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How to Write Better Headlines + Catchy Titles Generator
In this post you will find:
- 13 tips to write better headlines backed up by many huge studies and millions of headlines’ tests.
- The Best FREE tools to help you craft better headlines (catchy titles generator, list of catchy titles etc)
- An amazing infographic with 6 “Proven” Formulas and the best performing words to use for your titles.
Is there any worse thing for a blogger/business owner to spend so much time & effort to craft high-quality content only to see that nobody is reading it?
Are you familiar with this feeling?
What if I told you that your headlines have a HUGE impact on this result?
According to Copyblogger.com and Moz.com you’re not alone. 8 out of 10 online users are reading headlines. But how many will click on a headline to read the rest of the article? The answer is only 2 out of 10!
Except if you have really compelling headlines!
In order to improve your blogging/content marketing traffic, you have to craft compelling headlines, not just “good” headlines. Make people to really want to click your title in order to read more of your content!
The best way to achieve that is by using copywriting techniques. Copywriting is the kind of writing that marketers/brands use to convince users to buy their products.
What do I have to do with it? Well, during my career as a freelance writer/blogger I have written hundreds of headlines. I always test what is working & what is not, always trying to improve my headline writing.
However, I agree that just one person’s opinion is not enough to convince you, so my tips below are backed up by 4 huge case studies.
(Also, make sure your blog is free of these fatal blogging mistakes)
1. Check Search Engines for Similar Articles
Type in Google the topic of your post or the headline you’re thinking for your new post. You might get some useful ideas for your title. Also, you can see what you can offer to your audience that is missing from the other articles you’re competing with!
In the case you see that there are already many similar articles, try to create a better version of them & give it an even better headline!
2. What About Asking a Question?
Headlines that include a question are one of the best methods with the highest click-through rate. The reason?
A question creates curiosity and the readers want to find out the answer. This way, they click your headline and read the rest of your post.
However, you shouldn’t ask a question with an obvious answer. The point is to cause curiosity and thought to attract readers.
Example: “Are you feeding your dog these 5 common but harmful foods?”
If you are a dog owner, you’ll be curious to check (at least quickly) what these 5 harmful foods are.
3. Consider Negative Headlines
Outbrain.com published a study of 65,000 successful (with high click-through rate) ad headlines. They discovered that headlines containing negative superlatives such as “worst”, “avoid” or “never” performed 63% BETTER compared to headlines containing positive words like “best” or “always”.
It seems that titles with positive superlatives perform worse because they are used too often!
So, the next time you’ll come up with a strong headline, try to write a negative version of it (if it makes sense).
Example: “The 7 Best Gym Exercises for Losing Weight”
Negative version: “7 Exercising Mistakes that Stop You from Losing Weight”.
4. Include Odd Numbers into Your Headlines
Conductor published a study about what the types of headlines users click online. They discovered that the more specific a headline is the more clinks it receives.
What is the best way to be specific? Including numbers of course!
In this chart, you can definitely see that headlines containing numbers earn many more clicks compared to other titles’ types.
For instance, if you could click only one of the headlines below, which one would you pick?
- “How to Increase Your Blog Traffic”
- “3 Methods I Used to Increase My Traffic by 258% in 2 Months”
The majority of online users would choose the second one. That’s probably because the first one seems too generic or overused. On the other hand, the second one is much more specific and it also implies that the author is more experienced about the topic.
Further, Outbrain.com and Hubspot.com published a study and they found out that headlines containing odd numbers receive 20% more clicks compared to headlines containing even numbers!
In the case your post includes an even number of points/items, you can:
- Delete the less relevant item from your post
- Instead of “10 Tips to Lose Weight Quickly”, convert it to “9+ Tips to Lose Weight Quickly”
- Present your last item as a Bonus.
5. Use Brackets/Parentheses
Another trick to craft more compelling headlines is using brackets or parentheses in your titles. It’s a well-known tactic among the best selling copywriters.
The same study by Hubspot.com and Outbrain.com of more than 3.3 million ad’s headlines revealed that titles containing parentheses/brackets perform 38% better compared to headlines without brackets!
You can use parentheses to make your headlines more attractive in many different ways:
Example: “5 Destinations You Shouldn’t Miss in (#4 Blew My Mind)”
Presenting Additional Benefits/Bonuses
Use brackets to give your readers another reason to click your headline.
Example: “5 Tips to Save More Money Every Month (Free Spreadsheet Inside)”
Moreover, you can use parentheses to boost your authority. This way the readers will treat you as a reliable source.
