How to Turn a Browser Into a Reader – Part One

by on April 16, 2012 · 29 comments

in Article Tutorials

Isn’t it what we all want?  Turn a browser into a reader?  Of course it is.  Anyone writing online, whether it’s an article, a blog post, a sales page, an email or an ad, we all want that browser to turn into a reader.

Sometimes, I wish I had been writing online 10 years ago with the knowledge that I have accumulated today.  At least, back then it was easier to get people’s attention because the online world was much less crowded (less competition).  Therefore, it was easier to make someone read your piece.

Today, however, you need to be much more clever to attract someone’s attention long enough to turn your blog post or article into a success versus a waste of your time.

Let’s be frank, here.  The reason why you are writing online comes down to one single equation:

Readers + Sharing = Conversion

Unless you are writing online solely for the fun of it (and I am one of the people who thinks that writing is fun) you want conversion.  Don’t you?

Part One – Your Headline

Conversion comes down to how convincing you are in your copy.  To convince people with your content you need to first make them read the headline.  Once you’ve passed the test of the headline your reader will gravitated to your first line and if that’s good enough they’ll keep on reading as long as you give them a good reason for doing so.

To make your reader get to the first line, you have only one chance, and it’s with your title of your article, also called “headline”.  If you mess up the headline, your potential reader will never even get to your first line.  That headline needs to be not only attention grabbing but conveying a specific message that you know your target market wants to know about.

So, to start with, let’s see what types of headlines you can use to make sure that you grab your reader’s attention right from the get-go.

The Different Types of Headlines

There are several types of headlines, but for the purpose of this post we are going to concentrate on 4 types of headlines that are most used in internet marketing.  Such headlines are:

  1. Question Headline
  2. Why headline
  3. How to headline
  4. Command headline

For example, here is a question headline that I found online:  Is your bank charging you too many extra fees?

The question headline is clever enough to ask a question that the author knows many people are asking themselves.  If your potential reader is asking themselves this question, they will most likely get to that first line of your content.  In this case, the reader is assuming that this question that they’ve been asking themselves is going to be answered.  After that, your job is to deliver and give them the answer they are looking for.  If you do, they will love you for it.  In part two of this series we are going to talk about this part of your content.

The why headline may go like this:  Why is your diet not working?

Many times, the why question headline will ask a question about something that’s not working or you can’t do or achieve.  In this case, such headline is telling you that you will find out why something you’ve been doing has not worked out for you and how you can fix it.  This type of headline works great because it’s telling the reader the silent “it’s not your fault” sub-headline.  People love to find out that it’s not their fault if they are failing and that something can be done to help them.

Ah, the famous how to headline which everyone loves so much.  The how to headline is probably the most popular headline out there.  As a matter of fact, there is an article directory which all headlines must start by “how to”.  The how to headline is definitely a promise to the reader that they are going to learn how to do something.  If the sentence following the how to is something your target market really wants to know, you will attract your potential reader to your first line.

The command headline is usually a promise that something really works and if you don’t read this, you’re just missing out.  Here is one, grow your business by 7% in 7 days.  Usually, authors writing command headlines have a great message to convey and will get their potential reader to their first line.  Then it’s up to them to make sure that the reader is not disappointed or they may never come back again.

The Rule of Thumb of the Headline that Works

Whether you choose a question headline, a why headline, a how to headline or a command headline, your headline must include certain elements to work best.  I’ve learned from the best that in order to write great headlines you MUST ask yourself some questions to which the answer MUST be YES.

Such questions may vary depending on what type of content you provide, but they are three questions that work perfectly well for any internet marketer,  whether it’s for your blog, article or sales page.

  • Does my headline present the solution to a problem or need?
  • Does my headline trigger the reader’s emotion?
  • Does my headline present some benefit to the reader?
If your answer to those three questions is yes, then you might have written a very good headline that should turn a browser into a reader.  But that’s just the beginning.  In part two we are going to learn how we can get the reader to stick way beyond the headline.
Are you good at writing headline? Do you have trouble with it? Please, do tell!

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Sylviane Nuccio is a professional Freelance Writer and a Life Coach. You can check her writing portfolio right here .

