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SEO | Apr 19
Maham S. Chappal on November 12, 2020 (last modified on November 18, 2020) • 20 minute read
Struggling to write a high converting homepage headline?
One that instantly stops visitors in their tracks and urges them to read more?
One that engages them and persuades them that they’re at the right place?
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. So you need to make sure your homepage headline is so impactful, and that it urges visitors to read on and stay on your website.
How do you do that? How do you write a homepage headline that wows your audience?
That’s what we’ll discover in this guide. Here’s what you’ll learn:
So let’s get right into it.
So now the question arises, how exactly do you write a headline for your website?
What does that headline consist of?
“Writing a homepage headline isn’t simple”. Dennis Bell of Byblos Coffee explains. “You have to make it engaging as it makes the first impression with your readers.
My homepage headline has two parts – the headline and the subheadline. It explains what my website is all about, and the subheadline boosts the clarity of the message I want to convey. It re-affirms why my visitor is on my website. My headline is useful as visitors can see what they can benefit from staying longer on my page, which can be engaging and helps to convert them easily.
The ideal character length for a headline is 29 characters. It’s a headline you can read in a single glance that communicates your content more effectively. People tend to read only the first and last three words, and this is the perfect length for a headline to drive traffic and easily convert visitors.
Spend your time practicing how to write headlines that are simple and clear. The headlines are all about scan-ability. Make every word count, and keep in mind that people certainly read and scan headlines before deciding when to exit your website. Your goal is to capture their attention just by seeing your headlines.”
Caroline Lee of CocoSign recommends doing the following steps in order to write a powerful headline:
And Jennifer Willy of Etia advises copywriters and businesses to always “Write a draft headline first.” Because “This rough version of the headline can be later tweaked into perfection.”
Robert Katai of Bannersnack has excellent advice for people struggling to write their headlines and says, “A good headline addresses 3 elements:
The order in which you address them all in the headline is up to you, but it should make sense. One template I use is the following: Get [desired outcome] through our [competitive advantage], without [FUD].”
Katai further recommends reading a lot of homepage headlines prior to starting this task. “Take 1-2 hours and just browse Google, starting with big tech companies. Get a feel of headlines and ask yourself, after each one, what do these people offer? If the answer does not instantly come to you, then it’s a bad headline.”
And once you’ve written your headline, don’t forget the homepage design.
“Give space for everything you want to cater to. Answer all the possible questions the visitors have for you. Add unique and excellent quality photos that would help convey your message without reading the details. Finally, add mini graphics and icons that will give the visitors assurance that the page is legit, sealed, with a guarantee and reviews from real people.” Reminds Daisy Jing of Banish.
We asked 44 marketing professionals about their best tips when it comes to writing a highly-converting homepage headline, and here’s what they said.
Melanie Green of KitelyTech says, “If I could only give someone one tip for writing an engaging and high-converting homepage headline, it would be to try out dozens of different headlines to see which one performed the best. Even a slight rephrase or switching two words could have an impact on the level of engagement. It can be difficult to predict what will work best.”
“Never settle for the first headline written.” Shares John Romito of Lane Country Homes. “It’s a good idea to create as many as 7 or 8 possible headlines for a given article. Then select the best one, or meld parts of several together to make the perfect headline.”
AJ Alonzo of DemandDrive agrees and shares, “Write down at least 10 variations of your headline. It helps you visualize your thought process and pick what components of each you want most in a headline. Then, you can create one final headline that encompasses all of those components.”
RankLetter’s Peter Thaleikis is of the same opinion and says, “Same as a great painting, a great headline isn’t showing the work and experience that went into crafting it. A high-conversion headline comes from trying variations and learning from the results of these tries. Start with a complete sentence describing your product or project, then cut it by half while remaining the same core-statements. Then repeat until you are down to a short sentence/phrase describing your project.
Remember: the goal isn’t to say everything – the goal is to make the reader curious for more. Read it out loud and hear if you have any “hiccups” while reading.”
Once you have a whole host of ideas for your homepage headlines, use a headline analyzer to find the best of the lot.
Sharon van Donkelaar of Expandi explains, “One way to make sure you have a great headline is by using a headline analyzer tool, which will rate and give your headline a score based on various parameters. You can do this completely for free by using a headline analyzer such as https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer.”
