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70 Characters or Less: Why Headlines Matter




Ever since the first newspaper boy stood on a soapbox and yelled, “Extra! Extra! Read All About It,” headlines have become an integral part of our news reading society. Now, what was once considered the norm in newspapers has quickly spread to the digital world in the form of website headlines. From catchy titles in just a few words to informative news headlines that are designed to grab attention, here’s a handful of newsworthy reasons why headlines matter.

Image via Shutterstock

First and Foremost: Headlines Grab Attention

The single most important factor that comes before everything else in the realm of headlines is the fact that they’re meant to grab the reader’s attention. Although this may seem obvious, writing a headline that grabs attention is much harder than it seems, and it’s sometimes difficult to accomplish.

An attention-grabbing headline combines elements of the story and concise writing to create a minimally worded title that strikes curiosity in the hearts of readers. For example, if you’re adding a post to your health blog about weight loss tips, the headline “Put Down the Fork: 10 Weight Loss Tips That Are Sure to Shed Pounds” grabs more attention than “10 Weight Loss Tips.”

Headlines Inform the Reader

Image via Shutterstock

How do you know if you want to read a website or newspaper article? Well, it’s all in the headline. Part of the attention-grabbing equation is constructing a headline that also informs the reader. The informative factor is fairly easy to include in news articles where the event itself takes precedence, but including information in other types of headlines is a bit more complicated.

If a headline doesn’t inform the reader, then they are less likely to read on or click-through in the case of online articles. Something many blogs and news agencies use is a headline subject. For instance, Buzzfeed recently ran an article with the headline “Germy Cross-Stitches To Cure What Ails You.” The subject is the curative abilities of Germy Cross-Stitches. This not only informs the reader on the subject, but also makes them want to keep reading to find out what germy cross-stitches actually are.

Headlines Create Traffic (When Done Correctly)

A website’s success largely depends on traffic, which boils down to the almighty click-through. Headlines drive traffic to copy-based websites, but only if the headline is written expertly enough to result in a click-through. And, with an online landscape of dwindling attention spans, clicking on a headline is a bigger commitment than you might think.

Click through worthy headlines include everything mentioned above, but they also make a promise that the attached content is unique and unlike anything else on the web. If a reader comes across a headline that promises “The Real Truth Behind the Government Shutdown” only to deliver facts that are easy to find anywhere, then readers probably won’t visit that website again.

Headlines Present Shock Value

When it comes to reading for entertainment’s sake, nothing works better than headlines that include a certain level of shock and awe. This of course works with news stories where horrific events are the shocking aspect of the story, but creating shocking headlines for other types of stories that aren’t inherently shocking takes skill and engaging writing.

There are a number of websites that use shocking headlines to their advantage, like the website Vice. Shane Smith and the writers at Vice throw caution to the wind when it comes to the type of stories they report. Some are breaking news stories, some stories are just for fun, and some stories use headlines that combine the two types of reporting. Here’s a perfect example:  “North Korean Meth, Motorcycle Gangs, Army Snipers, and a Guy Named Rambo.” With headlines like this, it’s no surprise Vice is the king of the click-through.

Headlines Entice Readers

A great headline not only serves the purpose of informing readers, it also entices them to read further. Enticing readers is different from grabbing their attention because enticing involves making the reader an offer they simply can’t refuse. Although an attention-grabbing article gets the story’s foot in the door, a headline that also entices will make sure that door stays open.

When a headline entices readers, it pulls at their heartstrings and asks them to read on. For example, the website Mashable recently ran a story with a headline that read “Mattress Saves Cyclist Struck by Vehicle.” A headline like this affects people in many ways. On one hand, it’s improbable. On the other hand, it’s frightening, and yet it’s also humorous. All of these factors entice.

Headlines are RSS Friendly

Millions of online users rely on their RSS feeds to grab headline worthy stories and filter them directly to their computer. In terms of the technical side of why headlines matter, they’re perfect for streamlining the RSS feed process for readers.

In other words, an attention-grabbing headline will stick out in the sea of RSS feeds. This is especially important in the case of readers who have hundreds of other websites in their RSS feed, but only have time to click-through to one or two news stories a day.

Headlines Show Up in Search Engine Results

Another technical reason why headlines matter is the fact that they show up in search engine results, which is essential in today’s online world. If you’ve ever skimmed search engine results just to find the headline that matches your search criteria the closest, then you already know how important headlines really are and how they function in Internet searches.

Although the search results process is a complex one that heavily relies on page rank among other things, headlines are still the bread and butter of listed results. Without a solid headline, readers wouldn’t find the stories they’re looking for unless they’re already familiar with the website. As the importance of page rank increases, so does the importance of quality headlines that inform, entice, and grab attention.