Sylviane has written 166 awesome articles for us at SylvianeNuccio.com

Twitter: @SylvianeNuccio | Facebook | Google+ | Blog → Sylviane Nuccio

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 AdrienneTwitter: AdrienneSmith40 April 16, 2012 at 3:25 PM

This is an area I’m constantly working on Sylviane. Last year I went in search of some posts that would help me with writing more eye catching headlines so I’ve used a few of those over and over again. Just filled in the blanks with what I was writing about at the time.

I don’t always stick with the formula and have wavered off so many times it’s not even funny. I really do need to pay much more attention to grabbing my readers attention each time they visit my content so that’s an area I still need to work on.

Thanks for pointing this out and explaining it more fully. I’m definitely a work in progress when it comes to this. Someday I’ll conquer it, someday!

~Adrienne
Adrienne invites you to read..5 Easy Editing Techniques To Make Your YouTube Videos Less BoringMy Profile

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2 Sylviane Nuccio April 16, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Hi Adrienne,

Considering the amount of readers that you have, I do not think you have to worry too much about your headlines, Adrienne:) It all depends on what you want to accomplish anyway.

However, it’s always good to know what type of headlines work better than others, and we are all a work in progress in this regards, you know!

Thanks for coming by dear :)

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3 Carol LynnTwitter: carollynnrivera April 16, 2012 at 4:36 PM

This is one of those things that’s a constant thorn in my side! Sometimes I spend more time writing the headline than the actual post :)

I usually debate between making it direct, vs making it something really attention grabbing vs making sure I put the right keywords in there. I have an entire book of headline examples and still it gives me grief.

I like your three very simple, straightforward examples. In fact I now have them in a note so I can think about them next time I’m writing. It’s so true that you need to capture someone first with the headline. Your content may be fantastic but people have to want to read it first!
Carol Lynn invites you to read..How To Write A Blog Post For People Who Would Rather Stick A Hot Poker In Their Eye Than Write A Blog PostMy Profile

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4 Sylviane Nuccio April 17, 2012 at 12:19 AM

Hi Carol,

What can I say? We as human who think we are so intelligent and smart, we most certainly fall for that. You are totally right, the content could be fantastic, but yet the title could not be good at all. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fail, a good article with a bad title vs the same article with a good title, the good title will attract way more readers. I’ve done that test many times myself on ezines. The catchy titles always win.

Thanks for coming by and so glad you took advantage of this post :)

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5 Nicky April 16, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Oh headlines, headlines – It is very difficult to get it completely right Sylviane and although my articles are keyword researched to answer the question my target market has, trying to attract them with the headline is a whole different matter.

I have read that the number 7 is very persuasive for some reason, hence all the e-books are $27, $47 or $97 and so are bullet points – so “7 Tips to …..” is always a winner for me!! ;-)

Nicky

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6 Sylviane Nuccio April 17, 2012 at 12:23 AM

Hi Nicky,

I’ve head that to. Supposedly the number 7 attracts and so are other odd numbers in general versus even numbers. I guess it’s true.

We can always do better, I’am sure with headlines, but following a few rules help to do fine with them.

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7 April Marie April 16, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Headlines are super important in grabbing a readers attention Sylvian!! I absolutely love using “How to” in my headlines because for me they have been the most effective. Thanks so much for sharing!! This post is rockin!!

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8 Sylviane Nuccio April 17, 2012 at 12:26 AM

Hello April Marie!

First, welcome here and nice to meet you :)

Indeed, whether we want it or not, headlines are important to make sure that our posts or articles are going to be read.

Thanks you so much for passing by and hope to see you soon :)

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9 Sylviane Nuccio April 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Hi Mika,

I think I understand what you’re saying :) not too sure, though. But, yes, it’s important to make sure that your reader doesn’t fall asleep :)

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10 Sonia April 17, 2012 at 1:27 PM

I love posts like this because I try to get better with this myself. Copyblogger offered some great times on this too, but you’re right about capturing a readers attention right off the bat. I have read some great content that got my attention based on the headline and the image used to convey their point, but there are some that fell short. I think we forget the why and the how to solve someone’s problem.

