Monday, 1 August 2011
Broadly speaking there are 7 main headline types. Bearing in mind the need to write headlines for Google too, each example below is focused on a single search term, in this case the word “website”:
When composing a headline, try and imagine the reaction of your primary target audience. If you can picture them thinking – “So what?” then your headline is bound to fail. If you can imagine them nodding in agreement, or even scratching their head wondering, then you are probably on the right track.
No matter how tightly defined a target audience, within it there will still be a mix of personality types. In regards to website usage, these can broadly be categorised into 4 main types:
Each has a need for different areas of information. The status and trend setter are unlikely to delve into the lower areas of the site, concentrating mainly on the pages relating directly to your products. So on these pages, use headlines such as the ‘direct’ and ‘announcement’ to appeal to them. These will also work for the other personality types too. It’s not that they don’t want this information, it’s just that they also want a lot more on top!
On supporting pages, ‘explanation, testimonial’ and ‘question’ headlines might be the best fit. Typically these pages are not visited by the first two personality types, but are by the second two. For example, instead of a mundane (but often used) headline such as “About us” why not try instead, “Why We are the Team to Help You”
No matter how great the headlines, if the content they lead into is poor, the website will struggle. However, even brilliant content will not shine without well crafted headlines as unfortunately, with nothing to entice the reader in, it will largely go unread. For a successful website, it’s important that you have all content working as hard as it can.