, as you progress with the post, chances are you would digress and probably written something that’s great but totally unusable as you realized that it doesn’t fit in your topic later.
A headline keeps you in focus and helps you avoid being sidetracked. So spend some time thinking of what you want to write and pen it down.
This should be a no-brainer. You want to communicate to your readers and want them to know the main topic right? So include keywords. But of course, do ensure that these keywords are appropriate and related to your post.
Now, you don’t really need to choose the most popular keywords. Those are great but competition is just too high. I would suggest going for the slightly less competitive but still popular ones, such as long tail keywords. This way, you get your message through and at the same time, are able to appear higher on search engine results page.
Another great way to write killer headline is make your readers curious about your post. This means to include the attraction element in it. Just be careful not to overdo it for this will instead confuse your readers rather than make them curious.
Easier said than done? Well, here are a couple examples that you can use to increase your readers’ desire to want to know what you are saying.
- “Secrets to…”
People are attracted to the word “secrets” and naturally would want to know more. Use such a title in your blog posts and you should experience higher traffic to those posts.
- “Little Known Ways…”
This gives the impression that the ideas are unique and that not many people know about it. Want to get more traffic? Try using the above in your titles.
- “Secrets to…”
Include Beneficial Words
Other than the keywords, you will also need some descriptive words or adjective which will capture your readers’ attention. These are the words that you use to add weight to your headline. Some examples how you could do this:
e.g. Top 5, Best, The Only, Ultimate, Essential.
e.g. Hidden, Nightmare, Unexpected, Mistakes, Warning.
- To make it more interesting
e.g. Amazing, Tricks, Tips, Challenges.
“How to Write a Headline” vs “How to Write a Killer Headline”. Which would you click on?
Target Your Audience
Do you have a targeted audience in mind? No? Targeting just about anybody? Well, actually, there’s nothing wrong with that. But you might want to think about narrowing your target audience, perhaps by demographic or by qualifying criteria.
You might want a headline that shouts “Calling All Females, Here’s Your Chance to …” or “Above 50 and Looking for …?” Not only will you be addressing your intended audience, you’ll also tempt those outside your targeted audience to read about it.
Example of a headline utilizing the qualifying criteria is “5 Steps to Live Your Life to the Fullest (Not for the Faint Hearted)”. Wouldn’t you want to read the post and find out if you qualify for that category?
Creating original content is essential to building a successful website. But all these would come to naught if your readers don’t click on the post’s link and read the full post. A poorly thought out headline would not tempt readers to read the contents or would result in a high bounce rate as it was misinterpreted. Subsequently, your SEO ranking would drop too. So you see, a killer headline is essential to the success of your website and I hope you find the above tips useful in helping you write better headlines.