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How Important are Headlines?

This post is an exert from my ebook How to Generate Traffic for Your Website:

How important are headlines? VERY. The reality is that a headline can often make or break an article. A headline will determine if even the first sentence of the article is even read. On average you have 5-7 seconds to get someone’s attention, which is done through the headline. More importantly, only 2 out of 10 people will read past your headline and actually read your article! That’s just how important headlines are.

To give you a more concrete example of just how powerful a headline can be, John Wesley submitted an article to several social networking sites, including Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc. The headline read “The Two Types of Cognition”. With this headline the article generated about 100 visitors. Nothing spectacular. However a couple days later, and after some work rewriting his headline, John resubmitted it with a new headline. With the new headline it got about 5000 visitors. A very significant difference, 50 times more visitors. What was the difference? Only the headline. The article was exactly the same. The headline went from “The Two Types of Cognition” to “Learn to Understand Your Own Intelligence”. You can find the details of his case study here.

Headlines can and do have a significant impact. It might only be one line, but it can easily make or break your articles success.

Like this article?


  •     FollowSteph.com - The Anatomy of a Press Release
    · October 21st, 2008  · 10:08 pm  · Permalink

    […] Every press release needs a headline. It’s very crucial to the success of your press release. The headline needs to be precise, convey what the press release is about, and possibly create […]

  •     Codrut Turcanu / Blog for Money
    · November 20th, 2008  · 4:44 am  · Permalink

    A headline is not important, is crucial! 🙂

    Btw, how many headlines did you personally test on your eBook sales page before finding the winner?

  •     Steph
    · November 23rd, 2008  · 4:58 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Codrut,

    To be honest, not that many. I focused more on the SEO aspect than on the headline. I wanted to test a few things (and I learned a lo.

    But the good news is that I’ve been working on updating the ebook. I’ve had it professionally edited last month. As well all the artwork/logo/branding has been redone. So I suspect I’ll also adjust the title/headline to go with it. Optimizing for SEO purposes was good, and although it sold a lot of copies, I suspect I’ll get more by maximizing the quality of the headline now. Especially with my book Blog Blazers being out.

    I had to try it to know for sure 😉

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