Did you know that only 2 out of 10 people will read past beyond your headline? That’s crazy, right?
Well, it makes sense. If your headline is boring and doesn’t spike any interest, I won’t read the article.
So, if your traffic could use a boost and admittedly, you haven’t been giving a second thought to your blog titles, you now know why your traffic might be stalling.
That’s why in this article, you’ll learn how to write blog post titles that get clicks and I’ll also show you some blog title examples.
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I’ll receive a commission. For more information, visit my affiliate disclosure.
What’s a catchy headline anyway?
How to Write Clickable Blog Post Titles
So, how do you come up with a blog post title?
A lot of bloggers start by writing a blog post and pick a title after the blog post is finished. That’s a mistake.
You need to brainstorm and pick a headline before you start writing the blog post.
Because you need to make sure you deliver what you promise in the title. After you write a blog post, you only have a few choices for headlines. However, if you do it the other way around, you can first pick from possibly hundreds of titles and adjust the blog post to match the search intent.
So, before you start writing, draft a few titles and pick your favorite.
Okay, so, how do you draft a blog title?
1. Pick a Topic Based on Your Target Audience
When you’re drafting your headline, you should already have chosen a topic for the blog post. Ideally, you should choose the topic based on your target audience’s needs and struggles.
All of your content should be written based on what your target audience is searching for.
RECOMMENDED READING: How to Define a Target Audience for Your Blog
2. Choose a Keyword
Now it’s time to do keyword research and pick the right keyword.
But how do you conduct keyword research?
- Choose an expression that best describes the topic of your blog post (this is called the seed keyword)
- Type this query into Google search
- Take a note of the results and other related queries
- Read through the results and note the topics they are including in their articles, but also the formats of the results (this is called the search intent and it’s an important ranking factor)
- Scroll down the results page and take note of the related searches at the bottom of the page
- You can also use a keyword research tool such as KWFinder, Ubersuggest, or Google Keyword Planner to give you more data on the specific keywords you’ve found
- Alternatively, use a tool such as AnswerThePublic to find all queries related to your seed keyword
There’s a video from Income School that describes a similar approach, so check it out if you want to.
EXTRA TIP: For best results, try to include the keyword at the beginning of the title. According to Ahrefs, front-loading your keyword can be beneficial.
3. Look at What’s Already Working
Go to BuzzSumo and check out the topic you’ll be writing about. Which variations get more social shares?
You can even check your competitors.
Which competitors have already written about the topic?
How are those posts doing?
How can you do it better?
4. Brainstorm 5 to 10 Blog Titles
Now it’s time to brainstorm ideas. Ideally, write 5 to 10 potential blog post titles. Let them sit for a few hours or days and then come back.
Which one do you find most enticing?
5. Pick Your Favorite
There’s no way to know for sure which one is going to perform the best. Sometimes, you come up with a headline you love, and it doesn’t perform the way you’d like it to. Other times, you don’t give a second thought to the title, and it’s working like crazy.
Go with your instinct. You can always tweak the blog post title in the future.
6. Keep Testing Your Headlines
A/B testing is crucial. There’s no foolproof way to know which headline will work the best for you and your readers.
What is A/B testing?
How do you test a headline?
When testing your headlines, pay attention to the CTR, bounce rate, and average time on page of the specific blog post or page. You can measure the latter two in Google Analytics.
But how do you test two headlines at the same time?
However, I like to use Pinterest paired with Tailwind. I can create tens of pins with different titles linking to the same post. Then, in Tailwind, I can see which pins are performing the best in terms of link clicks and repins.
Tips for Crafting Clickable Blog Post Titles
Although there are different types of blog post titles, there are also some general guidelines you should keep in mind at all times.
1. Use Specific Numbers
LinkedIn did a study and found out that headlines with statistics have a higher CTR than those that don’t.
So, how to use numbers effectively in your blog posts?
Always use specific numbers and data in your headlines. What do I mean by this?
