Bitesize: Subheads in Article Writing

Often an article will have a topic that is like a giant buffet or one of those burgers loaded with everything under the sun. While impressive to look at, it is best to break the whole thing down into manageable bites so that the reader isn’t overwhelmed with information and the writer isn’t overwhelmed with finding a way to transition each morsel into a delectable feast.

Outlines Help

When writers cull their research and outline their article before starting the writing portion of the process, they’ll find subheads tend to highlight themselves. These standouts are a part of important information that support the overall topic. They have several key points that warrant special highlighting. Take the time to identify subheadings early and streamline the writing process. No need to spend hours mulling over a better transition when a subheading will break up the information in a concise and clear way.

Speaking of Clear

Subheadings are intended to make the information presented easier to understand, read and digest. This means it is imperative for the headings to be concise, clear and complementary to the headline and to the other subheadings. So far in this post my headings have leaned toward a sentence-like structure, in order to maintain consistency throughout the rest of my post I’ll need to follow the same format. If you chose to make each subheading a funny phrase, then be sure you’ll have enough hilarity to last throughout the article.

Allow for Digestion

Have you ever seen those articles or blog posts that look like this: subheading, one sentence; subheading, one sentence; subheading, one sentence? It’s the equivalent of biting and then before you’ve finished chewing taking another bite. The information is coming in rapid succession without allowing the reader to digest what they’ve just read before jetting off to another subject. When deciding whether or not to use a subheading, first figure out if you have enough information to support it. If you merely have a series of single sentences then you most likely need to bullet point, not subhead.

Not All About Keywords

Some writing “experts,” especially those SEO “gurus,” tout subheading as a perfect way to slip in extra keywords to give your article the all important SEO fuel. They are not entirely wrong, but their approach is often too heavy handed. Your subheading should be about clearly communicating the main idea of the information that follows. If you can work in a keyword then fantastic, but it should not be seen as merely a vehicle to get more Google-juice. It has to do something, say something.

Subheadings take a knife and fork to the full article, carving it up in bite size pieces so all the information can be enjoyed and savored. The reader doesn’t get messy – covered in indecipherable information, and you reap the benefits in web hits and/or happy editors.


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