Over the past few months, we’ve been pouring significant time into perfecting the headline for each blog post. We hope to discover insight into what our readers find interesting (or not). Read more about our results and don’t miss the infographic below on the recipe for great headlines.
Get Your Message Across in the Headline — It May Be the Only Thing Your Audience Will Read!
According to Copyblogger:
- 8 out of 10 people will read a headline
- But, 0nly 2 out of 10 tend to proceed to read the rest of the post
Here are two awesome tools, we’ve been using to test our headlines:
Tool #1: Title Experiments by WP Experiments: FREE
Title Experiments is a WordPress plugin that uses the process of A/B Testing to try different variations of your post titles to get a higher click through rate.
EASY TO USE: This is an excellent tool to use if you have difficulty making a decision between a couple of different titles for your post. The plugin gives you almost immediate insight into the best pulling headlines.
Each time the post is listed, it is counted as an impression. Each time the article is visited, it is counted as a view. The number of clicks and views easily let you see what percentage of impressions get clicked on for each title.
Example 1 – A social media post:
Here are three titles we tested for a recent social media post on how you can increase your SERP rankings in a few easy steps. You can see the results on the far right.
The first title on the list was our “working title” – Low Hanging Fruit with Local SEO for Small-Business Owners. As traffic to the post increases, the plugin is responding with the more popular title. In this case, 3 Easy Fixes to Increase Search Rankings has the lead. Google results is returning this page:
Example #2 – A list post:
The results of this list post with inexpensive ways to say “thanks” to your boss are close! The title, 21 Unique (and Inexpensive) Gift Ideas for Boss’s Day has taken a narrow lead. Make sure to read why it’s smart to use big numbers in your title headline further below in the post!
Google is returning the following:
Example # 3:
In examples number 3 and 4, it’s obvious who the winner is:
But, things get interesting when you add a third title experiment to a similar post:
The title in example #4 is relatively similar to the post we released this week, but the clear winner is still the simplest title.
I may have gone overboard in showing you the fun we have experimenting with Title Experiments. As far as I can tell, you can test as many titles as you want for a post.
Tool #2: Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule: FREE
Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule is a free blog post headline analyzer that will score your overall headline quality and rate its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value.
EASY TO USE. Headline Analyzer is easy to use and perfect for a quick analysis of potential blog post titles.
Start with entering your text to begin your headline analysis. Here are the results for the headline ‘Time Flies: 10 Things You Missed in Social Media Last Week’:
From the initial results, the title looks pretty good. However, the results also show that the headline is a bit wordy (11 words, instead of the recommended 6 – make sure to read the recipe below for the perfect headline).
Word of advice: Keep testing. Both of these tools are free to use.
Now that we have a couple of tools in our toolbox to test headlines, here is some great advice on how to craft
good excellent headlines.
The Recipe for Excellent Headlines
Writing headlines that cut through the noise and get attention—and clicks—is more than just a task, but what makes a good headline? Ragan published an infographic sharing the recipe for successful headlines. Scroll down below for the full infographic.
Here are the cliff notes on what makes a good headline:
1 – Short and Sweet
- Maximum character count is 65 before being cut off in Google
- The perfect length for a headline is: 6 words
2 – Use Interesting Adjectives
Here are some examples:
Need more inspiration? Here’s a glimpse of the top 1000 power words for writing emotional headlines.
3 – Use Negative Wording
- Negatives tap into our insecurities
- Negative superlatives performed 30% better than positive superlatives
- The words NO, WITHOUT and STOP lead to many more shares
- Here’s more: Never, Worst, Nothing, No One, No Way, By No Means, None, Stop, Avoid, Don’t
4 – Use BIG Numbers
- People want to increase efficiency – seeing a number list fulfills this need
- The bigger the number in a post – the further it spreads
In the image below, you can see one of our short blog posts (less than minute), starting with the number 29 in the headline, was shared 400+ times:
5 – Personalize It (Add a little extra)
- Adding a little personalization increases reader curiosity
6 – Formula for Creating Headline
Try this formula
Here’s a simple headline-writing formula:
Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise
Example: Take the subject “bathing elephants.” You could write an article entitled, “How to Bath an Elephant” or “Why I Love Bathing Elephants.”
Or you could apply this formula and make it: “18 Unbelievable Ways You Can Bathe an Elephant Indoors”
The full infographic from QuickSprout:
How much time do you spend crafting a headline?
Do you have any advice to share with us?
We’d love to hear from you!