How To: Create an Amazing Headline For Your Blog Post
By: Taylor Davies

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shutterstock_120021394As independent bloggers, it can feel like we’re constantly straddling that line between authenticity and strategy. We want our blogs to be unique and personal, but we also want to do our best to get that content in front of as many eyes as we can.

On the second day of IFBcon I was chatting with a blogger about how hard it is to pinpoint how much “tactical effort” is too much for your readers. How can we draw them in and still sound like ourselves?

This is what makes crafting post headlines frustrating and challenging — as well as extremely rewarding. I have come to see it as a puzzle that needs solving, like a game. Somehow it has to be short, entertaining, enticing, unique and sharable – all at once!? Bring it on!

6 Elements of an amazing blog post headline:

 

Keywords: Oh no, not these again! Yes, again! Keywords are so amazing and I will never stop talking about how valuable they can be. Re-visit this post about using keywords to boost traffic, if you must. If you create a post around keywords people are using to find your blog in search engines, include those words or part of that phrase in your headline. (The crawlers put more value on the words in titles and headings.) For example, variations on the phrase “Bean Boots for women” come up frequently in my keywords, so I created a new post titled, “It’s Bean Boot Season Again.” The traffic to this post was nearly double my usual number of pageviews.

Actions & tips: Humans are selfish by nature, and self-serving and egocentric. Use this to your advantage. Address the “you” of your audience. What can you provide for them? Do you have something for them to do? Advice they need? “How to” do this. “Ways you can” style that. Have you created a guide to something? Become an indispensable resource for your readers.

Powerful adjectives: If you can back it up in your content, lure readers with “The best” “The only” or “The Ultimate” something. You don’t want to be misleading, but if you’ve found something you’re genuinely thrilled about, let your readers know. Whether it’s the perfect pair of camo jeans, the most moisturizing eye cream ever, or an essential compilation of Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits – give authority to your opinions.

Puns, cliches, play on words: Here’s where it’s fun to get away from “strategic” headline tips and get creative. I love a good play on words, as well as riffing on popular movie titles, song lyrics or well-known phrases. (Remember that post “Legally Blog” from a while back?)

Use a colon: Among the IFB team, I’ve been known to create content ideas solely around a headline I dreamed up because it sounded good. I would say more than half the time, that headline involves using a colon to separate the main idea and a brief explanation of it. You can tell we use this technique in a lot of our posts. From “Blogger True Story: My Blog Helped Me Get My Dream Job” to “Links a la Mode: The IFB Weekly Round Up,” this method can be for entertainment, information or organization.

Numbers: We shouldn’t have to tell you the power of numbers – it’s written all over the Internet. Look at Buzzfeed’s almost exclusive “listicle” content technique. Visit any site, from RealSimple online to Mashable to Refinery 29 and you’ll see numbers in many headlines. People like to quantify things, people love lists, and people love examples. For these reasons, using numbers in your headlines is a proven success strategy.

 

Share your best tips for amazing blog headlines below. What titles have been most successful for you?

 

For more: How to Write a Seductive Headline: 5 Tips Worth Trying; IFB TV Episode 1: Crafting Great Blog Post Titles 

Comments

  1. Avatar of Kelsey Elisabeth Benedict

    What a perfect topic!

    Recently I’ve been having a tough time with my headlines – this is a great refresher and reminder to have fun with it & how to make the best headline I can!

  2. Very helpful article, as usual! Thanks so much for the great tips, Taylor!

    XOXO

    http://www.foxyoxiesupernova.blogspot.com

  3. Taryn says:

    This is great! Being new to the blog world I am trying to learn something new everyday and not get too overwhelmed! This is very helpful, Thank you!
    http://www.sugarrimmed.com

  4. Rachel says:

    I get a little OCD when my blog headings don’t have colons in them, to be honest!

  5. Avatar of Allison
    Allison says:

    I always like adding in a little humor when the content lends itself to it. For example, this post is probably one of my favorite headlines yet!
    http://asimplestatement.com/2013/02/07/snow-shovels-so-hot-right-now/

  6. this is great advice, especially for starting bloggers like myself!

    http://iamturquoise.wordpress.com

  7. Avatar of TheAsiaMonique

    Nice. Almost as if it were a press pitch.

  8. tasha says:

    Very helpful. I have been having issues with how to do titles for the post. I know all the tips are very important especially keywords. Thanks

  9. Sophie Mae says:

    Hi Taylor,

    Knowing that numbers in posts are important, do you think that actually spelling out the number “Five” Ways To . . . or just saying “5″ Ways to . . . is the better way to go? What does Google prefer or does it not make much difference?

  10. Avatar of Jeannie
    Jeannie says:

    Very interesting.. i agree, i am simply more drawn to headlines that have numbers or how to

    http://www.leftinpink.blogspot.ca

  11. I’m usually having trouble with shortening my headlines, so the colon tip is one I should take seriously into consideration.

    As for the “ultimate-best-awesome” “something”… it’s sort of hypey, and we’re a bit tired of seeing so much “awesomeness” on the web, but… funny thing… it still works! ;)

  12. Leonyce says:

    This is very helpful. I have been working on coming up with catchy headlines. I will use these tips in the future.

    http://www.fiercelifestyle.com

What do you think?