10 Traits Of A Good Headline

by Mahesh Kukreja · 3 comments

in SEO Tricks & Tips

How important is a good headline to your post’s readership? With the hundreds of blog posts that are uploaded every day, it’s your post’s headline that makes readers decide to read it or not. A good headline has certain attention-grabbing qualities which make a reader want to read the rest of the article. Use the following 10 traits of a good headline to differentiate between good headlines and bad ones.

New York Post Headline
[Image via Flickr]

1. A Good Headline Should Describe Your Post

A good headline describes your post; in effect, your headline should summarize the post in a few words. A descriptive headline lets readers know exact what your post is all about. For example, if your post provides 5 reasons to blog or 10 ways to monetize a blog, your title should clearly indicate these aspects. Giving a clear, outright indication of what the post is all about can guarantee instant reader response.

2. A Good Headline Should Be Believable

If your headline looks too-good-to-be-true, readers will presume the post is a spam. Tall claims such as “How a single blog made me an overnight millionaire” or “How to get your blog’s readership up by 10 million in a day” will not fly. People are intelligent and don’t like it when you try to insult their intelligence with unbelievable claims in your blog post title. Keep your headline believable and earnest, if you want readership and reader appreciation.

3. A Good Headline Should Be Brief

A blog headline should be short, sweet and to the point, without lapping over the edges. Most blog posts are promoted on social voting sites and social networking sites that impose character limits on titles. A long blog post title might get cut off when tweeted from one reader to another. Or, even worse, a long blog title might not leave room for readers to add their comments to the Tweet. Keep your headline as short as possible, while ensuring it stays descriptive.

4. A Good Headline Should Generate Curiosity

Getting the attention of your reader base is more difficult now than before. People who browse the internet are bombarded with so many links; articles, YouTube videos, blog posts – you name it. This is why it’s all the more important now to generate curiosity and a certain amount of intrigue with an attention-grabbing headline. Make your headline so interesting that your reader simply cannot resist clicking it to see what’s inside.

5. A Good Headline Should Answer A Need

An effective headline should answer the reader’s first, unspoken question, “What’s in this for me?” Readers will not bother to read something that they don’t perceive as valuable to them. When you boil it down, you’re dealing with people with jobs and families, people who don’t have all the time in the world to read everything bloggers put out. So do some research on your reader base and offer valuable information that your reader won’t be able to resist.

6. A Good Headline Should Be Easy To Read

The average reader spends a few seconds scanning potential reading material. So make your headlines eminently readable. Avoid fancy fonts, capitals, italics and reverse type; these gimmicks only put people off. Use a simple, easy to read style. Don’t put up titles in light color on a dark background, or the other way around. If it’s difficult to read, then it’s a no-go for most readers.

7. A Good Headline Should Evoke An Emotional Response

Again, this comes down to what your readers want. A thorough bit of homework in this area will help you write headlines that evoke some type of emotional response. Emotions are what motivate readers into action. Write headlines that make users believe they’ll lose something if they don’t read your post immediately. Or, better still, that they’ll gain something invaluable if they read your post.

8. A Good Headline Uses Eye-Catching Terms

It’s important, actual critical, to use the proper words and phrases in your title. Some words and phrases seem to jump out and claim reader attention, for different reasons. Words such as Free, Security, New, Amazing, Sale, Win, and Improve have been proven to grab reader attention and create intrigue. Phrases such as How To, The Truth About, Top Ten, Top Five and so on succeed in making readers click your title time and again.

9. A Good Headline Should Create A Sense Of Urgency

People everywhere are looking for quick solutions to everything. We live in a society where we want everything right now. A blog post headline that promises to demonstrate something mind-blowing quickly and easily creates a sense of urgency in the reader. Readers want to know what the newest thing is all about and will pay attention to your post even if they already know the subject. Let your headline tell your readers how they can succeed at something quickly, or achieve their dreams in the shortest possible time. For example, try a headline that says, “Five simple steps to a worry-free future”.

10. A Good Headline Must Follow Writing Guidelines

Use the active voice in your headline. People respond better to the active voice than the passive voice.  Keep your sentence structuring logical, and use strong present-tense verbs. Don’t start a headline with a number. Your headline should never be all in capitals; capitalize only the first letter of your headline. Do not use abbreviations, punctuation marks and conjunctions in your headline.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

mustfa ali August 10, 2011 at 9:51 pm

great blogs


Rob Benwell August 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Nice article ,Thanks for sharing such a informative tips with us it help me a lot to learn more from it i appreciate your great work and i get more informative articles from your blog in future keep it up.
Rob Benwell


odesk work August 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Just came cross your blog. Useful and informative content. Keep rocking


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