How to Write Captivating Headlines That Demand Attention

Your headline is what readers see first when visiting your website. If it doesn’t captivate the attention of your readers they’ll leave and go elsewhere. Boring headlines will drive away your visitors. If they don’t even read your headline the likelihood is they’re not going to read the rest of your content. Your headline’s main purpose is to get them to read the next sentence. The ultimate goal of your content is to get your reader to take action.

Where captivating headlines can be used

Home page

Your home page is the most important location of your website. It’s where most visitors arrive first so you have one chance to keep them on the page. Your home page headline should encapsulate the main benefit of your site. Since most computer users scan web pages while surfing the web use subheadlines to keep their eyes on the page. You only have a few seconds to help them decide to stay or go.

Internal pages

Website visitors often find your site through internal pages especially if they have been optimized for the search engines. Make sure you include a captivating headline on each page.

Meta tags

The title meta tag is the most important meta tag because it determines if search engines will index your site. It’s what appears first in the list of results returned from a search for a specific keyword. If that keyword is not included in your title meta tag your website may not appear in the search engines.

The second most important meta tag is the description meta tag. It’s what appears under the title in the search engines. A boring description will prevent visitors clicking through to your site so put some thought into your descripton before finalizing the copy.

How to write captivating headlines that demand attention

One of the best known headlines is “How to Win Friends and influence People.” Let’s analyze why the formula used in this headline has been used successfully throughout history (at least since the book was written) and still works today.

Emphasize the benefits

“How to win friends” states the most important benefit. “Influence people” provides another clear benefit that supports the first one. I used the same formula in this article’s headline: ” How to Write Captivating Headlines That Demand Attention.”

Include your main keywords

When writing website copy you need to appeal to both readers and search engines however your readers are the most important of the two. Even if your web page achieves a No 1 ranking in the search engines but fails to captivate your reader’s attention it is not serving it’s true purpose. Write for your readers first then the search engines.

Think like your customer

To write a captivating headline place yourself in the shoes of your potential customer. This means you have to let go of your subjective thinking (what you think is correct) and be objective (think like your customer ie “what’s in it for me?’).

Test different headlines

Even though you may have decided on a great headline you won’t know if it really works until it’s been tested. For instance if your website receives a 100 visitors a day try your new headline for several days so it’s exposed to 100s of readers. Monitor the conversion rates. Rewrite a different headline then check again. By testing different headlines you can select the highest performing one.

Methods of testing different headlines

Google AdWords
An easy way to test headlines quickly and easily is with Google Adwords. It enables you to split test different ads using different headlines.

Website Optimizer
This free software from Google allows you to split test different web pages. The software will rotate 2 different web pages to display to visitors and provide statistics that show which one is the most effective.

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