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70 Characters or Less: Why Headlines Matter

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Ever since the first newspaper boy stood on a soapbox and yelled, “Extra! Extra! Read All About It,” headlines have become an integral part of our news reading society. Now, what was once considered the norm in newspapers has quickly spread to the digital world in the form of website headlines. From catchy titles in just a few words to informative news headlines that are designed to grab attention, here’s a handful of newsworthy reasons why headlines matter.

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First and Foremost: Headlines Grab Attention

The single most important factor that comes before everything else in the realm of headlines is the fact that they’re meant to grab the reader’s attention. Although this may seem obvious, writing a headline that grabs attention is much harder than it seems, and it’s sometimes difficult to accomplish.

An attention-grabbing headline combines elements of the story and concise writing to create a minimally worded title that strikes curiosity in the hearts of readers. For example, if you’re adding a post to your health blog about weight loss tips, the headline “Put Down the Fork: 10 Weight Loss Tips That Are Sure to Shed Pounds” grabs more attention than “10 Weight Loss Tips.”

Headlines Inform the Reader

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How do you know if you want to read a website or newspaper article? Well, it’s all in the headline. Part of the attention-grabbing equation is constructing a headline that also informs the reader. The informative factor is fairly easy to include in news articles where the event itself takes precedence, but including information in other types of headlines is a bit more complicated.

If a headline doesn’t inform the reader, then they are less likely to read on or click-through in the case of online articles. Something many blogs and news agencies use is a headline subject. For instance, Buzzfeed recently ran an article with the headline “Germy Cross-Stitches To Cure What Ails You.” The subject is the curative abilities of Germy Cross-Stitches. This not only informs the reader on the subject, but also makes them want to keep reading to find out what germy cross-stitches actually are.

Headlines Create Traffic (When Done Correctly)

A website’s success largely depends on traffic, which boils down to the almighty click-through. Headlines drive traffic to copy-based websites, but only if the headline is written expertly enough to result in a click-through. And, with an online landscape of dwindling attention spans, clicking on a headline is a bigger commitment than you might think.

Click through worthy headlines include everything mentioned above, but they also make a promise that the attached content is unique and unlike anything else on the web. If a reader comes across a headline that promises “The Real Truth Behind the Government Shutdown” only to deliver facts that are easy to find anywhere, then readers probably won’t visit that website again.

Headlines Present Shock Value

When it comes to reading for entertainment’s sake, nothing works better than headlines that include a certain level of shock and awe. This of course works with news stories where horrific events are the shocking aspect of the story, but creating shocking headlines for other types of stories that aren’t inherently shocking takes skill and engaging writing.

There are a number of websites that use shocking headlines to their advantage, like the website Vice. Shane Smith and the writers at Vice throw caution to the wind when it comes to the type of stories they report. Some are breaking news stories, some stories are just for fun, and some stories use headlines that combine the two types of reporting. Here’s a perfect example:  “North Korean Meth, Motorcycle Gangs, Army Snipers, and a Guy Named Rambo.” With headlines like this, it’s no surprise Vice is the king of the click-through.

Headlines Entice Readers

A great headline not only serves the purpose of informing readers, it also entices them to read further. Enticing readers is different from grabbing their attention because enticing involves making the reader an offer they simply can’t refuse. Although an attention-grabbing article gets the story’s foot in the door, a headline that also entices will make sure that door stays open.

When a headline entices readers, it pulls at their heartstrings and asks them to read on. For example, the website Mashable recently ran a story with a headline that read “Mattress Saves Cyclist Struck by Vehicle.” A headline like this affects people in many ways. On one hand, it’s improbable. On the other hand, it’s frightening, and yet it’s also humorous. All of these factors entice.

Headlines are RSS Friendly

Millions of online users rely on their RSS feeds to grab headline worthy stories and filter them directly to their computer. In terms of the technical side of why headlines matter, they’re perfect for streamlining the RSS feed process for readers.

In other words, an attention-grabbing headline will stick out in the sea of RSS feeds. This is especially important in the case of readers who have hundreds of other websites in their RSS feed, but only have time to click-through to one or two news stories a day.

Headlines Show Up in Search Engine Results

Another technical reason why headlines matter is the fact that they show up in search engine results, which is essential in today’s online world. If you’ve ever skimmed search engine results just to find the headline that matches your search criteria the closest, then you already know how important headlines really are and how they function in Internet searches.

Although the search results process is a complex one that heavily relies on page rank among other things, headlines are still the bread and butter of listed results. Without a solid headline, readers wouldn’t find the stories they’re looking for unless they’re already familiar with the website. As the importance of page rank increases, so does the importance of quality headlines that inform, entice, and grab attention.

When it comes to ascending into the click-through heavens, it’s plain to see that a great headline is the first place to start.

My name is Foxy, and my job is to sniff out the good guest bloggers from the ones who aren't. This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for BloggingTips.com, please contact us.

