Yes it’s a must!
You must add a table of contents to relevant posts and pages on your blog.
Doing this makes life easier for your readers and it assists with post SEO.
You can either create a table of contents manually by writing code or you can use a WordPress Plugin.
In this post, I’m going to tell you why I recommend you use the Easy Table of Contents Plugin especially if you’re a beginner blogger.
Easy Table of Contents – Overview
Easy Table of Contents was developed by Steven Zahm and originally released in 2015.
It’s what is known as a fork of another plugin, that being, Table of Contents Plus, created by Michael Tran.
What this means is that a copy of the original plugin’s source code was taken and worked with to create a distinct and separate plugin.
Easy Table of Contents does what it’s name suggests. It allows you to easily insert a table of contents into your posts, pages and custom pages. You can see mine directly above this section.
Although it’s not a new plugin it has been downloaded many times over its lifetime. It continues to be downloaded every day as the following image captured today demonstrates.
Best Features and Benefits
- Automatically uses your post headings to generate a table of contents, giving you a neat list of section headings without you having to do anything.
- Ability to disable the table on any page or post if you don’t want it to display, which means you have full control.
- Many easy to understand global settings which allows you to customize its size, look and placement.
- Choose from various bullet and number formats to suit your site or you can choose no numbering.
- Able to display headings hierarchically or not, which means less important headings will be nested under more important ones.
- Option for readers to hide the table or you can hide it by default.
- Supports smooth scrolling which makes using the table easy.
- Decide which headings are used to generate the table. This can be changed on individual posts and pages.
- Ability to exclude headings in global settings and at a post/page level.
- Option to use the widget to display the table in your side bar rather than in the main content.
- Dependent on your theme, it’s possible for the table to be fixed or it can float and be visible as readers move down the page.
This plugin gets 5 stars for features and benefits.
How Is the Plugin Supported?
It’s important to understand that this is a free plugin so support is limited, however there is a support forum hosted on WordPress which the author and other parties are very active on.
A variety of topics are currently being discussed as you can see in the screenshot below. When I looked through some of these threads, the plugin developer had responded to most queries and he seemed to be very helpful.
From personal experience I can also vouch for the fact that the author is active and responds to questions and comments.
I noticed that the plugin had not been updated in a few months, so I made a comment about this is in my review. Within a day or so I had received a response which you can read below.
Currently there is active support available so I give the plugin 5 stars here.
This is an easy one – it’s free! 5 stars!
83.7% of the reviews on the WordPress site give this plugin a five star rating which I think is pretty good.
The only one star review said that the plugin was too complicated and only suitable for programmers. I’m certainly no programmer so I don’t agree with this.
The only two star review was left because the plugin couldn’t be used with the theme, Elementor.
It’s worth remembering that sometimes plugins don’t ‘play nicely’ with some themes and other plugins. This is just a fact and there’s not a great deal you can do about it, other than to accept it and move on. 😉
The feedback for this plugin is very good overall so I’ve given it 4 stars.
How Reliable is the Plugin?
By reliable I want to know whether the plugin delivers consistently, offers good quality and performance and that it’s able to be trusted.
This is something which only becomes apparent over time. For now the plugin works well for me. But will it continue to do so?
My only concern is that it does not appear as if updates will continue to be regular into the future. The developer advised that he intends to release an update later this year which will only support the new WordPress editor, Gutenberg.
Although that’s great news, how will this plugin be performing overall in a few months or years from now?
If it does continue I’m sure I’ll continue to use it, if not, I won’t. Stay tuned for updates in the future.
For now I’m giving the plugin 4 stars for reliability.
Easy Table of CONTENTS Plugin – Wrap Up
- Lightweight at 76Kb so it should not impact your site speed.
- Easy to customize and use.
- No cost.
- Currently supported.
- It does the job!
- Has not been updated in 10 months
Easy Table of Contents
If you want to know more about the benefits of using a table of contents on your blog and how to install and set up this plugin, you can read a previous post of mine, How to Create a Table of Contents in WordPress.
Lastly remember that your website is unique. This or any other plugin may not work or it could impact your website’s speed.
I suggest you test the load time of your website using WebPageTest or a similar service, before you download the plugin and again, after you have activated and set it up.
Make sure you use the same test location and that you do the test at the same time of the day as your first test. If the speed is dramatically affected then you may want to find a different plugin that works better on your blog.
It’s not a question of whether you should use a table of contents on your blog but how you’re going to do it. I can recommend the Easy Table of Contents plugin.
Have you used this plugin yourself? Any tips or nightmare stories to share? And of course, if I’ve left something out that you’re dying to share, please do.
Got Questions? Something to say? Leave a comment. Let’s chat
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