Update: this post was created with the old web design of MoneyCortex, the new theme for this finance blog doesn’t use subtitles so this post may no longer be relevant.

Depending on the type of website you have, subtitles can be a good way to draw people in to read your article when they land on the page. They can also help break up a big title and make it more readable.

I have decided for this website I don’t need them (as you can probably see), but on a few others I work on I have integrated them and they look really good. So here is my guide to adding subtitles to your theme, complete with demonstration videos and step-by-step instructions.

First off, why should you use them? I think subtitles are under-used in the blogosphere. The reason I say that is because visitors make their minds up very quickly on whether they will stay on your website or not. With a good title, good subtitle and maybe an interesting image above the fold you give yourself a high chance of that person sticking around. Therefore they are worth having for a lot of sites.

Fortunately, if you use WordPress it is quite easy to add subtitles to your post. Here is a how-to-guide.

Process To Install And Implement Subtitles on WP

Step 1
Install a plugin called “KIA Subtitle”. You can either install it directly from your WP admin by searching for it, or download it directly from WordPress and upload it to your server. If you do it from your WordPress admin it will look a bit like this.

Simple installation of subtitle plugin.

Simple installation of subtitle plugin.

Step 2
Activate it via your ‘Plugins’ section.

Step 3
Insert the necessary coding in your single.php and page.php theme design files. Be sure to do this in your child theme. If you don’t wish to show them on pages obviously you can skip the page.php bit. You can find the code on the installation page of the plugin listing. Here is also a screenshot of the code you need.

Coding for theme

The coding needed to implement it into your theme design files.

Step 4
Visit one of your posts to check it hasn’t caused errors or any issues. If it has you may have installed the code wrong, double check it. If your implementation looks fine in the file it may be clashing with something else, in this case you will have to investigate it more to find the issue. The majority of people shouldn’t experience a problem though. I have yet to run into errors here.

Step 5
Now you can use a draft post. Or if you want to get straight live with it choose one of your posts that doesn’t get much traffic and add a subtitle in. The reason to choose an article without much traffic is because you are going to use it as a dummy to sort out the CSS styling. It shouldn’t take long but it still isn’t wise to do it on a post which is getting lots of traffic in case of any issues. Using a draft post makes the most sense unless you are super impatient.

Add text to show.

Add the text you want to show.

Step 6
Once you have added the subtitle visit the post and see how it looks. If it looks great then awesome, it is all sorted. But if not go in to your style.css file in your child theme folder and add this bit of code.

h2.subtitle { color: green; }

Within that code then add the styling you want to include such as padding and font color. For now it just shows font color as green but add in whatever styling you want. Keep tweaking it until it looks really good.

Step 7
Now go through your most successful posts and pages and add subtitles to them. You don’t have to go into each post and do it individually, it is far easier and quicker to go into the ‘All Posts’ section and click on ‘Quick Edit’ below post titles and then you can add it in there. See the screenshot below for a demonstration. How many you add is up to you, for established blogs it would probably take far too long to add subtitles to all your existing posts. It wouldn’t be worth your time.

Quick edit function in WP

Use the quick edit function to save lots of time.

Step 8
Get posting new content complete with subtitles. Remember if on some posts you don’t want to show a subtitle you don’t have to. It will not show a big blank space. It will still look great without a subtitle showing. This is one of the things really good about this plugin. Looks great when you use it, has no side effects when you don’t. Another great thing is it shouldn’t slow down how quickly your site loads, you can double check that though with the P3 Profiler tool.

Problems

With this particular plugin I haven’t experienced any problems so far. Before this I tried a plugin called “Visual Subtitle” but the problem is it made it part of the main title and this caused formatting issues in parts of my web design. In the ‘posts you may like’ section below posts it caused an error. And trying to show the latest posts in the sidebar was no longer possible without errors. The formatting also looked bad in the categories.

The “KIA Subtitles” plugin solves that problem because you put in the code where you want it. So for me I only show the subtitles in my actual posts. But I don’t show it in the category, homepage or anywhere else. But where you do want to show it add the code in from Step 3 in those places. There is also a shortcode if you want to just show it in the post content from time to time. Here is the shortcode.

[the-subtitle]

A problem you may have is if you have an archive containing thousands of blog posts then you have the issue of going through all of them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take a few seconds either, you have to think of a good quality compelling subtitle that will draw your readers in and intrigue them. You could hire a freelancer to do the job, but this may get costly. If you are in this position I would recommend you go through your most popular posts and add a subtitle to those. And then obviously as you continue to publish new content you will add subtitles into those to get the benefits going forward.

So far I haven’t experienced any other problems using this step-by-step guide. But if you do you can either post in the comments section below or what is more likely to get a better outcome for you if you have a technical issue is to post to the creator on the WordPress support area.

Good luck with your installation and happy blogging.


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