The right headline can make or break your blog post. Often, it’s the only thing a reader sees before deciding whether or not to keep reading. And, worse, it’s mixed in with a whole bunch of other headlines – in their social news feed.
You need to grab their attention, obviously — but that isn’t enough. You need a headline that not only compels someone to read on, but one that sets their expectations for the post. And, ideally, you want a headline that gives you a ready-made (and powerful) structure for your post.
Here are 50 tried-and-tested headlines that you can use on your blog today. I’ve given you an example of each one in use, so you can see how it works.
How to Use This List
First, bookmark this page, clip it to Evernote, or print it out and keep it on your desk: you want to have it handy.
You can use it for:
- Writing post plans or drafts: Find whichever section matches the type of post you’re working on, and see if there’s a template that would be a great fit.
- Coming up with new ideas: Choose a title template, brainstorm a few ideas, and pick one to work on. Many of the templates have an implicit structure (e.g. lists, tutorials) – this can really help you plan.
- Optimizing old posts: Go back through your archives and pick out any posts with titles that seem dull or confusing. Use this list to freshen them up.
Here are the title templates:
Post Type #1: List-Style Posts
A list post title normally begins with a number. You’ve probably seen plenty of them around the web: “20 Easy Ways to…” or “50 Can’t-Miss Tips for…”
Here are eight ways to take the list post further:
- X-Point Checklist for…
- X Better Ways to…
- X Lessons I Learned From…
- X Tools That Every [person] Needs
- X [adjective] Tips And Tricks to [do something]
- X [things] You Won’t Believe [Exist / Are Free / etc]
- X Reasons Why [Something] is a Bad Idea
- X Must-Have …
Post Type #2: Tutorial Posts
Tutorials often follow a “How to…” format, with step by step instructions. It’s hard to go wrong with a “how to” headline – but you can jazz it up a little and make it even more of a draw for readers.
Get started with one of these:
- How I …
- How I … and How You Can Too
- How to Make…
- How to Start…
- How to Stop…
- Here’s a Quick Way to…
- How to … Without…
- How to … The Right Way
- How to Get Rid Of …
- What Is … and How Does …
- X Steps to …
- [Something Happened] … Now What?
Post Type #3: Review Posts
Product reviews can be good for search engine traffic, as people debating over whether or not to buy something – or trying to choose between several competing products – will often search for reviews.
Here are some headlines to try:
- [product] Review: [benefit]
- [benefit]: A Review of [product]
- X vs Y: Which is Better?
- X Review: Is it Worth It?
- Why We Use X
Post Type #4: Secret Posts
We all like the idea of finding out some secret knowledge – and we all worry that we’re missing something. These headlines, then, can be incredibly powerful.
They’re also possible to over-use or do badly. Make sure your post lives up to the promise you make in the headline, or readers won’t be coming back.
- Forget X: Try This Instead
- The Secret [To/Of] …
- X Little Known-Ways to …
- X Things You Didn’t Know About…
- The Most Over-Rated [topic]
- The Truth About …
- [Topic] [People] Don’t Want You To Know
- What No One Tells You About …
- X Things [People/Businesses] Won’t Tell You
- Surprising Insights About …
Post Type #5: Negative Posts
Most bloggers write fairly positive or neutral headlines (“Ten Great Ways to…”). Going for the negative side of things can grab a busy reader’s attention – and make for a compelling post. These headlines can also allow you to position yourself as a bit of a contrarian, someone giving readers the other side of the story.
Try some of these:
- Warning: …
- Why You’re [Doing Something Wrong] … and What to Do About It
- Are You Making This [adjective] Mistake?
- X Hard Ways to…
- [Piece of Advice] That Doesn’t Always Apply
- Why [group of things] Fail
- X [Something] Mistakes That Every [BLANK] Should Avoid …
Post Type #6: Epic Posts
Huge posts that offer the final word on a particular topic or subject can be really popular: you may get lots of shares, and even a bunch of links from other blogs. Make sure you give your post the best possible chance with a compelling headline.
Here are some classic ones to use:
- The Ultimate Guide to…
- How to … : The Definitive Guide
- Everything You Need to Know About…
- We Asked X [People] [Question]
- 100 Ways To… (or 100 Tips, 100 Things to Do…)
- The Complete Guide to [Something]
- [Topic] Glossary
- [topic]: X Resources
While there’s a lot more to a great blog post than a great headline, the right headline can be the final touch needed to get your content shared all over the web.
Or, even better, if you start off by picking a headline from the list above, you’ll find it’s a great way to generate ideas – just fill in the blanks. Many of these headlines offer a built-in structure, too, making your post easy to write.
This post originally appeared on SyedBalkhi.com, and is re-published with permission.
Featured Image: Image by Syed Balkhi