The "headline tests" that can increase clicks to your posts...
Imagine: You spend a good hour or two drafting a blog post. It's an incredible blog post--a post that solves a problem that has been plaguing many people for ages (aka one year--that's an "age" in internet terms!)
You write it, you SEO the hell out of it, and you press "Publish," thinking to yourself, Damn, I'm gonna be famous now!
The next day, you check your stats to see how many thousands of comments you've gotten, only to see that your traffic has actually gone down.
What the hell?! You think to yourself. That does it, I'm never gonna write a good post ever again!
"Do you have a solution for me, Sheed?"
This is the first post in a series of posts that is intended to dissect the "flow" of people who go to your website.
The first step is traffic. Put simply, traffic is how many people go to your website. Now, if you think about it logically, there's really only one way people can go to your website--by clicking a link. Sure, you can type your website name into your URL, but you can't rely on that for traffic stats.
Now, the psychology of people clicking links is simple. Try this yourself--next time you take any action as a result of a call to action, immediately ask yourself: "why did I do that?"
Out of all the links there are to click, why did you click that link?
When someone shares a link on Facebook, here are two things that appear--the blurb the person writes about the link, and the URL of the link (if previews are enabled then you see the title of the link as well as some meta description). Here's what I'm talking about:
So, ask yourself this: Would you click on that blog post? Why or why not?
This is where the rubber meets the road. Not many people pay much attention to the URL of the link (after all, it looks like gobbledygook), so the only things that stand out are the blurb, the headline, and the meta data.
You can easily change your blurb out whenever you post to a different group, but you can't change your blurb when your page appears on the search engines.
Likewise, you can change your meta data on Facebook, but you only have one meta placeholder for the search engines.
The thing that most stands out about a blog post is the headline. So, you want your headlines to follow what are known as the headline tests when titling your blog posts.
If you imagine each of your blog posts as an article in a newspaper, which headlines are you more attracted to? Which headlines are you more inclined to read?
Statistically speaking, it's the ones with the biggest font and that stand out the most, but in a paper where all headlines are treated equally, it's most likely the headlines that catch your eye because of a special word.
So, what's the headline test?
The headline test is a little checklist for your headline. Your headline should ideally pass 4 of the 4 qualities, but since we don't live in a perfect world, 3 out of 4 will suffice.
The first headline test: headline length
This is actually the only test that is imperative to pass. Why? Headline real estate is limited.
Having a headline that is 50 words long will guarantee that it won't get clicked.
Keep it short, concise, and to the point.
The second headline test: "so what?"
I tend to view headlines as titles of books as well (I find it to be a more accurate description of headlines, more than newspaper headlines).
So you have your title, then optionally a sub-title.
Obviously, your blog can't have a sub-title (or can it?), but one powerful thing for a blog headline to have is...
(Parentheses) or: colons
Why? I dunno. But compare:
How to Make Money Online
Cracking the Code of Making Money Online (And How You Can Do it)
How to Make Money Online: A Complete Guide
Doesn't the second one stand out more? It makes the reader say, "There's a code for making money online? Moreover, I can crack it too? click"
Or even the third one. Though I'd be more partial towards the second one, the third one is powerful in its own right because it's telling you that it's your one-stop shop to make money online.
When you read your headline, ask yourself: "So what?" Why would someone click the link, when there are 100 other posts that have the same exact title?
Remember: readers are selfish. "What's in it for me" is what they are always asking themselves. "How can this help me?" is what makes people click.
On that note...
The third headline test: "Have I read this before?"
We're all bloggers. We all write blogs and we all read blogs.
Many times, we may get inspiration from one blog post, and then craft a blog post based off of it... sometimes even with a very similar title.
Nothing's wrong with getting inspiration from a blog... everything is wrong with you almost copying! (If you're going to get inspiration from a blog, read at least 3 posts on the same topic, take notes, and craft your post from your notes only, do not take main points from the blogs!!)
If you're getting inspiration from other blogs, then sometimes it is better to craft your headline after your blog post.
When you read your headline, what's your first impression? If it's, "Hey, I've read something like this before," then change your headline.
There are countless words in the English language--don't settle for boring ones! Put effort into your headlines, they are one of the main "clicking factors" for your blog!
The fourth headline test: Is it too hype-y?
Hype isn't bad. But it is always better to have low-hype and over-deliver on the promise of your headline, rather than have high-hype and under-deliver on your headline. If you set expectations low and exceed them, it looks better for your credibility. If you set them high via hype and fail to meet them (in your reader's eyes), then the reader will develop hype-blindness from your... well, hype!
So if you're going to be bold and have an article named "The Ultimate Pinterest Marketing Guide," it had better not be a 500 word blog post with only 5 tips on how to market on Pinterest.
But if you have an article called, "Four tips to accelerate your Pinterest marketing strategies" and add five tips instead (one bonus tip for not knowing math?), as well as make the four tips super quality tips (instead of just, "be social, pin a lot, don't be selfish" etc), then you can guarantee that the reader will be more likely to click on one of your headlines in the future because he or she remembers how you over delivered on your promise.
Bonus headline test: Word shifting
Your choice of words is supremely powerful, especially when you have limited real estate for your headline.
If you craft your headline into something memorable, then you can bet that it will stand out. Consider the difference between:
How to Make Money Online
Money-Making Madness: Milking the Online Cash Cow
The latter is memorable because of the blatant alliteration. This is where your literary prowess comes to play. However, don't get too carried away in being creative that your headlines fail the other headline tests!
Take advantage of both sight and sound when choosing words--if you can use words that evoke high emotion as well as paint a picture of what your reader will achieve by reading your article, then you greatly increase the likelihood of your link being clicked.
On that note, you can use the four headline tests whenever you have links to be clicked within your blog, but they won't be on your blog at all if they don't click on your very first headline ;)
Action Steps: How to manifest magnetic headlines
- Brainstorm your blog first. I myself sometimes think of titles first, but more important than titles are ideas.
- Write your blog BEFORE writing the title.
- Follow the four (plus one) headline tests as listed above and ensure that your headline follows at least three.
Use these tests as a checklist (bookmark this page so you can quickly refer to it when writing a blog), and try it for 30 days. Let me know how it goes for you!
Moving onto you
What other tips can you give on creating headlines that increase click-through?
I'll see you on the next part of the blogging series!
In peace, love, and prosperity,
PS: If your company does not have a step-by-step duplicable system for YOUR success, check this out (unless you are just making way too much money)
For Instant Access to our Step-By-Step System: Click here!
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