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What’s the most important part of every blog, article, post you write? It’s not the opening paragraph or the conclusion, or any of the major points you introduce in it, no matter how important your message is.

The number one most important part of the piece is always the headline, because it’s what everyone reads first, and it’s where you get the chance to convince people to click over and read the full piece. Without a great title, your post doesn’t start much chance of getting read. So what’s important when it comes to writing great titles and headlines, and how can you make sure you’re getting it right every time?

Without a great title, your post doesn’t start much chance of getting read. So what’s important when it comes to writing great titles and headlines, and how can you make sure you’re getting it right every time?
Without a great title, your post doesn’t start much chance of getting read. So what’s important when it comes to writing great titles and headlines, and how can you make sure you’re getting it right every time?

1) Start with a number.

People love headlines with numbers in them, most likely because a list-style post is typically one where it’s easy to understand the main points. Including a number is, therefore, a simple way to instantly make a headline more eye-catching, and it’s especially effective when your headline starts with a number. Of course, if your headline includes a number, then your post needs to include a list. if your post is entitled “5 ways to catch a cold” then the post must include an enumerated list of 5 ways to catch a cold!

2) Make it an odd number when possible.

Another odd-but-effective tip is to use odd numbers when possible—because titles that contain odd numbers get around 20% more clicks than titles with even numbers. Why? Nobody knows. It may have something to do with the fact that people tend to find symmetry more attractive, but find asymmetry more interesting. So if you’ve developed a list with an even number of points it’s worthwhile trying to think of one more, or removing the least important point from the list, to make it an odd number.

3) Set Clear Expectations for your readers.

The title or headline of any piece should accurately reflect what the piece is about. Sounds pretty self-explanatory and simple, but it’s amazing how many people find it difficult to do!

It’s important here to get specific about the content of a piece, but not so specific that you end up with a title that’s too long. For instance:

Too short: All about Healthy Bones

Too long: Healthy Bones, Healthy Body: A List of all the Vitamins, Minerals, and other Nutrients you Need to Build Strong Bones and a Healthy Body

Just right: 5 Essential Nutrients that Help You Build Strong Healthy Bones

4) Tell your readers where the value is.

Your readers want to know how they can benefit from reading your post before they read it—they don’t want to risk wasting time on something that might turn out to have no relevance or value for them. People make split-second decisions about these kinds of things, so your headline needs to tell them what they’re going to get out of your post in order to convince them to read it.

There are a couple of ways to do this. One is when you’re preparing an infographic or an image-heavy post. People love images and infographics, so if they’re a major part of the content, say so in the title. For instance:

·       Instead of “Why Water is Wet” use “7 Photos that Explain why Water is Wet”

·       Instead of “How to Select and Store Leaf Tea” use “How to Select and Store Leaf Tea [Infographic]”

Another way to point out the value of a post is simply to tell readers what they can get out of it. For example:

“5 Ways to Write Better Titles and Get More Clicks”. Without those last four words, it’s just “5 Ways to Write Better Titles”. It’s accurate, but since doesn’t tell readers what they can gain from reading it, they’re much less likely to click through.

5) Optimise your title length.

There’s no hard answer as to the perfect length for a title. In general it should be relatively short, but still contain all the information needed to convey the relevant information.

However, depending on where you plan to publish this post there are some guidelines that will somewhat influence the length of your titles. For instance, under 70 characters is best for Google search results to ensure the title doesn’t get cut off. On the other hand, Tweet is 140 characters maximum, and a link takes up 24. That leaves you with 116 for your title and any explanatory note you want to include.

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