Are you looking for perfect headline writing tips to attract more readers?
Blogging in 2021 is no easy feat! But don’t fret over it, we all have been there.
Every newbie blogger out there has a mundane routine; you write a few articles, you wait, you check your Google search console for click and impression, and then the same old same old.
What if I told you there was a way to “win” over more visitors, get more social shares and potentially improve your Google SERP rankings.
Wanna know how? Simple just write great headlines, which invoke curiosity and emotions making it irresistible for users to click.
You might think “haha” here yet another “marketing guru” with his SEO baloney.
How on earth can writing great headlines make such a profound impact?
A catchy & well-optimized headline = greater CTR = more visitors to your site with essentially the same impression count.
Interested in writing great headlines & “winning over” visitors?
So let me share with you my elite headline writing tips & tools, which will improve your headline writing skills.
Make sure to go through each one thoroughly, and comment back which one was your favorite.
Headline writing tips for your blog
1) Keep the title length short
I know this sounds strange, but check the search results & you will find Google truncating lengthier title tags.
Confused, why does this happen? Strange isn’t it.
The thing is that Google displays titles upto 600 px width; which work out to around 70 characters. Google truncates any title above 600px on both mobile and desktop devices.
So why do bloggers do it?
This mistake is mostly committed by newbies, for potential ranking boost by stuffing keywords in title tags.
My advice. Don’t do it. There is no SEO benefit in doing so.
Rather it’s counterintuitive to do so. That’s because a truncated headline is going to make it incomprehensible to searchers & it’s not rocket science that if a searcher can’t make sense of your headline, he is not going to visit your website.
So, Make sure to set a hard limit of 600px width title tag and stick to it.
I know that sounds like a painstaking task. So let me make it simpler for you.
For WordPress users out there, you can use my favorite SEO plugin RankMath to optimize title tag length.
Why do I like RankMath plugin:-
- Title tag optimization according to keyword selected
- Create separate headlines for Facebook, Twitter & Google
- Snippet Preview – Check how your headline, meta description, and URL slug would be visible across desktop and mobile devices start from WordPress editor.
- Complete SEO suite – XML sitemap creator, robots.txt editor, and much more.
2) Add main keyword to your headline
Okay, I know it’s not 2008.
Stuffing keywords in your headlines isn’t going to help with the ranking.
At least not directly.
But get this, adding your main target keyword in the headline does “establish relevance” to the Google search algorithms.
Google algorithms take into consideration your headline & meta description along with page content for establishing relevance.
Establishing relevance is the first step in ranking for a particular keyword.
Moreover, it reassures the search audience that the page they are about to visit satisfies their search query. Thus resulting in more visitors.
3) Write headline in form of questions
Do you know that 8% of Google searches are phrased as questions? Ya, that’s a lot when every visitor counts.
How do you write a catchy headline to attract these searchers? Simply just frame your headline as a question.
This headline writing technique works especially great for scientific queries.
Just make sure that your article provides a crisp and direct answer to the said question.
Otherwise, visitors would just bounce back from your site, thus resulting in a negative user experience signal to Google.
Here are some examples,
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4) Add power words
You might wanna buckle up for this one.
Using power words is the one of the most impactful headline writing tips out there.
This technique has been used by popular magazines like GQ, Vogue to create captivating headlines, which results in unmatched user engagement.
It involves adding power words to your blog title.
No, don’t worry. You don’t have to read the whole English literature to know them.
Power words are words that evoke strong emotional and psychological responses in the reader’s mind.
Using power words in your headlines ignites irresistible curiosity in readers’ minds which draws them to click and read the articles.
Thus using power works should likely increase your CTR and potentially increase the likelihood of an article being shared by a visitor.
Few power words examples:-
- Life changing
- Awe inspiring
And many more you can use in your headlines to increase CTR.
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5) Add Numbers to your title tag
Truthfully, no one wants to read a long blog post. (Unless it is a research paper)
Readers today like to skim the blog post as fast as possible.
So, how do you attract these readers?
Write articles in the form of listicles. Listicles make a great way for improving your article’s readability.
Topics such as “11 best web hosting companies” clearly indicate that the author has selected 7 best web hosting companies from the market & thus improve your click-through rate (CTR).
Additionally, numbers can be used to emphasize a particular time period and thus clarify your blog topics for potential readers.
- “11 best web hosting companies for bloggers in 2021”
- “ 9 best action movies of the 2000s”
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Here adding 2000s provides searchers with clear intimation that it is the article is going to a listicle containing 9 best action movies from 2000s.
Some great words to use with your numbers for writing a listicle:-
6) Brainstorm various ideas
Writing a perfect and eye-catching headline is an acquired skill.
Don’t fret over it. Even expert bloggers and copywriters don’t get it correct in the first few attempts.
Best way for newbie bloggers to write a perfectly optimized title tag is to write, brainstorm and repeat.
A rule of thumb is to at least try 10 potential headline ideas before settling for one.
At least 10 times? Yup, you read that correctly.
Getting your headline perfect is the most underrated aspect of blogging.
According to Copyblogger research, only about 80% of visitors will read your headline but only 20% will continue reading.
So, don’t be lazy. Try to get the best possible headline idea.
Pro tip:- Don’t quit. Keep combining various headline writing tips and you will definitely end up with a perfect headline.
