What’s a headline you may ask? And why does it matter? I’m not running a newspaper, am I?
Think of headlines as the titles of your posts, subject line of emails, subject of forum posts, the text you add with a link to twitter. The first thing readers see when scanning for interesting content, whatever media they are browsing. Time is short. People are busy. Content is plentiful. These headlines have much to do with whether your content gets read or not. Newspapers know this, thus the major focus on headlines. Headlines matter!
I won’t claim to be a headline expert, and some of my headlines here are quite descriptive but boring. I’m working at doing a better job at writing better headlines. I’m going to share a few of my thoughts, then link to several articles by experts.
First, no matter what the experts say, what really matters is what causes your target audience to click on a link to read more. The experts are not the experts of your unique niche. Read their guidelines. Learn stuff, improve. Keeping the search engines happy too by including the right keywords in your post title, makes it more of a challenge. In the end, writing for your readers is most important.
“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.” Brian Clark
Let’s say you write a very awesome post. It is every bit as good as those you see go viral. Yet only a dozen people have read that post. Zero comments. Depressing isn’t it? Take a look at your headline. If someone you didn’t know wrote an article with that title would you click and read? Now if those headlines aren’t visible to the world, it doesn’t matter how great that headline is either. Thus work on getting traffic to your website too.
Writing headlines for search engines and headlines for people aren’t always the same. One of the things I love about the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin is I can have a different title for the search engines than the title of my post. Now that search engine title must still appeal to people too. Often I use the same title unless I decide to optimize a specific post for a specific phrase.
Don’t stress over the perfect headline and quit writing. Keep writing, keep improving. Just remember, headlines do matter.
- Headline Analyzer Tool Helps me tweak and write better headlines. Keep in mind headlines with high ratings may work best, but not always. This is computer generated, not people tested.
- How to Get Half a Million People to Visit Your Blog
- How to Write Magnetic Headlines A great series on writing better headlines
- How to Craft Post Titles that Draw Readers into Your Blog
Photo by Christopher.Woobr>
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