How To Master The  Blog Titles That Improve Click-Through Rates

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By Vee Tardrew - October 15, 2013

Imagine you were able increase your blog post traffic by up to 500% with a single change. Would you do it?

Well you don’t need to imagine it - it is perfectly plausible. In a study conducted by Upworthy, an online media aggregator, massive traffic increases were realised when tweaking headline copy from drab to dazzling. The site's co-founder, Peter Koechley, says they have experienced  traffic increases of up to 500% with simple changes to headings.

With ever-decreasing attention spans and ever-increasing content competing for online users’ consideration, your blog title has to work incredibly hard for you. Give it a bit of a helping hand by taking the time to craft the best possible headline you can during your content creation process.

What Headline Type Should You Use?

Conductor reports that number headlines are favoured by 36% of online readers, followed by titles that address readers directly and ‘how to’ types. Posing questions and presenting a ‘normal’ headline didn't result in as much click love.

Headlines

Let’s break those top headline types down and see if there’s room to improve on the classics.

The Number Headline

Also referred to as the List Headline, the Number Headline continues to dominate online. It works because people have a very clear sense of how much information they can expect on the click-through.

The formula for the number headline is easy enough.

  • 12 Venues to Say ‘I Do’ in the UK
  • 5 Restaurants to Visit While in Venice
  • 7 Ways to Get Your Cat to Take a Pill

Those are relatively basic examples. Could we improve on them? Make them a little more alluring? Sure we can! Changing up the classic formula a little and adding some sensory language can help make a drab headline dazzling and result in greater readership.

How about these alternatives?

  • Saying ‘I Do’? 12 of the UK’s Dreamiest Venues For Your Wedding Day
  • These 5 Restaurants in Venice Will Blow Your Tastebuds
  • 7 Scratch-Free Ways to Get Your Cat to Take a Pill

Does the Actual Number Matter?

I can’t find any definitive answer to the ‘perfect’ number but some anecdotal evidence suggests that people inherently trust the authenticity of odd numbers over even ones and single digit numbers perform better overall. That being said, I have personally clicked on a number headline that promised a ridiculously large number of something or other out of pure curiosity. I didn’t finish reading the list, but if it weren’t for that obscure headline, I probably would not have clicked on it in the first place.

The Reader Addressing Headline

Using ‘you’ in the headline inherently involves your reader, making it personal and lowering their skeptical defenses. The Reader Addressing headline does just this, speaking directly to your prospect.

  • Ways You Can Survive Halloween
  • You Can Be a Better Runner
  • Develop a Marketing Campaign You Will Be Proud Of

There’s not much in terms of a formula with these headlines but that’s not to say you can’t tweak them using descriptive, sensory language, a touch of humour if applicable or placing more emphasis on the personal address.

What about these suggestions?

  • Ways You Can Survive Halloween Unscathed
  • You Can Be a Better Runner. Yes. You!
  • Develop a Marketing Campaign You [And Your Boss] Will Be Proud Of

The ‘How To’ Headline

This could be considered the super search engine optimised headline type as online searchers turn to Internet search engines more and more often asking how to complete tasks.

  • How To Earn More Money
  • How To Bake a Chocolate Brownie
  • How To Measure Marketing ROI

There are truckloads of ‘how to’ posts out there so how do you ensure your headline is the one that catches the eye of your prospect? Yup, you probably guessed it by now. Add some captivating copy that your readers will just not be able to ignore. Play with curiosity, vanity, fear and any other emotion you can to lure them in.

Do these feel stronger?

  • How To Earn a Whack More Money Without Selling Your Body Parts
  • How To Bake a Chocolate Brownie Just Like Your Nanna Does
  • How To Measure The Marketing ROI Metrics Your Boss Cares About

Copyblogger tells me that only 20% of people who saw my headline will still be reading here so thank you, dear 20%. If you enjoyed this post, do share it out with your friends, colleagues, even Aunties and Uncles if you like.

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