Coming up with powerful titles for your blog posts is not easy.
But it's absolutely essential if you're going to get people to click through to your blog post.
Because there are at least 10.65 M blog posts published each day. That's a huge amount of competition!
But it gets worse:
80% of people never get past the headline.
Because most people write their blog title as an after thought. After all (you say to yourself) it's the body off the article that matters isn't it?
The title is far more important than the article itself.
Because if you don't get the title right, no one's even going to see the article itself.
But what's the secret to a powerful title? What do I have to say so that my visitors will want to keep reading?
That's what I'm going to show you in this article: 17 formulas for powerful titles that pull your readers in and make them devour your content.
But first, some tips on how to write powerful blog post titles...
15 Tips For Writing Powerful Titles For Your Blog Posts
It’s a basic principle of human psychology that the more rare or unique something is, the more we value it.
Exclusivity applies not only to objects (like gold and diamonds) but also to information.
Here are some examples of exclusivity in headlines:
- The Only Blog Promotion Technique You’ll Ever Need
- Why 97% of Bloggers Fail In Their First Year
- Why Only 1% of Your Subscribers Really Matter
2. Use Numbers
SiegeMedia reports a 20% increase in CTR for blog post titles containing numbers.
- containing a number
- addressing the reader
- containing ‘How to’
- Normal headline
- Containing a question
Headlines containing a number, by a long chalk:
Watch This 3.5 Minute Video by Neil Patel on How To Write Catchy Titles For Your Blog Posts
3. Use Strong Action Verbs
Use strong, punchy, action verbs such as:
5. Use Trigger Words
What are trigger words?
They’re words that are known to produce an emotional reaction in your reader.
Here’s a list of 14 trigger words put together by marketing expert Neil Patel:
6. Use Negative Words
Outbrain examined 65,000 paid link titles that ran in Outbrain’s paid link network between April and July 2012.
They found that average click-through rate on headlines with negative superlatives (e.g. ‘never’ or ‘worst’) was 63% higher than headlines with a positive superlative (e.g. ‘always’ or ‘best’).
The fact is, we’re driven by fear of negative consequences. As a species, we’re programmed to look for danger and avoid it.
And that’s why negatives work so well in headlines.
Here are some that have been proven to work well in blog titles:
7. Address The Reader
Addressing the reader directly is a classic attention-grabbing technique.
And the key element in this kind of headline is simply the word ‘You’ or ‘Your’:
- Here’s What You Need to Know About Buying an Aftermarket Domain
- Get the Most Out of Your Next Facebook Ad by Following These 6 Rules
- 15 Expert Ways to Start Your Online Business
8. Emphasize the Value Your Reader Will Get
Use words like ‘will’, ‘to’, and ‘so’ in your blog title – these kinds of words promise value from reading your article:
- 7 Techniques that Will Turn Your Blog Readers Into Buyers
- 15 Ways To Avoid Blogger Burnout
- How To Get More Backlinks So You Can Rank Higher in Google
9. Use Curiosity Headlines
A curiosity headline is one that makes a claim that seems improbable or taps into a deeply held anxiety or fear:
- Discover Why You Should Never Eat This Before Flying!
- Are You Playing Fair With Your Wife?
- Why You Don’t Want To Drink The Pool Water
These are extreme examples.
But all ‘how to’ headlines are curiosity-based.
One very effective headline technique for arousing curiosity is to use the word ‘the’ or ‘these’, as in:
- Discover The Twitter Strategy That Gave Me 10K New Followers In One Month
- Are You Using These Best Performing List Building Techniques?
Why does this create curiosity?
Because it implies that there's a specific thing or things and if you don’t have it, or you're not using it, you may be missing out.
10. Use a Maximum of 65 Characters
Try to keep your title under 65 characters so that it doesn’t get cut off in the Google search results (that inludes spaces and other punctuation).
Google uses a pixel width of 520 pixels, so the actual number of characters in a Google SERPs headline will vary slightly.
Here’s an example:
The blog post title is: “Want To Increase Website Traffic? Here Are 134 Website Traffic Tactics”.
But the title got truncated after 63 characters:
11. The Perfect Length of a Blog Post Title is 6 Words
Headline expert Bnonn Tennant reports that usability research indicates we only take in the first three and last three words of a headline.
This suggests that the best headline is therefore just 6 words long.
12. Use The Keyword In Your Blog Title
Should you write your blog title for SEO or for the reader?
This is an ongoing debate, with firmly held views on both sides:
One camp argues that if you don’t optimize your title for a keyword, you’ll never get your blog post found in the search results.
The other camp argues that you may get your post listed in the SERPs but if you don’t optimize the title for humans, you’ll never get the click.
Both sides have valid arguments.
But if I have to choose, I come down on the side of SEO. I agree entirely with Michael Dunlop of IncomeDiary:
He makes the point that no one in their right mind is going to type ‘surefire’ into a search engine, so this kind of blog title is going to make your competition very happy: ‘7 Surefire Ways To Eradicate Acid Reflux’.
13. Write At Least 25 Headlines For Every Post
I hate to say this, but writing powerful titles doesn’t come easy.
You need to write at least 25 headlines for every piece of content you produce.
As Upworthy says on its slideshare:
- You Will Write Some Really Stinky Headlines
- #24 will suck. And then #25 will be a gift from the headline gods
- Accept that not every headline will be perfect
- Then write 25 headlines
Now for the headline formulas…
15 Headline Formulas That Have Been Proven To Work Over And Over Again
Here are 15 formulas for writing powerful titles for your next blog post.
