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Headings to attract more readers

Headings (or titles) to blog posts and other online articles are important.

A good heading will entice people to read the post which means they will click on a link to it as well. So write a good heading not just within your blog but in the title you use for links to your blog post.

Including relevant subject words in a heading has two advantages for bringing in more readers.

Anybody looking for information on a specific topic will be attracted by seeing those words in the heading. It will also stop uninterested people clicking through to your post (and this is a good thing if you are trying to reduce your bounce rate and not waste time and bandwidth on people who are not your potential customers anyway).

Including subject words also helps search engines summarise your blog post and determine its importance and relevance for any specific search term.

Here are a few examples to show how a subject word can help:

What I’m reading vs My top business books

Preparing dinner vs Planning nutritious meals

My hobby vs Bike riding for fun

Which of these headings do you think will show up in search engine searches for business books, healthy cooking and bike riding?

Writing enticing headings

The headings you use in blog posts, tweets, articles, ads, media releases and the like are a critical aspect of your ongoing success. This also includes sub-headings, titles of tables/images and other stand-out text.

Busy people will only read on if the heading promises something they value right now.

People surfing the internet will only read more if your heading catches their attention, and holds it.

So it is worth putting some effort into making your headings enticing so you maximise the number of people reading whatever your heading leads to. Here are some tips on making your headings more effective:

  • where feasible, use ‘you’ to personalise and catch attention. It also helps you to remember to make your message aimed at your audience
  • apply ample alliteration 🙂 Repeating a letter is attention grabbing which gives your headings more impact.
  • use questions – it is like building some suspense as people are interested in learning the answer
  • be interesting or unusual, possibly even a little controversial, within the bounds of the message and brand you are portraying. This can be as simple as choosing a less common word such as Clydesdale instead of horse or scoop instead of update, or taking a different approach to a common subject (eg. ‘finding quirky blog content ideas’)
  • include a number to introduce a list, such as 5 tips to support email marketing
  • make an offer they can’t refuse like “the secret of getting twitter followers” or “meaningful posts people love to read
  • keep it short – two-part and too long headings are not as visually appealing and don’t belong in any form of marketing, especially not digital media where short works best (consider the 140 character limit on Twitter!)

Can you remember any effective headings? Do you know why it was effective?