Subheadings can be a valuable cool for bloggers for two key reasons. If you write long posts, you should definitely use them.
I use subheadings in my blog posts a good bit of the time. A subheading is a great writing device for the printed page. It can serve more than one purpose in your writing.
They’re certainly nothing new. Newspapers and books have used the subheading for decades, if not centuries. If you’ve never considered them, now may be the time.
They help your readers digest your writing easier.
In case you didn’t notice, the line above this one, in that bolder font, is a subheading. Let’s face it: when you read a long article, it can be difficult when you’re faced with a wall of text. A subheading can break up what might otherwise be a long article.
Newspapers do this all the time. Their editors break up long articles into subsections, each with its own mini-headline. Those mini-headlines help the reader follow new twists or developments in the longer story. It can even help them find the sections they might want to “jump” to.
Copyblogger calls subheadings a “deceptively simple trick to effective copywriting:”
Each one of your subheadings is a step up the staircase.
Each time your reader comes to another subhead, she thinks, “Well, I’ll just read to that next little headline there.” Then she reads another section, and another.
The site’s article states that most readers don’t read articles: they skim them. Subheadings give you, the writer, the opportunity to help influence which parts those who won’t read the whole article might be more likely to stop.
Copyblogger even suggests subheadings can help you outline your article. You can start with a headline, jot down a few subheading ideas, then start writing your article. Serving as an outline, subheadings can help you plot out how you want to say what you want to say.
Subheadings can also help your site’s SEO.
SEO is a common blogging term I’m sure you encounter from time to time. It stands for search engine optimization. SEO is a process bloggers use to make their content more preferred by search engines. In doing so, they help their own copy rank higher in search results.
You may well ask why a search engine would possibly care whether you use a subheading in your blog.
The short answer is they don’t.
The longer answer, however, is that subheadings can indeed have an indirect impact on your site’s SEO performance.
Yoast, which makes a free SEO plugin for WordPress, explains that indirect connection:
Using headings creates texts of higher quality that are easier to read. A better text is better for users, which is better for your SEO.
If your longer posts aren’t broken up a bit, a reader might be too intimidated to stay and read the whole thing. They might then immediately leave your site and search for the answer they need elsewhere.
Search engines, obviously, can see this.
If they note a site that has someone stay longer, that could be a signal they interpret as a more valuable article. The search engines then elevate that page’s search result, assuming it must be more valuable to readers.
Yoast also suggests a minimum word count of 300 words. If you have a section of a post that runs longer than that but is not broken up by subheadings, it will suggest you add at least one.
So if you write longer posts — at least longer than 300 words — subheadings might help you better reach your audience.
They’re a tool you should definitely add to your blogger’s toolbox!