The title is the first thing that any user notices in the article. But do you write catchy titles for articles?
How to write headlines that gives the maximum clickthrough rate should be the first step in SEO but I don’t know why it is often neglected.
A good title or headline is one that increases CTR on google search results and helps you to drive traffic to your blog.
As per David Ogilvy (also known as ‘Father of Advertising’):
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.
David Ogilvy clearly indicated that the readers love headlines and that’s the reason that they read the titles 5 times more as compared to the body of article. He further went ahead saying that the article plays only 20% of whole worth. The major credit goes to title only.
It is obvious from David’s statement that if you are not optimizing your articles headlines then you cannot even get passing marks in your writing-style. No one can pass any examination with 20% marks.
Let me ask you a question:
Suppose you have your exam after few hours and the syllabus contains 2 chapters. As per syllabus, 20% questions in the exam will come from chapter A and 80% will come from chapter B. If revising both chapters will take equal time and you are equally prepared for both chapters then which one you will revise first?
If I would be at your place then I will divert my whole attention towards revising chapter B because it will have the major number of questions.
The same holds while writing an article. David Ogilvy had already confirmed that title is the most important asset of any post. So, your major focus should be on writing the tempting headlines for your posts.
Inspite of this, more than 90% of content writers do not pay attention towards the headlines and they do not write catchy titles for articles. I do not understand why they fail to do so or if they don’t know that how to write good titles for articles.
As per the testing by Peter Koechley, a good headline can give 500% boost in CTR. He tested various articles and what he saw was amazing. A good title can increase your ROI by 20%, 100% and even more than 500%. Isn’t that amazing number?
Peter Koechley used to write the headlines for posts at ‘The Onion’, which is a news writing website that publishes on humor and satire.
Obviously, headlines play a major role in humor niche but don’t think that it does not keep importance in other niches. A stunning headline always performs better than a non-optimized and normal one.
Let me take you to some tips on how to write good headlines for blogs so that your blog can generate traffic. Obviously, you have to write good content as well, so that visitors after landing on your blog do not bounce back and you may not end in high bounce rate.
How To Write Headlines
Below are the tricks that you should follow to learn to how to write good titles for articles.
1. Titles With Numbers (Mathematical Numeric) Perform Well
• Numeric plays an important role for diverting the reader’s attention on your headline. Good titles always prefer numeric (mathematical digits) in them. As per a study on headlines, the numbered headlines dominated all other headline-styles with 36% share and its second-counterpart ‘Reader Addressing’ title stood at 21%. You can see that the titles with numbers won by a huge margin of 15%.
• Another interesting note is that girls love numbers more than boys. In the same research, it was seen that the ladies preferred titles with numbers more than gents. When it comes to headlines preferences, ladies were at 39% while gents were at 32%.
So, next time when you propose your girl-friend then make sure to propose her in mathematical digits. She will more likely be impressed and will fall in love with you 🙂
Signalvnoise performed a test on its headlines while promoting its highrise account. And it saw that the numbers played a magical role.
The click through rate increased by 30% when they added digits in the headlines. Below are the three campaigns that they ran for the test.
• Banner with no number in the title.
• Banner with number in headline but not in sub-headline (they got 27% more signups by using this banner).
• Banner with number in headline and sub-headline (they generated 30% more conversions and signups with this banner).
2. Use Numeric (Digits) in start of headline
We have seen that when it comes to how to write headlines then digits are leading the market. And to get more of it, use the numeric or digits at proper places. This will further increase your click through rate. Continue reading below to know that how to write good titles with numbers.
Instead of using the digits at end of title, use it at the beginning.
For example: ’10 steps to bake the food’ will perform better than ‘Bake the food with these 10 steps’.
See below image from Buzzfeed. I can see that the numbered headlines make most on their homepage and all have digits at start of the title.
3. Do not change digits to words
I have seen many bloggers who change the digits to English words and then post the headlines. Do not ever do it. Always prefer the digits or numeric over words.
• ’10 steps for…’ will always work well instead of writing ‘Ten steps for…’.
4. Use Controversial Content
Controversies always benefit but make sure you are not sued by any legal firm. So use this trick at your own risk and make sure what you are writing. Do not write any illegal thing.
Consider below examples:
• Why iPhone 10 is crap?
• Is Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra marriage worth?
