Three Tips For Writing Headlines

Connie McKinneyStarred Page By Connie McKinney, 2nd Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/10kvw-ge/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

Headlines can make or break your article. Here are some ways to write stronger headlines.

Keep Headlines Short


A good headline attracts more readers. A poor one can cause the readers to click past your article and never stop to read it. If you want people to read your articles, you need to write the strongest headlines possible.
Think about what your article is about. How would you summarize it in just a few words? That's your headline.
Some people write the headline first and then the article. Others write the headline last. If you feel stuck for a headline, write the article first. Then, go back and think about what it's really about.
Rule one is to keep headlines short and simple. Don't use long, complicated words in a headline. Don't send your readers running for a dictionary.
Headlines should range between five to 10 words. Newspaper headlines can be longer. But remember that online readers are an impatient bunch. See writing online You only get a few seconds to grab their attention. If they see a long headline, they may get turned off and may not bother to read your article.
A good rule of thumb is to read your headline out loud. If you have to stop to take a breath before finishing the headline, the headline is too long.

Use Keywords in Your Headline

Make sure your headline contains the proper keywords. For example, this article is about writing headlines. So, of course, I will use the keyword: headline.
Keywords are important because they tell the reader what your article is about. They also help with search engine optimization. If you use proper keywords in the headline, your article is more likely to rank higher in a Google search and will bring more readers to your article.
Here are a couple of other headlines I could have used for this article. All of them use the keyword: headline.
How to Write Stronger Headlines
How to Write Good Headlines
How to Write Better Headlines
Learn How to Write Headlines Which Attract Readers

Avoid Misleading Headlines

Recently, I read an article on another online Website which was headlined something to the effect of "Congratulations to Me! I'm Pregnant." I don't remember the exact headline. However, when I clicked on the article, I found out that the author was not pregnant. She had apparently written this headline to lure in unsuspecting readers.
Don't do this. If you mislead readers about what your article is about, you will frustrate and even anger them. For example, I will never again read this young woman's articles.
Be sure your article delivers what the headline promised. If it doesn't, you may need to rewrite your headline.
Remember: you could write the best article in the world. It could be well-written, well illustrated and well done in every way. But if your headline doesn't grab readers, very few people will take the time to read it.

Here are some more articles I've done on writing:
How to use photos
How to use quotes
Celebrate National Punctuation Day
Write Tight

Attribution:
I took the newspaper headline photo myself.
The keyboard photo came from Morguefile.com

Tags

Headlines, Writing, Writing Articles, Writing Tips, Writing Tips And Tricks

Meet the author

author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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Comments

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, to paraphrase Stephen King, my headlines are like fat ladies diet - bloated....thanks for the reminder on how to do them correctly. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Jerry Walch
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Hi Connie. All good advice for the tyro web writer.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Great tips Connie, titles that are just a word or two do not cut it, a good title uses several words and grabs your attention.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks, Marilyn, Jerry and Mark. Agreed, Mark. We need to grab the reader's attention.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

much wisdom herein Connie many thanks...sharing

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Sharing.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks, Phyl and Carolina. Headlines are so important.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

Wonderful of you for sharing these excellent tips Connie, I thank you!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks, Fern. Hope it's helpful to everyone.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

Good tips Connie. We have to keep learning, improving - siva

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author avatar Connie McKinney
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks, Siva. There is always room for improvement. I keep trying to learn and improve as much as I can.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
4th Feb 2014 (#)

Great info...with poetry it is sometimes hard to make a title longer...but I am learning... all very helpful tips...thank you Connie...

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author avatar Connie McKinney
5th Feb 2014 (#)

thanks, Delicia.

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author avatar joyalariwo
5th Feb 2014 (#)

Oh I hate those misleading headlines too, anyway interesting and valuable advice Conny, thanks.

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author avatar Mariah
5th Feb 2014 (#)

Well written Connie..headlines should keep to the point of the subject..good all round tips here

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author avatar Connie McKinney
6th Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks, joyalariwo and Mariah.
Glad it was helpful.

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