Amazing Blog Headlines: How to Write Them & Why They Matter

Steven24 responsesBlogging

If you’re new to the blogging game, you might think headlines are the least important factor of your blog posts. However, you’d be sorely mistaken. In fact, many bloggers would argue that you should write the headline first and then write the rest of the blog post.

blog headlines

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Why Are Headlines So Important?

Headlines have always been important in the publishing world – they stand out, they catch the eye. They say “Hey! This article is worth reading!” They’re even more important in online publishing, because the potential reader has so many other things competing for their attention. Instead of just skimming a magazine stand or flipping through a newspaper, the reader is sitting at a computer ripe with distractions – Twitter, Facebook, the other RSS feeds in their Google Feed Reader, online news, Youtube, and so on.

Some people are familiar with the 80/20 rule, and it applies to headlines too – on average, if ten people see a headline, only two people will actually read the content that goes with the headline. And when the reader is surrounded by other interesting things to read and look at, the percentage might be even lower than that. You need to craft a headline good enough to make people take action and actually read your post.

Now that you know headlines are important, how do you write an amazing one?

Convey The Benefit to the Reader

The easiest way to make a headline get attention is to convey the benefit to the reader. If you look at the most popular types of headlines, these are all formulas that convey a benefit – how to posts, why posts (example: why you need something, why something matters, etc.), list posts of ways to do a certain action. When the potential reader knows how they’ll benefit from reading your post, they’re infinitely more likely to actually go and read your post.

Don’t Be Too Unrealistic

You want to convey the benefit, but don’t be too unrealistic. Readers are bombarded with headlines every day, and if they see another headline titled “How to Make a Million Dollars Using Your Computer – TODAY!,” they probably won’t click through – just roll their eyes and look for something else to read.

Pique Curiosity

Going this route can go very, very well, when it’s done right. A well done headline like this can even add to the chances of a post going viral. The best way to do this is to compare two totally dissimilar things – an example: “What Moby Dick Taught Me About Blogging.”

Ask A Question

The human mind hates leaving questions unanswered. If you ask a question that most people don’t know the answer to, they’re more likely to click through to read the article, because now they really want to know the answer. This tactic is pretty similar to piquing curiosity – you want to make them click through because they just have to know what the post is about and how it pertains to them. Example: “What Do Mario Kart and Blogging Have in Common?” Another example: “Are You Making These Five Blogging Mistakes?”

And now you’re well on your way to becoming an expert headline writer! For a few extra resources, check out this post series on Copyblogger, including these two posts of tried and tested headline formulas.

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24 Comments

  1. Writing solid blog headlines is the hook that can get readers to visit your blog, you really need to write them carefully!

    1. I’m putting a lot of efforts into optimizing my blog headlines and so should every blogger who’s serious about growing his site!

  2. Sad Music

    I have to agree with you on the 80/20 rule. Whenever I make a great headline the probability is that more people will view the article. On the occasions I wrote for Buzzle having a limited headline really didn’t get the views. But the same article with a different headline worked wonders. Great report.

    1. Headlines are essential! You should put a lot of thinking into optimizing them for both your readers and search engine’s surfers.

    2. Sad Music

      Yes. I am quite good at long enticing headlines. Shorter ones do not perform as well. And of course long tail keywords often work better in the search engines.

  3. Chris

    I agree with your post. But I believe the best headlines pique curiosity. I also use this in the mix. So great post.

  4. Michelle

    Headlines are so important. I always try to make mine catchy and capable of grabbing attention. I am not sure about the 80/20 rule but I know when I carve out a great headline I get the readers and make sales.

    1. You can try it every way you want but the 80/20 rule will always prove to be true. It can be applied to so many aspects of business that it’s quite scary.

    2. Michelle

      Is there a book about this. Would find it interesting.

  5. Mike

    I think trying to give a benefit in the headline is quite hard to do. Avoid being tacky. Nobody wants to read the same blurb on the internet. We have closed our minds to a lot of the more outlandish claims.

    1. People are becoming blind to advertising and to false claims. It makes our job more complicated but let’s hope it’s for the better.

    2. Mike

      Yes and the FTC Regulators are cracking down. About time I say.

  6. Liz

    I agree sometimes headlines are hard to formulate. IK use the help of a free software which makes the headlines. I then use some of the words. it works.

    1. There are some great tools out there to make killer headlines. I have posted a link to Keyword Winner WordPress Plugin somewhere. It helps a lot.

  7. Gorman

    I agree Mike there’s little point in being tacky. So many make money online headlines are awful. I hate them.

  8. Shad

    I always write my headlines first. I simply cannot understand why people wouldn’t. Seems more focused to me.

  9. Mitch

    I really struggle to make mine stand out.

  10. Liz

    I don’t read anything that does not catch my attention.

  11. First Website

    With so many blogs out there, you have to do everything to hang on to your readership.

    1. Getting people to come back to your blog is one of the most complicated things.

  12. Liz

    So how can one spice up a boring topic?

    1. Jony

      Its easier said than done but try to pick up a controversial part of the article and twist in a well known saying to make the title interesting!

    2. A good writer can take any subject and make it incredibly interesting!

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