Some write to rant and others write for the sake of writing. Some rants I don’t mind, because I look at it as pure entertainment. It won’t solve my problem, but it might make me think. I am on the hunt of information and stuff to solve my problems too, but I am picky in who I take advice from as well.

To me there is more credibility with a writer that has been online for a period of time, than someone fresh out of the water that I don’t know. Either way, write to your hearts desire, but write with purpose. Thanks Sylviane this was great!

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11 Sylviane Nuccio April 18, 2012 at 12:35 AM

Hi Sonia,

There is a little bit of everything out there. What I love the most beyond the good title is good content with personality. The kind of reading that doesn’t attract me is the writer who writes like a robot to themselves.

I think that when you write you need to remember that you are writing for people. If it helps you can even imagine a specific person and write for them.

Thanks for coming by, Sonia :)

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12 Jens Berget April 17, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Hi Sylviane,

Very interesting post. I’m always hustling to write better headlines. I spend a lot of time doing it, but not nearly enough. And I don\’t analyze my headlines the way you do, and that\’s something I have been very eager to learn. When you put it in a perspective like that, it’s so much easier to write it.I usually go for mystique, even though I might not ask a question, I try to use a headline that people either don’t exactly understand or it’s something different. But, now that I know more about it, I’ll try your method, because it sounds a lot better than mine :)

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13 Sylviane Nuccio April 17, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Hi Jens,

Well, I learned about headlines and content from people who have shown what their were talking about by their own results.

When I first started, I could write the content OK, but I was not good with headlines. I’ve learned a lot about how the human brain works in this regards and improved over time.

Thanks for your comment. Really appreciated it :)

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14 Ilka Flood April 18, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Hi Sylviane,

Excellent post and great advice! I have to admit, finding attention-catching headlines is something I still struggle with. Sometimes I hit it right on the dot, and sometimes I don’t. I often write several different headlines while I am still working on writing my blog post and then at the end pick the one that fits best. Don’t know if that’s a good technique but it seems to work.

I will definitely bookmark this post and keep it close by for reference. Thanks for sharing it!

Ilka

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15 Sylviane Nuccio April 19, 2012 at 3:36 AM

Hi Ilka,

Believe me we are all struggling with headlines, even the pros of the pros. They usually spend quite a bit of time to fine the “perfect” headline. It’s just not easy!

I am like you sometimes I find the perfect headline, sometimes I struggle with it. Often times, I write the post first and then, think of the headline.

I think that what you do, writing several headlines and choosing from them when you’re done with the post is a very good idea.

Sometimes, I also care about my headline more than others.

I’m glad if you found this post helpful, I tried to make it that way :) Thanks Ilka!

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16 Barry Wells April 24, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Hi Sylviane,

You’re so right, the headline has to be eye catching and draw the readers in so they want to know more about the topic.

I sell on eBay and if the title isn’t right there then your salespage won’t even get opened never mind selling the item.

I try and play around with some of my blog post titles to make them more catchy and intriguing, for example: I’ll show you mine but will you show me yours? Which was my first video challenge, then there was Headaches, Heartbeats and helpful friends, which was when I thought I had been hacked.

I try also to include How To headlines when and where fitting as well as list headlines like top 5 or 5 ways to.

When we comment on other blogs, leave our RSS feeds etc it is only the titles that people see so we need them to work ;)

Great tips Sylviane, thanks.

Barry

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17 Sylviane Nuccio April 25, 2012 at 2:22 AM

Hi Barry,

Yes, the title is very important. I am glad that you mentioned how it affects even someone selling stuff on eBay. Yes, the title can really make it or break it. It’s not that hard to learn how to create good titles, just a bit of thinking.

Thanks for coming by, Barry :)

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18 Jeevanjacobjohn April 29, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Hey Sylviane,

You are right. In blogging for business, conversion is one among the most important things that we really need to take care of and work with (For me, I am in the area between business blogging and fun blogging, I still have to choose a “good” side, and I hope I can make that decision soon). Anyways, as far as conversion and convincing goes, headline is the first key. You grab the attention of someone and convince them to click the link (and if you want them to read the post, then your content must be valuable and must agree with the headline).

