1 July 2023

6 Tips for Writing Blog Headlines That Get Clicks

Updated July 2023: Brilliant blog headlines are what hook your readers and drive organic traffic to your site. Did you know that 80% of people will only read your headline and nothing else

Blog headlines are your opportunity to grab the attention of searchers and convince them your post is worth reading. However, too many companies write headlines that are too long, too boring or too vague. 

Writing a catchy but relevant blog headline can increase your CTR by up to 500%. A great headline can also increase the likelihood that a reader will share your post on social media. 

But what makes a good blog headline? What are some important tips and best practices to follow? How long should a headline be? Read on as we answer these questions and more.

Here’s what you’ll find in this blog post:

What makes great blog headlines?

Blog headlines are a crucial element of successful blog posts. They serve as the first impression for potential readers and can make or break the success of your content. So, what makes a great blog headline?

Effective headlines are:

  1. relevant
  2. search-worthy
  3. attention-grabbing
  4. optimized

Let’s discuss each of these requirements further.

1. Relevant blog headlines

By far, the most important factor in crafting great blog headlines is relevance. Your headline should accurately reflect the content of your post and provide a clear indication of what readers can expect to find within. Misleading headlines are not only unethical, but they can also result in high bounce rates and a negative impact on your brand’s reputation.

2. Blog headlines that cover search intent

We also recommend addressing search intent in your headline. Does your title demonstrate that your blog post will answer the query they’re searching for? We’ll discuss a few techniques you can use to capture this search intent later on. 

3. Attention-grabbing blog headlines

Secondly, a great blog headline is attention-grabbing. It should pique the reader’s interest and entice them to click through to read more. Here are a few ways to achieve this: 

  • Use vivid, eye-catching language in your headline
  • Demonstrate legitimacy with striking facts and statistics
  • Use questions in your headlines

Read on to find out more about how these principles can be used to increase your clicks.

4. Optimized blog headlines

Finally, a great blog headline should be optimized for SEO. Including keywords in your headline can help to improve your post’s search engine rankings and increase its visibility. 

However, it’s important to strike a balance between SEO optimization and readability, as a headline that’s stuffed with keywords is unlikely to resonate with readers—and will likely underperform in search results too. 

By carefully crafting your headlines with these factors in mind, you can increase your blog’s reach and engagement, and establish your brand as a trusted source of valuable content.

9 types of blog headlines

While there are many approaches you can use to create blog headlines, most fall into one of 9 common categories. Each of these headline types is a tried-and-tested method for capturing the attention of searchers. 

Let’s explore each of them: 

9 types of blog headlines

1. How-to blog headlines

For blog posts that aim to educate your readers on a particular process or skill, you should consider starting your headline with “How to”. For example, “How to Build a Successful Online Business”. This will capture the attention of users who are looking for step-by-step tutorials on how to solve specific problems. 

2. Listicle blog headlines

For listicle posts that list a number of items or tips, use a blog headline that starts with a number. For example, “10 Tips for Better Time Management”. A list format makes longer articles much more digestible, and research shows that articles with lists get far more page views than those without. 

3. Beginner’s guide blog headlines

For posts that introduce a topic to readers who are new to it, use words like “Beginner’s”, “101” and “Starter” in the headline to clearly communicate who this piece of content is for. For example, “A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Stocks”. If you’re looking to capture beginners, this is a brilliant technique. 

4. Ultimate guide blog headlines

For posts that dive deep into the details and provide a full and comprehensive overview of a topic, include words like “Complete”, “Ultimate” and “Everything” in the blog headline. For example, “The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Bloggers”. We recommend using this format for complex topics with plenty of breadth.

5. Case study blog headlines

For posts that tell a customer’s story of a challenge they faced and how they solved it with your help, be sure to include concrete numbers in the blog headline. It should clearly show the result the customer experienced. For example, “How One Small Business Increased Sales by 50% with Social Media Marketing”.

6. Interview blog headlines

For posts that profile an individual or company, be sure to use the person’s name or company name in the blog headline, especially if they’re well known. Alternatively, or in addition, try to use words like “Sit-down”, “Chat” or “Interview” in the title. For example, “An Interview with a Successful Freelance Writer”.

7. Opinion blog headlines

An opinion post is where the author shares their personal thoughts or views on a particular topic. Galvanizing, controversial or thought-provoking titles can work well for these posts. For example, “Why I Believe Everyone Should Learn to Code”.

8. Comparison blog headlines

A comparison post is where two or more items are compared and contrasted. This type of post is great bottom-of-funnel content for people who are in the decision-making phase of their journey. Titles often use the word “versus”. For example, “WordPress vs. Squarespace: Which is the Best Website Builder?”.

9. How I Did It blog headlines

This type of post is where the author shares their personal experience or journey with a particular topic or goal. Using first person (like “I” or “we”) works great. For example, “How I Built a Six-Figure Online Store from Scratch”. This can get people curious, but some readers may find this format spammy or inauthentic.

