No, I didn't ask if you had read a newspaper lately. I asked if you have looked at one. Closely. Have you examined one with care? If you take a good look at front page, here is what you will find.
It's A Work Of Art
The main headline can be read at a glance, even when located on a newsstand quite some distance away. It grabs attention hard. It often draws you toward rack, at least close enough to read subheadline. And, as often as not, just as millions do every day, you buy a copy to read related article.
Does creation of headline for your site matter less than that of creating one for a newspaper?
Other Headlines Matter
In putting together first page of a newspaper, major task is to pull from day's stories those most likely to interest readers. Only those with maximum appeal are selected. And headline for each is crafted with extreme care. The object is to have at least one that grabs attention of any reader. The best are used in first fold, part that shows in newsstand.
Do you have at least one subheadline that grabs attention of most visitors? Have you a couple others in first screen that loads?
The amount of space given to text of each article on front page varies. Such decisions need to be handled with care, for space is limited. If one chooses to run too much text in a given article, another may need to be removed to an inner page, which subtracts that headline from front page.
While a web page has no fixed limit, visitors will not scroll down indefinitely. Thus formatting matters here as well. Include those elements most likely to be of interest to your target as close to top of page as possible. And each needs an attention grabbing headline.
Newspapers generate profits from advertising. Yet you will not see an ad on front page of any major daily. Instead, all is headlines, followed by beginnings of story. Photos are used sparingly on front page, for headlines and content are generally better draw.
Further article begins with most important story elements. What is presented ends with a teaser. This is first part of a sentence, laden with emotion, that seeks to compel you to turn to an inner page. For it is on inner pages you will find ads that generate profits.
An example often used is to end with, "The officer drew his pistol, cocked it, crouched down, then ... (Cont on page 23)
The Site Parallel
I don't want to get carried away with this. There are differences between front page of a newspaper and your home page. Still, your best benefit needs to be featured in page headline. And subheadings should define others. The text is always benefit loaded and has but one purpose: To draw your visitor deeper into site.