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and insights on headlines, Sylviane (to tell you the truth, I really suck at writing good headlines, which is the first reason why I don’t get that much traffic. I think the quality of the content is the second and marketing being third).

Thanks anyways,

Jeevan Jacob John

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19 Sylviane Nuccio April 30, 2012 at 2:34 AM

HI Jeevan,

With time and practice you can improve your headline skills I’m sure. Headlines are very important, indeed, but so is the rest of the content once you have attracted readers with the headline.

Thank you for sharing your feedbacks. In the morning part three will be publish.

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20 MayuraTwitter: MayuraDeSilva May 2, 2012 at 10:06 PM

“How to Turn a Browser Into a Reader” – Clever and creative title. isn’t it? ;)

Honestly, I had no idea about those factors of headlines when I write my posts and adding headlines :) I love writing and expressing my ideas. One of my favorite habits is adding a title after writing a post to comply with content. For me, the heading comes naturally after writing up a post. Aha… Nope :) I’m not an expert. OK? Just a newbie. My idea was headline is the main factor that visitors will attracted to. I’d say “first impression”. That’s how we judge content before dig more deep. aren’t we? However most of time, I’m stick to “How to” titles.

Thanks for sharing this information Sylviane :) I’ve learnt what I should’ve known.

Cheers…
Mayura invites you to read..How to Create a Group on FacebookMy Profile

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21 Sylviane Nuccio May 2, 2012 at 10:34 PM

Hi Mayura,

Writing the title after the post is completed is perfectly fine. I do that a lot, especially when I have a good idea about a post, but don’t know what to call it yet. There is no rule and anything is fine as long as it works for you.

It’s great to be a newbie while you’re as young as you are, I wish I could have said the same thing. I’m sure you’ll do great things online as long as you don’t give up.

Thanks for coming and have a great rest of the week :)

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22 Xarah May 4, 2012 at 12:14 PM

I might have to look at my headlines more. I hope most of my headlines trigger curiousity, unfortunately, at my blog only people who are logged in to facebook can comment. Maybe next time i write a blog post and then try come up with one of those 4 types of headlines. Thanks!

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23 Sylviane Nuccio May 5, 2012 at 2:17 AM

Hi Xarah,

Thanks for coming and nice meeting you.

Writing good titles is never easy and we are all a work in progress you know! The important thing is to try to do our best, and once in a while we can all come up with a genius title. But that’s practice like anything else.

When it comes to comments, I love to use what I have here on this blog called CommentLuv because it allows the readers to link to they own post and it’s very attractive to them. If they don’t have a blog to link to they can still comment without any problem.

Thanks for your feedbacks :)

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24 Jeremy Ruggles May 4, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Hi Sylviane,

It is interesting how often a headline goes overlooked when it is, in fact, the first thing that you should be concerned about. After all, it is the reason someone will decide weather or not to read your post in the first place. Take this post for instance, I decided to click on it to see what advice you had about turning a blog browser into a reader…. something I can relate to, since I do browse over blog posts at times….

Anyway, great tips. I will be more mindful of my headlines after having read this post.

Take care,

~Jeremy

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25 Sylviane Nuccio May 5, 2012 at 2:22 AM

Ahahahh, Jeremy! it worked then, right? my title did it’s job in your case. It seems :)

When I write my titles I try to tell myself, would I be attracted by this title? If the answer is not or even maybe, it’s a bad title.

Gosh, do I have some bad titles out there, but that was more from the past. I have gotten better at writing titles over time.

Thanks for your feedbacks :)

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26 Andrew May 14, 2012 at 12:00 PM

very interesting post thank you for sharing this information with us i really enjoyed reading about it.

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27 Sylviane Nuccio June 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Thanks for coming, Andrew :)

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28 Paul Blackburn June 11, 2012 at 6:37 AM

This is fun and exciting. It helps a beginner in blogging.

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29 Sylviane Nuccio June 11, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Hi Paul,

Thank for coming.

By the way, by the look of the “default” avatar generated by my blog for you, I would have never known you had a professional looking site. Having a REAL avatar with your own picture or a business picture makes ALL the difference in this business. Just thought I’d throw that thoughts at you :)

Have a great week!

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