5. Say No to Long Headlines
Do not write lengthier headlines as it does not fit even in Google index. See below image. We are not able to see whole title, Google has trimmed it. It decreases the CTR. A good title written gets the most uniform number of hits or traffic.
6. Number of Words in Headline
Titles with number of words as 8 perform better than any other title. And why people love the headlines having 8 words is not clear. I can assume that this is something related to medical science. Might be that human brain tends to see a finite number of words in the heading and 8 might fit best into that criterion. This is just my assumption and nobody knows the real answer.
To take on my point, let me take you to the research of George A. Miller that he did in 1956 on Magical number 7 – Plus Minus Two. He concluded that at a particular amount of time, any human brain can hold on average 7 +- 2 objects.
As per Nielson Norman Group, human eye pays more attention towards the initial 2 words in a headline. And to be more precise, first 11 characters keep the utmost value. So while creating catchy titles for articles, make sure the first 11 characters contain your more hard-work.
Continue reading below to learn to how to write headlines.
7. Go with Superlative Titles
When it comes to superlatives in headlines, the superlatives also keep a big role in writing catchy titles for articles.
Consider below 5 different headlines that were tested for an article:
• The 27 Ways to Train a Dog [number of superlatives – 0]
• The 27 Best Ways to Train a Dog [number of superlatives – 1 (best)]
• The 27 Best Ways Ever to Train a Dog [number of superlatives – 2 (best, ever)]
• The 27 Best Ways Ever to Train a Perfect Dog [number of superlatives – 3 (best, ever, perfect)]
• The 27 Best and Smartest Ways Ever to Train a Perfect Dog [number of superlatives – 4 (best, smartest, ever, perfect)]
It was seen that the readers showed their affection on the titles having 0 or 1 superlative. Such headlines got maximum click, with combined CTR of 0 and 1 superlatives stood at 51%. Titles with 1 superlative got 29% clicks while the titles with no superlative generated 22% clicks. The surprising thing was that 2 or 3 words as superlatives yielded the least number of CTR; with 3 words as superlatives got the least number of 9% clicks only.
Did you ever wonder that there can be so much caveat when it comes to how to write headlines to drive maximum traffic?
8. Prefer Negative Words to Write Catchy Titles for Articles
My point is against all those content-writers who think that positive words are always superior to their negative counterparts. World is changing and so, the mentality and the interest of your readers. It is your duty to abide by your readers interest.
It will be utter surprise to you but the negative words work much better than the positive ones. To understand the negative and positive words, see below examples:
Negative Words: Without, Bad, Worse, Hell, Worst, Stop, Sad
Positive Words: Best, Always, Heaven, Most, Start, Happy
You can see that the negative superlatives are generating 30% more CTR and traffic than the positive ones.
Consider below 2 blog title examples:
• 7 worse place to never visit
• 7 best places to visit
Which headline will work according to you?
It is the first one that will work far better than the second one. So, always focus on writing catchy titles for the articles.
9. Use Hate Words
Another unexpected thing that the research pointed out that now-a-days, evilness works well than the sageness. If you are using the hate words then you are likely going to outrank the headlines using sage words. Let me tell you about such words.
Hate Words: Kill, Destroy, Dead, Blood, Fear, Dark, Bleeding, Haunted, Hate, Ghost, Demon, Evil
Sage Words: Love, Innocent, Like, Sage, Affection
I hope you understand that why haunted movies sell like anything and why the audience to watch haunted and thriller movies is increasing?
Check below blog title examples:
• Google shuts down GPlus
• Google kills GPlus
Now as per you, which one is stunning title? Is it the second one? Yes, the second one is more appealing and it will perform better in search results.
To support my theory, let me take you to some bloody examples. Notice that I have also used the hate word bloody here :).
The headline with subject ‘Oracle is bleeding at the hands of DataBase rivals’ was one of the most shared post on TechCrunch.
‘Big data is dead. What’s next?’ was the most shared article on VentureBeat for Data-Cloud section.
I am not saying that you spread hatred but I am just pointing out that what works and how to write headlines that performs well.
10. Quick Learning Phrases Work Well in Headlines
The quick learning words also create catchy titles for articles and you can write a good title using these quick learning phrases. Some of these phrases are:
• Introduction to
• Learn in 10 minutes
• The beginner’s guide to
• Do It Yourself (DIY)
You can refer below blog title examples to see what I am trying to say:
• How to learn the art of cooking?
• Learn in 10 minutes the art of cooking.
The second title is going to do well and will help you to increase the overall CTR.
