Modern CMS’s, like WordPress, provide a range of options when it comes to assigning names to your pages.
There’s the title of the page. There is also the menu label, if the page is listed in a menu somewhere. There’s the primary on-page heading, which should be h1. And there’s the slug, for the page.1
Sometimes each of these is identical. An About page might have a page title, menu label, and h1 that is, literally, “About”. The slug might also be “/about/”. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Page titles get used, first and foremost, in a part of your webpage called the head. This title gets read and used by machines and humans. The title ends up in the tiny text in the tabs of your browser. But they also show up in embed cards, social cards, readers, search snippets, and that kind of thing.
WordPress themes and designs give us the option of not using the page title as the on page heading. We like having this option.
More descriptive page headings
And we’ve found over time that we tend to make h1 more descriptive. So a page might have a short page title, like About, but the on page heading might be more like, “About our team”. Or, “Get to know more about us”. More descriptive h1 headings make for better reading, better SEO, and better internal search.
Menu labels can be different than your page titles, and they often should be. Make them clear and concise.
In WordPress, menus can be accessed and created under Appearance on the left sidebar. When you add a page to a menu, the page title gets added by default to become the menu label. But it’s editable. Sometimes it’s nice to use something different. For example, if the about page does double duty as a list of team members, you might want the menu label to be Team, not About.
If a given page appears in more than one menu, the menu labels could even be different from each other depending on the context and interests. The page title could be About our team; in a footer menu it could be labelled About us; in a header menu, it could be labelled Team.
These days human readable URLs, or clean URLs, are wide-spread. Assuming clean URLs are implemented, the slug is usually auto generated from the page title. However, it’s usually possible to override this. Most commonly, slugs are made more minimal. An About us page title for example, would work better with an about slug (www.website.org/about/). Or a Find your friend page, could simply have a find-friend slug, or even just a find slug (www.website.org/find/).
Some thoughts on strategy
Our suggestion is to make these helpful for humans. You want them to be intuitive, descriptive, engaging, memorable, and authoritative. They frame the page and prime the reader. Importantly, they don’t have to be identical. They work together. Slugs and menu labels are generally very short. Page titles are a little longer. And your primary headings, h1, can be long.
- The slug is the part of the URL that is generated by the page. It is also known as the relative link.