What Does a Heading Tag Identify?

In a previous post on How to Use Heading Tags. We left out a key piece of information, defining what a title tag designates, and what it does not. Headings tags wrap headlines or important points only. Applying them designates the wrapped content as a headline of some type. They do not designate or wrap the section of body copy supporting the headline. The h1 tag wraps the blog title. An h2 tag could wrap section headings. H3 tags could wrap subheadings or important points, but you don’t wrap a whole paragraph in an h tag. Here’s an example:

What does a tag wrap around in a blog post

Each bit of copy wrapped in <h#> tags above is simply a headline of one type or another. The supporting paragraphs of information that come after are not wrapped in header tags. Instead, they are the supporting information for the headline.


How to Use Heading Tags in a Blog Post (h1 through h6)

HTML Header Tags , or heading tags, as their name suggests, differentiate the types of headings and subheadings in a blog post. Some people call them head tags or SEO header tags.

H1 through h6 tags designate a top down hierarchy of importance in html.

Heading Tags Descend in importance from H1 down.The h1 tag is the most important tag. Every page should have a single h1 tag reserved for the title of the article, page or product. H2 through h6 are then used for decreasingly significant titles. We do not break the chain or skip levels of the hierarchy as we write to maintain on-page SEO. For example, if your page title is an h1 tag and you immediately follow that with an h4 tag, the hierarchy is broken. It makes the heading structure harder for the search engine to crawl and categorize.

Advantages of Using Heading Tags

  • Structure your heading tags for search
  • Prepare and segregate content for end users
  • Improve site accessibility for people with disabilities

Header tags and SEO:

Search engines succeed when they provide more recent, relevant content than their competitors. To establish relevancy, they compare the words in the header tags with the content in respective sections. Google, Bing and other search engines use a program called a spider to crawl your posts, pages and products. It sends your content back for their servers and algorithms to measure the content. One of the most important measurements is keyword consistency.

The h1 is the most important tag and should never be skipped

The comparison starts with the H1 Tag. This tag provides a basic description which all successive content is compared. Search spiders pay special attention to the words used in the h1 tag. Because of this, it should contain a basic description of the page content, In WordPress, your page title is automatically made into your h1 tag.

Search engines don’t just measure everything against the h1 tag. H2 through h6 tags are measured as well. Each successive SEO header tag should be supported with a paragraph or more of relevant content. There is no magic number of words, use what is required to support your content.

The primary use of heading tags is for SEO, not to gain the larger, more prominent fonts. However, well thought out styling, applied via CSS enhances and standardizes the presentation of a web page. It provides a cleaner look.

Head Tags to Enhance UX:

Heading tags give the user a clear idea of what the page content is about. The human eye scans content easily with head tags in place. By reading the different heading tags, users can scan a page and read only the section they are interested in.

You’ll improve readability, time on site and click through rates by properly implementing head tags. As a side benefit, search engines give a great deal of importance to user-experience on a site, meaning the presence of heading tags becomes an important component of SEO.

Header Tags and Accessibility:

Poorly structured content makes it difficult for users of screen readers to navigate and harder to understand what they are being presented with. by taking the time to identify your titles when you write, you save end users with screen readers countless hours of frustration.

It’s each bloggers responsibility to properly structured headings on a page.

There are accessibility standards we should all strive to achieve. We begin to address many of these standards, such as providing navigable, readable, predictable & compatible content, through the proper use of heading tags. These tags enhance content readability and make your web pages appear and operate in predictable ways. Heading Tags also maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies. They provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.

Things you should not be doing with heading tags

  • Do not stuff your heading tags with keywords – Use what’s necessary to provide a short, sensible description.
  • Do not use more than one h1 tag on a page – One h1 heading per page lets everyone know what one thing to expect in the content.
  • Do not use heading tags as hidden text – Hidden text has long been decried by search engines and users. It never helps and always causes penalties for your site ranking.
  • Do not repeat heading tags on different pages of your site. It’s confusing to search engines and users. Maintain unique heading tags sitewide.
  • Do not use identical content for both your page’s h1 tag and meta title tag – Differentiating the two enhances SEO and enhances usability.
  • Do not use heading tags for styling text – Use CSS to accomplish styling and use header tags to organize and structure content.