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Successful Blogging: EXPERIENCE and Learn

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Do you know how people tell you to live and learn? Not the best advice. EXPERIENCE life and observe your lessons. THEN learn. Successful blogging is observing, learning then moving forward with those lessons firmly impressed on your mind. All that sweet blogging money only appears if you experience blogging by diving in, and blogging every single day for hours daily. After, you need to observe your experience. What did you learn? Take those lessons with you to succeed online. Living is useless unless you learn from experiences. EXPERIENCING blogging and learning from experiences separates successful bloggers from everybody else.

Let me explain…..

Me and my wife house sit in Brooklyn for 3 weeks now. The homeowners have a car. I need to move the car to find a new parking spot once weekly as alternate side of the street parking rules are in effect due to weekly street cleaning. The owners simply told me it’d be easy to find a spot early in the afternoon. Cool. But their advice did nothing to prepare me for the EXPERIENCE of actually trying to start the car, and find a new parking spot. I never used a key-less car before. I had no idea you need to press on the brake while pushing the start button because I had no experience doing so, and the owners did not give me instructions to do this. I know you place a key into ignition and turn it because that is my experience for 30 years as a driver. Anyway, 45 minutes later, I figured how to start the car. But wait! I had a new experience to…..experience. I had lessons to learn. Because after exiting the parking spot, I drove side streets for another 50 minutes before finding a spot. Frustrated and agitated, I learned a valuable lesson *from* my experience; change parking spots from one street side to another immediately after the street sweeper comes through. Cool.

But I had another lesson to learn. Traffic cops give tickets if you park on the alternate side before 1 PM; even if the street cleaner plowed through. Being burned by yesterday, I drove around for 90 minutes today to ensure I’d have an entire city block of open parking to choose from. OK; I also illegally parked on that open block for about 45 of those minutes. Why? Yesterday’s agitating experience told me it’s wiser and less time consuming to circle for 90 minutes to guarantee I get easy parking. Wait! I learned another lesson based on today’s experience. Never leave your parking spot at 11:30 AM when street cleaners move thru because you’ve 90 minutes to kill before legally parking on the alternate side. I asked a traffic cop. He offered the answer. More experience. Next week, I hop in the car only if the alternate side seems to fill up fast but based on prior experience, this only happens at about 12:50 PM, 10 minutes before the expiry time.

Blessed experience wins again. Life-wise. Blogging-wise. Seize it. Capitalize on it. Succeed. Blogging is no spectator sport.

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1 Blogging Lesson I Learned from Parking a Car in NYC

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Alternate side of the street parking day here in NYC. This means you need to move your car to the other side of the street for street cleaning. Cool. I heard it on the radio many times. First time I had to experience it in person, though. We house sit for a couple in Brooklyn. This couple owns a car. Cool. But the car did not start for a good hour because I did not know one steps on brakes while pressing key-less start buttons. Oh well. But after that, I drove around for 45 minutes looking for a new spot on the other side of the road because you get a nice ticket otherwise. No spots availed themselves for 45 minutes. I spoke to my wife. She told me cars need be parked 15 feet from fire hydrants. I was 5 feet away. Shoot. On returning to the car, a bus moved in front of me. I slid in to a parking spot. Phew. Relief.

What lesson did I learn? No matter how calm you THINK you are, agitation arises in you. Unless you’re enlightened. Alas I am not. I am a regular guy. Calm? Yep. But I routinely find events feeling uncomfortable to navigate. Sometimes, aka rarely, I experience events triggering deeper fears. Today was one such event. I did not flip out, scream, panic or throw a tantrum. I did however feel super agitated about needing to spend almost 2 hours driving around NYC and trying to start a key-less car because 2 hours are precious to me. I hate wasting time. Inefficient actions disgust me. BUT perfect place, perfect time. I needed this experience to trigger fears for feeling, hugging and clearing, to make me even more calm. No matter how much growth and success you experience, leveling up introduces you to new fears. Deeper fears. More unpleasant fears.

With deeper fears comes greater responsibility and even more success. I suspect if I do become a billionaire blogger how I’ll keep nudging into unpleasant-feeling fears along the way. But inspiring millions and making billions? Worth it. I am humble enough to know my calm demeanor a good 95% of the time may-does evolve into agitation some 5% of the time. Maybe less. Progress has been attained. Because I have not genuinely screamed at someone in about 1 year and I have been agitated like today about 5 times over the past year. I am calm most of the time. Agitation arises rarely because I am human and apt to be afraid of stuff. Sue me, LOL.

Be with fears as you grow. Energies arise. Anger. Terror. Horror at the future. Blanket disgust. Never resist these energies. I stumble across non-enlightened folks who hold self to enlightened standards. No way guys. Never be surprised at your getting angry or upset because only enlightened souls and repressed people never anger or feel agitated. Burying fear stifles your growth. Hugging fear accelerates your growth. You know I hug my fears. NYC parking agitation still subsiding now.

