In today’s digital age of online journalism, it takes much more than great content and good website design to attract clicks from potential readers. In order to grab readers’ attention span within the first few seconds, you need to create the best headline ever (i.e. catchy headlines) that make it impossible for them to resist reading more. Unless you reel in your potential customers instantly, it is likely that your content and product or service will largely go unnoticed on the World Wide Web. If you need some help in crafting some catchier headlines to create more buzz about your website or blog posts, read on to learn about 9 easy tricks for writing the best headlines ever.
1. Take Action with Power Verbs
In a recent study that analyzed over 200,000 headlines on Twitter, researchers found that tweets with more verbs and adverbs had higher click through rates than those with more nouns. Therefore, it is essential that you incorporate strong power verbs in the present tense to entice readers into clicking on, reading, and eventually sharing your outstanding content. Do not be afraid to be assertive in writing headlines by using actionable verbs, such as “learn,” “read,” “maximize,” “write,” and so on. Do yourself a favor by using power verbs in an active voice at the beginning of your headlines for optimal effectiveness in holding a reader’s eye.
2. Numbers FTW
Have you noticed that the majority of magazines in the checkout lane use numbers in their front-page headlines in hopes that waiting customers want a second look? Well, there is a reason why so many writers and bloggers use numerals in their headlines. It simply works. In fact, it is worth a bet that you are reading this article due to the number 9 making an appearance in its headline. Since most readers are looking for heaps of information to satisfy their interest, building list-themed headlines with numbers is a surefire approach to receiving clicks. While there is no number that performs significantly better than another, there is evidence to suggest that using obscure double-digit numbers like 22 or 38 can result in more readers.
3. Pique Curiosity with Questions
Since inquiring minds need to know more, question-themed headlines often perform very well in effectively arousing interest in your readers. Whether you ask a question or promise to expose hidden secrets to burning questions, the best headlines will compel readers to click through and read your article to discover the answers. Just as best-selling novelists leave each chapter with a cliffhanger that begs readers to turn to the next page, viral blog posts will have well-crafted headlines that intrigue visitors for learning insider secrets. Everyone loves a mystery, so include some interesting questions within your headlines to urge readers into clicking for more.
4. Use Eye-Grabbing Relevant Visuals
When words alone fail to make your headlines stand out from the crowd, you will need to step up your game by adding in some images that appeal to your readers. On social media, it is always essential to include an eye-catching picture with your headline to increase the sharability of your articles and create more buzz on your feed. Although it may be tempting to randomly grab a generic stock photo, you need to also make sure the featured image is relevant to your post and will actually enhance the readers’ experience in digesting your article.
5. Include Keywords to Boost Traffic
When brainstorming the best headlines to increase your website’s clicks, it is crucial that you take advantage of Google Analytics to stumble upon the topics that your audience is seeking more information about. Once you have discovered a hot keyword that has been effective at boosting your traffic, find numerous ways to fit this word into your headlines and just watch the visitors start rolling in. That being said, make sure you do not choose hot keywords simply for gaining more traffic. Choose effective keywords that are relevant to your readers, your content, and your overall business goals for the best success.
6. Keep a Limit on Your Character Count
Given the fact that headlines usually become the title tag for a website in the search results, Google strongly frowns upon long and excessively wordy headlines. In fact, it is typically suggested that headlines be kept short and sweet with no more than 75 characters maximum. Not only do shorter headlines perform well in the leading search engines, but they are also a great fit for Twitter. As a result, you will want to write catchy headlines with a limited character count to encourage readers to retweet your content and leave plenty of space for comments while featuring your original username for brand recognition.
7. Make Bold Promises
Whenever you are crafting a headline, keep in mind that readers may need some extra encouragement to click on your post and actually read what you wrote. Whether you are promising to teach readers new skills, unlock a hidden mystery, or enhance their success in life, you want to insight interest by advertising valuable benefits. While you should not go overboard in promising results you cannot provide, you want to dare your visitors to read the article. As a mini sales pitch for online journalism, headlines provide the perfect opportunity to explain exactly how readers will benefit from reading your article instead of your competitors.
8. Know When and Where to Capitalize
Although writing the best headline ever will not require you to pursue an advanced degree in English, it is important to remember some simple grammar tricks in crafting titles that will appeal to readers. Many bloggers and copyeditors fall into the trap of capitalizing every word in their headline, but some readers will subconsciously focus on capitalization and be turned away at first glance. For achieving more professional headlines, capitalize each word in the headline except articles, coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions with three or less letters.
9. Don’t Forget to Say the Magic Words
For writing headlines that are guaranteed to attract a large number of clicks immediately, make sure you include the magic words of today’s Internet culture. Since many readers are seeking ways to make their busy lives better, words like “quick”, “simple,” “easy,” “fast,” and “free” will perform much better in headlines. Also, be sure to make your content sound more exciting to read by throwing in some buzz-worthy adjectives into your headlines. Although content is exactly the same with or without them, adjectives like “amazing,” “powerful,” “unique,” and “extraordinary” will definitely intrigue readers to keep on reading.
Did you know that in most cases 8 out of every 10 people will read a headline, but only two of those people will actually go on to read the remainder of the article? Therefore, creating the best headline ever is truly the hidden secret to writing great content that will increase the effectiveness of your website and drive more online traffic to your business. In order to enhance your chance of beating the odds for having your content read by a larger percentage of people, be sure to use these 9 simple tactics for helping you write better headlines in no time!
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.