It’s tough writing a headline when you’re faced with a sea of white blank space; it feels daunting. Luckily, this post shows you how to craft catchy blog titles using templates that work.
This guide will show you:
- 13 examples bloggers use to improve click-through rates (CTR)
- Blog title generators to help you brainstorm (+ the insta headline formula)
- Tips for engineering the perfect headline
- Headline-writing rules for the web
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13 Catchy Blog Post Titles That Scream “Open Me!”
There are numerous types of headlines you can write to attract clicks. However, some people think that using clickbait is the way to go.
But that destroys trust with your reader once they see your post doesn’t deliver on its promise – so avoid it at all costs.
Instead, use an ethical marketing strategy coupled with sound persuasion principles with these blog title templates.
1. Little Known Ways to…
Everyone wants to learn a bit of insider knowledge, right? So this blog title carries the promise of intrigue and privileged information that few people know about. Plus, it makes you feel like a VIP.
This one from LifeHack uses a few elements which makes it even more clickable:
- Uses numbers (people are drawn to numbers – more on that in example #13)
- Includes the adjective “simple” (we like it when things are easy)
If you’re turning this into a formula, it looks like this:
Number + Adjective + “Little Known Ways to” + Desired Outcome
In this case, the topic is productivity. Who doesn’t want to be more productive? So turning the post into a numbered list and tossing in the adjective ‘simple’ becomes more attractive.
2. Here’s A Quick Way to…
Make your blog title timebound by signaling that your solution won’t take too much time. I think this pairing works well with something that sounds counter-intuitive to accomplish in a short time.
A crazy ant infestation?! I had to click this headline. What other things might pair nicely with our phrase “here’s a quick way to…”?
I think what makes it work even better is pairing it with some kind of disaster., For example:
- A screaming toddler
- A collapsing roof
- Your lover’s bad breath
This blog title also referenced a location (Montogomery, Texas). So, if you live in an area where these things are common, that will strike a chord with them.
Tip: Add a location to the above examples where it makes sense.
So, our screaming toddler example now reads:
- Here’s a Quick Way to Handle Your Screaming Toddler In a Crowded Shopping Mall
Or these formulas:
- “Here’s a quick way to __” + Do Hard Thing + In Location
- “Here’s a quick way to __” + Do Hard Thing + Like a + Industry Expert/Celebrity
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3. “…Here’s Why” Titles
“Here’s why” titles signal logic. Humans are both emotional and rational – we tend to make decisions based on emotion and then look for a logical reason for coming to our conclusion.
Adding ‘here’s why’ supports this argument.
You can write something outlandish, counter-intuitive, or flying in the face of the status quo and then finish that sentence with the words “here’s why.”
Take a look:
You could add either parentheses or brackets to break this headline up (more on that below).
So, now it becomes:
- The Internet Makes Us Stupid (and Here’s Why)
Simply append the phrase “here’s why” to your headline. More examples:
- Fraud’s on the Rise (and Here’s Why)
- Affiliate Marketing Is the BEST Way to Make Money Online (and Here’s Why)
4. How to (Achieve Desirable Outcome)
How-to guides (aka the step-by-step guide) are great to teach you how to do something.
Here’s one from the Ahrefs blog. While the guide is about writing a headline, Brett punches it up using power words and numbers.
Ways to jazz it up:
- Make it time-bound (e.g., how to change your water filter in 5 minutes)
- How to __ + achieve result + “like” + industry expert (e.g., how to sink a 3-pointer like Kobe Bryant )
- How to + desired result + “with” + adjective (e.g., how to pick up a woman with class)
- How to Write A How-to Guide That People Will Want to Read (+ Template)
- 11 Common Problems Bloggers Face & How to Avoid Them
5. The Only (SEO Keyword Phrase) Made Exclusively to (Desirable Outcome)
This one makes a bold claim using the phrase “the only” and “made exclusively.” The formula from Copyhackers shows how to get more from your content marketing efforts, get more clicks, and make your solution stand out.