11. Use Keywords
I am mentioning killer ways to make your headings appealing to users. But it does not mean that you remove your content keywords from it. Infact, do not ever forget to use the keywords related to your content in the headings. Without keywords, you are not going to rank in google search; no matter how compelling titles you write. So including keyword is must.
The bottom-line is that you should write catchy titles for articles but not at the cost of removing keywords.
12. Use Afraid-of words in Titles
When I mean afraid-of words, I mean to say that use such words in your title that compel the readers to click them and land on your website.
• 11 mistakes you should avoid in blogging
• 20 problems that you are creating in your married life
See above 2 sentences. Aren’t they compelling enough for users to click them? No blogger wants to create mistakes and every unhappy married man/woman wants to avoid problems in his/her married life.
Using such compelling titles give you good click through rate and traffic.
13. Review Words
A person searching for reviews for any product will love to read reviews only. Such articles headings should be molded accordingly, keeping in mind that they are related to reviews.
• Review of Grammarly
• Review of WordPress
14. Competition Posts
Another example of a review post can be comparing different products with each other and stating the best out of them.
• WpForms vs WuFoo – Which is best?
• Android vs iOs mobiles – Which one you should go with?
I hope you are enjoying learning on how to write headlines for your articles.
15. Clickbait Titles
Have you seen Clickbait Titles examples on some news websites? Such types of titles are gaining popularity due to the fact that they induce curiosity in human mind and as such, they divert much of users to your blog.
• This guy cleaned his car – What happened next could blow you away?
• The tiger went in forest – But you know what happened then?
• I went inside bedroom – You cannot imagine what went wrong then.
Clilckbait Headlines does not mean that you should always ask questions and draft the interrogative sentences. See my third example above. I have not asked the question but have used title in such a way that it will create curiosity in the brain of readers who are going to read it.
So If your content allows you to write the clickbait headlines then never hesitate trying them.
16. Show Experience in Titles
Try to show to your audience that you are well versed with your niche and you have thorough knowledge on your content. Show them that you have learned this slowly and you have many years’ experience on your topic. And what you are writing in the article is the result of that experience only.
• What I learnt after blogging for 10 years?
• Parenting tips that I learnt from Kindergarten.
17. Use the word Science in Headings
We are living in a scientific era and most of us, believe in science. Atleast the online educated people believe the powers of science and what it has given to mankind. And when you are writing something based on science theory then most likely people will love those articles.
And if you are including the magic word Science in your headings then it becomes catchy titles for articles and visitors love to visit them.
• When man learns dancing – Based on Science
• Why kids are naughty – Backed by Science
My personal recommendation is that if you are taking the help of word Science then include some scientific theories also in the article. Or, at one point people will assume that you are just taking advantage of the science word and are trying to fool them. If such a feeling gets induced in the readers of your blog then this is not a good sign for you or your blog.
18. Ride on Big Shoulders
Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Apple are some of the big names in industry. You cannot become any of them in overnight but atleast; you can ride on their shoulders. Look at below headlines:
• How to create Social Media channel app?
• Why Google’s Orkut failed and How you should create Social Media Channel app?
In the above example, I want to write a tutorial that how anyone can code social media app. The first one is simple headline but the second one looks more appealing as I am riding on Google’s shoulders. In order to make my title stand out in the crowd, I have just mentioned Google’s failure and I am taking help of brand name Google.
Let us demonstrate another example:
• Why you should not allow mobile to your children?
• Why Steve Jobs never let his children use iPhone?
You can check above both headlines. Can you imagine that the content of both the titles is going to be same? But I have just modified the title and here, I am riding on shoulders of Steve Jobs.
The point here is that when people see big names and brands in your titles, the chances of getting your headings clicked increases three-fourth. I hope you got the idea that how to write headlines.
19. Why X People do X things Headlines?
Writing headlines in a way that why some peoples do those things can create a stunning impact on your audience and you can get good amount of CTR through them.
• Why Bill Gates dropped out of college?
• What successful people do on weekends?
With first example, you can write an article on entrepreneurship. You can utilize the second heading to write any entertainment tips which can be performed on week-ends. You can also blog about any game or sports that can be played and enjoyed or you can write whatever you want. The point here is that such headlines appease the visitors.
20. Titles like Why we don’t do?
Headlines written with the intent that why we don’t do such things can prove very beneficial in driving lots of traffic to your blog.
