Web page/blog post/online article headings are important for two reasons.

  1. Headings tell your audience how the content relates to them and why they should read on

  2. Headings tell search engines what your content on that page is all about so that they can match your web page to their search queries.

Sometimes you can make a very simple change to heading content to better highlight benefits to the audience, and motivate them to click, read, share, bookmark.

Give your readers more motivating blog titles

Take these example interior decorator’s before and after blog post titles, for example:

  • Before: Visit to Petersham Nurseries
    After: Find your style at Petersham Nurseries

  • Before: I love Christmas!
    After: Show your festive flair this Christmas

  • Before: My little table
    After: Add a splash of colour with a little painted table

  • Before: My three square feet of space
    After: Making the most of a small outdoor space

  • Before: A big bunch of flowers!
    After: Enhance your floral bouquets

  • Before: Transformation of a butcher’s block
    After: Reloved butcher’s block transformed with Annie Sloan

  • Before: Re-vamp of the hallway
    After: Easy ways to restyle your hallway

When formatting content, the structure to follow for people and search engine logic is:

  • Heading 1 <h1> : only one per page — this is your title
  • Heading 2 <h2> : your primary structural headings
  • Heading 3 <h3> and 4 <h4> : these allow you to break down your sections into further subheadings, if necessary. (I wouldn’t really recommend going beyond a fourth-level heading if you can help it).

The structure of headings in this way allows you to bring in reader-friendly white space, as well as guiding them through their journey. Different pages and types of content benefit from different structure, so it’s good to be aware of this to accommodate. For example, information pages, such as those you might find on Gov.uk, tend to help more by being broken into subheadings or subpages to make the journey clear, but a blog post might go for paragraphs without a heading.

For reference, you might like to check out Gov.uk’s What is content design? and why ‘simple, clearer, faster’ is a great philosophy to apply to your content. We’d love to see your before and afters if you give your content a little heading refresh.

Buff up your content

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Image: Story by Fabio Sola Penna is licensed under CC BY 2.0
AuthorKate Watson