There can be a lot of challenges when it comes to writing a blog post. From determining the kind of content your audience wants to read to coming up with blog post ideas, developing an introduction, deciding on a post structure, and actually writing the post content, bloggers have their hands full at every stage of the game.
By the time you finish writing, you may run out of creative steam and feel the urge to slap any old headline on top of a post. But even if it means leaving the post unpublished for a day (or longer) while you brainstorm possible titles, it’s worth taking the time to come up with the perfect headline.
Here’s why: Blog post traffic can shift by as much as 500 per cent depending on the headline, and headlines are responsible for up to half of your post’s success. When you fail to write strong headlines for your posts, you actively diminish the chances that people will read the content you worked so hard to produce. This means you miss out on the many benefits of blogging, which include increased traffic, improved SEO, strong relationships with your audience, a reputation of expertise, and a higher conversion rate.
So if you want your blog to be more effective, it’s time to pay attention to headlines. Here’s how to write blog post headlines that inspire your readers to engage with your content.
The best headlines catch readers’ attention, motivate engagement with the post (in the form of reading and sharing the article), and boost your search rankings over time. The next time you craft a blog post, consider employing any or all of the following headline strategies.
The best headline for a given post varies depending on the audience you want to reach. What values does your audience hold? What are their ages and occupations? Where do they live? What problems do they need solved? Considering these questions helps craft headlines that are tailored to your audience’s needs and interests, which makes readers much more likely to click.
The best length for your headline varies depending on what you want to convey and the platform on which you share the headline—but for the most part, shorter is better. If your goal is to boost SEO, then aim for headlines under 70 characters. If you share the post on Twitter, eight to 12 words seems to be the sweet spot. On Facebook, 12-to-14-word headlines get the most likes. And eight-word headlines tend to generate the most clicks overall.
The term “unique rationale” refers to the fact that readers are more likely to engage with your content if you give them a strong reason right out of the gate. This is why headlines that promise tips, tricks, strategies, lessons, methods, unique ideas, solutions to problems, and so on can be so effective: They promise readers will benefit from the post.
It’s important to write engaging headlines, but if that headline misleads your audience about the actual content of the post, you’re just going to upset and alienate readers. If you promise your readers something in the headline, then deliver with quality content in the body of the post.
Research finds that including numbers in a post’s headline can drive more traffic to that post. Feature the number at the beginning of the headline (“10 Reasons Why…”) and write digits instead of words (“8” not “eight”).
If one of the goals of your blog post is to rank higher in search engines, then be sure to include relevant keywords in the title as well as the post content. Include the keywords as close as possible to the beginning of the title. Just make sure the headline still sounds natural and appealing to your readers; your audience’s preferences should always come first (because there’s little point to ranking high in Google if nobody actually clicks into your site).
Thanks to A/B testing, you don’t have to wonder if a given headline is effective—you can compare headline options to determine which work best with your audience. Make a habit of testing different headlines to learn what formulas help your posts perform best. And don’t be afraid to modify headlines after you publish a post if your testing determines a few tweaks could help gain more traffic.
Even when you’re armed with these tips, headline writing can be a slow process. Schedule plenty of time to brainstorm headlines for every post you write, and don’t be afraid to enlist feedback from your team members if you feel stuck. If all else fails, consider employing one of these tried-and-true headline formulas. The time and energy you invest in crafting your headlines will pay off in spades.