Remember back in high school when your teacher required you to create an outline of your essay before you actually wrote it? Remember how you groaned and complained about that extra piece of busy work your teacher felt compelled to add to your assignment?
Remember how that outline made it a lot easier to write the essay when it came time to write? Not that you would actually let your teacher know that was the case.
Headings Allow Readers to Quickly Understand Structure of Your Piece
It turns out that outlines help the reader, too. If your reader can follow the flow of your thoughts, they are more likely to stick with you. And when you write on the internet there are things you can do to make that easier for them.
Internet readers like to scan the page. Headings and subheadings allow them to do just that. We can bemoan the fact that nobody really reads anything from start to finish anymore, or we can accept reality and make good use of that knowledge. By creating headlines and subheadings that grab the reader’s attention and give them useful information, you give the rest of your content a chance at getting read.
Headings Help Search Engines Understand Your Writing Structure, Too
The added bonus to making the structure of your writing clear and easy to follow is search engines appreciate it, too. By highlighting the structure of your piece with heading tags, Google and Bing get a better idea of what the main idea of the piece is and when it should show up in search results.
Hold up. Heading tags? What the what? First I’ll tell you what they are, but don’t panic, because then I’m going to show you how easy they are to use.
When a human reader looks at your page, they can see things like bold and italics set off from the rest of the text and use logic to understand that something is a heading. But search engines prefer to be told when something is a heading rather than relying on their robot intuition. So there are tags that go around a heading that tell the search engines what they need. H1 is going to be your headline, H2 is going to be your subheads, H3 might be a less important subhead.
The really wonderful thing about using WordPress is that heading tags are built into the editor. Take a look at this screenshot.
It shows the editor of a WordPress post. The drop down menu that defaults to “paragraph” gives you options for heading levels. And if you are using a predesigned theme for WordPress, those headings will be sized and bolded to look great with your theme.
So, if you are used to using Microsoft Word to edit documents and you simply bold and increase the font size to show something is a heading, don’t do that in WordPress!
Hint: there are heading settings in Word also.
Today your task is simple. Outline a blog post for your medical blog. Think of a great headline that hints at what readers will learn from the piece, and then use informational subheadings that will guide readers through your piece. When you have a great headline, go back and write the piece. Simple!
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