How to Craft the Best Headline for Your Post

Don’t you want the best headline for your post?

You write a great post.

Obviously, you want it to go viral.

Then you give your post a headline and watch it drift into the internet nether world.

Headlines are critical if you want your masterpiece to be read.

With RSS and Google search, many readers just glance at headlines, scanning to see which few to click on.

Must-read posts like 10 Easy Ways to Write Headlines that Go Viral and The Art (and Science) Behind Neck Snapping Headlines help us create attention-grabbing headlines.

But what if you need to create your headline in real time?

You throw together some words. Seems ok.

Then you start to doubt yourself; at least, I do.

Maybe I should shorten it? Wait a minute, is it too short now? What if I changed these words? N-no, I like the earlier ones better.

You know the drill.

After 15 minutes, I’m more confused than ever.

And I’m not sure my final headline was any better than the first one. Is this the best headline for my post?

There’s no way to find out.

But what if I found a tool that analyzes your headline to tell you how effective it is in terms of attracting traffic?

And what if I sold it to you for a reasonable price?

Just kidding. It’s free!

How the analyzer helps me come up with the best headline

I use the analyzer in real time, while editing a post. No more going back to a list of power words or doing AdWord searches while trying to write. I can analyze all my headlines in one place, right now.

The analyzer gives me a numerical value for each headline so that as I change headlines, I can see clearly whether my headline is improving—or not.

It also keeps track of each headline (including its score) so I can compare them.

Finally, it shows me the factors used to calculate the score, which gives me ideas on how to further improve a headline.

It’s easy to get caught up in throwing new words and structures into the mix to see what score I get.

While that’s ok up to a point, I can waste a lot of time playing rather than writing.

It’s like doing SEO searches on Google. At first it seems like a great idea. I mean, this will bring the world flocking to my site, won’t it?

Then, an hour later, I still haven’t written anything but I have a whole list of SEO-rich words I could use if I actually wrote something.

How to use the analyzer effectively

Here are the five steps I take to make sure I find the best headline for my post:

#1. Outline

I outline my post, give it a working title, and write, as Ann Lamott so richly says, “A shitty first draft.”

#2. Edit with keywords

When I start editing, I revise the title, using focus keywords. I use the analyzer only after I’ve finished editing the post.

#3. Use the analyzer

Up to now, I’ve edited the title many times based on what I’ve learned from posts on great headlines, and by following my instinct.

Now, I click on the analyzer and plug in my title. When I click “analyze,” my score pops up.

Let me tell you now, you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to get it perfect. I feel that a score above 60 is generally good enough. If I’m in the 70’s, I’m gold.

#4. Test the headline

I test my headline, changing some keywords, playing with the structure. The analyzer keeps track of each title I’ve plugged in, and its score.

#5. Set a time limit

I limit myself to about five minutes and 10 titles, as long as I end up with a headline that scores high enough. (Remember, our goal is to get to the best headline in real time.) I select the best one and hit “publish.”

That’s it.

It’s not perfect.

I’ve seen some dynamite headlines from great bloggers that wouldn’t necessarily score exceptionally high.

But overall, it’s helped me to write better headlines.

And save a lot of time.

And it’s kept me from wandering around in a mental cloud engaged in endless verbal debate with myself.

Captivating headlines are the key to getting eyes on your post, which is vital, if you want a ton of traffic to your site.

And so you don’t have to check, because I know you will, the headline for this post scored 79.

Here’s the link to the Analyzer. Try it and see how it works for you.

How about a little contest?

Would you like to change my headline and come up with a higher score?

Leave your suggested headline and score in the comments!

And tell me what you think of the analyzer!

About the author

Doug Armey

Doug Armey loves his wife, kids, fast cars and racing sailboats. He writes irreligiously about his adventure of discovering the amazing life God offers at "Spirit Hacker."    www.douglasarmey.com.

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