When it comes to ascending into the click-through heavens, it’s plain to see that a great headline is the first place to start.

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My name is Foxy, and my job is to sniff out the good guest bloggers from the ones who aren't. This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for, please contact us.

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4 Blogging Lessons Learned in Bali



I have spent over a year collectively on the Island of the Gods.

Bali is a special place.

This popular island in Indonesia teaches you 4 clear blogging success lessons too.

Let’s dive in guys.

1: Expect the Unexpected

During a house sit at a huge villa in Jimbaran I:

  • faced down and helped slay a spitting cobra
  • dealt with a chicken killing dog
  • lost 2 of the pets (1 to cancer and 1 to likely thievery)

This list could go on forever. From this sit alone.

Bali is a fun, fascinating and sometimes wild place. Like most developing places; you never know what waits around the corner.

I am writing this guest post because the security certificate expired on my blog. I had no idea this would happen right now. Completely unexpected. But being a blogger for 10 years I know to expect the unexpected.

When my developer wakes up he addresses it and we move forward. Until then I am at peace with my blog being down. No worries. Part of the blogging game.

Expect the unexpected with your blog guys. It will happen.

2: Learn to Celebrate Everything

Balinese are an appreciative people who celebrate everything.

Staff at the villa in Jimbaran regularly took off for ceremonies, celebrating everything from cell phones, to papayas, to motorbikes.

Even cremation ceremonies are lavish, eye-popping celebrations of life and death.

Appreciate it all with your blog. Wins, losses, and all in between. Celebrating it all makes you appreciative of the internet lifestyle.

I celebrated big wins and tough losses because all these experiences made me I am the blogger I am today.

3: Step Away from the Herd to Be Heard and Seen

Kuta is a tourist trap. Ubud town center can be a bit too much.

But the rice fields well outside of Ubud and the Bukit region of the island are authentic, colorful, peaceful gems.

My wife Kelli and I stand out from many other bloggers because we tend to stay in more remote areas of the island. Even in the popular fishing village of Jimbaran we did a house sit in off the grid farm country and rented a place up in the hills, away from the heavily touristed bay. Our experiences are authentic; not many tourists in Kuta facing down spitting cobras.

Blog in your voice. Tell your story. Be genuine. Blog from the heart.

Step away from the blogging herd. All success lies well away from the herd of bloggers in your niche who tend to follow each other like blogging sheeple, blogging in 3rd person voice and never sharing authentic experiences.

4: The Best Experiences Happen Outside of Your Comfort Zone

We rented a villa in the rice fields outside of Ubud once.

We had to ride a motorbike 5 minutes into the rice fields to reach the villa.

Save 1 other human living on the other side of the compound no people existed for miles around.

The experience was amazing. Once in a lifetime deal. But we had to get used to snakes slithering inside of the house, using an open air bathroom as huge fruit bats flew over your head at 2 AM and roaches, mosquitoes and other insects regularly shacking up inside of the crib.

I would never trade in this amazingly fun, freeing and brilliant experience but of course I felt terrified at times. Definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

A bit before 10 PM on a Wednesday night I’d be comfortable in bed. But since my site is down for a bit now I nudge myself outside of my comfort zone to write this blog post. All part and parcel with being a full time blogger who renders generous service for his readers.

All of my biggest blogging wins occurred because I went the extra mile; even if doing so felt highly uncomfortable.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Your greatest blogging success occurs well outside of your comfort zone.

What blogging lessons have you learned recently?

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Top 5 Most Competitive Niches for Bloggers




Finding the perfect niche is like a unicorn for many bloggers. The right mix of passion and competitiveness can be found in the most surprising places and isn’t always clear until you’re already well on your way. But the good news is that the harder you look, the closer you get — which is a cliche, but surprisingly true in this case. So before you give up on your dream of creating content about knitting dog pajamas or anthropomorphized helicopters, start by having a look at what niches are the most competitive at the moment.

Most blogs earn their money through affiliation. The good thing about affiliation is that it doesn’t require you to focus on one particular brand, unlike sponsorships. You’re free to place links in your content or not. And to write whatever you like about the brand in question. Money is earned through reader engagement, not through passive exposure.


Of course, the most coveted and stereotypical blogging dream niche is travel. Who would turn down reviewing hotels in the Caribbean or exciting jungle safaris? Only a few bloggers get to do this, however, but there are still a lot of sub-niches that are easy to get into and earn well in. Local guides and localized content is a great way to find perfect fits for valuable affiliation links and you can even make direct content advertising if you ask. The future is definitely localized.


