As a newbie blogger, writing the best blog headlines for your articles can present a rather steep challenge. But knowing how to craft great headlines is an essential skill for the success of your blog.
Copyblogger points out some really interesting (and somewhat dismal) statistics about our headlines. It seems that on average, for every 10 people who read a headline only 2 will go on to read the content. In other words, 80% of potential readers will scan your title and pass.
Can we all agree that’s not the outcome we’re striving for? 🙂
Naturally, you want to maximize the benefit you derive from writing awesome content. And, to accomplish that you have to convince potential readers there’s value “behind the click”, right?
Just imagine the thrill of your article being shared all over Facebook or being retweeted a few thousand times.
Now, let’s talk about the role your headline plays in that outcome. And, the steps you can take to start creating engaging, clickable, and shareable headlines!
7 Tips for Crafting the Best Blog Headlines
Do you feel like it’s a battle to get people to read your posts? Many bloggers do. But it’s time to start winning that war!
(1) Know Your Audience
Understanding your core customer and their pain points can help you choose language that resonates with readers. Engagement rates improve dramatically if you can tap into anxieties that your niche market is experiencing.Do you have a solution to offer?
Persuade people to read your content because it promises to expand their knowledge of a topic or offers a solution to a problem they’re experiencing,
(2) Start With a Keyword and Tweak
You should always start with a keyword as your working title. Keywords represent a window into the minds and thoughts of your target readers. What words do your audience members use when thinking about a topic or performing queries? You need to start with similar language!
Use a quality keyword research tool like Jaaxy to obtain invaluable insights regarding the questions your readers are asking. Moreover, I recommend choosing fairly specific long-tail keywords that very few other sites are currently targeting.
Your final title should always contain your keyword and it’s best (for search engine optimization purposes) if the keyword appears early in the title. But you need to tweak and expand upon the keyword to turn it into something catchier that will get more attention in the SERPs,
It’s always best if your post headline hints at the desirable outcome that viewers are seeking. For example, why do bloggers want to know “how to write headlines”? Is it because they’re looking for more engagement? 🙂
(3) Take Advantage of the Time-Tested Formulas
There are time-tested strategies for constructing engaging headlines that you can implement and then use over and over again. These techniques pre-date the Internet and have been used successfully in print media and ad campaigns for decades.
One example is the “how-to” formula. “How-to” articles are perennial favorites because they appeal to the innate desire of most people to improve. Your readers lead incredibly busy lives and that drives them to seek tips, tricks, and pointers that promise to make life easier.
So, tell them how you can make things better for them. Use your titles to spell out the benefits of reading your post. The words “how-to” are almost magical!
List posts represent another winning strategy. Blog headlines that include 7 tips/reasons/ways appear to have a psychological draw that is irresistible. Part of the attraction is the number itself. Numerical data appears more scientific. But additionally, readers are compelled to find out if they know all 7 reasons.
Do yourself a big favor and head on over to Smartblogger where you can get a free copy of Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks. Why reinvent the wheel when there are guidelines available to assist you in writing attention-grabbing titles?
(4) Try Asking an Intriguing Question
Question-type headlines are highly effective because they evoke curiosity about the answer. Moreover, they correspond nicely with how people use the search engines to find solutions.
So, pose a question that hints at a thorough and useful response and watch your CTR (click-thru-rate) soar,
(5) Don’t Get Too Long Or Wordy
This tip is all about being practical. Your title shouldn’t be more than 62 characters long (8 – 12 words) because anything longer is going to get chopped off in the SERP results. What’s the point in writing a headline that’s too long for searchers to read?
Likewise, It seems that Google also disregards anything past the 62 characters. So, there’s no SEO benefit to longer titles either. Keep it short and snappy so that your entire title is visible and the nature of your content is obvious.
(6) Never Oversell Your Article
Yes, you want to use “catchy” blog post titles that drive more traffic and get more shares on social media platforms. But, your post has to deliver on the value suggested in your title or readers will have a poor experience and won’t be back.
Don’t risk losing reader trust by using bombastic or click-bait titles when your post can’t deliver. The idea is to entice a readership base and those tactics are just shortsighted.
(7) Use a Headline Analyzer Tool
Headline analyzer tools are incredibly helpful for the typical blogger who is not a professional writer. These tools provide excellent insights into best practices and psychological triggers. You can get suggestions for power or emotional words that add impact.
I like to use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer which is a free tool offering useful tips for improvement. Just paste your headline into the box to receive your score.
Here are the results I achieved for the headline of the post you’re currently reading:
This tool uses a very intuitive red, yellow, green approach to rating your writing efforts. My approach is to follow the tool’s recommendations and keep tweaking until I receive a green score which is anything above a 70.
Each headline is a fresh opportunity to make a good impression on prospective readers and that’s a chance you don’t want to miss. Make people sit up and take notice because spending a ton of time researching and writing a post that no one ever bothers to read is an enormous waste of time!
So, I hope you found these tips helpful!
Do you feel like your blog could benefit from some additional training in writing headlines or more powerful content? Think about joining me and 10s of thousands of other online marketers at an elite online training facility where there is always lively discussion around all aspects of blogging.
Ultimately, writing the best blog headlines that provoke clicking, reading, and sharing is much like any other skill. With study and practice, you’ll learn to get it right!
Tell Us About Your Most Effective Headline
What type of headlines work best on your blog? Have you used Headline Analyzers? Share your tips in the comment section below and please be sure to ask any questions that I failed to answer.