This tip comes courtesy of the excellent copywriters, Dickie Bush & Nicolas Cole.

Nicolas and Dickie say that using 'clever' writing over clear is this the number #1 mistake in writing. I’d go even further and say it’s the #1 mistake in performance marketing.

Websites that try to use clever headlines almost always fail to engage the visitor.

Some real-life examples we’ve seen:

  • Alliteration: “Building better businesses”
  • Pun: “Put your money to work”
  • Jargon: “We put people before profits”
  • Nonsense: “We are digital artisans”. “We. Are. [name]”.

What do these actually mean?

None of them tick the essential components of a headline. They try to be clever, but in the process, they fail to engage the visitor.

A powerful headline should:

  • Be clear about the problem
  • Be clear about the solution
  • Be free of jargon, puns, and unnecessary words
  • Be easily understood by someone outside of your industry

Bad heading example:

“We’ll help you to align your business goals with an eye toward creating value through process change initiatives”.

Better heading example:

“Work faster and smarter by transforming your business processes”


As a general rule, if a 12-year-old can understand what you’ve written then a multi-tasking adult with one finger on the back button is likely to stick around and read more.