7) A/B test your different headlines
So, after brainstorming and combining different headline writing tips, You have to understand that even after brainstorming the headline selected by you may not be up to mark or you may have two really good headline ideas.
How do you objectively select the best one?
A/B testing is a great way to ensure objectivity.
How do you A/B test your headlines?
Easiest way is to blast out different headlines to a group of 100 email subscribers.
I know that’s tedious. Therefore, I would recommend you to use Convertkit for this job.
To know more about how Convertkit can help you build your email subscriber. Read this article. Why I Choose Convertkit Over Mailchimp When I Was Earning $0?
Another simpler method is testing using twitter. You tweet out the particular article with different versions of headlines at different times.
Special tools for A/B testing your headlines
- CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.
- Thrive Headline Optimizer
- Title Experiments Free
8) Keep it relevant
You might be tempted to use clickbait and irrelevant headlines. But, be warned that though they result in a click, your bounce rate is sure to go off the charts.
Most readers are impatient. They are hardwired to hit the back button immediately if they don’t find what they are looking for.
Therefore, stick to the headline which you have discussed in the article and write accordingly. Make sure to keep up the same topic from the introduction, subheadings, and conclusions.
9) Use parentheses, brackets, a hyphen, and semicolons
In a study conducted by Hubspot and Outbrain of over 3.3 million paid links, they found that headlines with brackets performed 38% better than headlines without them.
Parentheses & Brackets can be used to referencing additional information and generating curiosity.
Hyphens and semicolons can be used to create visual differentiation and emphasize a few points.
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10) Do competitor analysis & try visual differentiation method
Saddle up for this technique, this is one of the headline writing tips which you will not find anywhere.
I call this headline writing method as creating “visual differentiation”.
In case you haven’t noticed, the SERP page results are essentially blue text results on a white background.
So, the question you should be asking is “how to make your heading stand out?”
The best way to start this technique is doing a competitor analysis for certain keywords for which you want to rank for.
Take a look at what the potential competitors are doing: are they using numbers, or parentheses, or brackets, or semicolons?
What power words are they using?
Then, try to create visual differentiation.
Assume, if most of the top 10 SERPs for a particular keyword is using numbers. Then, one more headline with numbers isn’t going to “stand out”.
Here the best ways to create a perceptible visual differentiation will be using brackets, parentheses, and semicolons.
11) Try negative headlines
Negative headlines on an average have 30% more conversion rate than positive headlines.
But remember that negative headlines are double-edged swords. They should be used more cautiously than positive headlines. They are most effective when used to evoke curiosity in the audience.
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12) Optimise the headline for your audience
Get to know your audience.
Are they native English speakers? What is their age? Is your site visited by beginners or professionals in the field?
You can use the demographics section of your Google Analytics to learn more about your audience.
Make sure to adapt your headline accordingly if your target audience is made up of non-native English speakers and non-English speakers.
I would caution you again using technical jargons especially if you are targeting beginners.
13) Don’t refer your audience in a third-person POV
Get this. The greatest asset a blogger has is his readers. Blogging is based on establishing a personal rapport with your audience.
That is the difference between a blog post and a news article.
Use the first (I, me) and second person (you, your) point of view as much as possible.
It helps to establish a friendly rapport with your readers. Doing this is surely going to increase your engagement in the form of comments, social shares, and followers.
Referring your audience as a third person is going to make them feel distant.
So, don’t do it.
Bonus headline writing tips:-
- Add your brand name at the end
- Try different styles – small caps, ALL CAPS, or One caps
- Headlines that solve user problems (How to) perform better than informational titles.
- Center – align your headlines for improved visual impact.
- Prefer active voice over passive voice.
- Be crisp and clear, avoid vague headlines.
Tools for implementing above headline writing tips
Okay, I know it’s not a Childs play implementing these headline writing tips.
It takes serious effort. But, don’t lose sleep over it.
I have few tools which will make implementing these headline writing tips a breeze.
- CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.
A coSchedule headline analyzer is a complete tool for writing and analyzing headlines for your blog.
It provides data-driven solutions for improving your headlines along with a host of different functions. It is a freemium tool.
- Heading Analyzer by Advanced Marketing Institute
I get it, using power words can be difficult. Incorrect power word usage in headlines can convey a drastically different message than intended.
To analyze power word usage, I would recommend you Headline Analyzer by Advanced Marketing Institute.
It is a free tool that rates your headline on an Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score scale. The Analyzer rates your headline based on the total number of EMV words out of the total headline word count.
It can also find out the emotions conveyed by your headline – Neutral, Intellectual, empathetic and spiritual.
- Thrive Headline Optimizer
Thrive Headline Optimizer compares headlines based on three different metrics to determine which headline is producing the best results:
- Click Through Rate
- Time on Content
- Scroll Depth
You can add different headline combinations to check out which one works best for you.
4) Title Experiments Free
Title Experiments is a WordPress Plugin. It works similarly to Thrive headline optimizer but is rather limited in functionality.
It works by calculating views and impressions generated by each headline. Though, it cannot calculate time on content and scroll depth for content.
I hope that you will find this article useful in improving your headline writing and remember it is a skill, and not a trick to write great headlines.
Be sure to check out various tools mentioned in the article, they are sure to improve your productivity and skills.
Tell me in the comments below which headline writing tips were your favorite. Also, don’t forget to add tips and tools used by you on a regular basis.
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