The most important component of any written content is the title, whether it’s an ad or an article. If the title doesn’t spark interest, the reader will move on and the content probably won’t be read. For some, writing titles is an innate skill. For the rest of us, there are tools that can help.
The website I am highlighting today is Headline Analyzer from Monster Insights, but it is far from the only free tool on offer. Coschedule has one, as does Sharethrough. If you are creating content for a WordPress blog, some search engine optimization plugins, like All in One SEO, have a similar feature built-in. Keep in mind, though, that they may not all have the criteria for what makes a great headline. I used Monster Insights to create the headline for this article (of “perfect” length), only to have All in One SEO tell me it was too long by a single character.
Another caveat about these tools is that you can create a high-scoring title that makes no sense, just by using desirable keywords and staying within a certain number of characters. You can also accidentally create a title that people think is simply clickbait (named so because it goes overboard on keywords to generate clicks that lead people to unsatisfying, ad-loaded pages). These days, most people just skip clicking on over-the-top titles, so you’ll want to avoid that.
Analyzing a Headline
When you have a draft headline that you would like to test, type or paste it into the box at https://www.monsterinsights.com/headline-analyzer and click “Analyze.” The score will pop up below the box.
According to their parameters, this title is good to go. But this wasn’t the first title I tried. This tool tracks your tries to help you remember what configurations you have already used.
As the screenshot demonstrates, even the order of the words in the title can make a big difference in the score.
Improving a Headline
If your first draft isn’t getting the score you hoped for, the tool will give several suggestions on how to improve the title.
First, the “word balance” area will show you how many words you are using from each category, and how many you should shoot for.
Scrolling farther down, word banks are provided to give you suggestions for words in each category:
Another area points out the tone and type of your headline and offers suggestions.
I could have added “How to” at the beginning of the title, but then it would have been too long. The word I choose to cut may then affect the word balance negatively. Ultimately, the final title is up to what sounds good to you and what fits in with the writing style of your content.
Creating a great headline is a balance of several factors, and there is no one perfect title for any piece of content. Hopefully, a headline analyzer can provide you with enough guidance to tweak your titles to improve engagement, regardless of which suggestions you take and which you ignore. Do you have a favorite tool to help you write your headlines? Let us know in the comments.