Writing is a skill that can be learned, but it takes practice and dedication.
Blogging is nothing more than writing on the Internet. More specifically the term “blogging” may be considered freestyle journalism. Blogs can be more lenient regarding grammar and syntax but posts often follow a similar content structure.
When coming up with new headlines try to see your ideas from a journalistic point of view. Envision your content as if part of a magazine or newspaper. It helps if your blog is current and up-to-date because this will drive more readers through your post content.
But the headline is what really grabs attention. Once you learn how to craft beautiful headlines from scratch your writing and content structure will improve dramatically.
Focus on the Topic
The headline of each post should behave as an introduction to the post content. This may seem obvious but it’s a really important concept to grasp.
People don’t know if they want to read what you’ve written until they know what it’s about.
But you don’t necessarily want to summarize the entire post in a headline. It’s important to leave some mystery or pose an interesting conundrum for the reader to ponder. The headline should contain a summary of the question or topic that you wish to resolve – but not a summary of the content.
Get to the root of your content by asking yourself what it’s all about. What do you hope to answer? Are you writing a long detailed guide, or perhaps a review of something? By focusing on the deeper topic you’ll be able to strip out keywords that need to be in the headline.
Remember that most people won’t skim the description of your article. Google and Bing search may provide a small description, but most people just read the title before deciding whether to click or not.
Your title should contain a healthy mix of riddling or prodding the reader, along with keywords that target search queries.
Search engines like Google consider post headlines to be an important part of ranking content. It’s a good idea to write headlines with keywords that someone may search in Google so these keywords might eventually be connected to your blog.
For example, the Google search “how to sell on ebay” pulls a lot of results. If your post headline was this generic it would be drowned out by all the other similar posts. You’d have a better chance of ranking in Google if you wrote a much more specific headline.
So you might instead try to compose a headline that would rank for “how to sell video games on ebay” or “how to package games for sale on ebay”.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with writing some generic posts. But when first building content for your blog it’s important that your posts get ranked in Google. This is how most new visitors will find your website aside from social networking techniques.
So when writing a somewhat generic post try to make the content long, detailed, and useful. When writing about more specific topics you’ll also want to write useful content. But it can be less detailed since you’re probably competing with fewer blogs.
Beyond a certain word count your content length becomes almost irrelevant. The post headline really does make or break traffic numbers in the long run.
Gather Ideas from Other Blogs
Even if you’re brand new to writing blog posts you’ve probably come across some interesting posts on the Internet. By scanning other blogs you’ll recognize which post titles catch your attention vs others that may leave you feeling noncommittal as a reader.
Study how other more popular blogs structure their headlines. Try searching in Google for topics related to your niche and see how many of the first page results are blogs.
You can learn a lot about organizing words based on the writing techniques of other blogs.
But more importantly you should analyze how certain headlines make you feel. Many times people will choose to read a post based on an emotional connection to the headline. They’re looking for answers or want to know more about the topic so it gets them excited and passionately curious.
Although you are a blogger it’s important to remember that you’re also a reader. You can still see blog posts from a reader’s point-of-view and gauge the headline accordingly.
Think about which headlines capture your attention, and why.
Write using a strategic methodology for building up tension or emotion. It’s very important to target keywords in your headline so that your posts rank in Google. But these keywords need to be arranged in a way so as to make people feel curious or seriously interested to read through your content.
It helps if you can study a wide range of different blogs to see which type of headlines capture your attention. There’s a lot to learn from websites like The New York Times where content is generally organized by professional journalists and editors. Yet there’s also lots of value to glean by studying smaller blogs related to your niche.
Most average readers don’t know what they like in a headline. You could put together a poll, but you’ll probably get a lot of mixed answers.
Instead of asking other readers, you’ll really want to really investigate this subject on your own. Study how successful blogs rearrange their words and devise fascinating post titles that capture your attention; then mimic their techniques.
Try to use as few words as possible without sacrificing quality. Keywords are the special ingredients that push your delectable blog posts to rank higher in Google searches.
High-ranking posts in Google are more noticeable to the average web surfer.
But Google has a limit to how many characters will be displayed in a title. At the moment Google’s title result lengths are limited to 66 characters. This may change in the future, but it’s a good idea to hover somewhere around this number.
Keep in mind you do not need to write headlines that fit 66 characters or less. If you need a lengthy title to express your idea then it’s smart to keep the title longer.
But the goal is to be pithy and concise with your headlines. Don’t force readers to skim a small paragraph just to understand the post topic.
If you’re nervous about Google rankings try using a tool like SEO Bin to check headline formatting. This tool allows you to enter a title which is then styled as if it were listed in a Google search. It’s great for bloggers who are primarily concerned with SEO as a traffic acquisition strategy.
Many writers like to use adjectives to spice up a post headline. This technique can be useful in moderation but it’s not always reliable. Take a look over this article on link bait which explains a little more about catchy headlines.
The best advice is to reduce your headlines down as small as possible without losing important keywords or phrases.
When brainstorming new ideas try to come up with a sample headline for each topic. Then once you’re ready to write the post you’ll have a little something to work with and you can either shrink or expand the headline accordingly.
Interested and curious people lead to consistent pageviews. Writing a curiosity-inducing headline may differ from blog-to-blog depending on the topic. But the general principles follow similar rules where you want to invoke a sense that your post contains vital information.
Someone who’s searching for a particular solution to a problem will most likely find your headline gravitating. If your post can solve a specific problem then it won’t require a whole lot of work to craft the perfect headline.
But it’s important that you incorporate words that make people feel drawn to your subject. This is especially true when you’re writing about a topic that’s already very popular in Google.
Try keywords like “tips & tricks” or “the secret to XXX”. This gives an impression that you have some occulted information that would benefit the reader.
