You have two audiences online: readers and search engines.
For readers: Headlines should be simple, literal and direct. They must motivate readers to click.
For search engines: Search engines look for keywords. If a headline contains keywords that are also repeated in the text of the article, it will show up higher in search engines.
Suggestions for writing better online headlines:
1. Be descriptive – say clearly what the story is about
2. Use keywords
3. Use conversational language
4. Avoid puns that confuse or are unclear
5. Engage readers – your headline is just one in a zillion circulating on social media.
Love them or hate them, BuzzFeed and UpWorthy know how to do headlines. Here’s an article explaining what Upworthy might mean for the future of online content.
Now give it a try. Rewrite the following newspaper headlines for the web.
1. No Bones About It (Star Ledger – 9/24/14)
Think of Vitamin D as the shy child, always upstaged by its siblings.
Vitamin C has claimed most of the attention for years, relinquishing the spotlight only when the B vitamins clamored for recognition. Even Vitamin E made a grab at the spotlight.
Lately, however, people are starting to notice Vitamin D. A flood of new studies has found it to be helpful with everything from lupus to asthma, multiple sclerosis to leg ulcers, breast cancer to gingivitis.
By one estimate, 13 percent of all deaths in the United States could be attributed to low levels of Vitamin D.
It has its own association of boosters, and even international conventions that focus on its benefits — quite heady stuff for the vitamin that has been an unassuming part of good nutrition for nearly a century.
“We’re in the middle of a Vitamin D revolution,” says John Cannell, a California psychiatrist who founded the Vitamin D Council in 2003.
Yet experts suspect two-thirds of Americans — even normal, healthy ones — are walking around with a chronic deficiency. And one Morris County orthopedic surgeon has discovered suburban teen athletes in her practice with levels so low she calls it “silent rickets.”
The vitamin appears to be central to nearly all the functioning systems of the human body — for adults as well as children. Technically not a vitamin at all, it’s rather a steroid hormone comparable to testosterone or estrogen in its power. It works by turning genes within one’s DNA on or off, which helps explain why it can impact such disparate conditions as cancer, heart attacks, depression and diabetes….
2. The End* of Tuition Hikes (Star Ledger – 9/15/24)
A bill that has begun advancing in the New Jersey Legislature would make that a reality.
The state Assembly Higher Education Committee today voted 6-0 with 2 abstentions to approve the bill (A2807), which would prohibit most four-year colleges and universities — public and private — from raising the tuition of undergraduate students who are from New Jersey for nine continuous semesters after they enroll.
Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union), the bill’s sponsor, said the bill would reduce the number of students leaving college without earning a degree, or taking longer than four and a half years to earn it.
“I suspect you know somebody who’s come back to home after college because they couldn’t find a job. But I bet you can also find someone who has left college in debt and without a degree,” Cryan said, adding this his own research found that more than 33,000 students from New Jersey’s public universities and colleges have left school without a degree over the past 6 years.
Cryan said that over the last six years, tuition at New Jersey public four-year colleges and universities has increased 23 percent.
“Look at our economy and how much better we would be if those students had an opportunity,” Cryan said. “I’m not saying this bill would solve all that, but having the opportunity to provide cost certainty would certainly help”
There are some exceptions. Students who take a leave of absence of more than one year would have to pay the new tuition rate. And Princeton students, take note: The bill would not apply to institutions with an endowment of $1 billion or more. Princeton is the only school in New Jersey with that kind of wealth. Cryan said he exempted Princeton because it has an extremely high graduation rate and allows lower-income students to attend tuition-free.
None of the 8 lawmakers at the committee meeting opposed the bill, but representatives of colleges and universities did.
Julane W. Miller-Armbrister, senior vice president of public affairs at Rutgers, said she understood the bill’s intent, but that it could shift a higher tuition burden to incoming students.
“We are concerned about the unintended consequences of raising tuition on the incoming freshmen, and perhaps raising it to a degree that would deter and maybe hinder incoming freshmen from being able to afford access to college,” Miller-Armbrister said.
3. Stink of Money (New York Post – 9/24/14)
With just days left in his legendary career, the Yankees a team worth $2.5 billion, are trying to make a buck off of any trinket linked to the shortstop – and have even stooped to peddling his game-worn socks.
The Bombers are hawking the Captain’s Yankee-blue, used cotton footwear to star-struck fans for an eye-popping $409.99 each.
The knee-high socks — which are washed, so they don’t even come with game-day sweat — include a hologram for authentication. It’s not clear how many have been sold, but there are only 19 left.
The price of the socks — which if worn by mere mortals are worth about $15 a pair — may be more than a car payment, but they’re a bargain compared the windfall being made off Jeter’s other gear.
Game-worn uniforms — with dirt and grass stains included — are going for more than $25,000. Game-used bases signed by the shortstop go for $10,000 to $12,500. A signed lineup card has an asking price of $10,000….