The right headline can make or break your blog post. Often, it’s the only thing a reader sees before deciding whether or not to keep reading. And, worse, it’s mixed in with a whole bunch of other headlines – in their social news feed.
You need to grab their attention, obviously … but that isn’t enough.
You need a headline that not only compels someone to read on, but one that sets their expectations for the post.
And, ideally, you want a headline that gives you a ready-made (and powerful) structure for your post.
Here are 50 tried-and-tested headlines that you can use on your blog today. I’ve given you an example of each one in use, so you can see how it works.
How to Use This List
First, bookmark this page, clip it to Evernote, or print it out and keep it on your desk: you want to have it handy.
You can use it for:
- Writing post plans or drafts: find whichever section matches the type of post you’re working on, and see if there’s a template that would be a great fit.
- Coming up with new ideas: choose a title template, brainstorm a few ideas, and pick one to work on. Many of the templates have an implicit structure (e.g. lists, tutorials) – this can really help you plan.
- Optimizing old posts: go back through your archives and pick out any posts with titles that seem dull or confusing. Use this list to freshen them up.
Here are the title templates:
Post Type #1: List-Style Posts
A list-post title normally begins with a number. You’ve probably seen plenty of them around the web: “20 Easy Ways to…” or “50 Can’t-Miss Tips for…”
Here are eight ways to take the list post further:
- X-Point Checklist for…
14-Point Blog Post Checklist to Use Before You Hit Publish – My blog
- X Better Ways to…
11 Proven Ways to Use Social Proof to Increase Your Conversions – OptinMonster blog
- X Lessons I Learned From…
7 Lessons I Learned from Fighting a 9 Month Long Lawsuit – My blog
- X Tools That Every [person] Needs
19+ Free Google Tools Every WordPress Blogger Should Use – WPBeginner
- X [adjective] Tips And Tricks to [do something]
25 Easy Google Tips And Tricks To Help You Find Exactly What You’re Looking For – List25
- X [things] You Won’t Believe [Exist / Are Free / etc]
25 Things You Won’t Believe Actually Happened In History – List25
- X Reasons Why [Something] is a Bad Idea
36 Reasons Why Having a Free Website is a Bad Idea – WPBeginner
- X Must-Have …
24 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Business Websites in 2016 – WPBeginner
Post Type #2: Tutorial Posts
Tutorials often follow a “How to…” format, with step by step instructions. It’s hard to go wrong with a “how to” headline – but you can jazz it up a little and make it even more of a draw for readers.
Get started with one of these:
- How I …
How I Increased Conversions by 845% with a Simple Psychology Trick – My blog
- How I … and How You Can Too
How I Made it to the Front Page of BuzzFeed Twice, and How You Can Too – MatthewBarby.com
- How to Make…
How to Make the Most Out of WPBeginner’s Free Resources – WPBeginner
- How to Start…
Step by Step Guide: How to Start a Podcast with WordPress – WPBeginner
- How to Stop…
How to Stop Search Engines from Crawling A WordPress Site – WPBeginner
- Here’s a Quick Way to…
Here’s a quick way to get your Five-a-Day – Dirt & Boogers
- How to … Without…
How to Switch from Blogger to WordPress without Losing Google Rankings – WPBeginner
- How to … The Right Way
How to Add Google Web Fonts in WordPress Themes the “Right” way – WPBeginner
- How to Get Rid Of …
How to Get Rid of /wordpress/ From your WordPress Site URL – WPBeginner
- What Is … and How Does …
What is Interactive Content and How Does it Make Your Business Famous? – HarrisonAmy.com
- X Steps to …
6 Steps to Updating Your Social Media Profiles During a Rebrand – Social Media Examiner
- [Something Happened] … Now What?
Your New Website Just Went Live. Now What? – Big Brand System
Product reviews can be good for search engine traffic, as people debating over whether or not to buy something – or trying to choose between several competing products – will often search for reviews.
If you’re using affiliate marketing, reviews are also a great way to bring in some extra sales.
Here are some headlines to try:
- [product] Review: [benefit]
Optionmonster Review: Growing Your Email Subscribers – Razor Social
- [benefit]: A Review of [product]
Small Business Law Made Easy: A Review of Small Business Bodyguard – Productive Flourishing
- X vs Y: Which is Better?
