On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. — David Ogilvy
Blog writing is not an easy process, especially when you’re trying to come up with new ideas for your posts. You might spend many hours to craft the perfect blog post, but this doesn’t guarantee that it will reach thousands of readers. Except for the quality of the content, a post needs a great title. Think of it, what’s the first impression for your posts?
Writing content nowadays has become more complex, since it’s not just the post, but also the design and even more, the way you’ll present your topic to your readers, which heavily depends on your title. In an era of content overload, you need to come up with ways to stand out, making users click your link through social media. And that’s why a title may sometimes be even more important than the text on its own.
A headline needs to be clever, interesting, grabbing the readers’ attention, making them anticipate for the rest of your post, still, without reducing the quality and credibility of your blog. There are titles out there that mostly aim at the increase of the site clicks, which might be misleading or exaggerating, comparing to the rest of the text. On the contrary, there are also titles that tend to be too descriptive, usually quite long, that might ignore the basic norms of a good Internet headline. Thus, there needs to be a balance between an abrupt and a descriptive title, following a few tips that will improve your headlines.
[bctt tweet=”Did you know: 80% of your audience will only read your headline. #blogging”]
#1 Size matters
A headline should not be more than 65 characters, both for SEO reasons, but also in order to avoid being too long. Make sure you use these 65 characters wisely, trying to describe your post in a way that makes the readers click for more.
#2 Craft 10 titles before picking the right one
Ten is an indicative number for the effort you need to make, before picking the right title for your post. It has been observed that the process of writing down as many titles as you can helps you to come up with some great suggestions. Don’t worry if half of them are bad, the other half would be great!
#3 Ask questions
A headline with the proper question manages to ignite the user’s curiosity to learn more. A question is even more effective when posed from the user’s perspective. What does your audience want to know?
#4 Use numbers
Numbers always make a headline more effective. Start your title with a number, using its digits. Note, the bigger the number, the better the title.
#5 Use ‘how-to’
Helpful posts that use a ‘how-to’ title tend to gain more clicks, since the title already gives you an idea of what you are about to learn, in a clear and practical way.
#6 Promise for value
A title is successful when it promises for value and expertise, in a way that encourages users to click for more. For example, if you use the title: “5 tips to increase your Facebook reach”, you commit to list those 5 tips, in order to help your readers increase their Facebook reach. It is a straightforward title that has a clear intention. Make sure you reward the users that wanted to learn about it.
[bctt tweet=”A title is successful when it promises for value and expertise in an appealing way. #blogging”]
#7 Negativity over positivity
It has been observed that negative words are more effective than their positive ones, and the same also occurs to negative or strong emotions. For example, instead of ‘5 reasons Twitter is unique” use ‘5 reasons Twitter is not Facebook’ and you’ll be amazed with the difference in success!
Also, instead of “How Facebook reduces your productivity” use “How Facebook kills your productivity”.
Even a verb can make the difference!
#8 Some words work better than others
There are words that work better than others in titles, and most of them are: quick, fast, easy, success, secret, power, hack, productivity, reason, art, psychology, science.
The words above tend to increase the credibility of your post (with words such as ‘art’ and ‘science’), but also may inform the reader that your post is not too complicated and may provide answers to their questions in a comprehensive way. After all, the factors above are commonly sought by readers, they are usually looking for posts that will be helpful and will provide something new, as simple and fast as possible.
#9 Let’s talk about LinkedIn
I started posting my articles on LinkedIn by the time it introduced its Publishing platform and I admit that it has helped me a lot in crafting better titles. The fact that their editors pick only a few articles to be featured for each category, led to even more careful thought regarding the proper title. After all, by being featured, you are able to be read by a larger audience, which raises the standards for your next post.
If we want to analyse the importance of titles, here are my posts that got featured by LinkedIn:
- How To Use Social Media Automation For Your Business
- How social media affects your attention span (More than 3.5k views)
- Did Facebook act smart by killing in-app messaging?
- Will social media managers become obsolete? (By far my most successful post with 11k views. Obviously the title have significantly helped!)
[bctt tweet=”Have you ever analysed the success of your posts depending on the title? #blogging”]
– Instead of “The basic guide for Pinterest starters” use “The 5-minute guide for Pinterest starters’ (you added number, you promised for a specific time and created a direct title)
– Instead of “How to increase your Instagram followers” use ‘7 tips to increase your Instagram followers‘ (you added number, it got more practical and direct)
– Instead of ‘Why do Facebook users click?” use “The psychology behind the click of a Facebook user” (Although the question could also be effective, the word ‘psychology’ promises for an informative post and it instantly raises the expectations)
As for this text, I came up with these ideas:
The secret to the perfect blog title
How to write better headlines for your blog
10 tips for the perfect headline
10 tips to craft the perfect blog title
The art of the perfect headline
Is there a perfect blog title?
How to improve your blog headlines
The secret formula for catchy blog titles
I decided to pick the bold one with the number, since it leads to a structured post that is easier to be read, even skimmed for some key points.
Which tips would you add to the list?
How much time do you spend on the headline of your post?