Carla Dewing of Copy Hog gives excellent practical advice and says, “The best headlines use tools to optimize their impact. After settling on a specific length and style, use a few headline analysis tools to measure elements like emotional marketing value (Aminstitute), quality (Coschedule), engagement and impression (Sharethrough).
Remember that each of these tools is based on limited data, and only gives you a starting point. Decide which metrics are most important for your goals, and strike a balance. Then, of course, measure against your own internal analytics results over time.
If you struggle to achieve a great score using these, take some headlines from leading publications in your niche, and measure them. Then reverse engineer their structure and use it as a template.”
Michael Sols shares, “Greet prospects with an ultra-specific reason to believe (RTB) in the headline, and they’ll scroll down like crazy. Try forming RBTs around 3 trustworthy ideas: popular opinion; statistics; endorsements. Know how to write any headline? Just add proof for your claim.
Here are 3 main headline examples I made:
Katherine Pomeroy of 45/RPM says, “Be action-oriented and concise. Copywriting is difficult especially when you need to be concise. So think about the company’s ‘why’ that guides all business actions and start from there. The goal is to motivate consumers and concise, action-based, and meaningful messaging is key.”
Nate Nead of SEO.co believes, “Engaging headlines always provide a reason to click, browse and remain.”
So since you don’t have much real estate, the words you use are critical.
Nead further adds, “Our work in the SaaS world has taught us that using the word ‘FREE’ in headlines accomplishes this in a major way.
Give away something (e.g. a free, but limited version; a free trial; etc.) and let people know with your title and you will get sign-ups. Once you capture a sign-up, it’s much easier to convert them to an up-sell later, but if you aren’t able to capture them at the outset, they’re more likely to be gone forever.”
Mark Lennon of Espresso B2B Marketing says, “One way to engage your prospect with a homepage headline is to describe the transformation that your prospects want and that your solution delivers. If you sell CRM software, don’t write “The #1 CRM Software.” In fact, don’t write about your solution at all.
Instead, write something like “Unite Your Sales Team and Drive Growth.” This headline alludes to the pain point a sales leader has when each salesperson is using their own contact manager and their own spreadsheets instead of using a shared CRM solution. It also alludes to the aspiration of sales growth, which is something that all sales leaders want. Keep your headline focus on your target buyer and their needs and wants.”
Igor Avidon of Avidon Marketing Group agrees and says, “Always solve the visitor’s problem. A succinct headline that summarizes and addresses their biggest problem is the best way to get their attention. You show them that you understand their pain point and that you are ready to solve it. If you do it in a way that lines up with your brand tone and voice, then you’ve got the ultimate headline.”
Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers recommends thinking about the main pain point of your ideal client when sitting to write a high converting headline. “What is the main problem they struggle with and what’s your solution. In the headline, just show the main benefit of your solution. This will entice viewers to read more.”
Lisa Arlington of GiftsNerd shares her top tip for writing an engaging and high-converting homepage headline and says, “Focus on the benefits and not the actual product/service. Customers are not concerned with what your product is about. All that they care about is how they can benefit from it.
These days, consumers are well aware of what they want and why they want it due to their access to the internet. Oftentimes, they are even aware of the features.
It’s okay to mention the solution, but don’t push too hard on it. Focus on the benefits more. It’ll help to attract more customers and convert them into potential sales as well.”
Mian Muneer ud din of Beaufort Associates shares, “Many entrepreneurs tend to fall in love with their businesses and assume that others would share their passion. Writing about what you do is a mistake. Write about what your clients will get when buying from you.”
Andrea De La Flor of Affiliates Mind says, “Visitors don’t want to hear about your latest technology or award-winning ideas, they want to know how you can help them. Make the headline about them by focusing on the benefits rather than the features of the solution. How will they benefit from using your product or service? Why is the outcome you provide special? How are their lives going to change for the better?”
Rachel Handley at Glass Digital gives an excellent tip to aspiring headline writers and says, “Look at what your competitors are doing and make sure to do something different. Too many businesses fall into the trap of providing a basic description of what their business is rather than explaining what unique benefits it has to offer.
It’s helpful to think about your services or products in terms of end results. For example, you don’t sell mattresses; you help people get better sleep and live a happier, healthier life. This will help you to write a benefits-oriented homepage headline that sets you apart from the crowd and taps into customer pain points.”
David Hoos of Conversmart sums it up and adds, “Lead with the biggest benefit you provide to your customer’s biggest pain.”