For example, if you’re blogging about pet food, it could read:
- The only dog food made exclusively to ease digestive problems
6. Here’s a Method That’s Helping (Noun) to (Achieve Desirable Outcome)
This one is simple and works in two parts:
- Call out your target audience
- Tell them how you’ll help them
For all of our mom bloggers, here’s one you can steal ; )
7. Everything You Need to Know about ___
This headline is similar to an ultimate guide, as it covers everything on a single topic. In fact, many bloggers combine the two.
- Everything you Need to Know about Amazon’s Affiliate Program (Ultimate Guide)
8. What Everybody Ought to Know About (SEO Keyword Phrase)
This version teases the click by challenging your knowledge base. Now you’re asking, Do I know what everybody else ought to know?”
Or if it’s industry-related, you’d feel compelled to read to ensure you’re not missing anything.
9. Get (Desired Result) without (Objection)
We like getting things. This simple word instantly makes your headline more appealing because your reader stands to gain something.
And if you can give that to them painlessly, they’re more likely to click.
The above addresses an objection using the word ‘without’ (i.e., get what you want without going through the typical hassle).
- Catch more fish (desired result) without using bait (objection/unexpected thing)
10. Never Suffer from (Undesirable Thing) Again
People hate suffering. So, make your post more desirable by showing them how to avoid it.
Think about whatever pain points your niche endures and add them to your blog title.
11. Who Else Wants (Desired Outcome)
This persuasion principle uses social proof. It suggests other people have already expressed interest in the topic.
Because humans have a strong need to conform, more people are likely to click because they want to be like everyone else.
It’s hardwired into our brain as a survival mechanism to fit in (i.e., blend in to stay alive).
12. “__ Vs. __” Blog Titles
People love seeing pros and cons because it saves them the trouble of researching the topic themselves. These “topic” vs. “topic” queries get a substantial amount of search traffic.
Alternatively, “product vs. product” convert at a higher rate because someone searching for this term has narrowed their commercial investigation to these two brands (i.e., they’re more likely to buy).
If you’re an affiliate marketer, this content type is a must to create.
- How to Write A Product Comparison In 6 Easy Steps
- A Simple Product Review Template (That You Can Steal)
13. Numbered Lists
A study from the Nielsen Norman Group using eye-tracking data confirms numbers “stop the wandering eye” when scanning web pages. And often, numbers “represent facts,” drawing us in.
Backed by science sounds more believable.
Tip: Pair a number with the phrase ‘backed by science’ in your headline.
Or, this numbered list using tips to achieve an outcome:
- X tips to get [desired result]
People love “tips.”
Adding the phrase “according to experts” sounds more trustworthy (but only use these if they’re true, not to get clicks).
Alternatively, you can go for the negative with “X ways to Avoid [undesirable outcome]”:
- 7 Ways to Avoid Overpaying for Health Insurance
List posts: It’s good form to start your headline with a number. Especially if it’s a series of steps, better yet, use odd numbers with list posts. Studies have shown that odd numbers tend to draw more clicks.
Still Stuck? Try A Blog Title Generator to Help Brainstorm
Title generators aren’t always ideal as you don’t want to sound like everybody else, but they can help you get the idea juices flowing.
The below tools can help optimize your blog headlines when all else fails.
Impact Blog Title Generator:
Impact’s Blog Title Generator finds blog post ideas as well as catchy headline ideas for you.
Best for content marketers and bloggers who need help finding topics to fill their editorial calendars.
Advanced Marketing Institute Headline Analyzer
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
We often use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer with our writing teams. It shows great metrics, including:
- Word balance
- Reading grade level
Particularly helpful when needing to write a great headline for social media.
Headline Swipe File (+ the IHF Method)
I keep a headline swipe file along with headline formulas for fresh ideas. The Insta Headline Formula Method is something I learned from Copyhackers.
