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I am working on copywriting for my website, and am wondering whether or not I should use periods at the end of my headlines. The headlines will probably be used both as headlines for news articles, and as calls-to-action in a marketing sense to promote the new features of the website. So I am curious both as to whether it is "proper" to use periods, as well as if there is incentive for or against it in terms of marketing and persuasive writing. An expert opinion? :)

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The only time punctuation tends to show up in headlines is an exclamation mark or question mark in something that is very sensationalist, an editorial, or both. – UtopiaLtd Jul 5 '11 at 14:03
up vote 18 down vote accepted

Headlines are basically titles, and the reason periods aren't usually put in titles is:

Full stops, like their name suggests, are something that halts the eye of your reader....Titles are all about leading your reader into your post and so anyway [sic] that you can help this flow is a bonus.

I don't know about its being proper or not, but I know there are incentives as to why periods aren't used in titles.

From Press Release, which I hope is expert enough:

Additional Guidelines for Writing Headlines
Use periods only for abbreviations. Do not add a period at the end of your headline

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Thanks, Ham. Halting the eye of the reader is definitely not something I want in a call-to-action link! – Thom Jul 5 '11 at 23:51

No. For one thing, headlines are almost always not sentences. For another, there is a reason why a period is called a full stop; this is the same reason why we do not want them in headlines.

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+1 for "headlines are almost always not sentences". – Mark Hurd Jul 5 '11 at 15:09

protected by tchrist Jul 15 '15 at 2:47

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