Writing effective headlines for online content

Firms should never overlook the importance of a good headline.

A good headline can ensure that the effort spent writing an article does not go to waste. It can also help search engines pick up a firm’s content in the weeks and months following the article being published.

Good headlines make more people want to click an online item whenever they see it, so spending the time thinking up the right headline can make a world of difference to the success of your firm’s articles.

Here are a few things to consider when writing the next headline for your firm’s blog or website:

  • Headlines should be descriptive

Online headlines need to be descriptive. Non-descriptive headlines don’t perform very well when they are read out of context, and they also don’t work very well for SEO purposes. In short, your headlines need to tell readers what they can expect from the article.

  • Avoid clickbait headlines

Clickbait headlines typically aim to provide just enough information to make a reader curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content. Often, clickbait headlines do not deliver on their promises.

Headlines need to be enticing, but don’t overdo it. Headlines that promise something but only bring in traffic are disappointing, and will not work as a long-term strategy.

  • Headlines have to work on their own

When writing an article, it can be easy to think of simply placing a headline at the top of the article and forgetting that that same headline is often seen out of the article’s context. Headlines are usually the only part of an article that is seen in tweets, news feeds, newsletters and search results pages.

Since headlines often have to compete for attention with other online, they need to be able to work alone and without the support of the article content.

  • Add keywords to your headlines

Adding keywords to your headlines can help with the article’s search engine ranking. Keywords can also catch the attention of a firm’s target audience on social sites, in newsletters or in search results.

  • Consider headline length

Online environments put limits on the length of headlines in various ways. Search engines like Google will only show the first 55-60 characters of a page title, so bear this in mind when creating headlines. Social media posts also have character limits and shorter headlines are more likely to be viewed in full.

It is also much easier to read and digest a shorter headline quickly. Making a heading too long and people are less likely to read it.

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