Who reads the Headlines?
“On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money.”
David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising
Think about this. All the time, money, and energy you put into your website won’t mean squat if your headlines don’t work for you. Now that we’ve got your attention regarding headlines, let’s break it down.
Five Reasons Why the Headline is the Most Important Part of Your Website
Here’s why you’ve really got to focus on your headline and make it the most exciting thing about your article:
· The headline is all people get to see sometimes. The headline (and part of the meta tag) is often the only thing that will come up in a Search Engine Listing. If you have a boring headline, nobody will bother to click on it to read the rest of the article. Make sure your meta tag stops people in their tracks as well.
· A strong headline can attract a reader who otherwise wasn’t going to stop to read the web page. Magazines do this all the time with their screaming cover headlines. You know, the ones that you can’t ignore when you’re in line at the grocery store.
· People are too busy to scan a page if the headline is weak. Research shows that readers give a headline about 7 seconds before they decide to read an article or not. We need a powerful hook so that the reader will want to stick around and read our reasons! If your headline is the weakest part of your article, the reader will never discover the gem hidden within.
· Headlines are the bottleneck to your conversion rates. If you can’t get people to click on the headline to read the rest of your copy, your landing page is doomed! Have you ever heard how the administrative assistant is the “gatekeeper” to a busy executive? You need to think of your headline as being the “facilitator” to the rest of your article. Another way to think about this is looking at the movies. You ever notice how movie companies always use the best parts of the movie to make up the movie trailers? But everybody knows why they do this, right? If they made the trailer boring, who would shell out $9 to watch the whole thing?
· For the pragmatics, if for nothing else headlines help set the reader’s expectations and also help spin the copy. Unless you’re writing news copy (and even then, this is a stretch to say), you’re writing is going to have a bias. As such, it doesn’t hurt to have your headline express said bias so you won’t alienate any of your readers two-thirds of the way down your copy!
I hope that reading this article has convinced you what an integral part your headlines play on your website. Now that you understand how important the headline is, can you afford to not make it the most powerful part of your page?