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What is the Difference Between a Heading and a Title

Published by at July 20th, 2023 , Revised On January 30, 2024

Headings play a crucial role in organising and structuring written content. They serve as signposts, guiding readers through the text and providing a hierarchical structure to the information presented. Let’s explore the purpose, different types of headings, and considerations for titles in this blog.

What is a Heading?

A heading is a short phrase or sentence that introduces a section of the text, indicating its topic or purpose. It helps readers navigate the content by clearly indicating what to expect in that section. Headings are typically formatted differently, such as in bold, larger font sizes, or a different heading level, to stand out from the rest of the text visually.

How Long Should a Heading Be?

Headings should be concise and to the point, capturing the essence of their section. Ideally, a heading should be brief enough to provide a quick understanding of the content while still being descriptive. Typically, a heading should range from one to five words, depending on the depth of detail required to convey the section’s main idea.

What are the Different Types of Headings?

There are six different types of heading, but generally, only four are used. 

Main Heading (Heading 1):

Main headings introduce major sections or chapters of a document. They provide an overarching theme for the following content and often reflect the main points or key concepts.

Subheading (Heading 2):

Subheadings divide the main sections into smaller, more specific subsections. They help organise the content and provide further clarity and structure within each main section.

Sub-Subheading (Heading 3):

Sub-subheadings further break down subsections into even more specific divisions. They offer additional hierarchy levels, allowing for more detailed content organisation.

Sub-Sub-Subheading (Heading 4):

In complex documents or academic papers, sub-subheadings may create further subdivisions within subsections. These headings provide an even more granular level of organisation.

What is a Title?

A title is a concise and descriptive phrase or sentence representing a written work’s overall content or subject, such as an essay, research paper, or article. It serves as the main identifier or label for the writing, giving readers an initial understanding of the topic.

How Long Should a Title Be?

What should be the fonts for titles and headings? A title should be brief yet informative, clearly indicating the content’s focus. Ideally, it should be concise, typically 5 to 15 words. However, the length may vary depending on the publication requirements or academic institution.

What are Some Different Types of a Title?

Following are some of the different types of a title. 

Descriptive Titles

Descriptive titles summarise the content or main findings of a piece of writing. They aim to provide readers with a clear understanding of the subject matter and scope of the work.

Provocative Titles

Provocative titles aim to grab the reader’s attention and create curiosity about the content. They often use intriguing or thought-provoking language to pique interest.

Question Titles

Question titles pose a question to the reader, encouraging them to engage with the content and seek answers or explore different perspectives.

Informative Titles

Informative titles convey the purpose, methodology, or key aspect of the research or written work. They provide specific information about the content’s focus or approach.

Creative or Catchy Titles

Creative or catchy titles use wordplay, alliteration, or unique phrasing to make the title memorable and stand out. 

While headings and titles can be separate elements, there are cases where a heading can also serve as a title. However, titles typically appear at the beginning of longer, more structured works.

What is the Difference Between a Heading And a Title?

Aspect Heading Title
Content Summarise the main idea or topic Names the work or section
Placement Appears at the top of a section or page Usually positioned at the beginning
Function Organises content and provides context Attracts attention and sets the tone
Length Generally shorter It can be longer depending on the context
Styling Often bold or in a larger font size May also use emphasis for aesthetic
Hierarchy Part of a hierarchical structure Part of a standalone entity or artwork
Navigation Helps readers find relevant sections Often used to identify creative works
Purpose Guides readers through the content Captures the essence of the work
Example “Introduction,” “Methods” “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”


It is important to use consistent and informative titles and heading examples that effectively guide the reader through the content. The difference between a title and a heading in HTML lies in their respective purposes and placement within the document structure.

Moreover, titles, headings, and subheadings are crucial in structuring and organising written documents, providing clear signposts for readers to navigate through the content. The following points demonstrate the difference between a heading and a title:

  • Purpose

The main difference between a heading and a title lies in their purpose. A heading divides and categorises content within a document or article, helping readers navigate and comprehend the information better. On the other hand, a title is a concise and descriptive phrase that captures the essence of a piece of work, such as an essay, book, or presentation. It represents the entire content and aims to attract attention and provide an overall context.

  • Length and Format

Headings are typically shorter and more specific, often consisting of a few words or a short phrase. They are usually formatted with different font sizes, styles, or formatting elements to distinguish them from the rest of the text. On the other hand, titles are longer and more comprehensive, providing a broader understanding of the content. They are often centred, bolded, or presented in a prominent way to make them stand out.

  • Placement

Headings are usually scattered throughout the document or article, dividing the content into logical sections or subsections. They create a hierarchical structure, helping readers easily locate and navigate specific parts of the text. On the contrary, titles are typically positioned at the beginning of a work, serving as a concise summary or introduction to the following content.

  • Functionality

Headings play a functional role in organising and structuring the content, allowing readers to skim or scan the document to find the relevant information they seek. They aid in comprehension and create a logical flow within the text. On the other hand, titles have a more strategic function of attracting attention, generating interest, and providing an initial impression or expectation of what the content entails.

  • Contextual Scope

Headings focus on specific sections or subsections within the content, providing local context and guiding readers through the document. They serve as signposts, highlighting the key points or topics within a particular section. Titles, in contrast, encompass the entire work, encapsulating the main theme.

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What are the Top Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Heading and Title?

Writing effective headings and titles is crucial for capturing readers’ attention and conveying the essence of the content.  Here are some top mistakes to steer clear of:

1. Vagueness 


Using generic or vague headings and titles that need to provide clear information about the content.


Be specific and concise, capturing the main idea or focus of the section or piece. Use keywords that accurately represent the content to engage readers.

2. Excessive Length:


Creating headings or titles that are too long and overwhelming causes readers to lose interest or miss the main point.


Keep headings and titles concise and within a reasonable length, ideally 5 to 15 words. Trim unnecessary words while maintaining clarity and relevance.

3.  Lack Of Clarity


Creating headings or titles that must be clarified, ambiguous, or aligned with the content.


Ensure that headings and titles accurately reflect the content and preview what readers can expect. Use language that is direct, informative, and easy to understand.

4. Overuse Technical Language


Including excessive jargon and technical terms.


Strive for simplicity and clarity by using language that is accessible to a broader audience. If technical terms are necessary, explain clearly or use more commonly understood alternatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

A heading is a navigational tool that divides the content into sections or subsections. On the other hand, a title serves as an overarching label or identifier for the entire work.

Headings are typically styled to stand out visually from the surrounding text. They are often formatted in a larger font size, bold, or in a different heading level (e.g., Heading 1, Heading 2). On the other hand, titles are usually centred, capitalised, and may be set apart using italics or quotation marks.

While headings and titles can be separate elements, there are cases where a heading can also serve as a title.

It is possible to have multiple headings within a single section or chapter of a piece. 

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