11 Ways To Generate Blog Titles That Drive Conversion

Eight in 10 people will read your headline… but only 2 of those 10 will click through to read the rest of your article, according to findings by CopyBlogger. Why? The majority of today’s blog titles just aren’t catchy enough to pull in readers. With the internet so saturated with content, it’s crucial to instantly grab your reader’s attention with an appropriate, eye-catching headline.

Your blog title is the single most important aspect of driving traffic to your site. The headline click-through rate tells you exactly how well your headline is able to attract attention and engage your audience. A low click-through rate means that prospects are seeing your headline… but not clicking on it. This, in turn, means that you’re missing out on opportunities to engage with potential readers and customers. If they don’t click on your headline, they don’t see your content, products, or services… and they don’t buy.

A catchy, intriguing headline will stop a reader from scrolling past. It will entice your reader to click, opening the door to your brand.

So how do you create the perfect blog title that will drive a high click-through and conversion rate?

Below you’ll find the Palm Beach Content Co. formula to generating an optimized, engaging blog title.

1. Pose a problem and solution.

The headline promises that the article will provide some sort of solution and/or opinion related to a pain point or question that the reader has.

One of the easiest and most effective blog title formulas to follow is:

challenge + solution

For example, your headline could be “How to build your doggy spa with cat toys.” The challenge is building the doggy spa. The solution is cat toys.

When you use this challenge + solution formula, your reader immediately knows what’s in it for them if they click on your blog title. This proves the benefit and value in a way that will drive click-conversion.

2. Ask a question.

A study published in Social Influence found that blog titles that end in a question mark have a higher click-through rate than those ending in exclamation marks or periods. This is because questions innately trigger curiosity.

Curiosity creates clicks.

You can often present the challenge + solution formula as a question: “How can you use cat toys to build a doggy spa?” This “you” in the question creates a second-person intimacy with your reader right from the get-go.

3. Be specific.

Specificity is crucial to engaging and attracting a reader. Prospects are more likely to click on an article if the blog title tells them exactly what they’ll be reading about.

There is one caveat to this specificity rule. You can be decidedly vague if you don’t want to “give away” the solution in the headline. In this way, you have to present an even stronger challenge to balance out the challenge + solution formula.

Say that you want a “big reveal” that you will be using cat toys to build a dog spa. Your blog title could be: “The weirdest way to create a successful doggy spa.”

4. Use unique adjectives and adverbs.

The more uncommon and unpredictable the words in your headline, the more it will convert your readers. Unique headlines will set you apart from the competition. The diction you use will differentiate your blog title on a saturated list of search results.

Type your headline into Google. What other content pops up? How different is your blog title from the other titles that appear in the results?

You want to write a headline that no one else has.

This tactic is generally referred to as “uncommon word placement.” In headlines, you want a mix of common words, uncommon words, power words, and emotional words.

5. Include powerful attention grabbers.

According to Orbit Media, these are the most powerful words that drive clicks: how to; free; you; tips; why; best; tricks; great. The words that appear most in viral posts include: smart; surprising; science; history; hacks; big/huge; critical.

Below are the top types of blog titles that grab the attention of your reader:

  • How tos: “How to create the perfect headline in 9 easy steps”

  • Why: “Why you need to know this headline trick right now”

  • Little-known: “3 little-known ways to improve your headline conversions”

  • Tips and tricks: “7 tips to boost your conversion rate”

  • Get rid of: “Get rid of boring headlines once and for all”

All of these nibble at the same root problem; in this case, the reader wants to create headlines that better optimize.

Almost all headlines are centered around one central issue: who wants something better?

You may also notice that these headlines are all addressing the reader directly. The article is telling you how you can improve your headlines. Don’t be afraid to use “you” to grab the attention of your potential reader. This directly invites them into the post, which is more likely to drive clicks and engagement.

6. Use numbers.

When applicable, include numbers in your blog titles. Our brains are receptive to numbers because they’re clear and to the point. The brain can also better recall numbers. Use the numbers in numeral form (1, 2, 3) to maintain this brain-happy benefit.

Moreover, Outbrain found that headlines with odd numbers had a 20% higher click-through rate than headlines with even numbers. The brain actually trusts odd numbers more than even numbers. The one exception to this rule is the whole, two-handed numeral 10. If you don’t have an odd number of points, make your evens purposeful.

Numbers generally indicate a listed article. Lists are a great way to keep the structure and flow of your piece, which will help maintain your reader’s attention—even if they’re just skimming.

P.S. If you’re writing a how-to article, don’t include more than 9 steps. The brain can’t process more than 9 steps at a time for a tutorial.

7. Be negative.

Outbrain found that positive superlatives aren’t as compelling or engaging as negative superlatives. “Worst” and “never” are clicked more often than “best” and “always.” In this study, positive blog titles performed 29% worse than non-superlative headlines, while negative superlatives performed 30% better.

Keep in mind that you don’t want a negative article. You want to draw in your reader with a negative headline, and then solve that problem in a positive way in order to maintain their attention.

8. Use “subtitles.”

The Content Marketing Institute found that a hyphen or colon in a blog title increased the click-through-rate by 9%. This is especially useful for informational or research-based posts. For example, “How to build a doggy spa: 6 cat toys to pamper your dog.”

9. Keep it simple.

Your headlines should be easy to understand. A reader won’t decode your headline—they just won’t click on it. Avoid using fancy language or jargon.

Headline length matters as well. Outbrain research found that the optimal blog title length was between 8 and 12 words, which performed with a 21% higher click-through rate than average. Your headline should not be more than 62 characters, as this is the cut-off for most search engines.

10. Don’t be pushy or spammy.

Invite your reader in—don’t force it. Studies have shown that blog titles that include “need” and “must” have a lower click-through rate, because they’re seen as untrustworthy and demanding. For example, Upworthy started losing viewers because their “catchy” blog titles became too pushy and demanding. Prospects didn’t like feeling guilted into clicking.

You also don’t want to be pushy with too many keywords. Readers and search engines can tell when you’re keyword stuffing rather than providing value. Keyword-stuffed headlines don’t attract clicks, which can in turn further hurt your optimization and conversion on search engines. Rather, choose only one keyword to put in your headline. Pick a keyword that is natural and readable.

11. Use online tools.

There are a number of headline tools that can help you understand the efficacy of your blog title. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer will rate your blog title based on common, uncommon, powerful, and emotional words, as discussed above. Check out more blog tools here, as presented by Blogging Wizard.

The best part of these tools is that they can teach you how to craft blog titles. Even a small tweak in your headline can drastically change optimization and conversion rates. Track the metrics of different blog titles to see which have the highest click-through rates.

The bottom line

Blog titles are an integral part of your content strategy. If your readers don’t click on your article, you lose a prospective client before they’ve even seen your brand. You lose the game before you’ve even had a chance to play. The headline is the first measurable metric to understanding your ROI for content marketing.

Your turn

Look at 5 of your recent piece’s headlines. Do they follow the above 11 steps? Do they follow the challenge + solution formula? Do they use common, uncommon, powerful, and emotional words? Do they have numbers or subtitles?

Change at least 3 of your headlines based on these 11 tips. Track the metrics for one month. Change those same headlines again and track for another month.

How do these blog title changes affect your conversion rate to your site? How does this conversion rate influence your content’s impact? How many clicks then go on to generate sales?

Allison Hess