With the attention span of web visitors getting shorter all the time the importance of a headline has never been so critical. If your headline doesn’t grab the reader’s attention – they’re GONE… and that could be your next big customer lost!
The headline on any article, whether it’s a product page, blog post or news item should communicate a clear message as to what the text that follows is about. It also needs to catch the attention and spark an interest if the visitor is to stay on the page long enough to read your call to action or make a purchase.
As Wikipedia explains – The headline is the text indicating the nature of the article below it.
Of course, the importance of a headline means giving it serious thought, which is a good thing. Why? You may ask. There are a number of good reasons:-
- People want to understand who you are and what you do. A strong headline will make that clear quickly confirming to a visitor that they are in the right place for the information they seek. Without this clear message they will just move on.
- Relevant, clear headlines on every page of your website will score brownie points with your visitors (and Google search engines), helping them to skim quickly through your website to find what they want.
- Having to take time to think of a strong headline for your website pages forces you to think about your core business and the key points you want to communicate to visitors.
- Remember too that having many pages on your website isn’t necessarily a bad thing once the headlines state clearly what the page is about. So if you think a headline is getting complicated because of the information you are trying to get across, split the information into multiple pages giving each a distinct headline. Visitors will be much happier with clear information.
Now that you see the importance of a headline let’s have a look at how a ‘tagline’ can be a strong partner to it.
Again Wikipedia’s definition of a tagline – a small amount of text which serves to clarify a thought for, or designed with a form of, dramatic effect. (It’s a) variant of a branding slogan.
While a tagline doesn’t have to be for dramatic effect it does have to clarify a headline. It’s not essential to have a tagline (usually seen in bold or a different font or colour), especially if your page headline is super clear.
Having said that if it is in a stand-out font it will attract the eye and if worded well will encourage visitors to read further and remain on the page.
You’ve identified your core business for page headlines; the next step is to put yourself in visitors’ shoes, especially a first time visitor to your website.
- Will they get you as a company?
- Are the benefits to the visitor clear?
- Is it clear how your visitors can get these benefits?
It needs to be apparent from your headlines and taglines if you want visitors to stick around.
Understanding the importance of a headline may get you thinking that headlines on your website could be clearer.