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Why spending more time on your headlines can make you more money

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Some of the greatest copywriters and journalists of all time, spend half (if not more) of their time on writing the headline alone. Headlines matter more than good content and great web design, because it ties both together. And a good headline goes beyond being attention grabbing.

This is true for almost all of your content: blogs, web pages, email subject lines, etc.

We’ve said time and again that you have 10 seconds to grab a visitor’s attention before they leave your website. If we apply this to blog posts (or even Google searches), the amount of text read by any given visitor will be the first 50 words: the headline and first paragraph.

Only two out of ten readers will continue to read the rest of the article. To take a quote from the famed TV series Mad Man, good ol’ Don Draper says, “If you don’t like what is being said, then change the conversation.”

Readers will do exactly that.

So what can we do to help our websites grow and reach the right people? It starts with your headlines.

Attention grabbing headline

Good headlines must be useful, urgent, unique and targeted. This is your opportunity to really check in with your audience, to see what they want from you and how you can help solve a problem for them. By doing this, you build trust, gain a reader, add keywords to your site and increase the number of impressions for your website, which can positively impact your revenue and bottom line.

Here at Yola, we look at the analytics on our blog posts and have noticed that most of our readers care about site building, how to make a good website and quick fixes. We learned this through high volumes of traffic to several articles on our blog. And, earlier this year, we started a 5-minute website fix series to go alongside our January website Buildathon contest. Several posts later, these are our most popular articles.

It’s because of the headlines and the targeted, unique content. Looking back, we probably could have chosen a better opening than “5-minute website fix,” but after months of work, we are seeing positive results.

Numbers in headlines with an audacious promise have worked for us. In that headline, we promise a quick fix that will impact your website in a positive way, then follow through with the tips in the body content. Our readers now expect that from us, which is great.

They find these posts useful, and we also learn more and more about the benefits of our product. It’s a win-win.

Here are several questions to ask yourself when writing your headlines that will help you focus on usefulness, uniqueness and urgency:

  1. Does your headline trigger an emotion around the subject?
  2. Does it have a number or a power word?
  3. Would your readers find the information proposed in the headline useful?
  4. What is the reward for reading the article and is it stated in the headline?

Another one of my personal favorites is: “Why do I care?“ If you can’t convince yourself, then chances are you need to spend more time on that headline!

How do you write your headlines? Have you had any successes or have you liked any of our headlines. Feel free to post good headlines and your successes in the comments below.

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