It goes like this:
- Create a Google Drive folder labeled “Swipes”
- Run a Google Image search of expert copywriters. Here’s what that looks like when I search for Joe Sugarman (you can also try adding the word “headlines” to your Image search, i.e., “Joe Sugarman headlines”)
- Take screenshots of all of the headlines that appear interesting
- Save them to your Swipes folder
Then, use your swipes and turn them into formulas.
This could be using an original headline from an old ad via a Google image search. Original ad: You can’t make linens cost less… but you can make them last longer.
Insta-formula: “You can’t make___ … but you can make___.” When using this technique, remove words that don’t apply to your industry and include terms that do.
Tips for Engineering the Perfect Blog Title
There are lots of ways to craft eye-catching headlines. So here are a few more things to think about in your next draft.
Draft Your Blog Titles
I think of drafts as a way of getting all of the bad ideas out of your head before hitting the winners. Drafts are just the mud you sift through until striking gold – much like a gold miner.
Get a good brainstorming session going, and try writing 20-25 versions of your headline.
Color Your Headline with These Attributes
Add qualities to your headline that highlight its USP.
For example, if speed is its strongest selling point, include that in your headline with words like “quick,” “fast,” or “right now.”
If your content is comprehensive and covers the topic in-depth, words like ultimate or definitive make strong choices to add to your blog title. Brian Dean is a good example.
So many of his articles are ultimate guides which he says in the headline.
Alternatively, if it targets a specific group (e.g., a beginner’s guide), include that. A simple template to use for this model is:
Keyword phrase + definitive guide
People want something new, not dated from 2015. In this instance, try using the current year and include the word “Update.”
Here’s how it’ll display in the SERP, adding brackets and the current date 👇
Using an SEO plugin inside WordPress, you can include the current year using its variable in your headline.
- Set your cursor to where you want the current year to appear
- Click “Insert variable”
- Start typing “current year” until it displays from the dropdown menu
- Select ‘current year’ when it displays and click it
Yoast automatically adds it to your title tag with a Google preview. Here’s the finished version.
What makes this handy is that it’ll roll over to the new current year on January 1st if you couldn’t update your content (headline included). So, you won’t have blog posts with the previous year displaying.
Align your blog title with search intent
Ensure you’re writing things people want to find. You’ll have a good idea of what to create based on what you see in search engines if you’ve done the keyword research.
For example, when I Google “best hotels in Miami,” the word ‘luxury’ or ‘5-star’ repeatedly appears in the SERP.
So, if you were creating an article about the best hotels in Miami, it’d be a good idea to include those types of hotels in the article and have your headline reflect it with that word or a variation.
But, when I Google “best vacation getaways,” the word ‘weekend’ dominates.
So, you’d want to create an article focusing on short, weekend getaways and emphasize it in the title.
Use a Thesaurus
If you’re trying to replace your dull word with a stickier alternative, plug it into an online tool like OneLook. Its advanced search filters let you find words in many ways, including by:
- Starting with a particular letter
- Rhymes with…
Create A Curiosity Gap to Grab Attention
A curiosity gap hints at what’s to come without revealing the answer. So instead, you present enough information to pique their interest without giving it away.
Joanna Wiebe at Copyhackers refers to it as:
The space between what we know and what we want or even need to know.
Terms like “here’s why” and ‘this’ are excellent examples.
Let’s use our earlier headline, “The internet makes us stupid (and here’s why).” That statement compels you to click. Most people use the internet. You’re reading this article because of it.
If it were making you stupid, you’d want to know why so you can avoid it. Another example using the word ‘this’: “This 1 mindset shift led our sales team to a 47% Q3 revenue increase.”
You’re probably asking, “WTF was the mindset shift, and how can I achieve that result?” That’s the power of the curiosity gap.
Answer Your Reader’s “WIIFM?”
