In the media business, headlines have always been important. When a reader buys a magazine, there is probably a good chance that the reader will check out the articles that interest them and a good headline may or may not impact the success of that particular issue. But on the Internet, a reader has the option of clicking to any website they want, which makes good headlines critical to the success of any website.
How important are good headlines on Internet content? Copyblogger.com estimates that nearly 80 percent of all Internet users will stop and read headlines while browsing. However, only 20 percent of those users will actually take the time to click on the link and read the content. Your headline needs to be compelling if you want to bring in traffic, but there is much more to creating good headlines for your content.
The primary quality of a good headline is that it grabs peoples' attention immediately. There are a broad array of tactics that content creators use to develop attention grabbing headlines and a mixture of tactics that work will help you to develop good headlines.
Sometimes putting together words that seem to not go together can force a user to stop skimming and read your headline. The Guardian uses the example of how the term "crash blossoms" became popular thanks to a simple headline that read "Violinist Linked To JAL Crash Blossoms." There is a lot of intrigue in this headline that made it so popular that it turned the term "crash blossoms" into a top search term on Google for a while in early 2014. Did the violinist cause the crash? What is a crash blossom?
It turns out that the violinist's father passed away in a Japanese Airlines crash and her career took off after the crash. But the headline is such an attention grabber that it caused a sensation around the world.
Offer Good Information
The 24-hour news networks have become experts at creating headlines that promise to inform readers on topics that interest them. A headline such as "Learn How To Avoid Catching Ebola" will bring in a lot of web traffic because it is information people want. When you promise to educate people in a headline, then you will draw in a lot of good web traffic.
Give Your Website Credibility
Web content creators know that people only trust information from reliable sources. The problem is that Internet users may not consider your website to be a reliable source, which is why they are not clicking on your content. But if you have content about a medical condition that you want to post and the information was created by the Mayo Clinic, the a headline that starts with the words "Mayo Clinic Announces . . ." can be an extremely effective tool for bringing in traffic.
Avoid Being Deceptive
Since 80 percent of all Internet users read headlines, it is safe to say that these users are looking for those headlines to deliver reliable information. There are plenty of websites that use deceptive headlines to bring in traffic and that may work on a short-term basis. But if you want your headlines to get ignored and if you want your web traffic to shrivel away to nothing, then keep delivering those deceptive headlines. Never make a promise in your headline that your content cannot keep.
Headlines are all over the Internet, but they remain the best way to attract web traffic. When you start getting good at writing headlines for your Internet content, then you will see your traffic rise.