The headlines on your website are often the first thing your target audience sees. Stronger headlines can convince a site user to stay and look around. Weak, confusing, or misleading headlines can make someone exit your page in a flash.
So much attention is focused on website copy (which is understandable) but headlines are just as important! The headlines on your website grab someone’s attention, tell them what to expect from the other copy and content on the page, nudge them to keep reading, and persuade them to take action.
As you can see, there’s a lot riding on your headlines. It’s easy to get stuck or give up on writing them. But don’t worry — our tips below will help you create powerful, effective headlines for your website.
Tip #1: Think about your purpose
Not your personal purpose in life, whether that’s to pet every dog you meet or read a hundred books a year. (Which we fully support.) We’re talking about the purpose of your content, which is reflected in your headlines.
Every piece of content that you create for your business has a purpose, and that purpose is twofold. Take this blog, for example:
- Its purpose for our readers is to help them write stronger headlines. The headline of this blog piques their interest and sets expectations by stating how many tips are in the blog.
- Its purpose for Uncanny Content is to boost our brand visibility, improve our ranking, provide value to our readers, build trust and authority with our audience, or get someone to look around our website.
With this in mind, you need to write a strong headline to meet your readers’ needs and optimize for SEO. Does your headline target the ideal audience for your page? Are you using language that your readers use? Will your keywords help your page get seen?
Tip #2: Use strong, descriptive words
Unless it makes sense for your brand voice — which we’ll talk about in a bit — avoid using too many intensifiers like “very” and “really” in your headlines.
Here’s an example. Instead of saying “very good content,” in a headline, we could say:
- Excellent content
- Accurate content
- Enticing content
- Actionable content
- On-brand content
- Smart content
See how removing “very” and replacing “good” with something more specific and descriptive changes the entire meaning of the phrase? That’s how important it is to choose the words in your headlines with care and intention.
Tip #3: Be clear, accurate, and concise
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. You shouldn’t even be thinking about including intensifiers like “actually” or “truly” in your headlines…because your headlines should be brief, clear, and accurate.
Your headlines should convey the main idea of your webpage in just a few words. This is not the time to be vague or coy. And this is definitely not the time to use trendy, clickbait-type headlines that don’t make sense for your content or copy. Always be accurate with your headlines.
Tip #4: Speak in your brand voice
We’ve seen a lot of biz owners try to sound overly professional, formal, and authoritative in their headlines when that’s not who they are. There’s nothing wrong with those types of brand voice, but if they don’t align with your brand? Then we have a problem.
Your headlines, just like all your other content, should sound like you. If they don’t, your readers will feel a disconnect between your content and your headlines. Or you may end up attracting people who aren’t the right fit for your brand in the first place.
Don’t feel like you’re overusing certain words, or that your audience will get tired of how you sound in all your content. Write like you talk. Use familiar words. Be yourself. Consistency in your content is a good thing.
Tip #5: Get feedback on your headlines
Before your page goes live, ask for feedback on the headlines. What does your team think? Give yourself a break and come back to the headlines after some time. What do you think?
You can also poll your target audience on social media to see which headlines they prefer. Instagram Stories, especially the poll stickers, are great for this. Without revealing your content, share a few of your headline options and see what your audience votes for.
You can even have them respond to a question sticker if you’d like more detailed feedback. Ask, “does this headline convince you to read more?” or “which headline do you prefer and why?” Then, of course, use your feedback to write and finalize the headlines you use!
Don’t treat your headlines as an afterthought
Look, headline writing is hard. It’s even harder if you’ve poured all your brainpower into creating the meat of your content. You have to write killer headlines after that, too?
Yep, it’s part of creating content. They won’t be perfect, but writing powerful headlines gets easier with practice. Keep your content purpose in mind. Make your headlines straightforward and accurate. Check that they sound like you. And get feedback directly from your readers.
Stick with it and see how you write your best headlines. Maybe you like writing them first to get them out of the way, or you write them at the end to wrap up your content. Or you mix it up depending on how you feel. You do you.