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Headline is the line which typically appears at the top of each page or in an ad and is supposed to tell the visitor in one short phrase what he will find on the page or when he clicks on the ad. The Headline is usually bigger than the rest of the text and in bold font. Often it is in a different color, too.

Due to its layout features, the Headline is amongst the first things a visitor notices. Then the content and phrasing of the Headline have the important task to keep up the visitors attention and interest so he would stay on the page and absorb the rest of the content.

Generally an average visitor stays on a website for about 5 seconds before he decides if he wants to stay or leave. Hence, a Headline should be striking enough to capture the visitor’s attention in those 5 seconds and give him a reason to read on. That is why Headlines are so crucial and most marketers consider it as the most important part of their salescopy. The text may be as brilliant and intriguing as it can possibly be, if the Headline is dull and uninteresting for the visitor he will never come to read the text at all.

The best way to achieve that is to show the visitor how he would benefit from the offer or how the advertised product/service would solve a problem for him. There is a lot more to know about writing very good Headlines, though.

Next to Headlines there are also Sub-Headlines. They are used to divide longer text into shorter sections and summarize the next section’s content. Sub-Headlines are in smaller font than the Headline but still bigger than the text. They are supposed to maintain or renew the reader’s interest when he might get bored from reading. Plus they serve those readers who like to skim through the text to find those parts that they would like to read in more detail.



Example for a marketing offer with Headline (big red font) and Sub-Headline (yellow background) on .

Headlines also play a major role in the on-page SEO (search engine optimization) of a website as keywords appearing in the Headline have a higher importance. Or, stated the other way around, if the keyword, the website is optimized for, does not appear in the Headline the site will have a hard time to rank high.

[Head comes from Old English heafod = top of the body, also chief person, leader;

Line comes from Old English line = rope and Latin linea = linen thread, string, line;

Headline originally was a term used by newspaper printers in the 19th century for the line at the top of the page containing title and page number, later extended to broadcast media]




Recommended Resources:

  • As Headlines were a key marketing tool already long before the advent of the Internet the Dos and Don'ts of writing successful Headlines have been developed by experience and testing since a long time. These rules have stayed the same and you can check a concise summary of them plus many examples of “Killer”-Headlines here.

  • Glyphius provides an ingenious software for generating and improving great Headlines and sales copy to achieve higher and higher conversion rates. It’s highly recommended you check out the short sales page. [You can find the order link on the testimonials page]

  • 10.000 Best Selling Words which can be used for sales copy as well as for Headlines


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