Add Tempting Subheads to Your WordPress Posts with Subtitles Plugin


Perhaps the most important string of text for any article or blog post is the headline (the title). Your visitor is going to read your headline, and then based on that, decide whether or not to wade into your text (if only for skimming purposes).

People don’t mind giving headlines a shot because they’re short and, hopefully, to the point. But your text is another matter. Text that is not relevant to the reader can be torturous. It’s work. And so people are naturally very leery of diving into text unless they’re pretty sure it’s going to pay off.

You Headline Needs to Do A LOT of Work

All this means your headline needs to do A LOT of work. It needs to convince your visitors to give your text a chance.

But headlines, especially in WordPress, are not very long. So that compounds the problem.

But what if you could have a subhead? What if you got an extra shot to entice your readers to delve into your text? It would almost be like getting two first impressions. It would almost be like getting a Mulligan (a do-over shot) on every golf hole. It would almost be like cheating.

Subheads are great because readers consider them to be like headlines: they’re short; they stand out; and they’re easy to read at a glance (i.e. easily scanable). In other words, your readers are much more likely to give your subhead a read than they are your first line of text.


There’s a Plugin for That

Enter the Subtitle 360 plugin.

This deceptively simple plugin adds a meta-box to your write page that allows you to insert subheads (wrapped in H4 tags) into your posts and pages. You can then choose where you would like the subheads to appear by inserting a line of code into your theme (e.g. on the home page, on single-post pages, on archive pages, etc.).

Although subheads may seem like cheating, they aren’t. They’re just smart. Why not take advantage of them?

You can find the Subtitle 360 plugin here.

Photo: Adam & Eve from BigStock

8 Responses

  • The idea of adding subtitles/subheads to my blog sounds attractive, but why would I want it as an tag? I believe the titles to be s by default, and I’m currently assigning s to the section headings that appear in the text. My understanding is that an has little or no SEO value. Is that correct?

    • Author

      Hi Doug – I’m not sure I’m getting exactly what you’re saying.

      You say, “I believe the titles to be s by default ….” What do you mean by “s” in this case?

      When you ask about the tag, I assume you’re talking about the h4 tags that it’s wrapped in, is that right? If that’s what you mean, I think it’s primarily for style purposes; however, anytime you make something a heading, in terms of SEO purposes, you’re telling the search engines that this is what the next section is about. Of course h1 headings are going to carry the most weight (because that’s what the whole page is about); h2 tags will have the next most weight, etc. So an h4 tag is pretty far down the list, but it’s still “greater” than a regular line of text in terms of saying what something is about.

      In short, will it help with SEO? Maybe a little, yes, but its greater value is probably for actual readers. Unless you abuse your header tags (h1, h2, etc.), they are indicators of importance/meaning, and they “should” carry more weight.

      • Joe,

        Thanks for guessing my question. I made the mistake of placing “h4” inside the less-than () symbols as it appears in html code, so the tags didn’t show up in the comment. You have guessed and answered my question.

        Since my subheadings appear on my blog between h1 tags, my guess is that the plugin might not be a good idea in my case. It seems that it would turn the tag structure on its head. It probably wouldn’t make sense to have an h4 subtitle with a list of h2 subheadings following it.

        Thanks for responding!
        Doug

        • Author

          Doug – Well, you can put the subhead anywhere. When you say it would appear “between h1 tags,” do you mean you would stick the subtitle inside of your h1 tags? … You probably shouldn’t do that, and you don’t have to. You just stick the subhead below the title (and its h1 tags).

          In terms of going in absolute descending order down the page, I wouldn’t worry about that either. I think it would be completely natural to have h4 tags before h2 in some cases. For example, if you had h4 tags inside of a section with h2 tags, and then you had another section starting with h2 tags below it with h4 tags inside of that.

          An h4 tag (in SEO terms) would simply indicate that this piece of text is potentially not as important as an h2 tag, and in some ways that would be true in this case. Your subhead/subtitle is meant to expand on your title, and so therefore, in terms of “content/meaning” it isn’t as important as a section with an h2 tag, which is most likely meant to introduce and sum up a specific and definite point within the the content.

        • I see I did it again, this time placing parentheses such that part of my message didn’t show up. I think it’s clear what transpired. Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    I’m not sure using a plug-in to add sub-titles is necessary. Why not just add your own sub title to the top of the article when you write it?

    I only want the absolutely necessary plug-ins to be activated on my sites. Adding plug-ins for seemingly trivial tasks simply adds more failure points to an already relatively complex system. Small conflicts can be hard to troubleshoot, and can mask another issue, making debugging very difficult.

    You are right on both points about SEO and enticing the user. A well-formatted document looks better in Google’s scope, and it certainly can help to keep the visitor engaged and help to guide them into your article.

    • Author

      Jeff – I get where you’re coming from. And originally I thought the same when I first saw the plugin. But then the advantage of the plugin hit me when I installed it and started playing with it. And the advantage is this: You can put this subtitle wherever you like, so that means you can put it just below the title above the other meta data (date, author, etc.). This seems to make it stand out more. It really does make it seem like an extra title.

      Most people are very familiar with blog/website set ups, and most people know that you have the title and then you get into the actual article (usually after some meta data). This plugin allows you to present something unique. The reader doesn’t psychologically feel as if they are getting into the article yet (which it seems they would if they dove in past the meta data — even if the firs thing they are reading is a subtitle).

      It seems like a small point, and maybe too small for some, but it may make a difference on some sites.

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