Hed or Head

A headline may also be referred to as a head, or in editor lingo, a hed.

Tips on headlines:

  • It used to be that a headline would sell a newspaper - whatever was above the fold would either entice someone to drop in a quarter, or it wouldn't. Headlines are still important online, just as they are off. But their implications are wider. One word, and the impact on your pageviews or clickthrough may increase significantly - or diminish.
  • Web headlines and print headlines may differ, and in most cases, should. You can take liberties with print headlines you shouldn't take with web. In other words, avoid puns. They do you no good with SEO.
  • Don't be careless with web headlines (ie, clickbait). You don't want to mislead your audience.
  • It's not uncommon for people to just scan a website, and because you have (mostly) unlimited space, you want to be as descriptive as possible in your headlines for the web. That said, Google shows just the first 55-60 characters of a page title (which is based on the headline unless you manually update it under Edit > SEO in your Article Manager) so make sure that you have the important stuff up front. Also consider social media and email newsletters.
  • When you write a headline, incorporate keywords.
  • Sometimes it helps to brainstorm headlines with your team. Also, track your website's analytics to determine what's working, and, more importantly, what's not. Tweak accordingly.