11 Tips For Writing Viral Blog Post Headlines

50+ Awesome Headlines to Increase Blog Post Engagement

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Headlines: They are the first thing that any visitor reads before they read anything else on your website. A good headline can either engage your visitors or turn them off so much that they decide to leave your website.
That's why so much attention is paid to writing great headlines and in this article you'll learn how to create the perfect headlines ... and more ๐Ÿ™‚

This article is inspired by:

Today you will learn:

  • Why your blog post headline is more important than your post itself
  • What the headline should (and shouldn’t) contain
  • How to write headlines which people want to click
  • How to get great ideas for writing headlines

In the accompanying cheat sheet:

  • 9 brain hacks that drive people to click the headline
  • 100+ power words for maximum impact
  • Select the best headline every time - using science, not guesswork
  • How to test your headlines to maximize their effectiveness

Download the Headline Cheat Sheet

The Importance of Headlines

According to CopyBlogger out of 10 people, 8 will read your headline while only 2 will read your blog post and you should reserve about 1/2 the time it takes to create your content, to write the headline.

UpWorthy, which gets tens of thousands of hits every month, has made writing amazing headlines the #1 priority for their writers because they know that a great headline can make the difference between 20k views and 1 million views! (ya, on a single piece of content). Woah!

Headlines aren’t supposed to be clever

I could have titled this post “Make Headlines with this Article” and it would have been a clever headline which would have gotten praise from literature folks. But it won’t have gotten clicks to this post.

The point of headlines is not to be smart, the point is to intrigue the visitor just enough for them to click and read the article.

Never give away the conclusion in the title.

"Do you want fine writing? Do you want masterpieces? Or do you want to see the goddamned sales curve start moving up?"

Rosser Reeves

How to Maximize the Effectiveness of Headlines

It only takes 2.6 seconds for a visitor to read your headline and decide if they want to spend the time to read the rest of your content.

Title Case Your Headline

Title case is easier to read which means that the visitor will read your headlines quickly and decide to engage with your content. The more time they spend looking at headlines before clicking, the less likely they are to engage with your content. Minimize the time they spend deciding.

Use only one word in full caps (if you must)

FULL CAPS words or phrases are meant to catch attention, but you can’t create your entire headline in full caps. Doing this will take the focus away from the power words you’ll want to make full caps and it makes the headline harder to read.

You should also be very careful about using exclamation marks in your headline. It can make your headline look like a sales message instead of a benefit statement.

Example: How ACME Inc. Raised <ridiculous amount> from XYZ Investment Firm!

Write Benefit Statements

Let’s face it, nobody cares if you make money online or not. The only thing your visitors care about is what they will gain from engaging with your blog. So use this fact to your advantage.

Want More Clicks -> Don’t Write Headlines! Write Benefit Statements That Tell Your Blog Visitor - "What’s In It For Them"

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And don’t worry about how to create the perfect benefit statement. There are 50+ of them in the downloadable cheat sheet below.

Don’t promise the world

I could have named this guide “The best guide for creating blog posts” and included a ton of information about everything you need to create awesome blog posts of which headlines are just a small part.

Take a guess: Based on that headline, how many people would have read the article?

The point is to be specific. Aim to solve one problem and do it quick.

You are never going to appeal to anyone by solving all their problems in one go. Besides, it’s difficult to trust people on the internet when they claim to have a solution to everything.

Claim to solve one issue and deliver on that promise. Do this enough times and your visitors will come back to you for all their queries.

Write Shorter Headlines

Shorter headlines take less time to read and sound more effective. Using less words to convey the message always makes it sound more powerful.

According to Buffer blog, the ideal headline length is 6 words. Most people only read the first 3 words and last 3 words and skip the middle.

However, the important thing to remember about short headlines is that they must still perform their primary job and entice the visitor to click. To do that, the full reason for what benefit someone will gain from clicking it must be fully conveyed.

So if you need to make your headlines longer, do it. But test that headline against a shorter one too and see which one works.

Free Download: Headline Cheat Sheet

Include a number

Headlines like “31 ways to BOOST your Productivity While Creating Content” work better than “How to BOOST your Productivity While Creating Content”.

Ask yourself, if you were presented with these 2 headlines, which one would you click?

Numbers allow the visitor to get an idea of the effectiveness of what they will learn before they decide to invest their time learning it. Also they allow you to make a point much more effectively than with just words. Here’s an example:

“Why 93% People will NEVER Click on your Blog Post’s Headline” is much more effective than:“Why Most People will NEVER Click on your Blog Post’s Headline”

(I made up that statistic to make a point. It’s not a real number.)

For some reason, odd numbers work better than even numbers. I don’t know why but they do. So whenever possible, use odd numbers.

Create Several Headlines

Spend time creating several headlines. Come with at least 10 headlines for the same blog post.

Use the headline cheat sheet for help. Pick the best ones and dump the rest.

In the cheat sheet below, I’ll teach you how to test these headlines and how to maximize their impact.

Include a surprise element

Make the headline controversial or just add some surprising or shocking words to the headline. This will invoke the inquisitive part of the brain that hates to leave questions unanswered.

It's like catnip for the brain. We can't help but chase it ... with a click.

How to test the effectiveness of your headlines

CoSchedule has created a free headline testing tool that checks your headline for readability and effectiveness. It not only scores your headline but also gives you suggestions on how to improve it. It would be the greatest headline tool in the world if it could create brand new headlines for you, but alas it doesn’t do that. But the next tool can … Sort of …

HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator

This tool generates headlines automatically for you based on the nouns you provide. The great part is that you can get various perspectives from which you can explore your blog post. The not so great part is that it doesn’t allow you to input an existing headline and magically create a better one. The only way I know how to make sure my blog posts have the best headlines is by testing them using Headline Optimizer.

"Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals."

David Ogilvy

Thrive Headlines Optimizer

This WordPress plugin allows you to split test all headlines on your blog posts & pages to get accurate data to determine which headlines work best. It does this by split testing several headlines.

It randomly shows these variations to your website visitors and collects data on which headline is being clicked most and which ones are leading to the most engagement. Once a winner is determined, it can set the winning headline as default and stop displaying the losing variations automatically. It also ignores logged in visitors so you get the most accurate results.

It sounds complex but is quite easy to use. I use this for every single blog post on all my WordPress websites.

Over to you

Now it’s your turn to create click worthy headlines. Download the cheat sheet below and give your blog a new life with new, improved headlines that visitors can’t help but click through ๐Ÿ™‚