Titles, Summaries, and Headings

The title field, description field, and headings work together to create an overview of the information contained in a page.

Titles, descriptions, and headings should be concise and use simple, direct language.

Try to follow these length guidelines for the majority of your content:

  • Titles: 2-5 words
  • Summary: two sentences or less (like a subtitle)
  • Headings: 3-7 words
  • Subheadings: 3-7 words


Page title text doubles as labels for other areas of the site, (left navigation menus, top navigation menus, mega menus). Do not choose titles which repeat the same information in the first few words.

For more information on usability with titles, read this Nielsen Norman Group report on menus.


The page summary displays between the page title and main body text area, and is used in search results for the page. In general, the page summary should be two sentences or less and should state what the page contains (like a subtitle).


Headings and subheadings on the CNM website use the design templates managed by the Content Management System (CMS) and align with CNM's brand.

Typographic emphasis (e.g. bold, italic, underline) should not be used to manipulate the design or functionality of headings. Any use of bold, italic, or hyperlinking in headings will be stripped out.

Left-align heading text, never center or right-align.



Repetitive titles are difficult to scan. Instead of using a title like "CNM High School Students," begin with unique information in your title like "High School Students."

To optimize the results of a search engine to find your page, using important words at the beginning of your title can improve search results. Instead of using a title like "Let Us Help You Receive Federal Financial Assistance," use a title like "Apply for Financial Aid."


Some headings can be used as a call to action and can be simpler and direct. Instead of using a heading like "The Registration Process for Enrolling in Classes at CNM," you can simply use "Register for Classes."

For terms or acronyms that a visitor may not recognize, a more descriptive title may be needed. Instead of using the headline "HWPS Academics," you could use "Programs of Study in Health, Wellness & Public Safety." 

Don’t use marketing or promotional language in headlines and make visitors have to spend time thinking about what the headline is referring to. Instead of using the headline "Find Your Course at CNM," you could use "Schedule of Classes."


Summaries should describe what your page is about. Make sure to mention terms that a user will search in a search engine, while assuring that you're not going into too much detail. A summary should not be too long or too short.

Example of a summary that's too long:

  • "CNM employees should be aware that there will be changes to the retirement programs offered through the New Mexico Retiree Healthcare Authority (NMRHCA) and the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board (NMERB) as a result of rule changes and legislative changes. Below is a summary of those changes and when they will take effect. Details will be added to this page as they are shared by the respective agencies."

Example of it summarized properly:

  • "Changes to retirement programs made by the New Mexico Retiree Healthcare Authority (NMRHCA) and the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board (NMERB)."

Example of a summary that's too short:

  • "Scholarships transfer transcript procedure."

Example of it summarized properly:

  • "The scholarships transfer transcript procedure for students transferring to or from CNM to another New Mexico institution."