Headlines can make or break a story. With thousands of different articles vying for our attention, web users can afford to be picky.
In an ideal world we’d give articles a fighting chance to prove their worth, but in truth, unless we have pre-existing faith in the author, we often make the decision to read or ignore before our eyes have reached the end of the headline.
Web writers have only recently, it seems, started to realize the crucial importance of the headline. The ascendancy of the headline has been one aspect of Web 2.0 culture which hasn’t received the attention it deserves.
This post is a tour of the key web headline formulas being used today. Some will inspire you, others will make you cringe. All of them are sourced from real examples.
1. The destined for Digg
More than half of Americans – 56 per cent – say they’re not proud of the country
2. Because headlines and context don’t mix
‘Microsoft sucks’, says top blogger
3. Is that a threat?
Warning: People are Ignoring Advertising. But They do Read News.
4. The love it or hate it number + text combo
3 Painful Ways You Lose Money Every Month
5. Bait for the curious
What’s the scariest fish in the Amazon? Hint: It’s not the Piranha. It’s far, far worse.
6. The delayed number + text combo
Grip Your Readers With These 7 Knock-out Opening Sentences
7. The only slightly less loathed/loved ‘written’ number
Five Tips for Stealthy Facebooking
8. The not so secret anymore
Five Secret Strategies to Add $1 Million in Revenue
9. The number + assertion of superiority
Top 10 Wi-Fi Boosts, Tweaks and Apps
10. The savvy linkbaiter
45 Excellent Blog Designs
11. The resource list you’ll bookmark and never look at again
40+ Free Fonts for Professional Design
12. The hook, colon, describe
Quitting the Day Job: Finding the Guts to Pursue Your Dreams
13. The sensational claim only a member of the blogerati could make
The Web 2.0 World is Skunk-Drunk on its Own Kool-Aid
14. The splogger’s magnum opus
Welcome to the World of the Slim People
15. The subjective masquerading as objective
TIME: The Best Photos of 2005
16. The wild promise
How to Amaze Your Friends and Family With Your Eerily Accurate Psychic Readings
17. The search-term as headline
How to Hack an iPod
18. The keyword stuffer
Monetize Your Blog With These Ways to Make Money Online Monetize Your Blog
19. The troubling question
Are You Prepared for a Blogging Emergency?
20. The amateur philosopher
Two Phrases That Destroyed American Culture
21. The harsh call
Most People Are Depressed For a Very Good Reason
22. Google + intrigue = traffic
Dr. Google Sends Pain Relief
23. The mysterious premise
5 HTML Elements You Probably Never Use (But Perhaps Should)
24. The self-improver
How to Become a Vegetarian, the Easy Way
25. The appeal to our fear of failure
Do You Make These Mistakes When You Write?