Are you (also) overlooking the importance of strong headlines on your T&I website?

1 easy test and 6 posts on how to turn your headlines from placeholders to compelling positioning statements
or click-worthy blog titles

February. Get a typewriter. Write 25 headlines. Tear them up. Weep. (that’s right, I don’t really like  Pasternak ).  Photo by  Velizar Ivanov  on  Unsplash

February. Get a typewriter. Write 25 headlines. Tear them up. Weep. (that’s right, I don’t really like Pasternak).

Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash

The first three website teardowns have shown: for some reason, many of us do not really feel that headlines are that big a deal.

From tagline repeat to a clever header that is unclear or to placeholder headlines marking up different sections of the page, there are many ways in which headlines (or even the whole hero image) might end up being not as useful as they could be.

And the reason that happens, I believe, is that headlines are really hard to write (and it takes persistence to keep going to finally hit the headline gold).

Fortunately, there are many resources on writing amazing, converting, magnetic etc. headlines and on evaluating your headline drafts.

My absolutely favorite headline test is “What do we want?/ When do we want it?” test I saw in a LinkedIn post published by Gill Andrews (priceless!).

It goes like this:

What do we want? - [[Your homepage headline]]

When do we want it? - Now!

Does this work with your homepage headline?

Or do you get a whole lot of “meh”?

If yes, you’re good to go.

If not, you’ll need to put in a little more work.

How to write headlines or crossheads on your website to make
potential clients scroll down, instead of bouncing away

  1. Joanna Wiebe on writing a homepage headline (guest post)
    Why: 9 steps (8 for most T&I people, since we don’t get enough traffic to A/B test), easy way to evaluate the resulting headline, suggestions on how to edit your not-so-good headlines into something sticky.

  2. Headline writing 101 with Neil Patel & Joseph Putnam on Quicksprout
    Why: examples of unique / specific / urgent / useful headlines (that you could swipe) and advice on how to go from sort-of-specific to really specific, as well as step-by-step description of how a winner is chosen in each case.

P.S. When you start feeling that this was waaaay too hard, check this out: Justin Blackman had been writing 100 headlines for 100 days (and lived to tell about it).

And yes, you do need crossheads because, as Amy Posner explained during an online copy review session, they are supposed to tell a story (and also give your website visitors a reason to keep reading on).

How to make blog post titles and/or email subject lines clickable…
…without making them read like clickbait

  1. Do what journalists do: NPR’s headline cheat sheet
    Why: downloadable tip sheet for easy reference, only 4 tips, examples and a link to a post on how brainstorming headlines can make your story better

  2. For visually inclined: HubSpot’s infographic
    Why: 6 formulas + sets of words to make brainstorming go a bit easier. Less confusing than the ultimate list of copywriting formulas, but good enough to get you started.

  3. Copyblogger list of articles on creating magnetic headlines
    Why: if you read Cosmo, you’ll love it. I don’t, but there is potential for more articles on “Getting ahead in the T&I industry: 12 brilliant (and slightly badass) ways to do it”.

  4. If you to approach brainstorming headlines in a more scientific way, Gill Andrews offers a free spreadsheet and headline template.
    Why: template + evaluation in one spreadsheet, what’s not to like?
    You don’t need to opt in to download it, but I think you should do it anyway, because she sends out great advice.

Ekaterina Howard, Pinwheel Translations. Helping translators and interpreters make their websites more persuasive. One list of copywriting resources at a time.

Ekaterina Howard, Pinwheel Translations.
Translator and copywriter, helping translators show their value and nail their copy