Have you also noticed?
More and more bloggers seem to be using a table of contents in their posts.
Is this just uber trendy right now or is there a good reason?
Also, is it something you should consider?
To find out more and if you want to know how to create a table of contents in WordPress, stick around and I’ll tell you.
What is a Table of Contents?
You can see mine right above this section!
A table of contents is usually abbreviated as TOC or simply as Contents. It’s a list of chapter titles you find at the start of books or section titles before the start of an article.
In the case of books, these usually include page numbers, and when online, the titles are usually hyperlinked. This means when you click on a title you’re taken directly to that section.
If you haven’t noticed these in blog posts yet, you’ll probably have come across them if you’ve read an article on Wikipedia. That’s where I took the one from below, on the same subject.
Why is a Table of Contents Important ?
- Readers can see at a glance what your post is about. This is especially useful when articles are longer and have a number of content levels. Having a table of contents can improve the user’s experience.
- Users can also jump to a certain section when they click on titles as long as these have been hyperlinked. This also makes your blog posts more user friendly.
- When people like the way your posts are set out because it’s easy to get around, they’re more likely to stay on your site and return again. This can help improve your search engine ranking as Google monitors how long users stay on your website before clicking away.
- It’s also good for SEO since it helps Google to understand what your content is about. Also a linked table can result in site links because Google adds a jump to section next to your site in search results.
3 Ways to add a Table of Contents to Your Posts
- You could create a simple bullet list of section titles, much like this, except they would not be linked. While it would still be helpful to users you’d not get the full benefits.
- You can manually create a list by using HTML or CSS code. This can be time consuming and a bit fiddly. I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners. If you do fancy yourself as budding “code expert”, here is a great training by an Internet Marketing colleague of mine – Link to Content
- If you want to know how to create a table of contents in WordPress the easiest way, then I’d have to say you must use a plugin, and that’s what we will focus on for the rest of this post.
The plugin I recommend is Easy Table of Contents. I like it firstly because it’s free. 🙂 It’s also lightweight, so it should not affect your site’s speed. And it’s easy to use for beginners. The first thing you’ll need to do is install the plugin.
How to Install Easy Table of Contents
Here’s a video I found on YouTube that covers installing and setting up this plugin.
If you would prefer to read about how to install the plugin you can continue doing so here
How to set up Easy Table of Contents
You can view how to do this in the video above or continue reading here.
When you click on the settings tab you will be confronted by a whole page of settings. This can first appear as somewhat daunting but it’s all fairly straight forward. I’l cover the most important settings next.
First you’ll want to choose where you want your table of contents to appear and if and where you want this to be inserted automatically. For most people this will be on posts and pages.
You can disable the automatic insertion using the settings on any individual post or page.
The next settings will help you customize and create a table of contents in WordPress so that it appears exactly as you want it to to display.
Next you’ll be able to customize the appearance of the table in terms of size, colors, fonts etc.
The last section of settings are more advanced and probably don’t require much tweaking from you except for two areas as I’ve highlighted below.
How to Create a Table of Contents in WordPress – Wrap Up
It might be trendy to use a table of contents right now but it also presents a number of benefits to you as a blogger.
Not only will it make your posts more user friendly but also more Google friendly so exploring how to create a table of contents in WordPress is very worth your time, in my opinion.
I don’t think it’s necessary to have this appear on all your posts but you are in full control in this regard, whether you create your table using code or you use a plugin like Easy Table of Contents.
As always, plugins are very useful but you don’t want to use too many of them. Also, sometimes they do conflict with themes and other plugins. This plugin does have a support page where the author is very helpful. If all else fails, you may have to try your hand at coding the table manually.
Do you use a table of contents on your blog? If so, what method do you use to create yours? Have I missed something you’re dying to share with me?
Got Questions? Something to say? Leave a comment. Let’s chat
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