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HeadlineEngine is part of a suite of tools for news publishers, built by MavEngine, a division of Daily Maverick.

It analyses your headline as you type it and provides a score, based on the readability (how complex it is), length (how long it is), and powerwords (how many words it contains).



We use the Flesch Kincaid formula to calculate readability. A good range of not too complex or too simple would be between 45 and 90. This is configurable in the system.

Reading Grade

We use the Flesch Kincaid formula to calculate reading grade. This is configurable in the system.


You should aim for a letter count in the mid-80s. We recommend between 40 and 90 characters. This is configurable in the system.

Word Count

Our analysis of best-performing headlines shows that the ideal limit for a news article is around 12 to 14 words. This is configurable in the system.


Powerwords are emotional words. You can set your own, or use the words from RankMath.


  • HeadlineEngine in the Gutenberg editor.
  • HeadlineEngine in the Classic editor.
  • Customise settings to suit your audience.


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  • Complete refactor
  • Seperate scorers to make it easy to add more
  • Move most of the code to Typescript
  • Scorer: Word count
  • Scorer: Reading grade
  • Replace MathRank Powerword list with our own Powerword list
  • Single Javascript and CSS for both Classic and Gutenberg
  • Colour fade
  • Only calculate on 0.5 sec delay or space
  • Don’t hide score if mouseovering title block


  • Fix issue with calculating scores above target
  • Remove red to make it a little less perscriptive


  • Block editor support for WordPress v5.8


  • Fix bug affecting new posts in Gutenberg
  • Be a bit stricter about showing the score if there is no headline


  • Gutenberg Block Editor support
  • Remove unnecessary code


  • The scoring is now more nuanced
  • We have a target length and target readability
  • We made a bunch of fixes suggested by WordPress


  • We have changed how we insert the element into the editor, to avoid fighting with other plugins.
  • The score title has been changed from ”Headline Score” to ”HeadlineEngine Score”.
  • The score was made a bit smaller (40px from 60px).
  • Readme.txt has been brought into the main project.


  • Initial release