What do people stand to gain from reading your post? First, articulate a benefit they’ll get from consuming your work. It’s a standard copywriting rule of turning features into benefits.
Focus on the single thing you want them to walk away with (i.e., what’s the one thing you want your reader to think, feel, or do?).
That’s what belongs in your headline.
Tip: Here’s an exercise you can try when drafting headlines. Ask yourself why you’re writing the article. Or what problem do you need to help people solve?
Here’s a piece of what mine looked like when writing this post:
When you finish this exercise, imagine your headline’s single job is to get clicked. Then review your brainstorming and consider what single thing you wrote might fulfill that job.
Use your audience’s language
Any time you can chat with your readers – good or bad – is a win. If you have the luxury of an audience, send them an email and ask them what they’re struggling with.
Then, the next time you’re drafting a blog post, use their own words in your headline and body copy.
Show Them to Your Friends… Then Wait 24 Hours
Here’s another tip for picking a winning headline. This comes from Harry’s Marketing Examples. Start with:
- Writing down ten titles
- Show them to your friends
- Wait 24 hours
- Ask which one they remember
That’s your title.
Use Emotional Triggers
Good headlines use emotion when it makes sense. Try weaving trigger words into your copywriting that compel people to take action.
For example, this headline with the word ‘instantly.’
- 21 Trigger Words: Stir Your Readers into Action with These Examples
- Conversion Copywriting: What Is It (+ the Assembly Line Technique)
Front-load your keyword
It’s still common practice to put your keyword at the start of your headline. SEO plugins like Yoast even check your title and dock your score if yours appears at the end.
In my experience, it’s fine to include at the end when it makes sense. After all, we write for humans, not robots.
For example, our headline from earlier:
- The Vanity URL: 9 Practical Reasons to Use One Right Now
You could really rewrite this to read:
- 9 Practical Reasons to Use A Vanity URL Right Now
The idea behind front-loading the keyword is to make your topic stand out and be memorable.
It also matters if your headline gets truncated in search results (when it gets cut off and you see three dots indicating more words) because it’s too long.
For example, people won’t see it in the SERP if your keyword displays at the end of your blog title versus the beginning.
Use Parentheses, Colons, or Capitals
Next time you’re writing headlines, try breaking up the text with colons or brackets to make it even more readable. Alternatively, capitalizing a single word can emphasize a point and make it stand out.
We experiment with different approaches to our writing. A quick look at one of our headlines below, and you see a few things.
Headline: Affiliate Marketing: An EPIC Guide for Beginners in 2021
That single title packs a lot of info into it without sounding stuffy.
For example, it:
- Front-loads the keyword (this also makes it more linkable as someone mentioning the topic ‘affiliate marketing’ can use that term as their anchor text)
- It breaks things up by capitalizing the word ‘epic’ and uses a colon after the keyword
- Identifies who it’s for (beginners)
- Signals freshness with the current year
Headline-Writing Rules for the Web
Google starts cutting off title tags in the SERPs after 60 characters. So, check the character length of your posts. Most SEO plugins tell you if your headline’s too long.
You can also try testing your headline’s length here:
- Moz Title Tag + Meta Length Checker
- Search Wilderness Pixel Width Checker: Best for testing headlines and meta descriptions in bulk
Sidenote: It’s technically pixels that affect your blog title’s length, but characters is how they’re often referred.
AVOID WRITING HEADLINES IN ALL CAPS. To check yourself, try using a title case converter tool:
- Saijo George Title Case Converter
- Capitalize My Title: Best for using various formatting styles and cases (e.g., Chicago, AP, sentence case, or first letter).
Wrapping It Up
Writing blog titles isn’t hard; you just have to abide by a few best practices, and you’ll be fine. But, of course, it gets easier the more you cut your teeth on it.
You can even use tools like Ahrefs to track other metrics (e.g., social media shares). Is there a formula we missed? Give us a shout on Twitter!
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