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7 Tips on Writing Good Headlines for Your Blog Posts

updated on Mar 29, 2016
7 Tips on Writing Good Headlines for Your Blog Posts Good headlines are significant for the increase of the views, CTR and conversions of your blog. According to surveys, among all the people who read your headlines, only 20% of them would continue reading the content. But if you can write eye-catching headlines which deliver value to your targeted audience, the percentage of readers to your content could be higher.

There are a large number of tricks for writing good headlines. You have to make them SEO friendly, and at the same time, you need to craft them with creativity and carefulness. Getting your blog posts noticed among numerous others on the web is not an easy task, so there is a need to make enough efforts.

Fortunately, there are some easy-to-follow formulas and tips which are based on in-depth researches and surveys. You can easily apply them to make your headlines more attractive. Below are 7 of the most helpful tips to follow.

Tip 1: Use Numbers and Digits to Draw Attention and Deliver Value

Using numbers is the first suggestion we would like to offer you because this is one of the best ways to make your headlines noticed. People are more likely to click those headlines with numbers resting beside plain texts. Such headlines could bring two times the views than those with text only.

Use Numbers and Digits

Besides, researches also show that the greater the number is, the higher the click-through rates a headline creates. This is why long list posts are usually more popular and generate better social shares.

Let's make an example. Assumed that there is simple headline – "Tips to Promote Old Blog Posts", see how numbers make changes to it: "8 Tips to Promote Old Blog Posts to Get 300% More Traffic". Apparently, the latter is going to get more attention.

In addition to being attention-grabbing, numbers also deliver values to readers because readers can easily know what to expect from the content and they will get a quick and easy reading experience.

If you are going to try list posts, there are some good list words to get started, such as "Tips", "Reasons", "Ways", "Secrets", "Mistakes", "Facts", and "Strategies". For more useful tips about writing list posts, read this tutorial.

Tip 2: Create Benefit-Driven Headlines to Demonstrate the Value

First of all, think about this question. With so many articles on the web containing the similar content as yours, why will people read your blog instead of others? As far as we are concerned, the answer is the value demonstrated by your headlines. Only if your headlines are able to convince the readers that you can provide the information they need, can your blog posts get viewed.

When writing a good headline, you have to highlight the solutions to the readers' problems at the beginning, followed by some extra benefits that encourage readers to make clicks and read the full content. The better you do this, the higher CTR you will achieve.

For example, we have published a post named "How to Write an SEO-Optimized Blog Post in WordPress". Undoubtedly, this headline is benefit-driven because it expresses clearly where the value lies – "Write an SEO-Optimized Blog Post".

In terms of the extra benefit, a commonly used one is a time period because the match of "a promised result + a certain time period" has been recognized as a classic headline strategy. You must have seen many headlines in such type, for example, "How to Make a Great Infographic in 10 Minutes". This match could be a good starting point.

Create Benefit-Driven Headlines

Tip 3: Ask Questions to Trigger Curiosity

Asking questions in headlines is a widely used strategy that you may have underestimated. Compared with boring plain statements, questions arouse readers' curiosity at the first glance, so they are actually more effective in motivating those reading them to have a look at the answers.

When people see a question in a headline, they assume that the question is answered properly in the post content, which gives an increase to the credibility and value. Besides, what you may have not noticed is that the question mark also helps catch readers' attention.

For further illustrating and understanding, below are two headlines with the same target audience. Between these two choices, it is believed that most readers would notice the latter one while ignoring the other.
  • A Simple Way to Make a Snowman
  • Struggling to Make a Snowman? See How We Do This in 10 Minutes

Tip 4: Use Powerful Verbs and Adjectives to Evoke Emotions

Good writers write headlines for readers but not for the post content or search engine only. As your readers are humans with emotions, good headlines that evoke the proper emotions from them will certainly drive attention and clicks. People like the feeling of being treated personally.

To trigger readers' emotions, you can use some strong or powerful verbs and adjectives that ask for actions naturally. Below are some words in this kind that are popular among bloggers.
  • Adjectives: Surprising, Shocking, Unbelievable, Amazing, Ultimate and Awesome.
  • Verbs: Kill, Damage, Avoid and Stop.
Some strong adverbs like "Never" and nouns like "Hacks" and "Mistakes" have also been approved to be eye-catching. For examples, take a look at the following headlines.
  • 15 Surprising SEO Mistakes That Stop You from Ranking Well
  • 5 Lies Your Hosting Provider Tries to Tell You
There is one thing to notice. You should never use too many adjectives in headlines because they would lower the effectiveness of content. Using one powerful adjective is enough in a single headline. Overuse is never a good thing.

Use Powerful Words

Tip 5: Use Negative Words in Headlines to Arouse Interests

Besides questions and strong adjectives, negative words can also generate curiosity and stimulate actions. The mystery of negative words is that they cause a sense of insecurity and uncertainty from readers. The readers, then, may ask themselves what they have been doing wrong, thus they will more likely to read your content to try finding solutions for their problems. If your content is full of researches and useful solutions, with such headlines you can easily gain thumbs-up from your readers.

Simple examples of headlines with negative words are:
  • 10 Reasons Why You Will Never Be a Top Blogger (Unless You Make These Changes)
  • Why Nobody Cares About Your Blog
However, you have to use these headlines cautiously because improper or frequent use can lead to a loss of interest and even a feeling of disgust.

Tip 6: Start the Headlines with "How To"

Using "How To" is one of the most common headline writing strategies, but this does not mean it is of no value. In fact, how-to's are much more preferred than plain statements and questions starting with "What" in most cases. That's why they are enjoying vast popularity nowadays.

Being similar to questions, how-to's arouse interests and curiosity. Besides, they act like promises you are giving to your readers that you have covered the topic comprehensively and will offer everything they want to know. Due to these reasons, you have to use how-to's only when your content includes detailed steps or guides that really help. The abuse may lead to a loss of credibility.

Below are some sample headlines starting with "How To".

Tip 7: Be Creative, But Don't Forget the Keywords

It is not easy to be unique, but achieving success is never an easy thing, right? If you want to stand out, you have to make extra efforts. Sometimes you may try some headlines which look a little bit wired, but this is OK because trials and errors could result in a quicker success.

However, when you try to be creative and unique, do not forget to include the keywords of your blog posts in the headlines. A good headline needs to be human-friendly, and in the meantime, it has to be search engine friendly, too. If you cannot rank on the first pages in search results, your headlines get no readers no matter how unique they are.