Homepage headlines

GrabTranscript from a 5-minute speech

I could grab you with my first few words – or I could lose you.

With a website you have less than three seconds to grab attention and make an impact.

But what impact do you want your website to make? What’s the objective of your website? What’s the point of having one in the first place?

Most of my clients tell me it’s to be found on search engines, and/or to convert site visitors into enquirers or clients. And how do you do that?

Let’s imagine someone has landed on your home page, whether they’ve found it via your online or offline marketing activity. Hoorah! But what are they going to see?

In the copywriting world, it’s commonly quoted that 80 to 90% of the success of any marketing communication is in the headline. Commonsense tells us this must be true. The subject line of your email determines whether it gets opened, the title of your talk determines whether you get booked, the headline of a marketing communication determines whether the body copy gets read.

So what do you put in your headline?

What you don’t put is “Welcome to my website”.

When I was researching my latest book, The Little Fish Guide to Writing your own Website, I found that two million people had put “Welcome to my website”. When I checked again recently, it’s down to one million. Now, I can’t claim ALL the credit for that, but it does make me happy! Because those words are wasted.

So what DO you put in your headline?

There are two things, depending on your objectives.

If your objective is to get found on search engines, then what you put in your headline has to be keyword-rich.

Now you know when you write a Word document, if you use stylesheets you have the option of labelling your headings with styles Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3. In the code for websites, it’s exactly the same. You rank your headings in the order of H1, H2, H3.

And if your main heading is tagged H1 in the code, the search engines look at that and they think, “Ooh, that’s heading’s tagged H1, it must be important.” They look at the words that are tagged H1 and then they potentially serve the page up to somebody who searches for those words.

But getting found on search engines is only one thing, because it’s the human beings that give you the money. So it’s the human beings that you need to appeal to with your heading as well.

So if your objective is to attract enquiries and/or sales from your website, your heading has to put yourself in THEIR shoes and answer ‘What’s in it for me’ from their point of view. So when they land on your website, they know they’ve landed in the right place and that you’ve got what it is that they want.

So, I hope I managed to grab you from my first few words, and I hope your website manages to grab your visitors from the first click.

Happy headlines!

photo credit: Cyberbullying via photopin (license)

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