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.

    • Doug Armey says:

      I love the continuing comments.

      And as Pat has pointed out sometimes great titles engineered to get clicks can seem like bait-and-switch. And they may get eyes but usually not subscribers.

      I am glad you all are finding the tool helpful.

      Any more new titles for the contest?

    • Nice!!! Thanks for the information. I like it getting that headline just right is often the hardest part about creating an outstanding post.

    • Dyson says:

      I have been using more copywriting formulas and headline analyzer tools like coschedule to help me come up with click-worthy, engaging headlines.

    • Doug,

      Thank you for sharing the Analyzer with us. I am a new blogger and not that confident of a writer so any help I can get is greatly appreciated.

    • Pat says:

      Doug,
      When I first read this post I thought, yes I have noticed articles that have headlines that don’t match the article that seem engineered to get clicks but fail in delivering what’s in the headline. This one was on Yahoo and no disrespect to the author, it’s a nice piece on her struggles with weight. There were parts that made me laugh out loud. On the downside, the title of the article made me think that there would be a list foods that she ‘swapped’ for others. That action does not appear in the article. Make your own judgement on whether the author achieves the expectations implied by the the title…https://www.yahoo.com/health/the-food-swaps-i-made-to-lose-over-90-pounds-and-122974827528.html

    • Joy Smith says:

      Took me at least 6 tries to get a better headline. The biggest issue I seemed to be having was not using emotional words. It’s a really cool feature and I think I’ll be using it more often for my blog posts. Loved it. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

    • Doug Armey says:

      Hi Everyone,

      Great comments. And I’m enjoying watching the contest and the titles that occur.

      Sorry for not getting onto the comments earlier as I have been traveling.

      I am so glad you are finding the tool a helpful assistant. And frankly thanks to those who complimented the article. I appreciate it. This writing business after all can be a lonely pursuit after all.

      Love to read some more suggested titles. This is fun.

      Cheers,

      Doug

    • I get zero point for electronic lock 🙂

    • Doug Armey says:

      Hi everyone,

      Sorry for not responding earlier but I have been traveling.

      So wow! Lots of great comments. And I’m loving the friendly competition. Let’s keep it going.

      As several have pointed out and I said in the post, it’s not perfect. And I am a true believer in listening to your inner spirit to guide you. But for me it is still a great tool to help me refine my titles.

      So lets keep the discussion going. I’m learning from each of you.

      Thanks for positive affirmations also. I appreciate it.

      Doug

    • Hi Doug,

      Great post. I believe all of us at one time or another struggle with titles and then sometimes one just hits you and you know that it is absolutely the one.

      Thanks for sharing this tool. I will be using it in the future.

      By the way, the test title I entered was: Is This The Best Headline For My Post with a score of 76.

    • Bill Holmes says:

      I was flopping around in the 70s try after try.Took me reading the hint to discover what was considered an “uncommon” word (I was surprised by words I used that did *not* meet that criteria) but I hit an 82 the first time I inserted one:

      How To Perfect Awesome Buzzwords for Profit and Success

      After that I found I could consistently hit high 70s to low 80s with minor tweaks (although occasionally the “word balance” tool was malfunctioning…two uncommon words out of eight is not 0%!).

      Fun tool – makes you look at titles (and embedded keywords) from a different perspective. Thanks, Doug!

    • Arfa says:

      Hey Doug!
      This article is too helpful for beginners like me, So informative and interesting.
      Well, I went through the contest and got 69 score on this title “Learn To Write Best And Interesting Headlines”

    • Judy says:

      Hi Mary,

      I’m having a lot of frustrating fun with the analyzer. It’s a magic tool that assists even with those blocks I get when I’m trying too hard.

      I worked with a theme along the lines of your headline and came up with ‘How to execute worthy headlines that are breathtaking’ and was rewarded with a score of 79 like you which was awesome. I couldn’t quit smiling!