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5 Greatest Landing Page Optimization Tools For Your Blog

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landing page optimization tools

Landing pages can steal people’s attention. And if you play your cards right, these pages hold the ticket to attracting more customers.

However, let’s be clear:

Landing pages are double-edged swords. While they can help you, they can also harm you — unless you’ve optimized them accordingly.

So if you know your landing page needs work, why not get around it?

Well, there are plenty reasons for this, and there are also many landing page plugins that can help to further critique your LPs as well.

As you go through this article, you’ll find five landing page optimization tools for your blog. With them, you can revamp your landing page then have it increase conversions and your blog’s income.

Unbounce

Unbounce - landing page optimization tools

Optimizing landing pages is not possible if you haven’t built them yet. So to construct great landing pages, the tool for you is Unbounce.

And Effin Amazing, a Florida-based agency that specializes in analytics and growth, will tell you all about the tool’s power.

When one of its clients, Chupa Mobile, asked for help generating new leads, Effin Amazing used Unbounce. The team’s idea for its client involved a lead nurturing strategy and a content calendar. That and Effin Amazing wanted to get it done as quickly as possible.

True, it was a rather ambitious plan. However, it was realistic. And get this:

The marketing agency reached its goal. Chupa Mobile was satisfied with its landing page. It also began generating dozens of new leads. Plus, it also walked away with a 44% increase in conversions.

Crazy Egg

Electronic Arts is a successful media company that knows that Crazy Egg lets you set up an A/B test in minutes. It also knows that the tool features Visitor Insights and Heatmaps. Both of which provide information about user behavior on landing pages. So before launching SimCity 5 in 2013, it set up an A/B testing process to maximize revenue.

Crazy Egg

For the control version of its landing page, it merely focuses on promoting the simulation game. While on the other version, the company offers a 20% discount.

Here’s the control version of its landing page:

Crazy Egg - SimCity5Control

Here’s the variation:

Crazy Egg - SimCity5Variation

After a while, the media company discovered that its landing page’s variation was a hit. Compared to the version that brings an incentive into the table, the landing page design without a 20% discount performed 43.4% better.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

If you combine Google Analytics and Google Adwords, a powerful tool is in your hands. You can use it to track landing page performance to haul in leads even after they exit your site.

To demonstrate the power of Analytics, let’s explore Marketo’s conversion increase that happened after using the tool.

So here’s the story:

As a go-to company for many B2B and B2C folks when it comes to marketing and automation, Marketo’s goal is to help its clients improve conversions. And to reach that goal, the plan was to use Analytics and real-time personalization.

So it took its clients’ website data such as industry vertical and top products. Then it merged all of it with the user behavior data it got from Google Analytics.

Because of what the analytics tool reveals, Marketo provided audiences with relevant data. From what it gathered, it also created topnotch remarketing campaigns. The fruits of the marketing company’s labor? A 10x conversion rate improvement for its clients!

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect is a WordPress page builder. And if you’re searching for a tool that can help you create visually impressive, high-converting landing pages, it’s the tool you need.

Take it from Louise Hendon. She is a solopreneur who uses Thrive Architect to whip up topnotch landing pages for Nourishing Brands. That’s why, over the years, she succeeded in building a sizeable six-figure business.

An upside is this:

Thrive Architect features a drag-and-drop interface that lets you build your page quickly. If you want detailed instructions on how to use the page builder, this article from ProfitBlitz will come to your rescue.

Pingdom

Pingdom

Did you know that Refinery29, a globally recognized brand for smart, creative women, uses Pingdom? And because the tool provides insights about how to increase page loading speed, the brand welcomes 36 million monthly visits.

So if your landing page loads slowly, Pingdom can help you. The tool works by taking your site out for a spin and pointing you to the root of the problem.

The excellent news is Pingdom is free and easy-to-use. All you must do is paste your site’s URL where the tool specifies, and you’re good to go.

To see it work in action, let’s check the page loading speed of a random site. For this, let’s go with Goliath National Bank’s website. So let’s paste its URL on the appropriate field and click START TEST.

Pingdom - Example

After the tool is done with the analysis, scroll down the same page to see the results.

Pingdom - Results

And if you scroll down some more, you’ll find suggestions on how to improve page performance. If you want a detailed explanation on how to improve page performance, expand the suggestion.

Pingdom - How to Improve Page Performance

Final Thoughts

Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes and think of a landing page as a gateway to something unknown. Now, if someone herded you toward this gateway, would you want to see what’s on the other side of the fence if the entry point is dreary?

Chances are, you won’t. By the looks of it, choosing to pursue the dark path won’t lead to anywhere promising.

Remember, creating landing pages and creating landing pages that convert are two different things. So as you build your landing pages, make sure to implement nothing but the best landing page optimization practices.

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