According to Copyblogger Media, 80 % of the time most of us look no further than the headline. Peter Koechley, co-founder of Upworthy, has revealed that traffic to a site can vary as much as 500% based on the headline alone.
Even if you have great, original SEO content on your site, your headlines might be the reason you aren’t seeing the traffic and conversion rates that you desire. Using the right headline formula might be all that you need to magically hook your readers and compel them to read more.
Follow the simple steps in these 4 top formulas to create headlines that will drive traffic to your site.
The Numbers Based Headline
Whether you’re on the pitch, or competing for clicks online, victory comes down to having the numbers. According to The Moz Blog, headlines that use numbers see the most traffic.
One reason why this type of headline is so successful at enticing readers is that it provides an upfront hint as to how much value the reader will receive if they continue reading. Since time is a precious resource, readers want to know they are getting a good value before they give their time to reading.
Readers don’t want just one tip, one secret or one solution; they want several – but not too many. Too many is information overload.
As part of receiving a good value for the time that they are investing in reading your content, readers want something of value that also promises success. So combining the number with a superlative such as “best,” “top,” or “perfect,” increases the reader’s perception of the value they will derive from reading the content.
Examples of number based headlines: “Top 7 Best Beaches for Families,” or “Top 10 Best Small Pets for Your Child.”
The effectiveness of a numbers based headline is further increased when you add an unambiguous statement that either promises something to the reader, reveals a secret to the reader, or solves a problem/provides a benefit for the reader.
These three types of headlines also have their own formula, and can either improve the impact of a numbers based headline or stand on their own as a top headline formula.
The Promise Based Headline
Promise based headlines generally take two forms: the explicit promise, and promises based around a SEO Keyword or Keyphrase. Promise based headlines work when your business or product is highly visible in your industry, well established, or endorsed by influential people.
The explicit promise usually follows this basic formula: We/name of business/what is promised + benefit of promise.
Example: “We Promise Fast Ripped Abs with Our Top 7 Secret Insider Workouts.”
Promises based around a keyword or phrases are normally structured around this form: 1 to 2 Adjectives + Keyword/Phrase + benefit of promise.
Example: “Fun Money Saving Apps that Will Help You Save Thousands When You Shop!”
Do You Want to Know THE SECRET Headline
Headlines that promise to reveal a secret to readers are usually a variation of a numbered list that substitutes the promise of secret information in the place of a superlative. This type of headline works because the reader believes they are getting insider knowledge. A common formula for this type of headline is number + what + secret knowledge. Example: “10 Tricks to Looking Great Over 40.”
Sometimes this type of headline is further modified with an endorsement from a celebrity or authority figure to add further weight and credibility. Example: “Halle Barry’s Top 10 Tips to Look Great Over 40.”
Let Me Fix that for You – Headlines that Solve Problems and Provide Benefits
Headlines that solve problems and provide benefits to readers are always popular. There are several formulas to help you create a headline that promises to solve a problem. The following are some of the most popular problem solving headline formulas.
Overcome Obstacles = number + steps/tips/tricks/ways+ to overcome + obstacle. Example: “Top 7 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Flying Fast.”
Just Say No/Don’t Do it/ Do This Instead of This = number + what + Never + where/when. Example: “Top 5 Words You Should Never Say on a First Date.”
Get Rid of This / Avoid This = number + what + to get rid of /avoid + what. Example: “Top 7 Tricks to Get Rid of Carpet Stains” or “Top 3 Tips to Avoid Paying Too Much for Your Car Insurance.”
How to Solve This = number + what + solution. Example: “Top 3 Ways You Prevent Nappy Rash in Your Baby.”
Additional Headlines Tips
- Remember to limit your headlines to 70 characters or less for the best search engine results
- Remove any ambiguity from your headline
- Incorporate words into your headline that excite the senses.
While it’s hard work creating a headline that convinces your target to read more, these tried and true headline formulas remove the mystery from the process and work like magic to increase your traffic and conversions.