Editor’s note: Not sure where to start with competitors’ analysis? Use this AccuRanker: Competitors Overview Dashboard to see how you compete with competitors over popular keywords. Track your top competitors in real-time and see which ones have a bigger presence on important keywords.
“My number 1 tip for creating an engaging and high-converting headline is to include odd numbers. Numerous studies have shown that headlines with numbers grab the reader’s attention and those containing odd numbers have a higher click-through rate than those with even numbers.
For example, ‘7 Herbs You Can Easily Grow in an Urban Garden’.” Explains Gina Harper of Harper’s Nurseries.
“Speak to your ideal audience. The broader your reach, the more watered down and meaningless your headline will be. Get crystal clear on who you want visiting your homepage, then write a headline exactly for that person and their problem.” Explains Spencer Grover of LevelJump
Jen Conroy of Vistaprint is of the same opinion. “Remember your audience. They are the ones you want to reach, so keep them in mind when you’re writing. Think about who they are, how they speak and how they will come across your headline – these should all influence how you craft your copy. Ultimately, you want your audience to react in some way to your headline, so understanding who that is will help you focus your message well and have the biggest impact.” Shares Conroy.
Editor’s note: Need an easy way to get to know your audience better? This Google Analytics Audience Overview Dashboard gives you a top-level overview of your website users for insights on visitor location, engagement, and common devices.
“Have you read the headline of this year’s Apple event – ‘Hi, Speed’?” Shares Raaquib Pathan of Citrusbug Technolabs. “It’s really short and catchy. Everyone can easily remember it. isn’t that awesome? In my opinion, headlines should be short, catchy and must evoke the interest of users.”
Tyler Tafelsky agrees and adds, “Without compromising SEO or other important objectives, my best tip would be ‘less is more’. Oftentimes, saying less in homepage headlines can have a greater impact than trying to say too much.”
Matt Bentley of Snip.ly says, “Make the biggest impact you can in the fewest amount of words. The purpose of your headline is to grab your user’s attention as quickly as possible. Use short, simple sentences, and make use of power words to invoke curiosity in the reader.”
Andrew Taylor of Net Lawman believes a home headline should be, “short, have a flow and energy about it that makes it memorable, explanatory, authentic and genuine.” Taylor goes on to explain, “This is your opportunity to connect in just a few words, you need to just tell it how it is, directly find the pain point of your target audience and offer a solution, all in a few words.”
Tim Clarke of SEOBlog agrees with the two and adds, “It should say exactly what your website is about in one sentence, preferably in 5 to 6 words.”
Our survey showed similar results and over 40% of respondents said their ideal character length of a homepage headline is 50 to 60 characters.
And as Dave Hoch of Colibrily aptly sums up, “Imagine you’re in an elevator with someone famous and you get one sentence to describe your business. What would it be? That’s the line you should put on your homepage headline.”
Adam Smartschan of Altitude Marketing shares, “Particularly if you’re just building your brand, your best homepage headline is one that’s explicit. Put your stake in the ground, and tell users – and Google – what your site is about. Unless your rankings and credibility are well-established, a vague headline is going to act like an anchor. Your goal is to create the best site in the world about your core topic – and that’s your homepage headline. Will it ‘tell a story?’ Probably not. Will it drive users and conversions? Absolutely.”
“Clearly articulate the value prop in your homepage headline.” Advises Paul Burke of Simple Sheets
“You have about 3 seconds to capture someone’s attention and the quicker they understand what you’re selling, the quicker they can make a decision on whether it’s right for them.”
Amber Chmielewski of Vye explains. “You have to make it easy. Website visitors are not showing up on your website so they can wonder about what you can do for them. Your homepage headline shouldn’t waste energy being cutesy or complicated. It should communicate exactly what visitors need in order to convert. No more, no less.”
“The one tip I could give you that has shown tremendous results is to include a number and brackets in your headlines”. Says Jonathan Roussel of TheChampLair.
Roussel further adds, “What’s more appealing?
It gives the user a better understanding of what he can expect from the article and he is then more likely to read-on and spend more time on the page.”
Lydia Sugarman of Venntive shares, “As Buzzfeed has proven, using numbers or percentages in your blog headline will result in a 50% higher read rate. Plus, headlines with numbers tend to generate 73% more social shares and engagement!”
