How to Write Headlines and 5 Tips not to Screw Up


You can’t make a second first impression. This is true not only for people but also for articles. It is the headline that to a great extent influences User’s decision to click on the link or skip. Learn 5 tricks that will help you to write article headlines your readers will never miss out.

Writing a good headline is an art of its own. While mastering it, it might be worth taking some help from best practices. Let’s have a look at some insights that will help you to grab more attention for your blog or information portal.

1. Use numbers

The first and easiest piece of advice we can give you – use numbers in your article title. It’s quite easy to do if you have a post structured, so you can simply count the amount and put in the heading. Huge content websites like Buzzfeed, do things like that in every second post, if not more often.

Out of 12,000 most popular articles of 2016, more than 60% had a number in their heading, which sounds very persuasive.

Such popularity if numbers come down to Ellsberg paradox, which says that people tend to seek certainty in the things around them. So they feel more comfortable when they now size of the article directly from the heading.

Interesting insight here is that heading with an odd number tend to attract more attention in comparison with the ones. Specialists from Content Marketing Institute analyzed 150,000 articles and came to the conclusion that odd numbers receive by 20% more clicks.

So why not use it for your own good.

2. Keep it short

In the era of pictures, nobody likes reading. Writing the headline is an art of balancing amount of words against an amount of information.

Research says that ideally you article heading should consist of 6 words and be 50-70 characters long.

This can expand to 12-16 words, but make sure you make it worth it.

Besides, posts with shorter heading tend to become more shareable online. The reason for that is that article snippet in social networks like Facebook or Twitter is quite short. So small headings do look better there.

So small headings do look better there.

3. ‘How to’ them

‘How to’ articles have been there since the dawn of Internet. And the reason that we are still seeing them is that they actually work. ‘How to’ articles help a reader to stay focused and know exactly what they can expect from the post (Remember Ellsberg paradox?).

New round of ‘How to’ popularity was brought about by our Google habits. When writing a search request, we tend to mimic the way we talk to real people, asking Google real questions with ‘How to’. This way articles with such type of headline tend to be higher in search results list.

‘How to’ heading is the classics of both online and offline writing, so don’t forget to include some of those in your feed.

4. Ask questions

The way people perceive digital articles differs a lot from how they perceive newspaper. By asking a reader a question in the headline, you not only humanize the post but also give you audience an impression that their position matters. So headlines in a question form do attract more comments and public shares. It is a good technique

It is also a good technique to make the question as controversial as possible, to heat the things up and increase intrigue level. Controversial topics tend to attract significantly more attention.

And even if you are not a political or social writer, doing this trick in s form of a question will help you to hook more readers up.

5. Give a hint of what’s inside

And finally, your headline can serve more than one purpose at a time. If you have any special type of content, don’t forget to pay reader’s attention to it. For example, if you have video in your post, you can specify this at the end of the title.

This works pretty well for infographics too.

Doing this on a separate note makes the title structured, which eases reading a lot.

As you see, these tips are quite easy to follow, but they do make big difference. And what tricks do you use? Share with us in the comments!

Vera Rabkina

Business Analyst at Rubyroid Labs


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