Headlines may be the most important words on your website.
No matter how great the content of a web page or blog post, if your headline doesn’t grab people’s attention, you’ll lose them.
Promise a benefit
“A compelling headline must promise some kind of benefit or reward for the reader, in trade for the valuable time it takes to read more,” says Copyblogger’s Brian Clark.
Read more from Brian at How to write headlines that work.
Researchers from Marketing Experiments have a similar view: “All marketing messages must be centered primarily on the interests of the customer. Therefore, when it comes to crafting headlines, emphasize what the visitor gets rather than what they must do.”
Plus “the goal of a headline is similar to the goal of the opening scene of a movie — to arrest the visitor’s attention and get them into the first paragraph” so “place the value at the front of the headline”.
Details on the Marketing Experiments research is here.
Write for search engines as well as humans
Tips for writing headlines that appeal to search engines are at How to write web headlines that catch search engine spiders.
Writer Shawn Smith says make headlines clear, concise and short, and have them include keywords and phrases relevant to the article and what people are likely to search for.