In the editorial world, as with every other aspect of human existence, names matter. Readers first judge a copy’s worth by its blog post title or article headline.
Does it seem clickable? Boring? Obnoxious? Informative?
Each header serves as a first impression and, more often than not, an only impression if readers determine they don’t care to click. So the blog post titles you come up with if you’re a blogger and the headlines you come up with if you’re a more traditional news writer are very big deals.
You’re never going to please everyone, of course. But following these “5 Attention-Grabbing Tips to Create a Clickable Headline” could see your online traffic increase going forward.
Use Numbers – Readers love the notion of numbered lists. Tell them they're in store for a bulleted list, and they'll be much more likely to click, happily expecting an article that's comprehensive and easier to skim through. Such headlines also appear to promise more than their non-number-bearing brethren: a definite reward for reading rather than a potential waste of time. Plus, numbers stand out. In-the-know writers and editors understand that readers expect to see words. So when they see something else – such as a 6, 17 or 250% – it tends to make them do a double-take.
Ask a Question – What happens when you ask, “Knock knock?” Someone is probably going to say, “Who’s there?” Our automatic instinct is to find the answer when we hear a question. We’re curious critters, which means we’re more likely to deem a blog post title clickable if it reads something like, “Are You as Healthy as You Think You Are?” than “You’re Not as Healthy as You Think You Are.”
Make It About Them – Fit the word “You” into your blog post title or article headline somewhere. People love focusing on themselves these days since they feel as if they’re not getting enough attention from others, who are too busy focusing on themselves, which makes them try to get more attention by focusing on themselves. It’s a vicious cycle, to say the least. But you can capitalize on it by telling potential readers, “I’ll make it about you” with lines like “6 Ways to Make You Swing Like a Pro” or “This Could Be Your Best Year Yet!” or “How Well Do You Really Know Your Political Views?”
Use Alliteration – Readers typically like the sound of words that flow well together, which writers can easily capitalize on through alliteration. “Create Clickable Headlines” works because of the double hard C sounds, while something like “How to Build Your Best Blog Post Title” plays off of triple B’s. Just don’t go overboard. Alliteration can go from catchy to annoying pretty quickly.
KISS – Keep it short, sweetheart. Unless you’re writing your doctoral thesis, your title shouldn’t be very long. So try to stick to 10 words or less. Remember: Your readers are busy (or they think they are). They want information short, sweet and stat.
Bonus Tip: You don’t have to employ all five clickable tips at once. I don’t even know if it’s possible to employ them all simultaneously considering #5's admonition to keep it short.
Just let your copy guide your ultimate article headline or blog post title decision. If the information you’re presenting is most definitely about helping the reader, then highlight that in the header. Or if you find yourself using a lot of keywords that start with the same letter, then work with that.
Just whatever tip or tips you choose to employ, don’t force them. Your blog post title or article headline should be clickable, yes… but it also has to deliver what it promises.