Why is it so important to write a catchy headline? Headlines are often the only information people skim when surfing the internet. Why should they click on your blog post when they have thousands of other options on the Internet competing for their attention? That’s not much time or opportunity to reel someone into your blog. You have to get someone’s attention fast and keep it to improve click-through rates and increase the amount of time readers spend on your blog.

We touched on headlines in How to Create the Perfect Blog, but here we’ll go into more detail.

Tell Readers What to Expect

An effective headline communicates what’s different and unique about your blog post in a small amount of text. Your headline should also be specific about what you are asking readers to look at. Be transparent – you don’t want to promise something you aren’t going to deliver, or your audience will feel cheated for their time.

In this example from Buzzfeed, readers know exactly what they’re getting into if they click on this post (see the image below). The headline “Just 33 Hilarious Dog Memes” is short, simple, and to the point. The audience has the right expectations going in. Similarly, feel free to let your readers know exactly what they are clicking on by categorizing the post. Use tags like Infographic, Survey, Press Release, News, How-To’s, etc.

Photo Credit: https://www.buzzfeed.com/trending

Always Measure and Repeat

Successful writers and website managers always test and analyze which strategies are working and which are not. Factors to test and consider with writing catchy headlines include (but not limited to) title length, keywords, keyword location, language, and blog title templates.

Why test and analyze the use of keywords in your headlines? Not only do keywords appeal to your target audience, but it’s not enough to just write a catchy headline. Your audience has to be able to find your content. The right use of keywords in your headlines will help optimize your blog for search.

Testing and analysis may also help you determine if there’s a reason your blogs aren’t performing. Ask Yourself:

-Are your titles too long to tweet on Twitter (making it hard for your posts to perform well on the platform)?

-Are you using the keyword your target audience searches while looking for blogs like yours on the platforms you’re targeting?

-Are your titles too long to appear in Google results?

There are simple solutions for all of these problems (i.e. write shorter titles for those platforms). Taking the time to A/B test your blog titles (by changing just the title and not the body of the blog) to see which titles have been most effective for you is another strategy for figuring out the best practices for your blog.

Using Templates

When pressed for title ideas, you may want to get inspiration from blog title templates. Fill in the blanks in the title templates using your own content. Practice using a few templates while writing until you get the hang of what generally appeals to online readers. Below are some examples to explore:

How-To Blog Titles:

How to Get More ___

How to Use ___  to Stand Out

How to ___ # Minutes or Less

A Cheat Sheet for ___

Beginner’s Guide to ___

How to Turn ___ Into ___

How to ___ Like a Pro

Numbered Lists:

# ___ Every ___ Should Know About

# Daily Habits of ___

# Inside Secrets to Achieving ___

What’s Better: ___ or ___ ?

What I Learned ___

Is ___ Making You ___ ?

# Things That Trip You Up In ___ (And How To ___)

Photo Credit: https://www.buzzfeed.com/

Informative / Educational

What I Wish I Had Known About ___

Why People Love ___

Confessions of a ___

The Real Truth About ___

Amazing Secrets About ___

Completely Change Your ___ With ___

The Art of ___ : How to ___

Blog Template Sources: http://olyvia.co/popular-blog-title-templates-that-work/

http://conversionminded.com/blog-post-title-template/

Blog Topics that Work

Just because you sell a certain product or service doesn’t mean you have to have a one track mind. Vary your subject matter while making sure to stay within topics that your target market will find appealing.

-Do-it-yourself: create a useful project while saving money

-Save Money: learn how to save your hard-earned dollars with life pro tip

-Topics your audience is reposting or sharing on their platforms: look out for buzz and don’t miss your chance to weigh in

-Competitors’ Blogs: check out what others are doing in your industry

-Offer a solution or method for coping with a problem: give people valuable advice while they’re visiting your blog

-Deliver variation: take up topics that are popular and relatable even if they don’t directly relate to your subject area

Let’s say you run a blog for a hardware store. You don’t have to exclusively blog about hardware and home repair. You can publish blogs on topics that are still of interest to your audience. A hardware store blogger may choose headlines like Fun Summer Recipes, Movies You Have to See, Our Favorite Household Cleaners, How to Get Family Together on Holidays, etc. As long as you’re not completely out of left field, your audience will appreciate your content.

Photo Credit: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/easy-school-lunches-kids-can-make

In the example above, Whole Foods posts blogs on a variety of topics (not just on healthy eating and product lines in the store). “Easy School Lunches that Kids Can Make,” reads like something posted on a mommy blog, but the subject fits right into what moms at Whole Foods could be looking for or excited to read.

First, identify your niche space and the common problems that the demographic reading your blog faces. Then, offer topics that share solutions to those problems. How-to blogs like the one you’re reading right now and the examples in the templates above work, because audiences will give their attention to helpful, intriguing content. As you grow and develop, we wish you the best on your journey to great blogging.

 

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