The headline is probably the most important thing on the most
important page of your web site.
Yet far too many web designers ignore its power and simply put
up a meaningless statement: "Welcome to my site."
If your headline doesn't grab the attention in a fraction of a
second, the chances are that the visitor to your site will fail
to read any further - and click away.
Powerful headlines should include as many of these elements as
* Personal - use 'You' and 'Your'.
* Direct - if you are making a claim, make it clearly.
* Convincing - don't over claim: people aren't fools.
* Intriguing - good headlines make you want to know more.
* Emotional - if you can touch a reader's positive emotions,
they won't be able turn away. Emotions capture the imagination.
One of the most famous headlines of all time had emotion by the
barrel-load: "My friends all laughed when I sat down at the
piano. But when I began to play..."
* Benefit driven - good headlines say what the product will do
for you, not how.
* Pose a positive response question - questions in which the
only sensible response is yes can be very powerful: which of
these would make you read on - 'Would you spend $1 to save
$100?', or, 'Would you like to invest in our plan?'
* Active - use strong, active words. Passive, weak writing has
no place in copywriting.
* Use copywriter's 'magic' words - some words have so much power
that they regularly appear in headlines. Fourteen common ones
are: How to, New, Secret, Save, Get, Free, Bonus, You, Unique,
Exclusive, Now, Why, Guaranteed, Risk-free.
* Short, punchy words. Long words with lots of syllables are
difficult to scan. Avoid them.
* Empathize with the reader - show that you understand and can
solve their problem: "Do you despair of ever losing weight?
Discover the secret of how I beat my yo- yo cycle and lost 42
pounds forever." Know who you are writing for - understand your
target audience - and write directly to them.
Write lots of headlines and test for the best.
Don't cop out on your headline. Polish it, cherish it and it
will be the key to the success of your web site.
About the author:
Martin Avis publishes a free weekly newsletter: BizE-Zine - your
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