Sunday, September 17, 2006

Word Economist: Headlines & Clicks 101

I’ve noticed that the most popular posts often (but not always) have great you-must-click-here headlines. These titles are either funny, very informative, sexy, taunting or puzzling.

But they share a bottom line: Like a frugal mom on a tight budget, the best headlines are economical, but productive with lots of hits and clicks. Headlines, like haiku, represent an economical use of words.

Of course, there are a few long, long headlines that pull in readers because they are so intriguing. But for the most part, a few well-chosen words work well.

Hit-Making Headlines Features

1. Headlines that promise a quick read of tips are usually popular: 5 Tips for (fill-in the blank)
2. Sex sells
3. Humor
4. Controversy
5. Narrative headlines
6. Clean straightforward headlines in which the topic is clearly, quickly and cleanly stated.
7. Intriguing Headlines.
8. Celebrity name dropping
9. Flavor of the month topics. For example, headlines that mention retirement, housing bubble, marriage or relationships often pull in curious readers.
10. Great topic, great reporting/writing with a headline that reflects the efforts.

Here are some of the most popular posts on PFBlogs today, with a few oldies thrown in.

Boston Gal: Why Pay for It When you Can Get It for Free

All Things Financial Oprah's Great American Debt Diet

City Girl:Fortunes Fools: Why The Rich Go Broke

Divorce2Freedom:3:13 am and phone rings

Single Ma; Surprise Money Surprise Money

Penny Foolish Things That I am willing to Pay for

Five Cent Nickel The Hidden Costs of Home ownership

and from me:
Smart Talk from American Idol Star

Pension Envy & Borrowed Time

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