How to Write Headings That Command Attention [20 Dos and Don’ts]

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Ever felt the pressure of coming up with an attention-grabbing heading in writing that doesn’t let the readers go? It’s a shared problem that most content creators go through. But the right guidance can make you unstoppable in crafting killer headlines for SEO!

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Source: Freepik

Take heart because you don’t need a degree in literature to craft eye-popping headlines. All it takes is a little creativity and a handful of simple and pro tips. That’s exactly what we’re here to explore.

This guide will show you how to write headings that are clear, concise, and downright irresistible. We’ll break down the what, why, and how of writing headings. Let’s help you avoid making a heading faux pas!

What is a Heading in Writing

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Source: Freepik

Let’s understand what a heading is in writing. Headings (usually termed subheadings) are short statements within a webpage or document. They are like mini-titles for the particular section of content that follows them. Therefore, they’re positioned at the top of that section.

Headings facilitate readers in quickly scanning information they’re interested in. Efficacious headings start with keywords for better SEO results. They are concise and clear with a hierarchical structure to set the flow of content logically. 

Unlike titles (H1), which represent the main subject of the complete content, headings (H2, H3, H4,…) indicate subsections within the document. While they serve some similar purposes, they’re actually quite different.

Why Are Article Headings Important?

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Source: Freepik

Now that you have an idea about what a heading is in writing, it’s time to know why it is super important for structuring your content better! Headings in writing play a crucial role in:

  • Enhancing readability and organizing content flow.
  • Improving SEO by structuring hierarchical information.
  • Letting users skim and find the information they need.
  • Helping readers differentiate between the main points and details.
  • Highlighting key points and aiding information retention.
  • Facilitating navigation within lengthy articles.

Different Levels of Headings and What They’re For

Different Levels of Headings

Organizing content through clear heading levels is very important. The main title (H1) should be welcoming to grab readers’ attention, while succeeding headings (H2, H3, H4,…) should provide the information they seek to retain their attention. Let’s see them in greater detail below using a post on the heading of an article as an example.

Level 1 Heading (H1)

H1 is your article’s headline or main title, often known as the first handshake with your readers that can attract or repel them. Keep it catchy, indelible, and stunning. There’s usually only one H1 per page. Here, consider using a large (title case), bold font that stands out from the rest of the text.

This is how your H1 should arouse your readers’ curiosity by providing an invitation yet keeping it relevant:

H1 heading example

Source: Content Gorilla

Level 2 Headings (H2s)

Level 2 headings, or H2s, serve as the building block of content hierarchy (succeeding the title or H1). They represent the main sections of your article, breaking down the content into digestible chunks. Therefore, you should keep them clear, concise, and relevant. Craft your H2s with precision, making them bold and eye-catching. This way you can help your readers ease into the content without being overwhelmed with an information overload.

For example:

H2 headings example

Source: Content Gorilla

Level 3 Headings (H3s)

As H2s support the H1, the same way H3s support the H2s. H3s are the subsections, highlighting important points within each main idea under the H2. You can use a slightly smaller font size to differentiate the level-three headings from H2 headings. WordPress usually does that for you automatically. Bolding them is a good practice to emphasize certain points in the webpage or document. 

For example:

H3 headings example

Source: Content Gorilla

Level 4 Headings (H4s)

H4s zoom in even further, offering a granular level of detail. They generally break down a complex subtopic (H3) into even more digestible chunks. Hence, their role is to clarify details in the larger context. Use H4s sparingly but strategically, ensuring they enhance your content’s overall coherence.

For example:

H4 headings example

Source: Content Gorilla

Additional Tip: It’s up to you if you want to bold H4s within your content. Doing so usually helps readability and scannability, be it a blog post’s heading or an academic heading.

This is how an article with subheadings helps the readers quickly scan through the content and find what they’re looking for. Now let’s explore how to write a heading effectively.

