Editor’s Note: This post is one of Convince & Convert’s Top 10 Posts of 2015.
Let’s start with a fundamental question: How are posts shared?
It’s not the blog post, tool, or resource that gets shared. That might be what motivates the person who is sharing it, but all that ends up getting shared is the headline. The headline is what you share with your subscribers, it’s what people see in search results, and it’s what gets passed around.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a good headline is going to help your traffic prospects.
What’s less obvious is that sometimes the best way to come up with an idea is to start with the headline. Here’s why: If you start with the resource, you might end up putting a lot of time into it before you realize that there’s no way to summarize it with an irresistible headline. This is a lot like the death sentence most products face if they don’t have an “elevator pitch” on which to build.
The Ingredients of a Good Headline
According to a study published in The Guardian, these changes help your headline’s click-through rate:
Headlines with 8 words do 21% better than average.
Using a hyphen or colon will add 9% to your CTR.
Thumbnails and images boost clicks by 27%, so use them on every platform you can.
List posts tend to do better. They do even better if the number of list elements is odd instead of even. In fact, odd-numbered posts do 20 percent better than even-numbered posts. I suspect, however, that “10” is an exception to this rule.
Headlines that end with a question mark do better according to this study. On top of that, a university stu…
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