Making content about gambling is often as much about search engine optimization as affiliation links. This has made reviews and guides extremely competitive, but creating content only for SEO purposes can be a little monotonous. More localized information in a specific niche like mobile gambling makes a perfect example of how to stay competitive without losing quality.

Health & Fitness

For ethically minded bloggers, this niche can be a minefield. Health and fitness bloggers can benefit from having a blog of their own in many ways — such as keeping themselves healthy and fit, while also inspiring others in the process. This niche market is also filled with misinformation, dangerous recommendations and straight up lies. Are you the one to finally inform readers about the one true way to stay healthy or get fit? Joking aside, whether you’re a zealot or a skeptic, there are affiliation networks for you. Just include a source or two, please.


Including this niche might be cheating. It can cover so much — but that doesn’t mean that your blog should. Specialised content that you’re both passionate and informed about can be very valuable for direct ads. Everyone has some kind of lifestyle niche they’re focused on, whether it be simple admin improvement or urban hiking. Find out if readers are interested in the topic, either directly or related, before you go all in, though.


With how competitive blogging is, blogs that explain how to succeed are more popular than ever. You’re reading one right now and you could write your own very easily. You don’t have to be the best or the most insightful to write an inspiring blog about blogging — it’s more useful than you think to write down what works and what doesn’t in your own humble experience. You can be an expert in learning.

Have you noticed any commonalities yet? If you look hard enough in any niche, you’ll learn enough to create content with a fresh and exciting take. And that’s the current trend for being competitive: Being both subjective and informed; localized and aware of international trends.

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Do You Really Know Your Readers?



See the featured image up top guys?

I know readers dig my eBook. Said readers dig my paperback too.

Enter this featured image. I use similar images frequently on Blogging From Paradise. Smart way to appeal to my audience.

But during lean years I did not know my readers because I:

  • did not listen to my readers
  • did not ask my readers questions
  • did not spot my reader’s pain points
  • did not read my reader’s comments carefully
  • did not spot patterns among my readers

Eventually I woke up. Easy to see this now. But back in the day I had a hellish time owning the fact that I did not know my readers.

Reader Red Flags

You do not know your readers if:

  • traffic stalls or disappears
  • blogging profits stall or disappear
  • engagement dies on your blog
  • nobody seems to reach out to you on social media

These are a few red flags guys. Own the flags. Honestly. Owning your mistakes is one quick way to turn things around, to free yourself of this common blogging error.

Do You Know Your Readers?

I mean; do you really know your blog readers? Be genuine before you answer the question.

I know my readers incredibly well now because every blog post, video or podcast I create meets their needs. No guess work, no writing and publishing because I want to write and publish a post and certainly no off topic posting here, on Blogging From Paradise or any place where I guest post.

The other day one of my blogging buddies endorsed my paperback with a YouTube review. In addition to feeling grateful I tuned into one other idea; his endorsement, emails from other book customers and smiling selfies from other book customers alerted me to the fact that my readers are beginning to buy my paperback too, in addition to my eBook. I published a post linking to my paperback and explaining how my book solves pressing blogging problems after spotting this pattern.

I know my readers better and better each passing day because I listen to my readers more closely each passing day. As everything expands with my blogging campaign I find it easier and easier to help folks, to come up with blog post ideas and to know my content hits the mark because blogging with my readers in mind has been the simplest way to connect with these folks.

Your blog is for you and your readers. Never forget this fact. Never forget that if you write just for yourself you are publishing a cyber diary. No need for anyone to read a blog if the blog does not solve their problems.

Knowing your readers genuinely requires you to be:

  • compassionate
  • empathetic
  • heart-centered
  • loving
  • caring
  • observant
  • present

Listen to the latest podcast interview I did with Alonzo Pichardo on his Sound Cloud channel:

He has invited me to chat on his highly popular channel – with over 300,000 listens between only 8 episodes.

Alonzo is a master at spotting the most pressing issues of his audience. My readers also suffer from problems related to these topics. Naturally, as he shares and builds his impressive tribe and as I build my tribe, we have well over a quarter of a million listens between only 8 podcast episodes.

If you get to really know your readers and patiently hit the mark with your content, over years, 10 listens becomes 100 listens, then 100 becomes 1000, then 1000 becomes 10,000 listens, then 10,000 becomes 100,000 listens, and upward from there.

Develop an intimate bond with your readers guys. Poll them. Email them, asking how you can help them.

Much of your blogging success rests on knowing clearly what your reader wants so you can serve it up to them.

Listen. Ask. Observe.


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