Why Did This Article Heading Work Better?

One week ago I posted two of my previous Entrepreneur’s Journey blog articles into EzineArticles for some extra marketing exposure. I’m now up to 20 articles in the system so I’m getting close to the point where I can report back to you how my article marketing campaign is going but I thought I would pose this quick question to you today.

I posted these articles at almost exactly the same time and as I type this article, based on my statistic reports one article has been viewed twice as many times as the other. Here are the stats:

5 Tips To Keep Visitors Glued To Your Website | Viewed 110 times

Use Smart Website File-Names For High Search Engine Rankings | Viewed 55 times

Now of course this is far from a comprehensive test however since the articles were published at about the same time it is interesting to see which is performing better so far. They went live on the site at almost the same time and were entered in the same category as well. I’m almost 100% certain that the culprit for the difference is title of the articles. The first title is more appealing so more people clicked through to read the article.

Marketing Advice…

If there was one piece of advice I would give you when it comes to testing your marketing, and not just for article marketing purposes, but also for other important things like search engine optimization and copywriting – is to test your titles. Titles are the key variable for almost all results and the better your titles the better your results will be.

Analysing The Results

Starting with the phrase “5 tips” may be an advantage since people often are attracted to small lists of easily digestible information morsels. Maybe the second title is too wordy or doesn’t have the right keywords? I could keep testing to find out but it’s not the smartest use of my time since the results are marginal so I don’t exert too much energy in this area, just enough to see how good this method of marketing is.

Maybe you have a suggestion or explanation for the disparity in the results?

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12 Comments

  • Personally, I definitely wouldn’t have clicked on the second title, but I would probably have clicked the first.

    I’d presume that “Use Smart Website File-Names For High Search Engine Rankings” will just tell me to use keywords in file names. That’s something I already do, so there’s no point reading it.

    The other article just says it has 5 tips – it doesn’t give me any clue as to what they are. I’d therefore be quite likely to click on it to find out more.

  • Yeah, the second title is too wordy. Each noun phrase has 5 syllables, whereas the first title has phrases of no more than three syllables long. People’s brains don’t like long lists–the average person’s short term memory can hold 7 (+-2) items, and so 5 is starting to push it. Three is a much friendlier number.

    Try “Smart File Names for High Rankings.”

  • Yaro,

    There is a useful tool for helping with this called the ‘Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer’ and can be found at http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/.

    They also provide explainations for how and why they think it works.
    What do you reckon about it?

    Dominic.

  • I’ll check out that link Dominic and thanks for all the input guys.

    I’m going to change the heading for the second article and test your suggestion Michael – “Smart File Names for High Rankings” – and lets see what happens. I think that title is a bit ambiguous since it doesn’t actually mention that it’s website file names we are changing but will see anyway.

  • Yep, I think Dan has the answer. The second one already tells me the conclusion of the article and there’s no obvious reason for me to find out more.

    S.

  • Two things:

    1. “5 Tips” – a specific number and the magic word “Tips” – people love tips!

    2. The verb “Glued” – creates a strong mental image of users riveted to your content and unable to leave.

    I did a similar test one time and the headline “How to write eye-grabbing headlines that catapult readers into your sales copy” did very well. Key points are How to, Eye-grabbing, Catapult.

  • I think the best 2 of 5 of the “5 ways to keep visitors glued” is content and community.

    Having quality content and then having a community to exchange ideas about it is key. It depends on what the goal of the site is but for you, Yaro, a blog is what combines both of these ideas. While for others, a forum is more appropriate, etc.

  • “Squeeze the number of words to extract the maximum amount of impact”

  • I’ve created a little website – HeadlineWars.com – in an effort to help learn more about your headlines. It’s basically a site where you can add your headlines, and then everyone can view headlines and click which headline they think is best. It will be interesting to see the results.

  • […] Testing Article Titles Besides the direct traffic results there are some other important benefits from using article marketing. The one thing I’m really noticing is how important the article title is. Those of you who are copywriters or regular bloggers will be well aware that the title of your articles has the most impact on how often your article is read. The same of course applies in article marketing but it also impacts whether your article is republished. Given that most publishers first search article directories for content, your article title has to have the right keywords and has to be interesting enough to be clicked and finally, if you are lucky, republished. That’s a lot of steps to go through and a lot riding on how good your title is. […]

  • A comment on the link that Dominic provided for the headline analyzer: The theory behind that particular analysis is that word sounds alone can provoke emotional response. Thus, words that are always recommend as being good for titles (like “tip” or “fast”) have no value in that system. I analyzed almost 200 words with their tool and basically all they are doing is giving a value to a word based on things like containing the “oo” sound, ending in -y, starting with re-. There is no research or substantiation on the site to back up their approach, and when I searched on the name of the guy who is cited on the site as having supposedly “discovered” this approach to copywriting, I got nothing but what seemed like mystical healing stuff.

    All that to say, this headline analyzer looks like unsupported bunkus to me, and I’d recommend using with caution if at all.

  • But intriguingly, Sarah, Yaro’s successful headline gets a score of 44% with that tool, and the other gets only 22%.

    I agree, it looks like bunkus to me too, but interesting results anyway *g*

  • I experience a lot of difference with my article results and I agree that it might be because of my headlines.

    Personally I’m more attracted to list headlines and so does a lot of other people seem to be. I have therefore choosen to go for a list headlines as often as possible (which might sometimes be a problem when the keyword is singular…).

  • […] October 31st, 2006 I just ran across a great tip for article marketers and marketers alike in Why Did This Article Heading Work Better? in the archives of the Entrepreneur’s Journey. Marketing Advice… If there was one piece of advice I would give you when it comes to testing your marketing, and not just for article marketing purposes, but also for other important things like search engine optimization and copywriting – is to test your titles. Titles are the key variable for almost all results and the better your titles the better your results will be. […]

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