Why Gawker writes the best headlines on the Web

The six things the site does right when it comes to writing memorable and effective headlines.

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It doesn’t matter if you see one on Twitter, your RSS reader or scrawled in Sharpie on the interior of a bathroom stall, it’s a moth-to-fire, trance-like pull.

You could say it’s because it has the best content on the Web (although 98 percent of #wjchat would probably disagree), or you could give credit where I think it’s due: to the headline.

The headline is arguably the most important factor in visibility for your content online. And Gawker writes some of the most visible ones. Here’s what’s right with its headlines.

1. They’re provocative without being entirely NSFW.

Gawker headlines grab the heart of the matter from a story and squeeze it in their hands. They answer the “why should I care about this” before you even finish the sentence. The headlines are aggressive, direct and descriptive.

2. They include some context, but not enough that you don’t have to click.

They pique your interest, give you a reason to click, and let’s be honest, play to our often-quiet darker selves.

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