What if you could get people to read your blog posts...every single time?
You spend hours, perhaps days, writing your heart out.
So, why not lure more people to check out your awesome stuff.
Sounds difficult, right?
Well, it's not.
There is actually a very simple trick you can use - it's called headlines!
But before we get to that...check out the following quote
Did you know you only have 2.6 seconds to win a new visitor over. If you fail, they leave and will likely never return.
Not only do our readers have the attention span of a small child, but to make it even worse...there are over 2 million blog posts written every day.
Bad news, right? The competition appears to be insanely tough!
Let's sum it all up:
- Our readers have a short attention span (picture a small child)
- There is an insane amount of competition out there (picture Black Friday at WalMart)
- Headlines are a simple yet powerful way to get their attention
Headlines Are Awesome, But...
Now, we know headlines are awesome, but we never know which one is going to WOW our readers, do we?
We can guess.
We can learn from experience.
But still, even the pros (like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post) are never really sure!
So, what do they do?
- They test a whole bunch and then....
- Use the best one - the one that gets the most readers!
Enter Thrive Headline Optimizer.
What is it?
The Thrive Headline Optimizer is the latest plugin from Thrive Themes. And as the name suggests this plugin is all about optimizing your headlines.
Nobody can pick the best headline straight away. Not even the top copywriters!
Advertising legend David Ogilvy rewrote this famous headline for an automobile advertisement 104 times:
At 60 miles an hour, the only thing you hear in the new Rolls Royce is the ticking of the dashboard clock …
- David Ogilvy
The only way to discover the best headline is to test all the variations and evaluate the results.
This is what the Thrive Headline Optimizer does.
How does it work?
The Headline Optimizer does all the headline testing for you using the same techniques as the big boys.
- Pick a few great headlines for your post
- Add them to the Headline Optimizer
- See which one gets the most attention from your readers
This means that using a couple of headlines (or many, it's up to you) you can randomly show them to the readers and see which one works.
So, you are going to have to come up with the headlines, but with a bit of practice this becomes quite simple. Especially when you have a tool telling you what works!
Below are some tips to help you get started with your next post's headlines.
You should always have a few headline alternatives for each post you create.
Sometimes this is quite hard, so check out the following ideas and resources to help:
Here are a few alternatives I was playing with in the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer on my latest post:
Once you have a few headlines, you can add them into the plugin and let it do the testing.
As I mentioned above, the Headline Optimizer randomly displays the different headlines to each visitor and then tracks certain criteria to see which one works best.
>> This is A/B testing at its best.
Note: Don't know what is A/B Testing is? Read more here.
How Are The Winners Decided?
The team at Thrive have determined that there are three essential engagement factors to measure:
- Click Through Rate
- Time On Content
Their tool tests your headlines to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to do; i.e.
- get your visitor's attention and get them to keep reading your content
Also, the tests are tracking click-throughs on your blog page, your recent posts widgets and anywhere else where you have posts listed.
Combining this data the Headline Optimizer can determine the headlines that are doing the best job of lowering your bounce rate and keeping visitors on your site.
You can set the plugin to choose an automatic winner after a certain amount of time, or once a winning score has been achieved.
Or you can manually check the performance in the dashboard and choose your own winner once you’re satisfied with the results.
Does the SEO Headline Change?
The headlines that the plugin is testing are your designated 'H1' headings, the title of your post.
The headline you choose for your Meta Title does not change, even when a new headline is selected as the winner.
Let me show you what I mean.
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First, you can see the (Original) blog post headline in Google (the Meta Title):
Second, you can see the (Winner) blog post headline in Google Plus (The H1 Heading):
So, should you be worried about changing your headline and annoying Mr Google?
Here is what the maker of the plugin has to say about it...
When it comes to the SEO (meta) title of your post, you can go all out in “Google pleasing mode”. That’s the title that shows in search results, but not the one that shows as the headline of your actual post.
- Shane Melaugh, Thrive Themes
The Result: Do your normal SEO optimization for Google, and use the headline optimizer to make the most catchy headlines to win over your readers! Win-win.
You might be asking yourself what other kinds of features a Headline plugin comes with.
Here is the complete list:
- Quick & Easy A/B Title Testing
- Bulk Testing
- Detailed A/B Testing Metrics
- Engagement Reports
- Set It & Forget It
- Easy As Pie
- Detailed Reports
- WooCommerce Compatible
>> How, let’s have a look at a few of the features in action.
Using the Thrive Headline Optimizer
A/B TESTING (WHICH IS BEST)
-- Whenever you create a new post, you can simply enter multiple headline variations and the Headline Optimizer will test them against each other, to find the most effective one.
Here’s a test I created in a recent blog post. This view is within the standard WP Edit Post screen:
The following are what you see above:
- Original headline
- First alternative
- Second alternative
- Third alternative
- Engagement Rate for each headline alternative
- A quick view of results
- Button to take you to the plugin dashboard with more details (see next screenshot)
In the Plugin Dashboard, you can see the same information in a larger format.
Here’s the top half of the screen with a color-coded visual graph showing the Engagement Rate of the headlines:
And here’s the bottom half with a more tabular representation:
IT PICKS THE WINNER AUTOMATICALLY!
-- The plugin automatically picks the winning headline for you, so you don't have to remember to check back on all your posts or get a degree in statistics to figure out what’s going on.
From the information above, either in Edit Post or the Plugin Dashboard, you can see that the fourth headline is currently winning:
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Automatic winner settings are currently disabled on my test, as I wanted to monitor the results and see how the test developed. But if you’re not interested in tracking data, you can simply switch to Automatic mode and let the plugin decide.
-- Quickly bulk-optimize old posts on your site. Have the algorithm chugging away and optimizing all the headlines of your most popular posts (or even all your posts), to help you get even more out of them.
The tool is not just for new posts and pages that you create. You can use it on your old content too.
In the Plugin Dashboard you can see:
- Content With Completed Tests
- Content With Currently Active Tests
The ‘Add New’ button goes to a new page to display older posts that have not yet been tested:
ADD ALL - there is a button where you can select to ADD ALL content into the tool:
Personally, I don’t think this advisable. You will have to create a lot of alternative headlines to test. If you had 100 old posts to update with a minimum of two headlines that would be 200 headlines to conjure up all in in go!
Better adding one or two pieces of content at a time, like this...
Select one and start a test:
Now you have to create headline variations:
I’ve added one alternative here:
Next, set your Test Criteria, either accepting the recommended default engagement settings or creating your own. This is where you choose the Automatic Winner settings too:
Back in the dashboard you can see the latest test now added alongside the other active tests:
How Easy Is It To Use, Really? (Hint: Easy As Pie!)
At least I think so.
You create the headlines and the Headline Optimizer does all the grind.
It really is that simple!
You can literally Set-It-And-Forget-It...
Having a good headline is CRUCIAL. But how do YOU decide on the best one? Do you even have a process for creating and choosing effective headlines?
Using the Thrive Headline Optimizer, you can now test your headlines reliably with just a few mouse clicks.
Which results in more attention, more clicks and more people reading your blog posts every single time.
Go on! Ignite YOUR audience with some Fire-Breathing Headlines!