• Why we don’t watch movies at home?
• Why we don’t use mobile phone while driving?
• Whey I have not installed apps on my smartphone?
• Why I hate Facebook?
21. Ask Questions
The headings written with questions in mind yield more click through rate and are helpful in driving the traffic to your blog. Start headlines with these words and you can compare the difference in traffic.
22. Racing Headlines
Another style to how to write headlines is by using racing words in them. Consider below sentences:
• Learn the quickest way to become rich.
• Fastest way to clean the house.
• How to grow up quickly?
In the above titles, quickest, fastest, quickly are the racing words that we have embedded in order to gain visitors attraction. Use them wisely in some of the titles and see the magic in CTR.
23. Title Capitalization Rules
When it comes to have the capital case characters or words in the headline, there are also certain rules that you should follow while writing catchy titles for articles. Research by conductor was carried out to test that how readers react to when inducing the capital characters in the titles.
Consider the below different titles and scenarios:
• 4 ways to cook the cabbage (lowercase)
• 4 Ways to Cook the Cabbage (Title case)
• 4 WAYS TO COOK THE CABBAGE (Capital Case)
• No Preference
It was seen that most of the readers preferred the title case. The title case got overwhelming response with 64% love from readers. The surprise was that 21% of readers liked the capital case.
I will never recommend anyone to start writing their headlines in capitals. I have seen many content writers who will prefer lowercase than uppercase while drafting the headlines.
But we can see that the study proved them wrong. The uppercase was opted more than the lowercase and the difference was also big; while the uppercase stood at 21%, lowercase was just at 7%.
24. Write Clear Purposeful Headlines
Do not ever try to confuse your readers by showing the irrelevant and non-clear headings. If you are confusing your readers then do not expect that they will land on your pages.
Consider below survey in which below five different titles were tested:
• Ways to Make Drinking Tea More Delightful (Normal)
• What are Ways to Make Drinking Tea More Delightful? (Question)
• How to Make Drinking Tea More Delightful (How to)
• 30 Ways To Make Drinking Tea More Delightful (Number)
• Ways You Need to Make Drinking Tea More Delightful (Reader-Addressing)
It was concluded that the numbered headlines worked well and to everyone’s surprise, the questions failed here. If you notice in my above sub-headings, I have asked you to ask questions in your headlines. But here the question did not work.
So, the main thing is that what type of audience you are targeting and based on that, you should see what works for you.
25. Show Bigger Benefits to Readers
When you present big benefit to users first then you likely get more clicks as compared to when the small benefits were prefixed with big benefits. The reason for this revolves around science and psychology.
The human brain comprehends the big benefit first and it then assigns a bigger numerical number to the remaining sequence. Due to this, the count-down from 10-1 yields similar effect than the countdown from 1-10.
Hans Villarica once revealed that the human brain is vastly influenced by numbers.
Have you ever wondered that why mobile companies claim the battery standby time to be as 1200 minutes and not 20 hours? And why the customer care executives of banks tend to tell you the number of EMIs in months rather than years?
Because an end-user’s human mind thinks that it is easy to pay and manage EMI of 120 months rather than managing 10 years. The reason is being explained by Hans Villarica in the article above.
You will see that this psychological reason is being adapted in every industry. See below image, where T-Mobile has mentioned as 80-point certification process and 90-day warranty period.
I have seen the milk packets and other eatable grocery items where it is clearly mentioned something as Best before 45 days to consume. The reason is simple. 90 days, 180 days, 45-days tend to be more impressive on human brain than 3 months, half-a-year, one and a half months etc.
• Blog Title ‘100 apples of $1 each’ will perform better than ‘$1 each for 100 apples’.
Considering the fact above, amazon displayed the below results:
As per recent Google SEO algorithm changes, bloggers are shifting towards writing the detailed lengthy articles. So make sure that if you are writing an article with points then try to include as many points/bullets as you can, so that you can draft the headline accordingly.
Out of below 2 headlines, the first one will be more appealing to users:
• 200 ways to become successful.
• 10 ways to become successful.
26. Use Title Generators
Thanks to technology that we have some good headline-generators for us that solves our purpose of writing catchy titles for our posts. I recommend SEMRush Title Generator to pick handful of headlines for your next post. The tool is free and you will fall in love with it, once you start using it.
I have mentioned the various ways by which you can write catchy titles for articles. I hope that now you very well know to how to write headlines. Let me know any other idea that you have.