Headings, H1, H2, H3...

The internet is a busy place and readers are generally in a hurry – so it's a good idea to use accurate titles and headlines throughout a page or article so that readers can scan. We try to do this in our help docs as well (woah, meta!!!)

But headings are also useful for technical reasons, and SEO reasons. So read carefully. 

What are heading tags? 

A heading tag (h1, h2, h3...) is used to define the formatting of a line of text. The text your reading now is the paragraph text. The heading above is using the H3 tag. 

If you are haphazard (or guess) about your formatting rules it will inevitably increase your costs (time and money) to to make changes later, or even migrate your website to another platform. 

Choosing a heading and stick with it

The heading above is using the h3 tag. By choosing this and sticking with it, we're allowing ourselves the flexibility to make style changes to all of our documents at once, later on. For example, if we wanted all of our headings to become orange for some reason (Halloween perhaps...) we could go to our stylesheet and tell all of our h3 headings to become orange. 

How do you choose which heading? 

Sometimes it's personal preference, but we always create a unique style guide for every client project if they don't have one yet. A style guide is what you'll refer to later when you need to make wide-spread changes. 

Our general rule for headings in this help desk for example is this:

  • h1 is for the article title only, so don’t use it
  • h2 is only used when there are multiple sections with subheadings
  • h3 is for most subheadings
  • h4, h5, h6... if you need them

Again, it's important to have a style sheet that's specific to you. 

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