I’ve talked about headlines and how important they are – then the subject of subheaders came up. So what is a subheader?
It’s not a byline – that’s the ‘by Joe Bloggs’ bit that tells you who wrote it.
It’s not a strapline – that’s the bit that comes after the brand name: like Nike’s – ‘just do it’; McDonald’s – ‘I’m loving it’; and British Airways – ‘The world’s favourite airline’.
It can be:
Clarification of the headline – Do people leave your website within the first 7 seconds? – ‘Find out how to keep them on our copywriting teleclass’.
A signal that the subject is about to change, so at the end of the ‘Problem’ section is a new section subheaded ‘Solutions’.
A means of keeping people reading – a longer piece of text is more likely to be read if there are subheadings – and the rule of three works really well; e.g. Past, Present, Future; The challenge, The current situation, The solution; or Product, Service, Maintenance.
Ideally keep your subheaders short – not more than a few words and never running onto two lines (unless they’re really compelling!)
Use them effectively and you’ll increase your web copy’s readability.
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