Using a Requirement Traceability Matrix for Web Development RFP Response

RFP Cover Sheet ExampleLately I’ve had quite a few conversations with fellow web developers looking for guidance on how to win an RFP. We’ve been blessed recently with quite a few successes and I’d like to share a little secret with you, the same secret I’ve shared with them. Winning RFPs simply comes from listening. Understanding your clients needs and demonstrating you can meet them quantitatively. 

You don’t win RFPs by betting on qualitative information, hoping for uneducated customers or relying on slick salesmen. You don’t win RFPs by having been in business longer than your competitor, by having more sites or by having a huge staff. You win RFPs by demonstrating good work, by matching the right staff to the project, and by showing the client your capability to exceed their expectations. 

We’ve all felt insecurities but they are just that, insecurities. Remember these two things; 1) RFPs are part of a vetting process designed to separate wheat from the chaff and 2) RFPs are often written by committee so simple, clear objectives are hard to come by. This is where the saying, “Fail quickly” comes to mind. It’s OK to be the chaff, but find out quickly by identifying objectives, understanding why the objectives exist, and proving whether you meet the need. Base your decision on facts, not insecurities. 

Achieving 100% compliance and traceability shows that you understand the project from the clients point of view

As to whether you’re wheat or chaff for the project you’re looking at right now, find out fast by bringing a Requirements Traceability Matrix, RTM, into your bidding workflow. In programming, this can be an extensive project in itself, but here we are using simplified chart to prove, through small Test Cases, whether you can fulfill each requirement. It’s an easy way to see how requirements relate to services. When you’re done, you’ll know whether to bid with confidence or no-bid.

How do you set up a Requirements and Test Cases for a Traceability Matrix?

Set up a graph and create three columns titled Requirement, RFQ Location and Response Location. list what the client wants, their Requirements, vertically under the first column. Now show the relationship to the RFP by filling in the second column where the request is located. Your ability to fulfill a need is the result of a Test Case, often referred to as a  Test Oracle. If you move forward, you’ll have to write out the proposal. What better way to start than with all of the Test Cases and their related Test Oracles in a concise outline. 

Proving your capabilities in outline format in a separate document and listing the numbers from your outline in the third column of your chart provides an easy to follow index for your team and for your client. As a side note, you’ll often find that your clients will refer back to the RTM you’ve created as the basis for determining project completion. That in itself is a key differentiator.

What does an RTM look like for ?

The list of requirements can become extensive, but let’s look at what a few examples would look like in chart format:

Requirements Traceability Matrix
Requirement RFQ Location Response Location
Name, Title, Address of three references Section 3 I
Ability to complete the project within the allotted timeline Section 4 II
Development of 3 Custom Post Types Section 5 III


 The corresponding Response Location’s outline would look like this:

I. Name, title and address of three references:

     A. Name, Title and address of reference 1

     B. Name, Title and address of reference 2

     C. Name, Title and address of reference 3

II. Ability to complete the project within the allotted timeline:

     A. Schedule clear for dates specified in RFQ Section 4. Ability to complete reviewed by KM and JW. 

     B. Real Big Marketing is able to begin the project upon issue of purchase order per client request and will be completely implemented no later than August XX, XXXX(NOTE: Per client instruction this excludes Section 12 – Content Migration).

III. Development of 3 Custom Post Types and 3 corresponding templates:

     A. Per RFP Section 5, client requires three CPTs; 1) Testimonials, 2) Coupons, 3)Staff. Reviewed by SB, KM, JW. No technical barriers. Add .5 hours to meet design spec.


It’s a simple solution to remove the insecurities and make the bid/no-bid decision. Wheat or chaff, you’re streamlining your RFP response process. When you decide to bid, you’ll find that you’re tightly aligned to the client. You can quickly demonstrate, point-by-point, that you’ll meet and exceed their expectations. No slick salesman required, just build out the outline. You’re more qualified than you think.


What Data Should You Ask For on a Landing Page Designed for Seniors

Senior Citizen working on the internet
Photo courtesy Elvis Pelt

We are planning an upcoming CPG promotion and determining what data is need to move forward with inbound marketing as one component of an integrated strategy. Success means motivating parents and grand parents to buy a retail item, especially online; an item designed to help children grow.

