February 19, 2018

Dry as a bone?

Must web heads be dull?

There’s a lot of sniveling and squawking going on in the web writing community these days. Consider the headlines:

Google never laughs

Google never laughs How can you write headlines that rank high in search and amuse your readers? Image by Braydon Anderson

  • This Boring Headline Is Written for Google,” grumble journalists.
  • Google doesn’t laugh,” moan headline writers.
  • Witty headlines: Black and white and dead all over,” kvetch communicators.

What’s all the bellyaching about? The fact that feature headlines don’t work so well online. Sad, but true: When it comes to web heads, it’s more important to optimize for search engines — and optimize for real people — than it is to be clever.

4 ways to write creative web heads … >>>

Email   Print   Digg   Facebook   Twitter

Related stories

“Does the pursuit of the literal take all the fun out of headline writing? Not necessarily.”
— Eric Ulken, assistant managing editor of digital, The Seattle Times

Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie’s social media-writing workshop on Feb. 6-7, 2018 in Los Angeles

More than half of social media followers spend, on average, fewer than 15 seconds on a page, according to a study by Chartbeat. In this environment, you need to get your message across to skimmers, scanners and other nonreaders.

Reach even ‘readers’ who won’t read your paragraphs.

But at Get Clicked, Read, Liked & Shared — my one-and-only 2018 social media-writing Master Class on Feb. 6-7 in Los Angeles — you’ll learn to use links, subheads, decks, lists and other forms of microcontent to reach even people who don’t read your paragraphs. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Avoid writing headlines that get filtered out by Facebook.
  • Write better listicles with our 6-step list-writing makeover.
  • Bust the myth of page view time. Help readers understand better, remember longer and enjoy your piece more — in half the time.
  • Tear down obstacles to reading your post by passing the Palm Test.
  • Write headlines that rank higher in SEO and entice readers with wit and whimsy.
“The article I rewrote in Ann’s Master Class got nearly 3 times the average page views for our intranet home page stories. It was the second-most-read story of the year.”
— Michelle Esso, senior communications staff writer, Baker Law

Polish your skills

Learn to Catch Your Readers and more at these Master Classes

Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's social media-writing workshop on Feb. 6-7 in Los Angeles

Only chance in 2018
Los Angeles | Feb. 6-7

Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's concise-writing workshop on April 17-18 in New York

Only chance in 2018
New York | April 17-18

Register for Catch Your Readers - Ann Wylie's persuasive-writing workshop on May 1-2 in Denver


Denver | May 1-2

Register for Writing For the Web and Mobile - Ann Wylie's digital-writing workshop on June 12-13 in Chicago

Only chance in 2018
Chicago | June 12-13

Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller - Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop on July 25-26 in Portland

Only chance in 2018
Portland | July 25-26

Register for NOT Your Father’s News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop on Sept. 6-7 in Atlanta

Last chance in 2018
Atlanta | Sept. 6-7

Register for Catch Your Readers - Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop on Oct. 2-3 in Dallas

Last chance in 2018
Dallas | Oct. 2-3

Register for Inside the Inbox - Ann Wylie's Email-writing workshop on Nov. 7-8 in Washington D.C.

NEW! ONLY chance in 2018!
Washington D.C. | Nov. 7-8

Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?

Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Atlanta: Sept. 6-7
  • Chicago: June 12-13
  • Dallas: Oct. 2-3
  • Denver: May 1-2
  • Los Angeles: Feb. 6-7
  • Montreal: June 3-6
  • New York: April 17-18
  • Portland: Feb. 16 & July 25-26
  • Reston, VA: Jan. 31
  • Tacoma: Aug. 14
  • Washington, DC: Nov. 7-8

Keep up with my calendar.

Please share this issue …

… with two of your colleagues by directing them to our current issue. Better yet, invite them to subscribe to Wylie’s Writing Tips. They’ll thank you — and so will I!