Top Tips for Writing for Blog Headlines

Photo of a desk with two computer monitors and a coffee mug.

The average reader takes a matter of seconds to decide whether to keep reading a blog post or click away. That’s why it’s so important to craft a compelling headline and introductory paragraph. A great headline should be catchy and enticing. It should lead readers into the content, without giving away too much. Many writers struggle with headline writing, but with a little practice, and by incorporating the tips below, you’ll be a headline ace in no time!

Keep your headlines short.

Short headlines tend to be more compelling for readers. Consider these examples:

  • An HVAC Expert Explains the Little-Known Secrets to Buying, Installing, and Maintaining Your Water Heater
  • Water Heaters 101: Your Complete Guide
  • What HVAC Experts Want You to Know About Water Heaters

Although it uses enticing words like “secrets” and “expert,” the first example is clearly too long. You’re better off using the second or third versions of this headline. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to headline length. It primarily depends on your client’s marketing goals. To get great rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs), it’s best to keep your headlines to fewer than 70 characters. If your client favors social sharing, different rules apply. Twitter users most often share posts with headlines between eight and 12 words. Facebook users prefer headlines of 12 or 14 words.

Use strong words to offer value to the reader.

Words like “secrets” and “expert” are just a couple of examples of strong words that readers find enticing. Other fantastic words include:

  • Smart
  • Surprising
  • Strategies
  • Hacks
  • Best
  • Top
  • Template
  • Guide
  • Comprehensive

The number “101” is also a popular addition to titles, as in “Canine Training 101.” Just make sure that the words you select are truly representative of the content. You wouldn’t want to use “Canine Training 101” or “The Beginner’s Comprehensive Guide to Dog Training” if the content isn’t actually geared toward beginners.

Make the headline snappy and punchy.

Don’t be afraid to get cute with your headlines. Alliteration is a great way to draw in readers. Consider these examples:

  • Smart Strategies for Searing Steak
  • Family Fun in Philadelphia: Must-Try Activities

You can also use word puns and cultural references to make your headlines pop.

  • The Grate Debate: Is a Gas or Charcoal Grill Best?
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Grill Reviews for 2019

Another strategy for making your headlines snappy and enticing is to use numbers. Consider these examples for list-style blog posts:

  • Top 5 Golf Courses for Casual Players
  • 6 Best Hairstyles for Your Pampered Pooch

Just be careful not to be redundant. For example, avoid writing this: “Top 5 Best Golf Courses for Casual Players.” Use either “top” or “best,” but not both.

Capitalize on your readers’ concerns.

Different people have different dispositions, but on the whole, people tend to worry. You can capitalize on their worries to generate more clicks on your headlines. Consider the following examples:

  • Is Your Whitening Toothpaste Doing More Harm Than Good?
  • Deadly Mistakes to Avoid During Excavations and Demolitions
  • 8 Types of Skin Rashes to Call Your Doctor About

Just remember not to write click-bait headlines. A click-bait headline promises to reveal something extraordinary to the reader, but then the content doesn’t fulfill that promise. It’s the blog post version of tabloid news. So if you’re writing a headline about whitening toothpaste that does more harm than good, make sure the content really does discuss some harmful effects of these products.

Put your headline writing skills to work when you land your next client on Writers Work. Our marketplace and curated job lists make it easy to find the top freelance writing gigs in your niche. Join our freelance community today!

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