Most Chinese business owners I work with have troubles in understanding when to use capital letters in titles and when not. After all, in Mandarin, there is no use of capitals at all. That is why when I provide my Chinese clients with content marketing, the question when and when not to use capital letters in titles always pops up. In this post, I give you the possible choices when it comes to what to capitalize.
Why capital letters in titles matter
Every detail matters when it comes to search engine optimization. After spending time and energy coming up with the perfect titles and headings for your webpage, do you want to take even more time debating how to format it correctly? When writing for an internet audience, using a standardized and consistent title case can help you avoid criticism and confusion.
Knowing what to capitalize in a title is important to make sure that your titles and headlines look correct. If you are puzzled about what words to capitalize in a title or headline, I recommend using a free title capitalization tool, but if you want specific capitalization rules, continue to read.
First, it is important to note that there are four main title capitalization styles: Chicago style, APA style, MLA style, and AP title capitalization style. Each of these capitalization styles has slightly different rules for which words are capitalized and each of these styles can be written using title case capitalization or sentence case capitalization.
Title and headline style capitalization principles
In general, the following capitalization rules apply across the four styles in title case:
Important words in that previous bullet refer to:
Title case is the best practice title capitalization for web page titles, headlines and articles titles. When multiple letters in a title need to be capitalized, use title case capitalization.
Words Not Capitalized in Title Case
While the above words are generally capitalized in titles regardless of style, some words are generally not capitalized when using title case. These include short words and conjunctions:
What is sentence case?
Then there is the other major type of title capitalization standard: sentence case. Sentence case means you capitalize the first letter of a sentence and nothing else. This is opposed to capitalizing almost every first letter in title case. It is the same across all the four styles.
For more specific title capitalization rules, you can see the following sections which cover each style of title capitalization rules or check out our FAQs for common capitalization questions.
Title capitalization rules
Most Common Mistake: The Verb “Is”
The most seen error on the web is from writers make the error of leaving “to be” verbs lowercase. Even though “is,” “are,” “was,” and “be,” are all short words, they should still be capitalized in a title, just because they are verbs.
The best and free title capitalization tool
Luckily, there are free tools available making title and headline style capitalization easy. Automatically capitalize your email subjects, essay, headline, and article titles. Use Title Case, AP style, APA style, Chicago style, MLA style, and more. My two top favorite tools are:
Titles and headings on a webpage are the first things that your readers will see and last, but not least they matter the most for SEO. So throughout the website, make sure that the titles and headings follow the same formatting guidelines everywhere. To make your life easier, make use of an available title capitalization tool that makes capitalization easy.
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