In anything you write — especially the first page of your web site, but also white papers, articles, postcards, and direct mail pieces — you need a strong headline.
Stop using headlines like “Welcome” or just jumping into lengthy text.
Good headlines get your reader curious. The goal of your headline is to get them to read more.
Bad headlines cause your reader to move on, quickly.
There are a few tried and true headline patterns that you can use anytime (Note: Be able to back up any claims you make with case studies or testimonials):
One: A top 5 or top 10 list with a must-read adjective like “Fatal” (Top Five Fatal Mistakes Lawyers Make Drive Prospects to Competitive Web Sites)
Two: A secret that everyone must know (The Secret to Doubling Traffic on Your Web Site that Will Drive Your Competitors Crazy)
Three: A warning (Warning: Your Web Site is Ruining Your Professional Image)
Four: A compelling question and answer (Q: Who knows how to increase traffic on your Web site by 800%? A: Steve Smith does!)
Five: An irresistible story (“They laughed when I told them I developed my own web site….until they visited my site”) — This one is based on one of the most successful direct marketing campaigns of all time (“They laughed when I sat down to play the piano…”)
Six: A comparison or one successful and one unsuccessful person (“A Tale of Two Auto Mechanics….Both Competent, Both Smart, Both Good People, But Only One Hired XYZ Web Design….”) — this one is based on a classic Wall Street Journal ad comparing the financial success of a successful and unsuccessful businessperson (the punch line being that both are the same but only one subscribed to the WSJ).
Seven: An irresistible benefit (“Here’s how to double your online sales at half the price”)
Eight: A headline that creates urgency via a deadline or other means (“This is the last day that one of you will win a free web site today — and then this offer will expire forever”)
That’s enough examples for now. I know some of you will find these tacky or salesy but they have been time tested again and again. Why not use what works? Why reinvent the wheel?