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Writing for the web: Use strong headlines


Written by:
2010/09/07 08:23 AM RssIcon

What normally attracts you to a story, whether that be on the printed newspaper or the world wide web? Well if you’re being honest you will have to admit that it is the headlines.

What encourages you to read the article in more depth. It’s probably the strong headings and sub-heading as you scan over the page.

Headings, headlines and subheadings—perform several important functions:

  • They give your readers a quick overview of your content
  • They help to organize your content into readable scanable chunks
  • They tell a story that makes it possible to grasp the gist of the content quickly.

Headings and tags

Your headlines should be the top most important statement of your article or copy. On the web you would use the HTML <H1> tag.

You could also bolster your important strong headline by using it in your pages <Title> tag.

These two tags are also very important when it comes to SEO. Google and other search engines love good quality keyword rich page titles and H1 headlines.

Next comes sub heading as you arrange your copy into logical and readable chunks. You would use the HTML <h2> and <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6> tags.

Arrange and organise your copy

As you might notice the heading tags differ in size as they range from <h1>- largest to <h6>- smallest.

Use these to arrange and organise your copy and headlines in decreasing levels of importance.

<h1> tags are the most important. Use them only once on the page. Normally in your main heading.

The decreasing level in the <h> tags also help to distinguish the level of importance of your copy.

Writing strong headlines

A strong and successful headline will summarise your copy in a few very powerful words. Headlines that don’t engage the reader are unsuccessful. Inaccurate and misleading headlines will drive readers away.

Check out these important points when writing headlines.

  • Make sure you understand your content
  • Your heading should identify the tone of your copy
  • Your heading should be the sole most important point of your copy
  • Utilise your strongest keywords in your headlines. 2–4 keywords should do fine
  • Use strong active accurate verbs. Example “Stocks Crash” is much more powerful than “Stocks Fall”. Be sure that its accurate though.
  • Be consistent in your capitalization. Whether you’re using Sentence case, or Title Case. But be stingy in using ALL CAPITALS.
  • Be stingy with your punctuation. Headlines don’t normally carry punctuation. It helps to give flow to your copy.


So how are you at writing headlines? Well lets see. For this post I am going to have a small competition. I want you to write a strong headline for me, in the comments below. The winner will receive a weeks free 160x160 add on this blog.

The topic for the headline is “writing effective blog articles”.

Are you up for the challenge?

Remember you can win a weeks worth of free ad space just for commenting. The best comments during the week will get a weeks free advertising space. Check out: Win free advertising for your blog

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