Use Your Platform’s Heading Styles, and Life Will Be Good

  • Posted on: 16 May 2011
  • By: admin

Once you have come up with a good title for your writing and subheadings to use within it, you’ll need to enter them on your site. When using blogging software and other content management systems, you’ll likely be creating your text using a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editor which gives you some formatting controls.

Beware the temptation to style your headings using bold, italics, and font size changes. Your website likely already has styling set for different headings as part of the overall site theme; you just have to “tag” the heading.

For example, suppose you are writing your own blog post about “How to Write Titles and Headings” using WordPress, and you’ve written a few paragraphs. Then you decide to add a new subsection within it that needs a subhead. We’ll use some sample text from this guide and show you how to style it using the WYSIWYG:

The WordPress blog post creation interface.

Figure 14. The standard WYSIWYG interface for WordPress. Other blog software and content management systems have similar tools for creating and posting content.

To add your major page headline that will appear at the top of the page:

  1. Type your text into the WYSIWYG, and highlight the text.
  2. Look for a pull down menu that says “Paragraph” (some content management systems might say “Normal” for the default text) and open it up.
  3. In the example below, the topic of our new subsection is “Can I Use Catchy Titles?” We can tag this text with the Heading 3 style and the header will be formatted to match all other same level subheads across your blog.

The WordPress blog post input interface with the style menu demonstrated.

Figure 15. The pull down menu allows the user to set whether a part of the text is a paragraph, heading, etc. It’s important to use these pre-defined styles, when available, so that the formatting is consistent across the site.

Why Heading 3? Most blogging platforms and templates apply the Heading 1 style to the name of the blog. As a result, many bloggers use either Heading 2 or Heading 3 as the first level subhead in the content that they write. You could try Heading 2 first, and then if you discovered when posted that it was the same size and emphasis as the title of your post, you could change it to Heading 3.

The subhead now shows up with bold emphasis.

Figure 16. Once the “Heading 3” style is applied to “Can I Use Catchy Titles,” it appears newly formatted within the WYSIWYG editing window.

What’s happening here is that your WYSIWYG editor is applying the proper heading H3 HTML tag that you would use if you were coding the text yourself. (See Creating a Basic Web Page is Easy to learn more about coding.)

Why tag your headers? When you tag your headlines and subheaders, you are letting the web do the work for you. If you switch to a new template for your website, all of your Heading 3 headlines will automatically change to the new Heading 3 style used in your template, but any headlines you have styled by hand will have to be changed by hand: each and everyone, over and over and over again.