7 Quick Tips for Writing Great Headlines for Your WordPress Blog

7 Quick Tips for Writing Great Headlines for Your WordPress Blog

Want more readers and more engagement on your WordPress blog? If so, I’d like to share a few headline tips which I’ve gathered from four years of consistent headline testing for myself and my clients.

#1: The Tabloid Headline

The next time you’re in the grocery store, look to your left at the rows of gossip magazines and tabloids. Study the headlines and you’ll start to notice common words, phrases and subjects which you can start using in your WordPress blog headlines.

The people who write those tabloid and celebrity magazine headlines are paid a LOT of money. This is because they know how to get people curious enough to buy the magazine. So save yourself the guessing and the testing and just start imitating what works. It’s not hard.

Here’s an example of a magazine headline which I’ve repurposed into a blog headline:

“Divorce Tell-All: The Shocking Reason He Cheated”

“Blog Marketing Tell All: The Shocking Reason You’re Not Making Money”

#2: The Instant Gratification Headline

I personally hate the whole concept of instant gratification, but I still use it to get people’s attention.


Because people still seem to love the promise of instant gratification and to believe in it. That’s why the people selling the weight loss pills and the “lose 10 lbs in 10 days” sell billions of dollars in products a year.

By using instant gratification in your blog headlines, I’m not talking about misleading people. I’m talking about a simple change in your word selection.

I’ve tested terms like “quick tips,” “fast results,” “in just 24 hours,” “as early as TODAY” “easy,” “simple” and “instant” against terms like “in just 6 months,” “as early as next month” and “practical tips,” and the results show that people are much more interested in fast results in exchange for minimal effort.

Try it yourself, you’ll be an instant believer. J

#3: The Insult Headline

None of us want to admit this, but insult headlines work.

In fact, I get a TON of spam emails and since I’m a copywriting and blogger, I know a lot of the popular headline tricks. In spite of this, I admit that a blog headline or email subject that slaps me in the ego is still hard to resist. I want to know who’s saying this and why they think they have the nerve.

Just be sure you’re not overusing this because you could alienate people. Make most of your emails and blogs helpful and positive, tossing one of these EGO blasters in there every once in a while. Here are some examples:

 “10 Reasons Your Marketing Sucks”

“Why You’re Failing Miserably at Making Money”

“10 of the Dumbest Mistakes WordPress Bloggers Make”

“5 Reasons No One is Sharing Your Posts”

#4: The List Headline

This one is so easy to replicate it’s ridiculous, but it still works really well. I believe this has something to do with the human need for certainty. If I know I’ll learn 10 things or 5 things or 3 things from reading an article, I’m more likely to invest my time into reading it.

I have found that numbers tend to perform better than full words (ie, 3, 4 or 5 over three, four or five) and It’s best to use this tip in conjunction with one of the other seven 7 tips listed in this blog. For example:

“5 Shocking Reasons Your SEO Practices are Killing Your Business”

If you only use lists and don’t throw in some curiosity, instant gratification, controversy or mystery, your readers could get bored.

#5: The Curiosity + Controversy Headline

There’s a lot of confusion about the role of curiosity in blogging and copywriting. I’ve personally seen curiosity based headlines flop and I’ve seen them soar. There’s one key element which makes the difference between these two outcomes.

That element is controversy. You can’t just make people curious anymore. You have to suggest that what’s about to come might challenge their worldview or even spark a debate. For example, check out this headline:

“Learn How This Ex-Pizza Delivery Boy Built a Million Dollar Business..With NO Marketing”

This headline challenges two concepts which are generally accepted as being true. The first, concept is that someone who has very little skills or expertise in making money could make millions

The second concept is that a million dollar business can be built without marketing. If you have doubts about whether this is true, read the Zappos story.

The great thing about using controversy is that there are so many commonly accepted myths to be challenged. Society is crammed full of socially accepted beliefs which are based more in illusions than in fact. So find a way to challenge these intelligently in your blogs and you’ll stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

#6: The “Problem Solved” Headline

This headline is a bit harder to pull off, but if done right it can really help your blog traffic and subscriptions. The idea is to identify a problem which you KNOW is bothering your readers and tell them that your blog will tell them how to solve it.

For example:

“How to Turn WordPress into Your Own BRANDED Creation in just 30 Minutes”

“How to Build Your Own WordPress Fundraising Site in Less Than 24 Hours”

“How to Build Your Own Social Media Network Site Using WordPress Multi-site & BuddyPress”

(By the way, if you want to do all three of these things, check out the WPMU DEV WordPress plugin library, it’s all in there)

My only caveat with the “problem solved” headline is to make sure your blog delivers and delivers fast. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who HATES those blogs that promise to show you how to solve a problem, but only if you’ll attend a one-hour webinar tomorrow night that only has “one seat left.”

(I wonder which “seat number” it is)

#7: The Breaking News Headline\

This headline takes the most work to pull off, but it’s probably the most effective…IF you move fast and add useful insights to the story. In any industry, there are hot topics popping up here and there. One of the industry leaders releases a new product or service, someone goes out of business, new laws are passed which will affect the industry….you name it.

If you’re good at keeping your ear to the ground about what’s going on in your industry and if you’re quick in responding with an insightful blog, you could become the “go to person” for breaking news. To make this work, I suggest selecting a few keywords about your industry and setting up a Google alert for each one.

Have these alerts emailed to you every day, and as soon as one comes in, ask yourself if it would make a good blog topic.

Ask yourself if you can you create a tabloid style headline, an insult headline, a list headline or combine curiosity and controversy to get your readers’ attention. If so, get to work writing and publishing before the topic becomes cold.

Now, let’s wrap this up with  a copy and paste list that you can apply on your WordPress site starting this week:

#1: The Tabloid Headline

#3: The Insult Headline

#4: The List Headline

#5: The Curiosity + Controversy Headline

#6: The “Problem Solved” Headline

#7: The Breaking News Headline

Till next time,

Seth C