Which title do you find more clickable?
“Exactly How I Increased My Blog Traffic by 235% in One Month”
“Exactly How I Increased My Blog Traffic by 200% in One Month”
This isn’t a question of the higher number. This comes down to the more specific number. A headline that says: “How I Made $968 from My Blog Last Month” sounds more believable than if you rounded up the number to $1000.
Also, “Exactly How I Increased My Blog Traffic by 235% in One Month” is way more specific and therefore more clickable than “Exactly How I Increased My Blog Traffic Last Month”.
2. Use Emotions
I’ve said it many times throughout my content – blogging is selling. If you’re not actually selling anything, you’re at least selling your ideas. Emotions are what sells.
That’s the power of copywriting.
The goal is to write headlines that trigger a certain emotion in the reader. No, that doesn’t mean the reader has to burst into tears reading your headline. But there should be some level of emotion in your blog titles.
So, how do you write emotional headlines?
- Pick the emotion you want to trigger in the reader
- Use power words and other expressions that trigger the particular emotion
- Use a headline analyzer
How do you decide which emotion to pick?
Have a look at your target audience avatar and have a look at your target reader’s:
Now, are you writing a blog post based on your target reader’s fears? In that case, the emotion you want to evoke can be fear.
But it doesn’t have to be. You can transform any headline into any emotion you like.
For instance, my target audience’s fear might be not taking off their blog, failing to get traffic, not being able to start making enough money from their blog to quit their day jobs, and respectively not being able to travel the world while making money online, right?
Based on this fear, I could craft a headline and write an article on “Why 94% of Bloggers Are Not Making Any Money”.
Just a side note, I made up that number!
Or, I could give them (well, you!) some hope by writing an article on “How Not to Be in the 94% of Bloggers Who Don’t Make Any Money”.
3. Use Power Words
If you want to evoke emotion in your blog titles, you need to use power words.
What are power words?
What are some examples of other power words?
According to Optin Monster, there are seven types of power words:
- Fear power words (disastrous, caution)
- Lust power words (mind-blowing, intriguing)
- Vanity power words (jaw-dropping, amazing)
- Sloth power words (easy, fast)
- Trust power words (proven, according to)
- Greed power words (bargain, exclusive)
- Curiosity power words (little-known, limited)
- Anger power words (worst, pitiful)
They have a long list of power words for each of those emotions.
4. Use the Word “You”
If you can, use the word “you”. “You” is the single most important power word.
This might not always be the case, but in most of your content, your reader is going to be the main character. You, as the writer, are helping your main character to overcome a problem.
Your reader should always be the subject of your blog post, and you should always speak directly to her/him.
5. Use a Headline Analyzer
Advanced Marketing Institute has a headline analyzer that tells you the score of your headline based on its emotional value.
The more percent your headline gets, the better.
6. Always Deliver
Avoid clickbait at any point. The goal here isn’t just getting clicks. Which kind of traffic do you prefer?
The kind of visitor who finds your content valuable, subscribes to your email list, and potentially buys the products you’re selling or recommending?
Or the kind of visitor who lands on your blog and leaves immediately?
The latter is exactly what clickbait achieves. But this visitor isn’t worth anything. It’s just a number in your analytics.
When it comes to Google, the quality of the content is paramount. If Google thinks your content is bad, it won’t rank you. Period.
On the other hand, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been clickbaited on Pinterest. You can create the most clickable pin and rank it. But the quality of the content itself is often overlooked.
For example, I once clicked on a pin saying “How to Turn Your Blog into a Money-Making Business”. The actual article was about the ways to make money from your blog.
See what I mean?
If I land on a page that’s supposed to tell me how to turn my blog into a money-making business, I don’t expect to see advice telling me to place ads on my blog.
Look, if this happens one, fine. But if I see three posts of yours that just don’t deliver, I’ll avoid anything with your URL in the future all together.
7. Keep It Short
How long should blog post titles be?