Each formula uses a different psychological trigger, so you’ll need to make sure that the trigger fits with your blog post.
For best results, try 25 variations before choosing the winner.
Formula #1: Get The Result Without The Pain
[Number] Secrets To [Desirable Result] Without [Painful Process]:
- 12 Secrets to Keeping Employees Happy Without a Raise
- 7 Secrets to Saying No (And Not Feeling Guilty About It)
- 18 Secrets to Make Your Food Healthier Without Even Trying
- 4 Secrets to Lose Weight Without Dieting
[How To Do This] Without [Negative Outcome/Process]:
- How To Write Like An Expert Without Sounding Like A Jerk
- How to Build 100 Quality Links Without Writing Fresh Content
- How To Discipline Your Kids Without Yelling or Smacking
Formula #2: Little Known Ways In Record Time
[Number] Little Known Ways to [Desirable Result] In [Number] Days/Weeks/Months
- 8 Little-Known Ways to Find New Prospects on LinkedIn
- 12 Powerful Yet Little-known Ways to Prepare Your Child for Prep Success
Formula #3: You Should Know About This!
[Number] Things Everybody Ought to Know About [Keyword]
- 10 Things Everybody Ought to Know About Driving in the Rain
- 3 Things Everybody Ought to Know About a Last Will and Testament
- 5 Things Everybody Ought to Know Before Visiting the USA
Formula #4: Lessons I Learned
[Number] Lessons I Learned From [Keyword]
- 7 Important Life Lessons I Learned In 5 Years of Blogging
- 29 Lessons I Learned In Seven Years Of Living Abroad
- 7 Lessons I Learned From A Year Of Ethical Shopping
Formula #5: How To Survive Your First Anything
How to Survive Your First [Keyword]
- How to Survive Your First 3 Months of Blogging
- How to Survive Your First Year As a Teacher
- 8 Tips To Survive Your First Fire-fighter Shift
- How To Survive Your First Year As A Personal Trainer
Formula #6: Ten Of These About That
[Number] of [Something] About [Something]:
- 10 Tips For Writing Better Blog Posts
- 23 Secret iPhone Tips and Hacks That You Didn't Know About
- 7 Beach Hacks for Parents Who Hate to Struggle
Formula #7: What This Can Teach You About That
What [Something] Can Teach You About [Something]
- What Table Top Gaming Can Teach You About Course Design
- What Anthony Bourdain Can Teach You About Succeeding In Business
- 7 Things Your Day Job Can Teach You About Entrepreneurship
- What Learning Piano Can Teach You About Success In Business And Life
Formula #8: The Trigger Plus The Promise
[Number or Trigger Word] + [Adjective] + [Keyword] + [Promise]
- How You Can Effortlessly Master Colour In Less Than 10 Mins!
Formula #9: Number + Adjective + Keyword + Promise
[Numbers] + [Adjective] + [Target Keyword] + [Rationale] + [Promise]
- 10 Small Steps You Can Take Today to Improve ADHD Symptoms
Formula #10: Powerful Adjectives Plus Nouns
[Interesting Adjectives] + [Keyword Phrase]
- 25 Awe-Inspiring Examples Of Branding, Identity and Logo Designs
- 10 Painstaking Lessons Learned from My Battle with Depression
- 5 Key Takeaways From The Finding That Yoga Injures Over 1 In 10 People
- 7 Brilliant Strategies To Promote Your Blog For Free
- 15 Underrated Apps Every Entrepreneur Should Use
Example #11: How To Do Something Even If…
How to [Blank] (Even If [Common Obstacle])
- How To Stay Motivated Even If Your Co-Workers Aren't
- How to Be Confident Even If You Don't Like The Way You Look
Formula #12: How To Do It Like a Pro
[Do Something] Like [World-Class Example]
- How to Vacation In Malibu Like an A-Lister
- How To Pack Lunch Like a Celebrity Chef
- How to Stop Sounding Stupid and Write Like a Pro
- 8 Simple Ways to Train, Eat, and Exercise Like an Athlete
Formula #13: Quick Ways To Solve a Problem
[Number] Quick Ways To [Solve A Problem]
- 5 Quick Ways to Ground Yourself When Anxiety Hits
- 7 Quick Ways to Connect With Anybody
- 3 Quick Ways to Tell It Is Love and Not Just Lust
Formula #14: Double The Benefits, Double The Power
How To [Do Something] and [Achieve Something]
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- How To Write Better Blog Posts and Get Twice The Traffic
- How To Get On Page #1 of Google and Double Your Optins
- How To Get Twice As Many Twitter Followers in Half The Time
Formula #15: This and That Will Get You This
[Adjective] & [Adjective] [SEO Keyword Phrase] That Will [Highly Desirable Promise of Results]
- 7 Quick & Easy Lawn and Garden Fixes That Will Wow Your Weekend
- 13 Quick And Easy Recipes That Will Make You Go Vegan Like Beyoncé
- 5 New and Useful Kitchen Products You Can Buy On Amazon
Over To You
Now that that you know how to write powerful titles that pull your readers in, make sure the title of your next blog post is an absolute zinger!
But don't stop there:
Why not go back over those 50 or 60 blog posts you've already published and give their titles a makeover?
You might be surprised at the results!
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