Your headline is perhaps the most important thing on your website. Seriously, it is the first thing your user sees. Whether they leave, scroll down, or click through depends on your hooking capabilities. Does your current headline hook your audience to proceed or leave? If you’re not sure, it may be time to consider a new headline for your homepage.
According to Brian Clark of Copyblogger, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will continue reading on your website. Those stats should be a serious wake up call for any web designer / webmaster. If your users aren’t reading on after the headline, then your complex design and hip photographs are worthless.
If there is one thing that you want to get right on your web designs, it is the headline. So here are some tricks to help you begin copy crafting, as well as some killer examples from headline giants.
Summarize your Website
In the simplest terms, your headline should completely summarize your website, service, and/or the product, while staying consistent with your personal brand. If you think that sounds easy, than you are mistaken.
Amidst brainstorming, wordplay, doodles, etc, decide what exactly you do in 1 to 3 sentences. Some of the most impressive headlines are just one simple sentence. This is the real trick. Your headline should feature simplicity, while offering enough detail to ignite curiosity, as well as clarity.
In the example above, Freshbooks rocks their headline by giving you enough detail, while maintaining a charming mystery. I love the sound of my accounting being taken care of. How do they do it? I’m scrolling to find out.
Create a Sense of Brand
Your brand is key to setting yourself apart from competitors. Especially for a brand starting out, being new to the online arena means that you have even more need to separate yourself and clarify who you are.
Creating a sense of brand is never an easy task. It can be defined by font and color choices, logo design, visual identity (photos and video), mission statement and even copy. But, in many ways, your brands personality and character is defined by action. What do you do differently in your niche?
This is where your headline can come into play. With one quick statement, you should emphasize what you do differently.
Jameson is obviously a popular whiskey brand. However, here they emphasize the storytelling aspect of Irish whiskey traditions. Immediately I get a mental image of a memorable bar night where stories were told and friendships developed.
Or, maybe I’m just a dreamer…
Needless to say, their headline separates them from other whiskey makers, and helps to define their brand.
Focus on the User, Not Your Company
This is another way of simplifying a complicated task. Start by writing down what you do. Afterwards, write down what a user can do in the future by using what you do.
What I’m saying here is that users don’t always care about your brand. What they want to know is what you can do for them. It’s no secret that people are naturally narcissistic. So why not play this up.
I’ve seen some sites with headlines that say things like, “we create handcrafted stories and make dreams come true.” Meanwhile, the website is for a photo journalist or something along those lines. After a while those really trendy words lose meaning. They don’t affect us anymore. This sort of headline doesn’t have any user focus, so the user loses focus.
Instead, tell them what you do, and what you can do for them.
Pandora’s website is extremely user focused. Right from the get go, we understand that it’s a radio site, and the second part is really speaking to me. Who doesn’t want to be selective with radio station music? I’m immediately interested to know what they can do for me.
Keywords are great for SEO, and for helping to define what you do. This is another reason that vague words in your Headline can hurt you. Why not be more specific?
No stuffing, please.
After you’ve done your keyword brainstorming and research, decide which ones best define your brand/niche. Or what you believe your audience is most searching for. If you can add it to your headline ideas, it could really improve you click through rate.
Granted, Gemnote’s logo has the word note in it, but other than that, based on their logo, I wouldn’t know what they do. It is imperative that they feature a keyword as well as define exactly what they do. Sure enough, we clearly understand that they offer handwritten cards, and custom gifts.
The beauty of this headline is that now I can refer back to the logo, and understand and appreciate its simplistic branding. Gem notes… clever girl.
Write as many as possible & Test
No matter what you brainstorm, the key is to not edit yourself as you define a perfect headline. I would write down everything and anything that comes into your head.
Write down a list of 100 possibilities that go through these tactics. No backspacing, erasing, time wasting, only pacing and chasing the … okay I’m back.
After you’ve written them down. Do some A/B testing. Try out your favorites and see how they convert – from the most complex, to something as simple as Google Drive’s headline.
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