It depends. For SEO purposes, your titles should be under 60 characters long.
Facebook headlines should be between 12 and 14 words and Twitter headlines should be between 8 and 12 words.
When it comes to Pinterest graphics, there’s no set amount of words or characters you should abide by. But the general advice is: keep it short and to the point.
Which one looks better?
“How to Monetize Your Blog So That You Can Turn it Into a Full-Time Career”
“How to Turn Your Blog into a Full-Time Career”
8. Use Special Characters
Outbrain did a study and found out that using special characters such as hyphens or colons in your titles increase the CTR by 9%.
So, what does that look like in real life?
Instead of writing:
“How to Write a Blog Post”
“Writing the Perfect Blog Post: Ultimate Guide”
9. Capitalize Letters
I don’t think that capitalizing letters in your blog post titles is going to increase your CTR. However, it’s a generally accepted formatting guideline.
What letters do you capitalize in a title?
These are the capitalization rules:
Capitalize the first letter, all nouns, pronouns, verbs, proverbs, and adjectives.
Don’t capitalize articles, prepositions, and conjunctions unless they are the first word of the title.
What does that look like in real life?
“How to Start a Money-Making Blog in 2021”
NOTE: This only applies to blog post titles, not the content of the article. I see a lot of bloggers capitalizing words in their articles. Don’t do that!
Blog Post Title Formulas
There are lots and lots of headline formulas we could go through. But there are three main types of headlines you should master:
- How to
The “how to” headline formula is one of the most used. It looks like this:
How to [achieve a desired outcome]
In reality, it looks like this:
“How to Start a Blog”
“How Not to Write a Headline”
“How to Avoid Running Out of Blog Post Ideas”
But that’s quite boring, isn’t it? To make your “how to” headline more clickable, add a modifier such as:
- A timeframe
- Like a pro/badass/boss
- How to _ without _
- How to _ and _
“How to Start a Blog Step-by-Step”
“How to Start a Blog in 30 Minutes”
“How to Write a Blog Post Like a Pro”
“How to Move Without Going Crazy”
“How to Make Money Online and Live Your Dream Life”
People love numbers. They give a sense of specificity.
If you can, use odd numbers. Research shows that listicles with odd numbers get more clicks than ones with even numbers! If in doubt, use number 10!
The listicle formula looks like this:
[number] of ways/things/steps to/tips for [achieve a desired outcome]
In practice, it will look like this:
“27 Ways to End Your Blog Post and Keep Your Readers Engaged”
“9 Free Ways to Promote Your Blog and Skyrocket Your Traffic”
“12 Critical Things to Do Before You Start a Blog”
“7 Easy Steps to Starting the Business of Your Dreams”
“17 Mind-Blowing Tips for Improving Your Blog Writing Instantly”
Guides can be similar to “how to” posts as they teach the reader to achieve a desired outcome. But that doesn’t always have to be the case.
Some guides are written to introduce a topic to its whole extent.
There are three headline formulas you can use to write an ultimate guide:
“Ultimate Guide to [topic]”
“[topic]: The Ultimate Guide”
“How to [achieve a desired outcome]: Ultimate Guide”
You don’t need to always use the expression “ultimate guide”. You can switch it up by using expressions such as “beginner guide” or “definitive guide”.
“Ultimate Guide to SEO”
“SEO: Detailed Guide”
“How to Master SEO: Beginner Guide”
NOTE: Each of these formulas has a different search intent. That’s why you need to decide which headline you’re going to use before writing the blog post.
EXTRA TIP: If you see a headline that catches your eye, write it down for future reference. You can tweak it and use it for your content!
Writing clickable blog post titles takes time to master. Keep practicing and testing. There’s no way to know for sure whether a headline will perform the way you want it to.
- Pick a topic
- Choose a keyword
- Look at what’s already working
- Pick your favorite
- Keep testing
To make the mastering process a bit easier, grab my free blog post title template!