What Is a Subheading? (And How to Write a Good One)

What Is a Subheading? (And How to Write a Good One)

If you’re a freelance content writer (or want to become one), then you already know the importance of eye-catching titles. But did you know that subheadings can be just as valuable in capturing the attention of potential readers and organizing your writing? In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about subheadings and why they matter, including:

  1. What is a subheading?
  2. What is the purpose of a subheading?
  3. How to write subheadings
  4. Examples of effective subheadings
  5. How Knowadays can help you improve your writing skills and launch a freelance career

Keep reading to learn more!

What Is a Subheading?

A subheading is a secondary heading that appears under a headline or title and is used to provide context for a distinct section within an article or expand on information given under the main heading. Think of a subheading as a brief preview or summary of the content that follows, giving readers an idea of what to expect in each section of an article.

Header tags, HTML elements used to define the heading hierarchy within a blog post or article, are often used with titles and subheadings to help structure the content and help search engines understand the relevance of different sections of the text. In HTML, there are six header tags, ranging from <h1> to <h6>, with <h1> being the highest level of importance and <h6> the lowest. Typically, the <h1> tag is used for the main heading of a blog post or article, <h2> and <h3> are used for important subheadings, and <h4>, <h5>, and <h6> are lower-level tags used to further break down the content within subsections of text. Note that not all header tags will be used in every piece of content (although most blog posts and articles will at least use <h1> for the main title and a combination of <h2> and <h3> tags to organize the subheadings).

What Is the Purpose of a Subheading?

Subheadings are valuable to the overall structure of a blog post and serve several essential purposes. They’re used to:

  • Organize writing into logical sections, which makes it easier for readers to follow the flow of ideas (especially for long or complex pieces)
  • Let readers know what to expect from a section of text
  • Establish a hierarchy within the content and indicate the relationship among different sections
  • Improve readability and scannability (e.g., for skim readers or mobile users)

Another purpose of subheadings is to improve SEO. Search engines prioritize content that is easy to read and understand, so well-structured content with clear subheadings can improve a website’s ranking on results pages. Subheadings also usually include relevant keywords and phrases, which play a role in boosting SEO and driving website traffic.

How to Write Subheadings

To write subheadings that make an impact and engage your readers, consider the following points:

1. Make Subheadings Relevant

Remember that some readers may only read the subheadings to get the main ideas of the article, so ensure they’re relevant and reflect the main content. Sometimes it can help to write the main content of the article first and then use that information to craft the subheadings.

2. Use Keywords and Phrases

Incorporate relevant keywords into your subheadings, especially if you’re aiming to improve your article’s visibility in search engines. Keep in mind that keywords should always read as smoothly as possible and fit well into the surrounding text (i.e., avoid keyword stuffing).

3. Keep It Concise

Keep subheadings short and to the point. To keep readers from losing interest, aim for brevity while conveying the main idea of each section.

4. Consider the Heading Hierarchy

It’s essential to maintain a logical hierarchy with subheadings to avoid confusing your readers. Each subheading should build upon the previous one to create a clear and organized structure.

5. Maintain Consistency

For consistency, aim to make your subheadings similar in length whenever possible. You should also ensure that all headings and subheadings within a section follow a parallel structure and recognizable pattern. For example, use consistent verb forms (e.g., all gerunds or all infinitives) and capitalization for a series of subheadings.

Subheading Examples

As inspiration for your own writing, here are some examples of different types of blog posts that effectively incorporate subheadings:

  • This HubSpot blog post on sales techniques utilizes a logical heading hierarchy and parallel structure, making it easy to quickly skim the content and pick out the main ideas.
  • The subheadings used in the travel website uncornered market’s blog post clearly explain the content that follows and help organize the article.
  • In this Mailchimp blog post on improving freelance pitches, each subheading serves as a “tip” for the reader, which makes it easy for readers who are short on time to process the conte
  • This Shopify blog post on woodworking uses concise subheadings to clearly indicate the type of project that each section discusses.
  • Microsoft’s article on their diversity and inclusion efforts effectively uses subheadings to break up different (but related) topics within a lengthy piece.

Becoming A Freelance Writer

Are you interested in learning more about what it takes to launch a freelance writing business? Check out our comprehensive Becoming A Freelance Writer course. It teaches you everything you need to know about writing professional-quality blog posts and articles, including how to best structure your writing. Claim your free trial to get started today!

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