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What Makes A Good Headline?

It’s no secret that headlines are a major factor in influencing positive traffic and blog success in the long run. What remains a secret to some writers/bloggers out there however, is what makes a good headline–one that is catchy and will attract positive traffic.

Here are a few characters that I believe EVERY good headline must have:

1. It must be a satisfactory summary of your blog post. This is easy. Ask yourself, does my headline contain the full package of my post in a compressed manner? The easiest way to answer this question, is by asking yourself a second question and giving an honest answer: if you came across your proposed headline on your reader and you clicked on it, would the content of your post fully satisfy your expectation of what the headline promised? It’s a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If your answer is ‘no’, then your headline needs some more attention. It is usually one of two problems: the headline is either underweight or overweight. Neither is healthy for your post or your blog, short- or long-run. Take your time to understand what message your headline isn’t carrying that it should, then add or rewrite. That is taking of an underweight problem. If on the other hand your headline is overweight, that is, it promises more than the post offers, you either need to rewrite the post to fulfill what the headline promises, or ‘slim’ the headline to fit what the post actually offers. The worst thing that could happen if this overweight problem is not taken care of over time is that, readers could come to tag you as a blogger who makes big promises but doesn’t deliver. Seriously, you don’t want that.

2. The solution or theme must be embedded in the headline. If your post is offering the solution to a problem, nothing attracts more clicks than embedding the solution in the headline. I mean, why else did you click to read this post? It’s simple. The headline suggested a solution to offer advice on writing a good headline. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by using the ‘How To’ method. Example: ‘How To Write A Successful Fiction.’There are many other methods out there that you can easily learn, and I promise, it’s not rocket science. A book I recommend, The Dead-simple Guide To Amazing Headlines, part of a 3-pack series by Nick Thacker, is great for beginners. You can read my review of it here.

3. It must be literary and straight-forward. Not metaphorical. I’ve seen cases where a blog headline is actually a metaphor or some other kind of figure of speech. Please, unless your blog is a poetry or prose blog, or your readers have come to expect this from you and enjoy it, don’t attempt this. It may be true that you’ve seen the big pro bloggers pull this off, but that doesn’t mean if you go ahead you will attract similar success. These bloggers have grown their influence over the years and can get away with a lot of stunts that you can’t. In fact, when they do it, people may think it’s cute and even applaud them for it–that’s what happens when you’re a celebrity in your niche. You on the other hand will be flat out ignored. Don’t go writing blog headlines like ‘A Splendid Finale’ when you could go for ‘7 Successful Ways To Give Your Prose Work A Professional Finish’. It is just as Chris Brogan says, people have to KNOW you, LIKE you and TRUST you before they take a chance on you or give you the time of day. I myself have deleted some blog posts from my email without reading it because I couldn’t figure out what the headline meant and I didn’t have the time to check out the post. And I’m sure a lot of other people pressed for time do the same thing. This is why it is important to let your headline carry a literary meaning and be very clear in its theme or message. This way, your readers will gladly click to read your posts.

So there, these are the three attributes I believe any good headline should have. Please, feel free to share any other attributes in the comment box.

To read the Savvy Saturday Weekly Newspaper for Readers and Writers, go here.

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