6 tips for writing an effective headline [plus examples]

Next, we’ll discuss some brilliant tips for writing a good headline. It’s also important to explore some blog headline ideas for inspiration. 

So, for each tip, we’ll show you some headline examples so you can see our recommendations in action. 

Here we go! 

6 ways to write an effective headline to get clicks

Tip #1: Tell your reader what the blog post is about

Don’t make your audience guess what your content is about. Great blog headlines boost your chances of getting clicks by communicating exactly what readers can expect from your post. Using your blog headline to show how your post will solve a problem is a great place to start.

Simply put, your headline should be both specific and descriptive. Ambiguity is your enemy. A reader should know exactly what your blog post will cover, and what it won’t by reading the headline. 

The more precise your headline is, the more trustworthy it is – and the more effective it’ll be at demonstrating the benefits of reading your blog post.

Let’s have a play with a headline. Pretend you’re writing a blog post about Instagram marketing techniques. Which blog post title is more specific: 

  • “5 Strategies to Boost Your Instagram Engagement by 200% in 30 Days”
  • “Guide to Instagram Marketing”

The first headline is more specific as it gives the reader a clearer idea of what they can expect to learn from the post. 

Blog headline example #1:

Let’s see this principle in action. The headline of this post from HubSpot tells readers exactly what they’ll learn: how to make an ad memorable. It also suggests that the post will help solve the problem of poorly performing ads. And the post itself delivers on the content promised in the headline, which is key.

Example of blog title best practices: Hubspot
Source: HubSpot

Tip #2: Write a catchy blog headline

Give your audience a reason to read your content by writing a compelling and catchy blog headline. 

How do you write a catchy headline? An effective way to do this is by using your audience’s own language in your blog post headlines. That way, you can show your readers that you understand the challenges they’re facing—and that you can answer their most pressing questions.

Secondly, we recommend using attention-grabbing language. Here are some quickfire tips to use language to pique the attention of searchers: 

  • Use second-person pronouns “you” and “your” to address your reader. This helps make headlines feel more personal.
  • Use superlatives—such as “the best” or “the worst”—for emphasis. It’s important to use this sparingly, as this technique can easily set unrealistic expectations about your blog post if it isn’t plausible for your chosen topic. Does your article about dropshipping really talk about “the only” way to make money online?
  • Use power words like “effortless”, “secrets” or “free” to evoke an emotional response from your reader. Simple, emotional language works. Copywriter Karl Stepp has compiled a great cheat sheet for these powerful words

However, keep in mind some power words may develop negative connotations. Beware of the slippery slope of clickbait. It’s hard to know for sure which words and headlines are a bit ‘too much’ for readers—but a few basic rules apply: 

  • Is it plausible? 
  • Is it accurate? 

If the answer is yes to both, you should be good. Remember, stay relevant and truthful in your language. 

Blog headline example #2:

The headline of this post from Zapier is an excellent example of incorporating the audience’s own language into a headline: “generate more leads” and “book more calls”.

Example of blog title: Zapier
Source: Zapier

Tip #3: Use numbers in your blog headlines

Starting your blog post headline with a number can double shares of the post on social media and increase click-through rates by 36%. Why? 

Numbers catch readers’ eyes and provide useful information about what they’ll learn in the post, making them a key ingredient of effective blog post headlines.

Blogger Mike Hamers calls numbers “brain candy” as they are easily scannable and make headlines and claims seem more authentic.

This best practice of starting a headline with a number is elevated by a handy tool called a list. Our brains love lists. In 1968, neuroscientist Walter Kintsch found that lists help us categorize and memorize information. This benefit lives on in the digital age, where articles with more than 4 lists have 3.6X the number of page views than those without

A numbered list in a title—for example, “5 Most Important Benefits of a CRM”—offers a promise of conciseness, relevancy and substance to your readers. They’re more likely to click.

Blog headline example #3:

This blog post headline from Slack pairs a number with an intriguing headline that lets readers know what they’re getting and how much. Our only qualm? The company could have dropped “The” at the beginning to get to the point faster.

Example of blog title best practices: Slack
Source: Slack

Tip #4: Include your keyword in the headline

A tip list for writing great blog headlines wouldn’t be complete without mention of search engine optimization (SEO).

Catchy blog headlines are great, but they also need to be strategic and help you drive organic traffic to your website. Pro tip: use your focus keyword as close to the beginning of the headline as possible.

Remember, optimizing a page for a focus keyword is to make sure search engines understand what that post is about. A search engine uses the prevalence of keywords to decide whether or not to display your post in relevant search results. 

By including your target keyword in the headline, you’re signaling to search engines that your content is relevant to that keyword and should be considered for ranking.

In addition to boosting search visibility, including your target keyword in the headline can also improve the click-through rate of your blog post. When people are searching for information, they often scan the search results for headlines that match what they’re looking for.

We also recommend optimizing your headline for lucrative long-tail keywords. These often match exactly what users are searching for so including one in your title is a surefire way of matching search intent. Check out our content optimization checklist to find out more about SEO optimization. 