How to Write Headings Effectively

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Source: Giphy

Crafting effective headings to guide readers through your content with clarity is an art. The answer to “How to write headings” involves three key strategies. Let’s break them down:

Write for your audience.

Tailor your informative headings to the level of understanding and interests of your audience. Put yourself in their shoes and consider what would catch their attention. Use clear, concise language, making it easier for them to engage with your content. Your headings should:

  • Introduce major sections or themes.
  • Set expectations.
  • Be clear and relevant.

Write for your content.

While writing the heading, be sure that it provides a clear preview of what readers can expect in each section. Avoid misleading or vague headings that might disappoint your audience. That’s because in this case, they’ll go to find another article with skimmable headings.

Use keywords relevant to what’s in the content section, making it easy for them to scan and find what they need. Your headings should align with the unique tone and style of your content. Lastly, ensure your headings are consistent to enhance readability and comprehension of the content.

Write for impact.

To write headlines that grab attention, use compelling language, intriguing questions, or bold statements. Remember, your headings are the gateway to your content — make them count. To maximize their effectiveness, focus on crafting headings thoughtfully that generate curiosity and anticipation. 

By doing so, you can hook your readers and compel them to continue reading.

Moreover, you can make your headings impactful by using strong verbs, descriptive language, and intriguing phrasing. 

Dos and Don’ts of Writing Headings

Take note of these dos and don’ts for writing headings. We’ll provide you with heading examples in writing to make you understand them further. 

Dos (👍)

  • Clearly communicate what readers will gain through your heading. That’s because it’s very important to communicate value upfront.
Good and Bad Example of a Heading
  • Integrate keywords or relevant terms readers and search engines love are looking for.
Good and Bad Example of a Heading
  • Cut the fluff. Keep headings concise, value-driven, and directly related to content. 
Good and Bad Example of a Heading
  • Use strong verbs to engage readers and show what they will gain.
Good and Bad Example of a Heading
  • Use numbers and statistics to enhance clarity and interest.
Good and Bad Example of a Heading
  • Properly nest (organize) multiple headings hierarchically for logical flow.
How and how not to nest headings
  • Align the heading tone with the overall content for coherence.
Good and Bad Example of a Heading

Furthermore, these simple tips on what to practice in headings will help you write fantastic and catchy headings!

  • Ensure adequate spacing above headings for clarity and visual balance.
  • Uphold a consistent style across all headings.
  • Distinguish between heading levels formatting-wise. Write subheadings in sentence case for readability, except for H2s being in title case. 
  • Test multiple heading alternatives to evaluate which work effectively.

Don’ts (👎)

Good and Bad Example of a Heading
  • Don’t write in hyperbolic language that may create unrealistic expectations.
Good and Bad Example of a Heading
  • Don’t use jargon and avoid specialized terminology.
Good and Bad Example of a Heading
  • Don’t overuse punctuation as it disturbs the heading’s clarity and flow.
Good and Bad Example of a Heading

Furthermore, these simple tips on what to avoid in headings will keep you crafting great headings for your articles! Avoid

  • Overwhelming readers with too many headings.
  • Adding full stops at the end, especially for H1 and H2 headings.
  • Placing a heading immediately followed by another heading. Instead, include text before and after each heading to offer context and maintain flow.
  • Introducing tables, figures, or lists with headings.
  • Overusing question-style headings, as it may diminish their impact.

Wrap Up

By following these guidelines on how to write headings, craft compelling headings that’ll help you keep the audience hooked. Clear, concise, and strategically placed headings improve your content’s organization. and guide readers to the information they seek. They can scan them easily if they want to. Moreover, we provided a variety of headings examples to help you craft headings with an oomph factor!

So, the next time you write, remember the power of well-crafted headings – they can make all the difference in how your message is received. To get unlimited ideas for your next attention-grabbing title and headings, check out our all-rounder tool, Free Blog Post Idea Generator

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