How to keep your blog alive: The art of crafting smart headlines

You have this idea in your head that’s been marinating for some time.

You finally sit down, ready to write the content that will change your business.

You’re on fire!

Your pulse is racing and your fingers are flying over the keyboard like ballerinas lightly dancing across the stage.

You edit, reedit, bite your nails, edit again, look it over, finished.

It’s perfect!

There’s just one more thing you need to put in.

The headline.

You make it as descriptive and generic as possible and stuff it full of keywords. After all, that’s what Google is after, right?

You hit publish, share on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and whatever else and go to bed.

You get up next morning expecting the visitor count, retweets, comments and feedback to be through the roof.

You open up your post to check for comments.

Nothing.

Twitter mentions?

Nada.

Facebook Likes?

Nope.

Google Analytics?

Flatlined.

Mails?

The only change is in the spam folder.

There should have been at least some response, right?

 

It’s all in the headline

The quality of your headline heavily impacts the traffic it will generate.

As Copyblogger’s Brian Clark talks about in his post about how to write headlines that work, a good headline is one that creates attention and compels those who read it to also read the rest of the post.

We are living in a society overloaded with information, where we are constantly bombarded by all kinds of noise. Text, images and sounds come at us from everywhere, leading our self defense mechanisms to shut out most of it.

That’s one of the biggest challenges for anyone who wants people to pay attention – cutting through the noise, which is just what a great headline will do for you.

 

How to write a great headline

First of all, do some keyword research.

Why?

For three reasons.

1. It gives you an idea of the words people actually use. Especially if you’re not a native speaker, this provides valuable information.

2. It lets you know if what you’re on about is something people care about. If there are a lot of monthly searches for something related to what you’re thinking about writing, it means it is relevant.

3. Knowing exactly what people are searching for, and constructing your headlines based on that, will boost the traffic to your site as the search engines will pick it up. In theory. Keep in mind the competition.

In any case, remember to write primarily for people, not for search engines.

 

Words matter

Some words are more powerful than others and are great at stimulating attention and arousing curiosity and in turn driving traffic.

Jon Morrow over at Copyblogger wrote an excellent post about how to make headlines work by implementing power words. Check it out.

 

Practice makes perfect

Some people were born with the ability to formulate exactly what they want in a way that instantly grabs attention and draws people in.

For the rest of us, practice is the only way we improve.

But if you want a kick start, check out this cheat sheet to writing great headlines.

Share and Enjoy

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