Writing for Web: 7 Headline Tips

Ah, the headline. A task that haunts all writers, especially when they are trying to write the perfect one.

Print headlines can be creative and fun because there’s often a deck to give a reader more information. For example: The Light Fantastic (print headline), The Lotus Elan turns 50 this year (deck).

But what about Web headlines?

Web headlines are all about search engines finding you and the reader not being bored or confused. Here are a few tips on how to write good Web headlines:

Keep it simple. The headline is the first thing your readers will see, so you don’t want it to be too long or boring. Think What I Did on My Summer Vacation simple.

Don’t confuse your reader. If your headline is Writing for Web: Getting Started, then make sure you are talking about how to start a blog or site. Don’t stray off subject and talk about grammar, adding photos, or great sites to read. Save those for other posts.

Use keywords. In its simplest definition, a keyword is a word or concept of great significance. Use words that will be searched and mean something. If you want the stats on a keyword, check out Google Ad Words Tool, which will tell you how many times a word is searched and how the competition is.

Think about it. Ask yourself: What would you search for? How can I find my work on search engines? What’s the subject of the post? And describe your post in one sentence. Once you have a list, you are ready to write the headline.

When you can use numbers. People love lists. They are short and oftentimes fun to read. Top 5 Best T.V. Shows in 2012 suggests a list, a popular topic, and important keywords.

Know your audience/client. Keep these people in mind as you write. You may have to tailor your writing to their style, and know if your headline is good, people will keep reading.

Remember you can have fun. Your Web headline may feel a little boring, but you can get creative in your posts and assignments.

I hope these tips help, and feel free to share some of your own!


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