A segment of our target audience contains senior citizens, who are not as well represented online. We’re buying lists for direct marketing. Those are easy to use and packed with data. However, our desire to have clients purchase online is dynamically opposed to their desire to be there.

As of 2013 The Pew Research Internet Project states that even though Seniors continue to deepen their use of the internet, nearly a third do not use it at all.

We’re aware that this group will require alternative means of order placement, and those channels exist. This discussion is in regard to optimization the conversion rate for seniors that do visit the site.

How much do I need to know about my customers?

“Everything” is a cumbersome, clunky response that’s ill conceived especially with this demographic. Many media articles would have you believe that big data is the only way to unlock success. Consider these four points:

  1. Mental Models and age groups
  2. Protection of consumer data
  3. Friction to completion
  4. Testing means change

Make it familiar

User experience (UX) engineers rely on what are called mental models or intuition of how something works based on previous experiences. Hypothetically this is why your grandparents can use a complex object like a car or a microwave but have a lower representation on the internet. Their mental model of a remote control is extensive and familiar whereas their comprehension of the internet is less robust.

Consumers have their guard up for good reason.

The same media outlets telling you that data is useful are the same media outlets warning consumers about the nefarious reasons data is collected and evil corporate intentions. With good reason. Spam and exploitation are two of the biggest consumer fears coming from black hat marketing. These are people who either believe their tactics are perfectly ethical, even though they’re not; or worse, they know they are horrible and do it on purpose.

Keep it simple

There’s also a school of thought among marketers about friction. Basically, that adding questions or complexity to a workflow also ads friction toward completion. More questions therefore equals fewer respondents.

Narrow it down

There are a million data points you could request: name, email, address, children’s names, etc. Narrow it down to optimize the response rate. Segregate your data into groups; required, useful, and extra. The only required field to communicate for inbound portion of this campaign was the purchasers email address. Personalization of the message could come from first and last name, so they were useful. Everything else, like physical location and other demographic data could come later so it’s extra.

Always Be Testing

There is middle ground. By clearly defining the data needed versus the data that’s wanted you’ll quickly identify the items To test on the form. For our example we’ll start with Email address required and the first and last names will be available to fill out but not required. The form gathers the necessary information but is simple enough to remove friction. From there we’ll begin split A/B testing to produce the highest conversion rate.

Marketers are testing and pushing against the hypothesis that seniors prefer not to go online. Our team believes that there are tools we can use to overcome the obstacles. Moving mature clientele online is just the first hurdle. Once there, It’s our responsibility to bolster response by; making the workflow familiar to other situations where they have ordered products, protecting their data and demonstrating that trust both visually and in our actions, keeping the workflow simple, asking for little more than what’s required, and continuously testing.

The Last WordCamp San Francisco

Picture of 1000 people exiting the building during the 2014 San Francisco WordCamp fire alarm.2014, My first and last trip to WordCamp San Francisco. Why first? Economics and because WordPress has become our primary website creation toolset. Did you know that, as of the time of this article, ~23% of all websites use WordPress.* Why my last? Because it’s changing. Matt Mullenweg made a huge announcement at the event that #WCSF14 has outgrown itself.

WordCamp started in San Francisco in 2006 and the WordCamp Central team have done a great job of supporting the event. Because Matt and Automattic are located in SF, it’s become the defacto WordPress PR event of the year. Matt even comes to give his State of the Word presentation and the Saturday Afterparty is held at Automattic HQ. Historically, They’ve been tightly tied together.

With over a thousandish attendees, looking forward to the main event each year, something had to give. Though the presentations were amazing, you could tell that the faciilities were maxed out. The food was amazing but it was evident that 1000 people eating all at once was rough. Not bad, just logistically tough.

Something new is coming. It’s been described potentially as WordCamp North America, WordCamp USA, WordCamp Central (to mimic the team that drives it, or just WordCamp. We’ve heard rumors that the event will still be in San Francisco, but at another venue or that the WordCamp Central team may pick a different city/team each year, like the decision process for the Olympics.

We’re eager to see how it comes out for 2015 and we will likely attend. If it is a changing venue, we’d love to see the event help to prop up a city that could use the business instead of the old stand-bys. I’ve been to Vegas, Chicago, LA and New York for far to many conferences. Variety please. How about Detroit? Cost effective accommodations and capacity to spare.