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7 tips for writing great headlines

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Anyone who has written a news article or blog has been there: you write your piece and then get stuck for ages trying to craft the right headline.

After all, it’s worth spending the time getting your headline right. You’re relying on it to draw in readers. It’s the doorway to your article. Besides, research has shown the average internet reader has an attention span of just eight seconds.

Here are some tips to remember to help create strong headlines:

1: First, the basics: make it clear and immediately understandable.

2: Use a title that communicates the topic of the article or blog, providing a strong reason for people to read and share your content.

3: Use keyword research: your headline is one of the factors Google considers when ranking results. Try targeting long-tail keywords that are more specific to the exact audience you’re targeting.

4: Think about length. There is much debate about headline length, but SEO dictates that the ideal blog post title length is 60 characters. Beyond that, research has shown that headlines between 8 and 12 words are shared most often on Twitter and those between 12 and 14 words are liked most often on Facebook.

5: But… don’t focus solely on SEO to the detriment of everything else or you could end up with a website full of dull headlines: you can still be creative with witty references, play with words and use alliteration.

6: Play around with styles and formats. Try using a quote from your article, or a compelling statistic or number in your headline. Surprisingly, research shows that odd numbers are more digestible than even numbers (and people’s brains seem to believe odd numbers more than even numbers).

7: Build interest and intrigue without being sensational. Don’t write an attention-grabbing headline that has no relation to the content on the page.

Finally, don’t stress it. If you’re struggling to come up with the perfect headline, try writing several and see where you end up. It may just help get your creative juices flowing and you’ll eventually come up with the right solution.

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