The website has come a long way from being just an avenue for communication to becoming a vital business utility. These days it’s hard to imagine how a business can thrive without any sort of online presence, especially a website.
However, a website isn’t any use if it doesn’t generate a good amount of traffic on a day-to-day basis. Only with a significant number of visitors does a website become truly useful to a business.
Gaining huge amounts of traffic is one of the prime goals of creating a website. Conversion is the ultimate goal, of course, but it all starts with getting people to come to your site in the first place, and engaging them until they choose to become a paying customer.
So how do you go about attracting people to your website? Content is king, certainly. But what is the secret to getting people to look at your great content?
Effective headlines are absolutely necessary to create highly magnetic sites. And some of the most effective headlines are the ones that are either controversial or provocative.
What follows are some tips on how to create titles that will compel people to enter your site.
Titles don’t have to be long. Some of the most effective titles are very short: no more than 60 characters. However, a title that is packed with details will pack more punch than a title that says “How to Win a Woman’s Heart.”
Sure, that title sounds interesting enough, but no more interesting than all the other content out there that tackles the same subject. There’s not enough detail in this headline to capture people’s precious attention.
So what’s needed?
Titles should be specific; they have to summarize in a few characters what people may expect in the content. Let’s go back to our example, “How to Win a Woman’s Heart.” This title could be improved with some specificity, such as “How to Win a Woman’s Heart in 60 Seconds.” Sound better? It does, but it’s only going to work over the long run if the content provides specific steps to deliver just what the title promises.
Other techniques you can use to raise interest are to inject a little exaggeration into your title or to ask a question. Consider a headline such as “Can You Win a Woman’s Heart in 60 Seconds?” This effectively raises the reader’s interest: it makes him want to scan your content right away, to see if your content rises to the challenge of the question.
Injecting a little controversy
One of the most effective ways to grab the reader’s attention is to feature a title that is laden with controversy. A short and blunt sentence in a headline magically raises people’s curiosity; and a little bit of controversy makes them want to drop whatever they’re doing to learn more about your topic.
Controversial titles can often be misleading and sometimes don’t have anything to do with the actual content or its conclusions. That’s why you should exercise extra caution when writing titles that are controversial.
If you are writing content about winning a woman’s heart, for example, you can foster controversy by declaring: “Failing with Women? Why It’s Your Fault.” In the content, you can go on to say there are usually a few reasons that are beyond the reader’s control. You just came up with that title to pique their interest and get them to read the content.
The key to winning people’s attention is emotion. By writing titles that appeal to their emotions, whether anger, joy, envy, or regret, you can be fairly certain that your content won’t be a waste of time.
However, do make sure that you deliver in your content what was promised in your title.
Writing effective headlines isn’t a cakewalk. It takes some practice and a bit of testing before you get it right.