15 secrets to writing blog titles that generate traffic

Did you know that 5 x as many people read the headline as the body copy? As David Ogilvy put it “when you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents of your dollar”. Sadly, all too often people write their headline as a last-minute thought or add on.

I’m going to share with you some tried and tested tricks to writing a great headline that will grab readers attention. The first half of this article focuses on how you approach headlines and the second half on how to get them to stand out.

How to approach headlines

1. What is the purpose of your article?

Ask yourself, what do I want my reader to take away from this article? Why have I written it? What is the key message? Make sure you communicate this in your headline.

2. Write multiple headlines

When you’ve finished a blog article, don’t just write one headline – write multiple headlines, try to write a minimum of 5 headlines and then choose your favourite.

3. Get feedback

If you can A/B test a couple of headlines. If you’ve not got headline A/B testing set up – ask your friends and family, do a quick poll on Instagram or create multiple Pinterest graphics with different headlines and see what gets the most attention.

4. Research

Start to take note of headlines that you click on, see what your competitors are doing and look at headline structures in magazines and newspapers.

5. Don’t forget about SEO

Creating a clickable title is important but don’t forget about SEO. If you are trying to rank for a specific topic you need to make sure that you are including those keywords within the title.

Remember broad keywords will be harder to rank for and attract a wider audience than a more specific keyword phrase.

6. Make it relevant

There is no point creating a clickbait headline that gets you loads of traffic if people then don’t spend any time reading your article and bounce straight off your page. Make sure that the headline you create is relevant to the content in the rest of the article.

How to make your headline grab attention

7. Include numbers in your headline

Numbers make content ordered, broken up and easy for the reader to follow. When you are next in the newsagents take a look at the magazines on the shelves or on Buzzfeed and see how often lists or numbers are used in headlines. Numbers get people’s attention – and it doesn’t need to be a round number like 10, obscure numbers work just as well.

Use the number rather than the word and where possible place this at the start of the headline.

8. Use scarcity and urgency

Psychological tactics are a fantastic way of peaking a reader’s interest. Making something scares increases its value.

  • 5 blogging secrets the pros don’t want you to know
  • The ONE thing I do to guarantee results
  • Only 3 spaces left

Another way to use fear is to include a sense of urgency.

  • Are you ready for Google’s new changes?
  • Why you need to start growing your email list today
  • 5 quick ways to grow your email list
  • The fastest way to increase your Instagram engagement
  • Today only, I’m offering (offer)
  • Why you need to stop doing (topic)

9. Use fear and secrecy

Fear and secrecy are very linked, as secrecy often plays on people’s fears and we all like to know something others don’t or to be let in on a secret. There are two ways to generally use fear the first is to play on the fear of missing out and the second is a fear of something such as failure.

  • Five mistakes EVRY blogger makes
  • How many of these blogging mistakes are you making?
  • Why I regret not using Pinterest sooner (and you will too)
  • X mistakes to avoid making if you want {topic}
  • 5 things no one will tell you about working from home
  • What no one tells you before you start blogging
  • The secret all Instagram influencers do that they don’t want you to know
  • My secret weight loss ingredient

10. Make a big claim

Making a big claim so long as you carry through with it is a great way to get interested.

  • The ultimate guide to increasing your Instagram followings
  • How to grow your traffic by 100,000 views in 10 days
  • How I went from broke to a 6-figure salary
  • This ONE tactic will change how you blog forever
  • This morning routine will transform your productivity forever
  • Everything you want to know about blogging (but were embarrassed to ask)

Use specific numbers and timeframes and include words like ultimate, lifechanging, forever, most important, best, every time etc to show that you are telling them something big.

11. Teach the reader

Many people are reading articles because they are researching and want to learn so appeal to your readers thirst for knowledge. The most common start to a title like this is “How to” but you can also include words like learn, discover, guide, checklist etc

  • A beginner guide too SEO
  • Discover the easy way to grow your business
  • Learn how to master Instagram in 5 minutes
  • How to cook steak perfectly every time
  • How to be as successful as (person)
  • The best cheat sheet for (topic)
  • A step by step guide too (topic)

12. Include a sense of mystery

Use intrigue and mystery to draw the user in and make them want to find out more. Sparking curiosity is a fantastic way to get someone to read your article.

  • 8 headline mistakes you don’t realise you are making
  • The one Instagram tip you’ll wish you’d know about sooner
  • Why I realised I hated working from home (and missed an office)
  • I bet you’d never guess that (topic/fact)
  • 3 things you’d never guess about me

13. Use a question

Using a question helps to engage a reader emotionally sometimes playing on doubt or fear to do this.

  • Could you get 1,000 followers in a week?
  • Could you be as successful as this 13-year-old blogger?
  • Do you want to know the top mistakes most bloggers make?
  • Are you fed up of (topic)

It also works when the answer is likely to be yes from most readers.

  • Do you want to work less and earn more?
  • Are you interested in free social media training?

14. Include the word YOU

Speak directly to your reader by using the word YOU.

  • Are you struggling with Pinterest?
  • 3 facts that will change the way you think about (topic)
  • Why you should stop using social media

15. Keep it short

Making your headlines short and snappy can help get attention – it also ensures the reader sees the entire headline.

Are there any headline tips I’ve missed? If you struggle with headlines, don’t forget to bookmark this page so it is one you can keep coming back too.

Now you’ve got your headlines sorted, do you need my traffic driving tips?


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