Blogging: Happy Headlines

You’ve heard it many times: People DO judge books by their covers, and they also judge blog posts by their headlines. If your headline isn’t entertaining or compelling, your potential readers won’t expect anything different from the rest of your blog post, and so they may not bother to read it.

Yet writing great headlines can be a challenge. After all, you need to include your keyword phrase for search engine optimization purposes. But as long as you keep your focus on your readers, you’ll find that there is a great deal of crossover between what your readers want and what the search engines want. After all, the search engines want to deliver the best results to their users.

Here are some tips for writing effective blog post headlines:

  • Start with the point of your post. Each post needs to have a single call to action, and a single point. Choosing a headline that supports this point will help make sure the rest of your post stays on topic.
  • Put the keyword first. Search engines give higher priority to the words at the beginning of the title. So if you are writing about parsley’s health benefits, instead of writing “Twelve Powerful Health Benefits of Parsley,” rephrase it to be, “Parsley: Twelve Powerful Health Benefits.”
  • Keep it short. Common wisdom is that Google will only display up to 66 characters in a title and will crop the rest. That’s yet another reason to put your most important words up front.
  • Make it interesting. The best titles are a bit mysterious or clever. Just don’t sacrifice clarity for the sake of cleverness! You’re much better off going with a straightforward title than being so obtuse that someone scanning titles on Google has no idea what your post is going to be about.
  • Make a promise… and deliver. Tell people what you’re going to tell them, and then spend the rest of your post delivering on that promise.

Headline writing – like much of internet marketing – is a balancing act. You must balance clarity with interest, and cleverness with SEO. Just do your best and stay true to your style.

Is there a tip here that you have found useful in creating headlines for your blog? What is your favorite headline that you have created?

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