13 Foolproof Ways You Can Stop Writing Ineffective Blog Headlines

By: | January 14, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , |

Are you a blogger looking for more traffic?  Do you wonder why you don’t have more blog traffic than you do?  Are you tired of trying various strategies just to be discouraged by your low stats?

If no one reads your blog, the greatest writing in the world won’t help you.  You need a reason people will want to read your writing.  It precedes the hook–it’s the headline.  We are taught in school that the hook engages the reader.  In the blogging world, the headline must engage the reader.  If the headline does not meet certain criteria, no one will read past the headline and read your posts.

There is an expression that goes, “Flattery is the sincerest form of imitation.”  Many people are stubborn; this includes bloggers who feel they know what they are doing.  They are so confident in their writing, they don’t stop to read the methods that others before them have tried that work. 

One way readers can find you is by using a search engine.  For this reason, Search Engine Optimization is taught to new bloggers.  Many find the acronym, Search Engine Optimization, too confusing to try to dissect.  If it wasn’t helpful, there wouldn’t be so many articles written about it.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is actually very simple.  Bloggers need to optimize their writing so that if a reader does a search for their topic, they will be able to find it.  Isn’t that what all writers want, for their work to be read?

SEO can be optimized (your chances improved) by following simple advice in your headline.

1. Have a number in your headline.  Readers like numbered lists.  It gives them a sense of structure.  Having a list of eleven or greater will enable your post to be found by the search engines that much easier.  Headlines with numbers in them are found by search engines more than any other.  Use digits, even at the beginning, not words

2. If you want Search Engines to find your work, limit the number of characters in your headline to 65.  I counted 65 characters in my title.

3. Start strong and end strong.  There is research that shows readers will only read the first three words and last three words of your headline.

4. Have the word “you” in the headline. It makes readers feel like they are being addressed directly and have a great chance of success.  It makes your message personal.

5. Use the word “how” in your headline.   According to Jon Morrow, headlines that contain the word “how” come up by search engines often.

6. Have an adjective in your headline.  Look at mine.  After I wrote my title, I added the words “foolproof” and  “ineffective”.

7. Your headlines should make your readers feel like you are solving a problem of theirs.  For example, my headline would solve the problem of ineffective headlines.  Having the word “tips” or “ways” makes ineffective headlines purposeful.  Readers want to know what will be accomplished if they take their valuable time to read your post.  What purpose will it serve for them?

8. Make sure the content matches the title.  Otherwise, you will lose credibility.

9. Use negative words like “Stop”.  See my title for an example.

10. For those of you that like formulas, there’s actually a formula for creating a headline!  The formula is number + adjective + keyword + promise.  For example, 13 Foolproof Ways You Can Stop Writing Ineffective Blog Headlines dissected is #- 13, Adjective – Foolproof, Keyword – Ways, Promise – You Can Stop Writing Ineffective Blog Headlines.

11. Headlines should tell readers that by reading your post, they will get a dream or desire fulfilled.

12. Use headlines that ask questions.

13.  Increase your readers’ curiosity.  For example, add especially #… in your headline.

I am by no means an expert; I am always looking to increase my traffic.  However, I have found that after I started using these tips in my headline, my traffic increased.

Source 1: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/66076319508978656/

Source 2: I’ve also borrowed from ideas I’ve read by Jon Morrow.  Readers who read my post If You’re Brave Enough to Say Goodbye, Life Will Reward You With a New Hello know that I think he is God’s gift to bloggers.

Readers, if you feel these tips may prove yourself to bloggers or writers in general, please share.

Bloggers, have you used any of these tips and found they improved traffic?  Are there any additional headline writing tips you know that have proved effective in improving traffic for you?  Please share.  I know I would welcome reading them, and I’m sure others would too.  I look forward to your views.

    • Janice Wald

      Thanks so much for the compliments, reading what I wrote and writing me.

  1. bakeitright

    you are right! this title was just a proof and caught my attention so i had it read and you are right “HOW TO INCREASE YOUR TRAFFIC” because i am just starting to blog and cannot think of a topic to write and this blog realy really is timing and perfect!

    Good job! well done.

    • Janice Wald

      Glad I can help. I have a Follow to Follow page if you’re interested as a new blogger in getting new followers. Here is the link:
      At any rate, I’m glad my tips could help.

  2. Carol Cassara (

    Good advice. and there’s always that tension between the #s and art….

    • Janice Wald

      I know. I find “that tension” frustrating. I read when we have the # of followers we want and the traffic we want, we can write about what we want. I can’t wait but I want the traffic, so I’m torn. I find that when I write about politics, my stats fall. My readers seem to prefer I write about advice, so I decided I will indulge myself only once a week, and I’ll write about politics on the weekend, and advice the rest of the week. Thanks for the understanding.

  3. Jane Saunders

    Very valuable information here. Thank you for sharing. Love the formula!!

    • Janice Wald

      I’ve been following it consistently since I learned about it. Has it resulted in increased traffic for you? It has for me. Thanks for reading what I wrote and writing me.

  4. john doe

    look out John Morrow, Janice Wald is right on your heels. Keep bringing it every post, just like you have been doing. I just saw you have 3010 followers. WOW

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    • Janice Wald

      Hi Carol,
      Nice to hear from you. You know how much I respect you in the area of blogging, so thank you! I hope all is well.

  6. Scott

    Seems like great tips, but there is a huge backlash from users when they see titles they consider to be “click-bait”. A little research on that term will see that many of your tips are quickly becoming no-no’s.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Scott,
      I have been doing a lot of reading about how to improve traffic, and that’s what I learned. Jon Morrow is my blogging God, and he is one of the people that said to do these things.
      How do you increase blog traffic?
      I assume you are paid to review products like Knex. How could I get involved in being a paid reviewer? Thanks,

  7. Pingback: 13 Foolproof Ways You Can Stop Writing Ineffective Blog Headlines
    • Janice Wald

      Did you reblog my post? I didn’t get notice, and usually I do. If you did reblog my post, thank you!

  8. Correen

    Very helpful and thoughtful points to ponder while crafting blog posts. Thanks

    • Janice Wald

      Thank you so much. I’m happy to say the post was very well received. Thanks for writing.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Welcome,
      Thank you for reading what I wrote and writing me. I appreciate the compliment.

  9. Carol Graham

    Just read this again — I sincerely appreciated the formula and have been using it. Thank you

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Carol,
      The formula was definitely “a hit”. Thanks for the feedback.
      PS So sorry about your husband. I meant to write you when I read your post.

  10. Janice Wald

    Thank you so much! Thanks for reading what I wrote and contacting me.

  11. Pingback: How You Can Use Your Blog Readers to Get More Blog Readers
    • Janice Wald

      Hi Memee,
      Did you link this to your writing? If yes, thank you so much! The validation and exposure mean so much! Plus, links into my site are important for SEO. You linked to my About Me Page too! Thanks for being such a loyal reader.

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  15. Harry

    Thanks for sharing these tips. Also, great formula. I’m definitely gonna use it.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Harry,
      Where did you find the headline article, may I ask? It’s rather old now.
      Thanks for writing. The formula works for me and many people I recommend it to. It makes your headline clickable instead of forgettable.

  16. Bella D. @ Self-Publishing Made Easy Now

    Thank you for sharing all this helpful information. This is really perfect for writers who seemed to run out of ideas for their blog headlines. I look forward to reading some more articles like this from you.

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