When people search online for information, they tend to skip over certain page results or titles in favor of others. So, if you want them to arrive at your site in particular, you need to tempt them to click on your headlines.
What makes a title click-worthy? In a nutshell, a great headline is not only well-worded, but also includes savvy keywords, a smart description, and perhaps a time-proven hack. Read on for tips on how to write engaging headlines and why it matters.
Write clear blog titles
When writing blog headlines or titles, top bloggers know how important it is to be clear and concise — and to avoid seeming vague, complicated, silly, or long-winded. Imagine you need trustworthy information on changing a flat tire. Would you click on “Steps to Skip When Disassembling and Reassembling an Automobile Wheel in a Hurry” or “The Complete Guide to Changing a Tire Safely”? Probably the latter, if you want to avoid dangerous issues.
Use your keywords wisely
Beyond being clear, the best headlines contain the right keywords, used in a natural manner. Stuffing keywords unnaturally into articles and headlines isn’t just taboo; this outdated practice can also hurt your blog’s ranking in search results. Say you’re creating a blog post on making various pastas from scratch. Using a keyword research tool, such as Wordstream, enter “homemade pasta” into the search bar. The keyword tool will spit out the most frequently searched terms related to your entry — maybe “lasagna” and “spaghetti” would pop up in this scenario. Try to work the top keywords naturally into your headline (and article) with something like this: “Lasagna, Spaghetti and Other Fresh Pasta Dough Recipes.”
Hack a headline
Stealing someone’s else story is unethical and very likely a copyright violation. Still, people have been stealing (ahem, borrowing) ideas for plots ever since, well, storytelling became a thing. On the other hand, headlines — or at least the basic structures or types of headlines — have been used repeatedly for decades, normally without causing a stir. If they work well for some publishers, they can work well for everyone.
That doesn’t mean you should copy the best ones verbatim, but why not put your own spin on great magazine article titles, or headlines that bubble to the top of search results, adding your story’s keywords? For instance, you could write “5 Warning Signs That [keyword phrase].”
Describe each story
Writing a short description to accompany each story’s caption in search results is similar to writing product descriptions to accompany their images. For example, say you’re trying to sell an unusual tool. It might look like a handy gadget, but unless you tell your audience what it does or how it can help them solve a problem, many will give it a sideways glance and bypass it out of ignorance.
Likewise, if you wrote a story on how best to use a hammer, with the headline “How to Use a Hammer Correctly,” it may seem bland or pointless (who doesn’t know how to use a hammer?) unless you add a smart description to help “sell” the article. In that scenario, a good description could be something like this: “Surprisingly, many folks use the common hammer incorrectly, causing wasted time, bent nails, and injured fingers.”
The trick is to pique readers’ interest, without giving away too much information. Ultimately, you’re tempting them to click on your headline, which will transport them to your site so they can get the full story, poke about as they wish, and sign up for your newsletter, if you have one ready.
Now that you know the importance of writing blog headlines that generate interest, maybe it’s time to work on your brand voice, developing a style that best appeals to your target audience.
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