Atta Ur Rehman of Printex Graphics shares, “When crafting a relevant and useful headline for the audience, the use of positive superlatives like: easiest, most, greatest, hottest, perfect, etc. will serve as a cherry on top and make your headline stronger and more emotional.”
Emma Sophia of Discounts Code agrees and adds, “Boost Your Headlines with sensory power words. Power words are persuasive words that people can’t resist. Add those words to your list of headlines, and you’ll take them to a whole new level.”
“My one tip for writing a high converting homepage headline is,” Says Luke Haslett of Iakoe, “to communicate (in simple terms) how your offering creates more measurable value for your customers than other available alternatives.
For instance, our fold image says ‘Performance-Based Search Marketing’. Our competitors all structure their commercial agreements as fixed retainers and by communicating that we are performance-based, it immediately resonates with our potential customers that our pricing model decreases their risk and is directly correlated to value received.”
Ieva Dalbina advises, “Swipe your headline copy directly from your customers’ mouths by looking at Amazon reviews for similar products, Facebook group discussions around your topic, and your customer interview transcripts.
No need to fiddle with it or change anything – you’ll get the best results if your headline copy reflects the way your customers actually talk.”
Jeff Walker of Best VPN Canada agrees with Dalbina and shares, “Never let your readers stumble by eliminating irrelevant words. Always write your headline from the visitor’s point of view. It must summon a specific person’s sense of belonging.
A solid headline should hit that one point in their mind clearly – what’s in it for them? Never use “we” or “our” as the first word on your headline. It should always be about the visitor. Then support it with a subheadline that directly supports and boosts the clarity of your headline.”
Soapbox’s Hiba Amin is of the same mind and says, “Talk to your customers. How do they describe your product? What stands out most to them? How does your product make their life easier?
When writing a homepage headline, you’re likely going to feel pressure about wanting to share EVERYTHING about your product upfront… But, it’s more likely that one specific thing, problem, or feeling is all you need to engage and catch your viewers attention.
So, talk to your ideal customers and continue to learn about how your product connects with them because that’s going to be the best way to connect with more potential customers just like them.”
Natalie Bidnick Andreas says, “To write an engaging and high-converting homepage headline, write it LAST. Instead of writing a headline you think will gain clicks and conversions, develop the entire homepage first. Then, base your headline on that copy. Working backward, not forward, in this case, is the best recipe for success.”
Sir Sanju Ganglani of gang&lani media describe their own experience and say, “The key tip we use at gang&lani media, is to write the headline last. First, write the copy for the homepage, then find the most interesting or engaging section and create a homepage headline to pique interest, no more than 10-12 words.”
Beth Cooper of KNB Communications agrees and shares “One tip for writing a headline is to wait until you’re finished writing the body of your webpage.”
“I think of the headline as an introduction to the rest of the page. It might be easier for people to wait until the end to write the headline because it’s hard to form the introduction when you don’t have anything to introduce yet.
When people begin writing their headline first, some may struggle with brainstorming ideas for their headlines because there aren’t any other details to base it off of.
Instead, think of a generic headline that will describe the body of your homepage or your brand. Use this headline as a guide while you construct the rest of the homepage.
After you’ve written the body and other features for your webpage and you believe that it’s compelling enough for your visitors, write a new headline based on your webpage that will hook the visitors.”
Nikola Roza recommends including a primary keyword that you want to rank for and that best captures the essence of what you do.
“Keywords can be at the beginning, middle or end of the homepage headline, no matter.
As long as you’ve included your key-phrase, you have a well-optimized homepage headline, from both conversion and SEO standpoints.
As a bonus, when people link to your homepage, they’ll often use your homepage headline as anchor text.
So you’ll be getting added SEO benefits there, and there’s no possibility of any kind of over-optimization penalty because those anchors will be counted as branded anchor text.” Explains Roza.
Editor’s note: This SEMRush (Keywords and Audits) dashboard template gives you a full view of your SEO visibility as well as any errors that SERPS might face
Still not sure what makes a good headline? Take a closer look at the 23 examples our contributors choose as one the best examples of homepage headlines.
Writing headline copies is not easy, but it also doesn’t have to hard. When you feel stuck, try making a few adjustments as recommended by our experts.
Always test your copy, be action-oriented and concise, allude to your customers’ pain, and emphasize the benefits of your products and service.
Oh, don’t forget to pay attention to SEO and use a headline analyzer for additional help.
Is there anything we missed? Do you have another piece of advice? Let us know.
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