"In a world full of noise, how do you get people to actually read what you write?" (Jeff Goins)
According to blogger Jeff Goins, the headline is the most neglected part of a blog post (http://goinswriter.com/catchy-headlines/). The headline introduces the post and should therefore grab the reader's interest, make the reader want to read more. According to copyblogger, while 8 out of 10 people read the headline, only 2 out of 10 people read the body of the post (http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/).
Here are ten tips to writing irresistibly clickable headlines that will grab the interest of your readers:
1. Include a number in your headline.
As Jeff Goins points out, if you stand in line at the grocery store, notice how many magazines have numbers in their headlines. See https://blog.bufferapp.com/headline-strategies-psychology.
2. Include interesting adjectives in your headline.
Use adjectives like effortless, painstaking, free, incredible, absolute, strange to pique the interest of your readers. Visit http://www.blogussion.com/favorites/45-better-blog-headlines/ for examples.
3. Answer the questions what, why, when or how.
Give your readers an idea of what the blog post or article is about. Again, make them want to read more.
4. Make an audacious promise.
Promise to unlock an ancient mystery like the makers of the Cadbury commercial did (How do they get the caramel in the caramilk bar?). Get your readers to try something they've never tried before. As Jeff Goins says, "dare the reader to read your article".
5. Use keywords for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Read my post about the importance of keywords at http://alinefromlinda.blogspot.ca/2015/02/keyword-search-is-key-to-blogging.html. Other bloggers seem to agree that using keywords in blog headlines is a good idea. However, don't overuse them, making your title awkward. Ideally, according to Brain Clark of Copyblogger, if your headline is 10 words in length, use two keywords.
6. Avoid symbols like &, @, # or < >.
These symbols are difficult for web browsers to translate which confuses readers.
7. Let the passion in.
If your blog headline conveys passion, chances are that your post will too.
8. Keep the headline an ideal length.
According to Kevan Lee, the ideal length for a headline is six words https://blog.bufferapp.com/optimal-length-social-media. However, according to Outbrain, the ideal length should be more than eight words, ideally 12 to 18 words.
9. Be specific, not generic.
10. Here is Jeff Goin's formula for the perfect blog headline:
# or trigger word + adjective + keyword + promise
"How to Bath an Elephant" vs. "18 Unbelievable Ways You can Bath an Elephant Indoors"
"Sell your House in a Day" vs. "How You Can Effortlessly Sell Your Home in Less Than 24 Hours"