Headline writing is both a science and an art. There are technical components that make some more successful than others, but a great headline is creative, concise, and clever. The best headlines are easy to digest, draw readers to your site, and hint at something revelatory.
In this article, you’ll learn how to write effective homepage headlines that grab a reader's attention and keep them scrolling.
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Why do website headlines matter?
Website headlines appear at the top of a page. When on a landing page, they can also be known as homepage headlines. They serve as the primary title of a webpage, product launch, blog post, or piece of copywriting. (This is different from headers, which exist within the body of a piece of content to introduce a new section.)
For content marketers, a catchy headline can make or break the visibility of their work, dictate the quantity and quality of website visitors their content attracts, and determine the content’s search engine results page (SERP) ranking on Google and other search engines.
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Website headlines make a first impression on a visitor and can capitalize on a customer's attention, translating it into impressions and sales.
How to create an effective headline for your website
- Grab the reader’s attention
- Solve a problem
- Make your audience curious
- Teach the reader something new
- Include keywords
Effective headlines are equal parts mission statement and opening line. They should distill the best parts of your offering into a few words. Below are five things to consider when crafting a good headline:
1. Grab the reader’s attention
Engaging headlines are better headlines. Headlines that swap a common word or adjective for a more compelling synonym or narrative can be more effective in standing out. Descriptive adjectives are an excellent way to avoid cliches and infuse your headlines with humor or emotional resonance.
2. Solve a problem
When you write headlines, you should offer an answer to a question or fulfillment of a need. Are your customers looking for a sustainable solution to a common problem? Or a way to refresh their seasonal wardrobe? Either way, a headline is your chance to say what they want to hear. Use your headline to confirm that the article or page will help the reader solve their problem.
3. Make your audience curious
Question headlines can pique interest while hinting at a solution. Open-ended questions are more provocative than yes-or-no questions. Instead of something like, “Is a Single Customer the Secret to Understanding Your Target Audience?” reframe the question into something the reader can’t answer directly: “What Can Just One Customer Reveal About Your Target Audience?”
4. Teach the reader something new
A headline is an opportunity to tout your particular expertise. Lean on your findings or industry wisdom to craft headlines that establish your business as a trusted authority.
5. Include keywords
The perfect headline is one that resonates with your specific target audience, showcases your brand voice, and utilizes SEO keywords. These are the terms your potential customers are using in their searches. By including the appropriate keywords in your headline, you indicate that your content is relevant to their search.
Examples of website headlines
Website headlines rely on different formats depending on where they appear. For example, blog post headlines might pose a question, while the headline for a product line’s landing page might simply set the tone for the collection. Here are a handful of homepage headline examples that draw on different techniques:
In just two words, Beefcake Swimwear communicates what it sells, outlines its mission, and addresses the often-fraught topic of what to wear when you go to the beach or pool. The headline “Swim Happy” sets a cheerful tone, and it needs no further explanation. Want swimsuits that make you feel good? That headline indicates you’re in the right place.
Underwear company Thinx taps into a simple, direct style of headline writing. “Underwear that absorbs your period” captures its product’s purpose in an easy to understand way—all while reflecting the frankness of the company’s brand voice.
Meow Meow Tweet
A quick way to build brand loyalty is to be upfront about who you are. Homepage headlines can be a strong indicator of brand voice, communicating all you need to know about the products and ethos of a business. For vegan skin care company Meow Meow Tweet, a casual, informal tone translates as light-hearted and self-aware—charming customers before they get anywhere near checkout. The headline “Later, Plastic” also sets expectations for the brand’s product line: deodorant sticks that come in a compostable container.
When your product is familiar and faces considerable competition, aspirational lifestyle headlines can be useful in differentiating your brand. Bike company Pure Cycles wants to communicate what it's selling: a quality bicycle is a means to an end. The headline “Explore Your City” immediately gets the customer thinking about how they might use the product before they’ve even bought it
LastObject is a company that sells reusable everyday products. On this page, its headline hints at a revolutionary call to action. The words “Break Free from Single-Use Bags” clearly establish the brand’s products as a way to disrupt the status quo.
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Website headlines FAQ
What makes a headline SEO-friendly?
An SEO-friendly headline uses SEO keywords to rank high on search engine results pages. A keyword is a term someone is likely to use when searching for the topic you’re writing about. When you utilize keywords in your headline, it makes it more likely that someone will see your post in their search results.
How long should a website headline be?
A website headline should be short and punchy. Industry experts say the best headline lengths tend to land between six and 12 words, but it can be less. Google Ads headlines allow just 30 characters.
Can I use humor in my headlines?
One goal for headlines is to be eye-catching, and if humor is on-brand for your business, it can absolutely be a useful tactic. Take care in considering the style of humor, because funny headlines are often playful and witty, with an emphasis on wordplay and industry expertise.
Should I test different headlines?
Writing headlines often involves trial and error. Sometimes a formal process known as A/B testing, in which you release two or three headlines at the same time to random segments of your audience while measuring quantitative engagement metrics, can point to the winning combination. Whichever headline produces more engagement suggests the one that resonates best.