      I want to thank you Mary for sharing this new tool which I believe will become more friend than foe in my life.

      I look forward to utilising this new discovery which will be heavily employed as I work through other blogs. I love all forms of literature and this was truly welcome.

      Thank You.

    • Hi Doug: Hadn’t heard of this before. I’ll give it a try with my next post. On my last one, it gave me a B+ at 48. It drew the worst turnout so far so I have to do something.

      Thanks for the new information.

      • Judy says:

        Doug, I do apologise … (Mary) indeed. Now, I laugh with my hand firmly over my mouth as I hoot at my own silly mistake.

        Much obliged for the article and the experience.

    • Mark Tong says:

      Hi Doug – really interesting post – hadn’t heard of this tool. I believe in mastering one tool at a time (I’m a bit of a slow learner) and I’m only a fraction into mastering my own internal analyzer – my brain. Once I’ve mastered that, I’ll move onto other software.

    • This is a cool techique to craft your headlines that i haven’t heard about before!

      If the headline is just ‘meh’ – the likeliness of your post being successful decreases awfully.

      I am going to try this technique on the next post i publish.

      Thanks for the great advice!

      Jasper

    • IBOMCHA says:

      Congrats. It seems a view of ascending.

    • Sandi Black says:

      This is So much fun! I got a score of 86 with this title:
      How To Create the Best Title That Will Attract the Most Readers

    • Sandi black says:

      I got a score of 86 with this title:
      How To Create the Best Title That Will Attract the Most Readers
      This is Too MUCH fun! Thanks for the tip!

    • Aishah Schwartz says:

      Doug!

      Thanks for the delightful diversion!

      It happens that I do news room copy editing for an online publication and titles are right up my alley! Although I will confess that it took me nine tries to beat your score.

      Learn How to Craft Viral Headlines with The Analyzer (Score: 73)

      What do you think?

      Definitely bookmarking this fabulous tool and sharing it with my colleagues.

      Regards,
      Aishah

      • Aishah Schwartz says:

        Oops Doug! Your score was 79, not 69!! I typed your headline score incorrectly in my Notepad list of titles! 😉

        Also, your headline has a 11% power score, mine was 0. Ouch! lol

    • I’ve tried writing the headline first so I could stay on topic when blogging, and I found this difficult. I’ve also used another analyzer site and ended up frustrated or going down the proverbial rabbit hole because the site wanted 2 or 3 nouns and the titles were too out there.

      Tip #2 and #5 should help me with my time management and my frustration. I just put my last post headline into the analyzer and got a B+, which surprised me but at least I was on the right track. Thank you for sharing your tips.

    • Pat says:

      This is a fun, well written article. Great job on titling it. I’m vacillating on whether it was worth my time. I guess it’s too early to tell.

      Is Headline Analyzer really as good as it gets? It seems they didn’t use it to title their own app:) I’ll check it out again in a pinch though. Why not?

      For me, the ending of the piece determines its middle and beginning and of course it’s title. I’m not against taking a little help now and again, but when I find myself looking for too much help I ditch it. Too many chef’s…

    • Doug,
      Thanks for the article. The analyzer tool is really cool. Like most, getting that headline just right is often the hardest part about creating an outstanding post.

      After playing around with the tool, I kept finding my score diminishing, so I won’t be sharing those here. It just means I need to keep working on it and with the analyzer, I’ll keep at it until I have something to post!

    • Doug,
      Thanks for the article. The analyzer tool is really cool. Like most, getting that headline just right is often the hardest part about creating an outstanding post.

      After playing around with the tool, I kept finding my score diminishing, so I won’t be sharing those here. It just means I need to keep working on it and with the analyzer, I’ll keep at it until I have something to post!

      Thanks again for recommending the tool!

    • Pimion says:

      Thanks for the article, Doug!
      Chosing the right headline is always the hardest part of entire work. So your tips are very helpful.


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