Break up the text
In printed work, lengthy blocks of text are the norm. On web pages they’re tedious.
- Add images to break up the text.
- Replace long paragraphs with bullet lists where reasonable.
- Use lists bullet lists wisely; here are great tips on using lists.
Table of contents
A web page should make its point briefly if possible. However, sometimes a longer piece is needed. If a page will have more than a few paragraphs, break it into sections with headings.
For lengthy pages, consider adding links to those sections at the top. This table of contents will help people jump to the place of greatest interest, and will also give them a quick summary of the page.
Use the built-in “Heading” styles well
Note: if your editor’s toolbar doesn’t have a drop-down list for choosing styles like this…
Why use Heading styles?
The WordPress editor lets you style text as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. Using these headings to break up your longer text…
- …helps all readers. Logical structure simplifies understanding.
- …helps visually impaired readers. “Screen reader” software can turn your headings into an ad hoc table of contents, letting people jump around your page more easily.
- …helps search engines to index your site well.
Never style headings manually
When you use the built-in Heading styles, you get all of the benefits above. Don’t style a heading manually, for example making it bold and blue rather than choosing a built-in heading style.
If you style a heading manually, you lose benefits #2 and #3. This can cause problems for visually impaired visitors and damage your search engine rankings.
Use only Heading 2 and 3
Heading 1 is meant to represent a page’s overall topic. A page should have only one Heading 1. Typically, WordPress generates this top-level heading for you based on the page’s title.
Since WordPress has “used up” your page’s Heading 1, add more structure with Heading 2 and Heading 3, never Heading 1.
If you need Heading 4 or 5, your page is probably too long or you’re breaking it up too much. Consider breaking it into multiple pages or turning it into a downloadable document.
Use heading styles only for headings
Sometime you might want to make a given passage of text much larger, bolder, etc. You might be tempted to do this with the Heading styles.
Please don’t do that.
Using a heading style this way is misleading for visually impaired visitors as well as for search engines. It indicates that the text is a section heading, but it’s really not.