How to Write The Perfect Headline

While it may appear that writing headlines is an art form that many writers struggle with, it really is one of the most straightforward, simplest forms of writing. The perceived art form can actually be best described as having a feel for concise writing.

Headlines are the first words your blog followers will read, which is why they need to be exciting, accurate, and cause readers to keep their eyes moving into the article. Here’s a look at some ways you can punch up your headlines to give your pieces the best chance of being read.

Avoid Puns and Clever Language
It may feel like every headline you read is filled with puns or some clever play on words, but in reality these should be avoided unless the article you’ve written is a “punny” article that will benefit from a similar headline.

Active Voice
If Strunk and White have taught us anything about writing, it’s to always use the active voice. Like all good writing, headlines are most successful when proper verbs are used. If your article is about the best ways to pour a concrete driveway, say so in the headline. Something like “Pour Concrete With Confidence” is accurate, paints the image you want, and entices readers interested in the subject to read one.

Ask a Question
An effective headline designed to escort readers into the article are often written in the form of a question. “What Would You Do With A Million Dollars?” is more effective than “Things To Do With A Lot Of Money.” The first tantalizes with the prospect of a little fantasy and imagination paired with really cool things to buy. The second evokes thoughts of investing in Roth IRAs or finally patching that leaky roof.

Word Count
There’s no specific number of words that you must use in a headline, but “concise” is the best advice. Forty words, with excessive punctuation including the obligatory colon, is something you should avoid for a headline at all costs. If you feel like a headline like this is necessary, keep trying. Use accurate words and descriptive verbs.

Your goal is to get readers to read your piece, and if they are confused by an ambiguous headline, or unmotivated to read further, they will ignore your article and move on to the next headline until they find something that grabs them.

Lisa Forester was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and is currently working as a full time blogger for When she’s not blogging she enjoys cooking, cat videos, and anything Pinterest (if you have anything relating to those topics please send them her way, please and thank you).

Featured image (on home page) courtesy of mikecogh.

Filed in: Feature Articles, Marketing, Writing for Money
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