I hope this question is in the correct SE website.

I run a multi-author football website. The site has been up since 2009. Each year some authors come and some go. The site is built on WordPress, if that adds any clarity to the coming question.

One point I always try to make to new authors is to use Headings instead of a line of text that is bolded. I include this in my welcome emails to new authors. I have also made a how-to video about submitting a post that covers this multiple times, yet 80%+ of my authors ALWAYS use a line of bold and/or colored text, rather than the built in Headings.

I do web design, but focus on SEO, so this is becoming a huge annoyance for me.

Does anyone have a suggestion on how to make this stick with authors or a different recommendation to eliminate my frustrations over this issue?


I have decided to go with Dunhamzzz's suggestion. I have started a question about the specifics on wordpress.stackexchange.com

  • 1
    are you referring to h1 tag for a title or h2 (or lower) tags for subheads within the body? – joshuahedlund Apr 25 '12 at 18:31
  • This might be better for ux.stackexchange.com - I don't see that as a flagging option. – joshuahedlund Apr 25 '12 at 18:32
  • Define what you mean by "my authors." Is there some formal arrangement here where you, or someone else, is in an editor position? Are they being paid? Is it just friends and volunteers wandering in and out? – Su' Apr 25 '12 at 21:22
  • How about introducing an editing/proof-reading process? There are even specialized project management apps for content writers, where you can manage a large set of writers (hand out assignments, group brainstorm, approve articles, return feedback, manage revisions, automatically publish content to your blog, etc.) and coordinate content production. Then if you see authors violating policy, you simply reject the submission and tell them to fix the problem and resubmit. – Lèse majesté Apr 26 '12 at 5:28

Instead of trying to blindly replace all bold words with header tags (which could easily lead to breaking an article), you need to educate your authors on the importance of the header tags, what they mean and their direct SEO benefits. Tell them that their article will likely receive more views if it is structure correctly, and doing so will make them a slightly more employable copy writer if that's their chosen career.

If you wanted to hand-hold you could adjust Wordpress to create some in-line dialogue when someone clicks the bold button, and explain that for titles the proper heading functionality should be used.

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  • I really like your "hand-holding" suggestion. I have went the education route, with no luck. Do you have a reference for a starting point? – Travis Pflanz Apr 26 '12 at 15:39
  • Look into jQuery click/hover events and try to target the bold button. – Dunhamzzz Apr 26 '12 at 15:47

You could always make a script that takes the content of the page, searches for those situations where strong is used as a heading and replace the strong tags with an h2 or h3 tag.

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  • You you have a recommendation on how to go about this? – Travis Pflanz Apr 25 '12 at 22:05
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    In your active template open single.php. Look for the function the_content() and replace it with echo preg_replace('/<p><strong>(.*?)<\/strong><\/p>/', '<h2>$1</h2>', apply_filters('the_content', get_the_content())); – Lee Apr 26 '12 at 0:08

why not create an 'admin' page for them where they enter their articles? That way, you can put a button for, say, 'bold' and show it as bold but internally you code it as a header. If tomorrow you decide to change how you lay out the HTML, you change what the admin does, and your authors don't need to even know anything changed, as they'll use the admin just the same as always.

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  • As mentioned, I use WordPress, which has an extensive admin area. The problem, there is a Heading drop down selector and there is a Bold selection button. They simply never use the heading. – Travis Pflanz Apr 25 '12 at 22:04

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