Use strong headings to lead readers to your content

Listicles, articles or blog posts that include a numbered list of “things,” get more readers. People love lists. They are scannable, they are memorable, and they are sharable. Perhaps one reason people go to these listicles is because they often have strong headings.

The Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) recently published the listicle, “Headings Are Pick-Up Lines: 5 Tips for Writing Headlines That Convert.” When my Twitter feed presented this article title itself (and its link) as the tweet, I quickly clicked to go read more.

I’ll let you go read this article to get the 5 tips, but I’ll summarize them in my own words here:

  1. Headings need to stand on their own. They should communicate something to the reader in and of themselves.
  2. Be specific, and use user-centric language.
  3. Avoid idioms, and limit jargon. Know your audience, so that you know what language will communicate easily with them. (Of course, the title of their article used “pick-up lines,” which seems idiomatic to me?)
  4. Be concise. SEO suggests less than 55 characters, including spaces!
  5. Put important keywords first.
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