13 Foolproof Ways You Can Stop Writing Ineffective Blog Headlines

By: | January 14, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , | 33 comments

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.

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  1. bakeitright at 7:11 am

    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 at 12:12 am

      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.
      Janice

    • Janice Wald at 12:10 am

      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.
      Janice

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  3. Scott at 6:05 am

    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 at 11:52 pm

      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,
      Janice

  4. Pingback: 13 Foolproof Ways You Can Stop Writing Ineffective Blog Headlines
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    • Janice Wald at 3:46 pm

      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.
      Janice

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