5 minutes reading time (926 words)

Small business blog headlines that grab reader attention

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Research says that on average eight out of ten people will read your headline but only two out of ten will go on to read the rest of your article or blog post. So, if you want your content to be read, it’s worth spending some time and effort on that all-important headline. Some copywriters even say that around half the time it takes to write your article should be spent on researching and crafting your headline.

Well if you’ve made it this far then the headline worked and you’ve read the introduction!

Before you start: What are the objectives of your headline?

There are various reasons for having a small business blog, but if readers don’t get past the headline, then your blog content is pointless. Think about how your headline is going to make sure the content you are painstakingly writing gets read and achieves its own objectives of:

  • Getting found in search results.
  • Attracting visitors to your website.
  • Demonstrating your expertise within your business sector.
  • Giving tips and advice to existing and potential new customers.
  • Providing an easy way to add topical content to your website.
  • Generating material to share on your social media platforms. (I can usually get between 5 and 10 Tweets from each blog post.)

The first two points are probably the most relevant to readers of this blog, so this post will focus on those two objectives. Your headline needs to make sure that your blog post gets found and is then read with a view to impressing your visitor so much that they move on to the rest of your website. That’s quite a tall order.

Getting found in search results

If your headline contains a phrase that readers are likely to use as a search string, then so much better. At least include some of your keywords.

Driving visitors to your website

A blog should be an essential component of any small business website. It provides a platform for your small business content marketing. The headline should encourage visitors to read on and then in so doing click some of the internal links to the rest of your website.

To achieve this your headline needs to work hard. Keep the following four points in mind when crafting it. I often find that I come up with a working title. Once the post is completed I re-visit the headline and focus on the keywords and main message with a view to cutting out anything that isn’t essential.

1) Keep it short and simple

According to an article from Kissmetrics readers see the first and final three words of your headline. A six-word headline could present a challenge, but try and keep it simple and as short as possible. Aim to get your main keywords at the beginning and the end.

“If it’s possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.” George Orwell

This is especially relevant for your headlines.

2) Give your reader a clear benefit for reading on

Make sure that your headline says exactly what your article is about and who will benefit from reading it. With the headline of this post I’m aiming to attract any small business website owner who may need some help with generating their website content … starting with the headline.

3) Use keywords

Consider the main reason you are writing your content. If you are writing to drive traffic to your website, then the post and its headline should be relevant to your website as a whole. It’s a double benefit if you can get your general website keywords into your headline as well as those relevant to the post.

4) Generate curiosity

Give the reader a reason to read! Shock tactics work well as does a negative headline. For example, ‘Epic headline fails to avoid on your small business blog.’

Conclusion

There were several versions of this headline before I arrived at the final version:

  • Write great blog headlines for your small business blog that make your reader want to read the rest of your post (too long)
  • How to write headlines that grab your reader’s attention (too vague … headlines for what?)
  • 4 tips for writing headlines that make your reader stay on your small business blog (I know numbered lists are trendy now but why do what everyone else is doing … stand out. That’s the whole point!)

The headline I eventually ended up with:

  • Is short … not quite the six-word optimum, but keywords are at the beginning and end.
  • Conveys a benefit to the reader. You will get some ideas about how to write an effective headline.
  • Includes general short and long-tailed keywords that I want my website and this blog post to be found for … small business, blog. More specifically it contains the word ‘headline’ and ‘reader’ which are unique to this post, but also relevant to any small business owner managing their own blog and content marketing.
  • It maybe falls short of generating a huge amount of curiosity or using shock tactics but anyone curious about how to craft a headline may well read on!

Of course, writing a great headline doesn’t guarantee that all your content will be read. The introduction and the body of the article needs to measure up. But if your reader does not even get past the headline, it doesn’t matter how great the content is.

A bad headline could render your efforts pointless. Have you found any one headline on your blog to be more effective than others? Why not leave it in the comments below?

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Monday, 22 October 2018

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