Reflect on your experience of reading newspapers. Any broadsheet will contain scores of news items. But you read only a few of them. How do you pick what you will read from all these varied choices? You go by the headlines! This sort of reader behavior is synonymous with online readers as well. Headlines are often the only reason why a reader would go through one copy and reject the other. It creates the most lasting impression on online visitors. Weak headlines lose the reader well before the visitor starts reading the copy that you have written. Web content writers cannot go slack on headlines.
There are different kinds of headlines, depending on the approach you want to take and the purpose of your web copy. Some of these different formats of headlines are listed below:
- The Question: This is a tested headline stance that arouses the curiosity of the reader. In this, your headline is framed like a question. Don’t make it too inquisitive as that might offend or repel the reader. Frame questions that the reader would feel compelled to find answers to. Example: Are burgers as healthy as you think?
- The Shock Value: online readers go through numerous web pages while looking for information. Headlines that shock them make an instant hit. Readers find such headlines breaking through the clutter, and sometimes boredom, of so many web pages that a search engine might throw up. Example: Your emails are being read!
- The Direct Appeal: There is no denying the power of a direct marketing message to grab attention and eyeballs. Readers do not care for much of subtlety when the product or service that they are looking for falls in the instant gratification slot. Similarly, if your website is offering a huge discount, announce it on the headline unabashedly. Example: Get 40% discount on Photo Retouching
- The Command: Online readers are known to be passive unless goaded into action. Do it with your command headline! This is the best way to make readers click on your web links or check out other associated web pages. It also calls the reader to action. Use a strong verb at the start of the headline to make maximum impact. Example: Paint your House Today
- The News: The domain that you are writing for might announce some news or updates for your online readers. Such copies must always have a news headlines. This headline is like an alert that everyone associated with your field of work must know. The fact that the news is not fiction or a marketing gimmick adds to the credibility of this headline. Example: Online Products Business Increases by 12% in 2012
- The How-to: Online readers want to read up on web pages to know the process of certain tasks. Writing how-to headlines is comparatively easy but you must keep in mind to use simple words to construct it. Example: How to Write Snazzy Copies