WordPress vs. Blogger – Which one is Better? (Pros and Cons) – WPBeginner
- X Review: Is it Worth It?
The Men’s Fitness Apple Watch Review: Is it Worth It? – Men’s Fitness
- Why We Use X
Why You Should Use WordPress? – WPBeginner
We all like the idea of finding out some secret knowledge – and we all worry that we’re missing something. These headlines, then, can be incredibly powerful.
They’re also possible to over-use or do badly. Make sure your post lives up to the promise you make in the headline … or readers won’t be coming back.
- Forget X: Try This Instead
Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Try This Instead This Year – A Fine Parent
- The Secret [To/Of] …
The secret to making better decisions – i100
- X Little Known-Ways to …
22 Little-Known Tips to (Really) Clean Your Home – Nourishing Joy
- X Things You Didn’t Know About…
25 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Valentine’s Day – List25
- The Most Over-Rated [topic]
The Seven Most Over-Rated Things to Do in New York – Travel+Leisure
- The Truth About …
The Truth About Shared WordPress Web Hosting – WPBeginner
- [Topic] [People] Don’t Want You To Know
25 Things Fast Food Restaurants Don’t Want You To Know, – List25
- What No One Tells You About …
What No One Tells You About Having a Cofounder – Renée Warren, Entrepreneur.com
- X Things [People/Businesses] Won’t Tell You
25 Things Your Hotel Staff Won’t Tell You But You Should Know – List25
- Surprising Insights About …
A few surprising insights about business / friends – Ramit Sethi, I Will Teach You to Be Rich
Most bloggers write fairly positive or neutral headlines (“Ten Great Ways to…”). Going for the negative side of things can grab a busy reader’s attention – and make for a compelling post. These headlines can also allow you to position yourself as a bit of a contrarian, someone giving readers the other side of the story.
Try some of these:
- Warning: …
Warning: Use These 5 Headline Formulas at Your Own Risk – Copyblogger
- Why You’re [Doing Something Wrong] … and What to Do About It
Why You’re Wasting Your Welcome Email (and What to Do About It) – Boost Blog Traffic
- Are You Making This [adjective] Mistake?
Are You Making This Common Interview Prep Mistake? – The Muse
- X Hard Ways to…
10 Hard Ways to Make Your Life Better – Lifehack
- [Piece of Advice] That Doesn’t Always Apply
7 Popular Blogging Tips That Don’t Always Apply – ProBlogger
- Why [group of things] Fail
Why start-ups fail, according to their founders – Erin Griffith, Fortune.com
- X [Something] Mistakes That Every [BLANK] Should Avoid …
10 Biggest Business Mistakes That Every Entrepreneur Should Avoid – My blog
Huge posts that offer the final word on a particular topic or subject can be really popular: you may get lots of shares, and even a bunch of links from other blogs. Make sure you give your post the best possible chance with a compelling headline.
Here are some classic ones to use:
- The Ultimate Guide to…
Ultimate Guide to Using MailChimp and WordPress – WPBeginner
- How to … : The Definitive Guide
How to Write a Blog Post: The Definitive 10,273-word Guide – Be a Better Blogger
- Everything You Need to Know About…
Everything You Need to Know About Deadpool – GameSpot
- We Asked X [People] [Question]
We Asked 11 Experts for Their Best Wedding Advice – Cincinnati Magazine
- 100 Ways To… (or 100 Tips, 100 Things to Do…)
102 Things to Do During a Money-Free Weekend – The Simple Dollar
- The Complete Guide to [Something]
The Complete Bloggers’ Guide to Web Hosting – WPBeginner
- [Topic] Glossary
WordPress Glossary Terms for Beginners – WPBeginner
- [topic]: X Resources
A/B Testing For Beginners: 70 Resources to Get You Started – Neil Patel
While there’s a lot more to a great blog post than a great headline, the right headline can be the final touch needed to get your content shared all over the web.
Or, even better, if you start off by picking a headline from the list above, you’ll find it’s a great way to generate ideas – just fill in the blanks. Many of these headlines offer a built-in structure, too, making your post easy to write.