Blog headline example #4:

Assuming that “marketing for startups” is the keyword for this Salesforce blog post, the headline would work even better if it was “Marketing for Startups: An Introduction”. However, the company gets points for making it clear who the blog post is for—in this case, startups.

Sample of blog title best practices: Salesforce
Source: Salesforce

Tip #5: Keep your headlines short and direct

B2B SaaS blog post headlines that work well need to be the right length for search engines—60 characters or less. Headlines longer than 60 characters could get cut off in search results, throwing a wrench in your efforts to be clear and compelling.

A short headline is also useful for readers too. A long, wordy headline can quickly lose someone’s attention, whereas a short, direct one may encourage them to read on.

It’s important to make the first few words of your headline count. If the first 5 or 6 words don’t succinctly say what the post is about or hook readers, chances are they won’t read it. 

Here are a few tips for writing great short headlines: 

  1. Use numbers as a hook. For example, openers like “5 Reasons Why”, “8 Secrets” and “10 Ways” work brilliantly to quickly convey what your blog post is all about.
  1. Use tried-and-tested headline types to describe the format of your article. Refer to the list we gave you earlier on in the article. Phrases like “Ultimate Guide” or “Tips for Beginners” set the expectations of your post fast.
  1. Use search intent to make your headlines count. Simply ask, what are users searching for? Keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush are helpful for this.

    Also, tell your readers what they’ll gain from your post. Have a look at the title of this very blog post: “6 Tips for Writing Blog Headlines That Get Clicks”. We know our readers (you!) are looking to get more clicks—and through our title, it’s clear our blog post will address this. 

So, how long should a headline be? We recommend anywhere between 40 and 60 characters. Making the title too short will often sacrifice the descriptiveness of the headline, but headlines that are too long will just get cut off.

Blog headline example #5:

The headline of this blog post by Okta, “What Is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?”, is well within the maximum character range at 43 characters. The topic is also clear.

Example of blog title best practices: Okta
Source: Okta 

In fact, this headline most likely matches a lucrative long-tail keyword exactly. Users are searching for “What is IaaS?” and this blog post will answer it. Neat!

Tip #6: Use questions in your headlines

People often use search engines to answer questions. Why are marketing KPIs important? What is a CRM? Is AI really going to replace my job? 

In fact, many long-tail keywords are indeed questions. 

The reasoning behind including questions should therefore be clear. If your users are searching for questions, including them in a headline is a promise to answer them.

However, there is much debate on whether questions make effective headlines. It sparks intrigue from your readers, and as author David Hoffield puts it: “With a question in the air, the human brain cannot think of anything else.”

So, when should you use a question? Here are some simple rules to follow: 

  • If the question is open-ended, it may work as a headline because an open question invites a reader to click through to the post in order to find out the answer. Yes/no questions don’t make such great blog headlines because you may be able to find the answer by looking at a featured snippet or reading a short excerpt on a search engine page. 
  • The body content of the post should provide the answer to the question and anticipate follow-up questions. If your content answers the question too quickly, readers will leave after reading the first few paragraphs. The simple framework of “What is X? Why is it important?” is a great nudge to keep reading. 

Blog headline example #6:

The headline of this blog post by Quickbooks starts with a question—and a common search term. It will attract readers looking for a succint defintion of business accounting. And bam! This article promises the answer.

Source: Intuit Quickbooks

But, what’s making readers stay? This article also promises 21 relevant tips for getting business accounting right. It’s even tailored for the target audience, which is business owners doing their own accounting.

2 quickfire bonus blog headline writing tips

Combine these tips with our 6 tips for great blog headlines above to supercharge your SaaS blog posts:

1. Keep an eye out for high-performing headlines

Improve your blog post headlines by reading lots of other posts and taking note of which headlines catch your eye. If a headline is performing really well, for instance in pole position on a SERP, it’s got to be doing something right.

We recommend installing a keyword analysis plugin like Keywords Everywhere on your website. This allows you to see some useful stats about any search results, including keyword density, competition and more. 

Write down any headlines that would work in convincing you to click. Chances are you’ll find some interesting patterns or rules to apply to your own headlines.

2. Try out different headlines

Jot down a few headline options. Create 3 headlines for every blog post you write, then ask your co-workers which variation resonates most with them (and why).

Want to take this a step further? A/B test your headlines. Research is useful, but adding A/B testing into the mix is a surefire way to level up your blog strategy and find out which blog post headlines your audience prefers.

Put these blog headline ideas to use

As a SaaS marketer, you know just how beneficial blog writing can be to your company’s bottom line. Use the tips and ideas we discussed in this post to start crafting blog headlines that drive traffic and boost clicks. 

Want a hand with your blog posts?

Uplift Content can help you publish a consistent flow of highly relevant and optimized blog posts that grow traffic and boost conversions. Intrigued? Check out our blog writing services.

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Emily Amos

As the founder of Uplift Content, Emily leads her team in creating done-for-you case studies, ebooks and blog posts for high-growth SaaS companies like ClickUp, Calendly and WalkMe. Connect with Emily on Linkedin

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