You could also try putting together a list of important content labeled as such. For example you might try a format like “Top 20 Tools for XXX” and then list tools with a description of each one.
When you have somebody’s curiosity they really expect you to deliver. If your headline promises to explain the best equipment/accessories for a new billiards table then you really need to go all-out with an exceptional list of equipment. Visitors can quickly determine if a post is low-quality and won’t be afraid to leave after a few seconds.
The benefit of these post titles is that curiosity gets people interested in a subject they may not have even considered before. When you write a truly fascinating headline it will draw people into your site even if they were on a mission to find something else.
Try to consider which posts have made you interested in a subject just from the title.
Another fairly common technique is to actually pose a question in the headline. For example you may write something like “What Really Makes a Seductive Post Headline?”.
Readers would assume this article focuses on writing headlines, but more specifically it’s about the qualities of headlines that draw attention.
By asking a specific question you’re given free reign to riff on that topic and conclude the best possible answer(s). Remember that a headline is meant to explain what you’re writing about, but not exactly summarize the writing.
One other thing to note is that design plays an important role in piquing curiosity. When somebody clicks on your link from Google they will automatically judge your blog design right from the get-go.
If your site has a beautiful layout then it’ll keep people engaged much longer and they’ll be more willing to consider that your writing is higher quality.
Imply Persuasive Ideas
Another writing technique is the use of persuasion. This can build on top of curiosity by also getting people interested in a certain topic based on a general premise.
For example a very common headline used with new products would be “What You Need to Know About XXX”. You could fill in that headline to talk about graphics cards, planting apple trees, or battling Ebola. Everyone wants to know more – that’s often why we read blog posts in the first place. Learning is fun!
By writing such a promising headline without much detail you can persuade people to visit your blog to learn more. And like other methods, this technique works best if you actually have content to back it up. A post headline like the example above really needs to provide information that every person should know.
The use of persuasion can sometimes come off as conceited or all-knowing. This may or may not be a bad thing depending on how you view your blog.
It’s true that nobody knows everything. But it’s also true that a single blog post cannot contain every bit of information on a single subject. Who would stick around to read that much?
Instead you should try to focus on the crux of an issue or specific subject. Make sure that you’re writing about an important idea that will be useful to your target audience. It’s easy to get carried away writing headlines for Google so remember that you want to find a balance writing headlines that also pertain to readers, too.
Don’t be afraid of doing some research beforehand. This can help you organize links and resources to place into the article. You can also incorporate facts, statistics, quotes, and other research material which backs up your premise.
Readers enjoy finding information online that has a factual basis. This could be information found through scientific study or personal experience.
It all depends on the subject and how your readerbase is most interested to learn.
Personal posts can actually be very interesting if you have some results to share. Think about a post like “My Experience with XXX”, or “30 Days of Doing YYY”. Many people would call these posts case studies where the author is doing a study on a topic and reporting his/her results.
Case studies are interesting because they can have just as much validity as a scientific study. These posts also get readers interested to try their own case studies. The world can become your own laboratory for experiments if you know where to look.
Persuasion arises from inciting curiosity & demonstrating your knowledge on a real subject. Although you may not be an expert, so just focus on what you do know.
The old adage “write what you know” can also be applied directly to blogging.
Your headlines & post content will be much more persuasive once you have the experience to back up your writing.
Expand on Detailed Content
If you have a considerable amount of knowledge on a precise topic then it may be worth writing a larger guide. These posts might be called how-to guides. ultimate guides, or just detailed articles.
Headlines with these keywords tend to grab attention because readers assume the posts will be full of content. A post named “Ultimate Guide to Slow Cooking” will definitely pull lots of attention if it really is an ultimate guide. If you have the content to back it up, writing an ultimate guide can prove to be one of the best methods for generating consistent long-term traffic.
Detailed content doesn’t always need to include guides or how-tos. Instead you might put together a gallery of something like photos, resources, or links. Galleries are very popular because readers are always interested in various resources.
Numbered posts have risen to popularity among blog writers, but not everyone likes this style. The format generally follows something like “70 Best Websites to Learn Gardening” and your post would list out the 70 different websites.
As you can tell, a post like this would require a lot of work. You’ll need to research and put together links for everything in your list. Plus you’ll want to format the content and photos into a tempting layout.
But if you’re able to offer an excessive number of resources the headline alone will most certainly draw attention.
Other unique headline styles fall under different types of content. Think about giveaways, interviews, or quick tips that may be written in a unique typographic style. Hosting a giveaway contest with software or getting an interview with someone important can always lead to higher traffic numbers.
When you’re writing unique or detailed content be sure to explain that in your headline. If a particular post will be structured like an ultimate guide or interview then readers want to know this ahead of time.
Headlines should most definitely explain the subject which is being written about. But it’s always a good idea to include extra details for the more unique posts to attract clicks from new readers.
The Art of Headline Composition
Writing is a form of art. It is perhaps one of the toughest arts to learn and almost impossible to master. Great writing is different in each culture for different reasons. Nobody is born with interstellar writing talent because it takes practice to refine.
When first getting started on your blog don’t feel discouraged if headline composition is difficult. In fact you should expect adversity on your first couple dozen articles.
Writing gets easier with practice but it also requires the right kind of practice. By studying examples from other blogs and following their strategies you’ll pick up the best techniques for writing your own unique headlines.
And remember that you are not just a writer but also a reader. Most people don’t even start writing until they’re capable of reading. Writing is the next step and blogging is perhaps the very first step on a long, arduous road to self-publishing.
Over time you’ll learn how to create article ideas with direct purpose. From that frame of reference it’ll be much easier to craft headlines that naturally entice and resonate with people.