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When Good Web Headlines Go Bad

Finding the right headline for your Web story is nearly as important as the story itself. If no one knows what it is about, then no one will read it.

Here’s a great example of the same story with two different headlines. One is the headline on the story (and what appears in the site’s RSS feed) and one is the headline used by a partner site linking to it.

Bad headline: Don’t sweat the selloff

Great headline: Why the S&P 500 may not be done hitting records in ’07

With the bad headline, you have absolutely no idea what the story is about. I saw it in my RSS reader and immediately passed it by.

The selloff? Maybe they’re talking about selling your stock. But that could mean anything.

The great headline tells you exactly what the story is about and why you should read it.

Don’t let your great headlines turn into bad headlines. Tell your readers what they want to know — what your story is about.


  1. Hi, I found this page via Copyblogger. I’m not sure I agree with you, however. Clear headlines with strategic keywords are important but original, slightly more cryptic headlines have their place too. They often intrigue me to click and find out more.

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