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How to Create Effective WordPress Post Title Headlines

Creating Effective WordPress Post Titles and Headlines

I subscribe to several WordPress and marketing-related newsletters and receive about one hundred emails daily. That means I prioritize what I read and when I read it. The email’s Subject field, article titles, and headlines play a big part in that.

Your readers are doing the same thing…

What makes you click through?

When you open your inbox, you see all the emails, hoping for your attention. If you are like most folks, you look at who the emails are from to see which to read first. Next comes the Subject field, which is basically the headline for what is within the email.

I’ll open the email and scan newsletters containing post notices, summaries, or many posts or articles. The headlines determine whether I click through. If nothing interests me, I delete the email.

I always wait for a few mailings to see if I like the variety of content offered. One issue or article may focus on an unsuitable topic, but the next may be spot on.

I unsubscribe if I receive a newsletter that I have not clicked through after a handful of times. However, some emails are just plain shallow, not offering anything new or unique or of real value. Those lose me right away.

Remember when I said you can’t be everything to everyone? That’s why you need to know who you want to be everything to.

Great Article Titles ≠ Clickbait

Clickbait refers to titles and headlines that garner attention but do not deliver on the promise.

Clickbait, a form of false advertisement, uses hyperlink text or a thumbnail link that is designed to attract attention and to entice users to follow that link and read, view, or listen to the linked piece of online content, with a defining characteristic of being deceptive, typically sensationalized or misleading.


You’ve probably experienced clickbait. You click on a headline because it seems interesting, and when you land on the site, there’s very little content and a ton of ads. Or the content is so generic or stuffed with keyphrases that it’s nonsensical and not worth your time. You feel like you’ve been had.

It’s clickbait. You jump for the back button, shake your head, and think, “I won’t fall for that again!”

Once you experience clickbait, you tend not to fall for it again- at least not from that source. So, when you use sensational headlines, you have to make sure that your article over-delivers on expectations.

Titles are Your #1 Attention-getter

Choosing the right titles for your articles can help you attract the right people’s attention. Due diligence can help you create a title that speaks to your target market.

What do those seeking what you offer struggle with, need help with, or want direction on? Titles should address this. Knowing the terminology visitors or customers use to search for what you offer is critical.

Then, providing detailed guidance, information, or how-tos seals the deal. Information that the reader can actually use builds your credibility.

You are then trusted and viewed as an authority on the subject. The fact is that visitors are more likely to subscribe to, buy from, or contact those sites that offer that level of value and trust.

Consider Intent When Creating Post Titles

Part of crafting great titles is considering the intent of the person who would want to click on that headline. What is it they are seeking? What do they need to know? Offer that in spades.

And not from a sales-pitchy, overly commercial approach. You want to speak to what they are looking for and need. That grabs their attention, and then, combined with the correctly placed call to action, they click through, subscribe to your newsletter, or buy what you have to offer.

To accomplish that, your content has to over-deliver on your titles. Not just meet expectations. Without this approach, you are no different than all the content farm generic articles on the same subject.

You don’t want to be bunched in with that group.

Effective Title Considerations

  • Know who you are targeting and integrate terms they use and recognize.
  • Solve a problem. “How to …”
  • Ask a question. “Did you know you can …?”
  • Provide instructions. “15 Steps to…”
  • Offer a benefit. “Save (time, money, stress) by….”
  • Keep your titles concise — 8-12 words.
  • For SEO, incorporate your primary keyphrase at the beginning of your title.

Think about the titles that get your attention. Then, use those examples for your content, even if you were disappointed by the content after clicking-thru. As a result, you now know why that article did not back up the headline and what you need to do not to have a disappointed site visitor.

Subheadings are Just as Important

We all do it. We go to a web page and quickly scan that page before determining if we will take the time to read every word. This is where subheadings come into play.

They lead your visitors along, keeping them interested and engaged. Use subheadlines to guide visitors through your content, displaying its value and information.

From an SEO perspective, subheadlines are perfect for integrating your primary keyphrase variations, too, as long as they read logically and smoothly. In other words, don’t keyword stuff your content.

Test and Tune Your Post Titles

As you know, with WordPress, nothing is set in stone. You can quickly login and change your title to be more focused or effective.

You’ll discover topics and titles that garner more traffic as you play with your titles. Then, use the formulas that work on your future posts.

If you focus on your customers’ intentions, what they want to know, and how you can help, your headlines will practically write themselves.

At your service,

Judith: WordPress Consultant and Business Coach
Trusted and Reliable WordPress Products and Services