Example: “5 Tactics to Grow Your eBook’s Sales (That Increased My eBook Sales by $8,000)”
6. Colons & Hyphens Receive More Click-through Rates
Another fact that Outbrain.com’s study confirmed is that headlines containing colons and hyphens receive 9% more clicks on average. They play a similar role to brackets and parentheses, making the title more interesting.
The most common use for colons and hyphens is placing the SEO keywords first then continue with a compelling headline.
Example: “Weight Loss: 5 Proven Diets to Lose More Than 1 KG/week”
This is not a formula you have to use on every heading though. Be as much creative as you can!
7. Write at Least 5 Headlines for Every Post
Following the most established writers/bloggers’ instructions, I try to write more than 5 titles for every post and then choose the best one. I have to admit that this technique has helped me to write better headlines.
There’s not an exact method to craft the perfect title every single time, so it’s much better to write many different headlines until you come up with the most suitable one.
To help you with this one, I assembled a list with the best Headlines’ tools in the last part of the post.
8. Split Test Your Headlines
This strategy is more practical. There’s no better way to actually see what kind of headings are performing better than testing them yourself.
The best ways to split test your headings are:
- Send to your Email subscribers different headings’ variations of the same post. Almost all the popular Email auto-responders offer this option. I personally use Aweber and it’s pretty simple.
- Test your headings directly in your blog, using a free WordPress plugin called “Title Experiments Free”. It lets you test different headings for both your pages and posts. Further, it tracks the results to help you decide what kind of titles are performing better for you.
9. Include SEO keywords
Well, SEO plays an important role in your site’s traffic, so this factor couldn’t be absent from the list.
Always perform keyword research to increase your chances of ranking in search engines. Use keywords that users are actively searching on Google. In the long run, this is going to benefit you a lot.
10. Craft Different Titles for Different Media
Why using the same titles across all channels if you can diversify them and achieve better results?
SMO (Social Media Optimization) often doesn’t match well with SEO. It’s better to give more engaging headings for your social media and keyword-rich headings for SEO purposes.
SEO Title: “5 Cheap Social Media Management Tools”
SMO Title: “Need Traffic? Check These 5 Cheap Tools to Drastically Improve Your Traffic”
The easiest way to do that is through Yoast SEO plugin. First, click Yoast’s “Social Media” icon at the end of your post. From there you can set a different title for Facebook and a different one for Twitter
11. Use Headline Patterns that Performed Well in the Past
No matter what sites you’re checking often, I’m sure you’ll have noticed that many of them use similar headlines’ patterns for their new posts/videos.
a. “Why Skipping Leg Day Can Seriously Harm Your Health”
b. “Why Skipping Abs Day Can Really Harm Your Health”
c. “Why Skipping Weight Lifting Can Really Harm Your Health”
Have you ever wondered why? Well, it’s because they get many clicks (more than using a new kind of headline).
In the case you’re writing/blogging for a long time, don’t be afraid to use the same patterns that performed well in the past
12. Test These Tips in Your Sub-headings
This trick not only will help you improve your headline-writing skill, but it will also encourage your audience to keep reading the post!
For example, instead of using the phrase “Summary” in the last paragraph of your post, try to write a more engaging sub-heading.
13. Avoid Click-baiting at All Costs
Have you ever clicked on a catchy title only to find that is very misleading?
I guess you felt scammed and wasted your time. Also, you put this site on your blacklist and it’s unlikely to read it again, no matter how promising the title is.
If you don’t want the same thing to happen to your site, avoid writing click-baiting titles. You may receive more clicks temporary, but you’ll harm your reputation a lot.
As a result, click-baiting can harm your future site’s performance and traffic. Always try to write compelling titles, but never promise something that you can’t deliver!
4 FREE Tools to Help You Write Better Headlines
- Advanced Marketing Institute’s Headline Analyzer: It evaluates your headlines using an Emotional Value Marketing score.
- TwerkYourBiz’s title generator: Enter your keywords and it will generate a wide variety of titles to choose from.
- Answer The Public: This tool is so valuable because it generates ideas (based on your keywords) according to what people are actively searching online. This way, you get a good idea for what content to create as well.
- Impacts BlogAbout’s headline generator: This tool will provide some title ideas based on your keyword. It’s mostly for helping you overcome the writer’s block.
- CoShedule Headline Analyzer
Here’s also an amazing infographic about writing better headlines:
Better Headlines = More Traffic
Now you have everything you need to practice and improve your Headline writing in order to drive more traffic to your blog!
(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links from the products I use. If you purchase anything after clicking these links I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you)
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