WordPress is a fantastic platform for sharing information. It is highly optimized for search engines and provides a ton of free plugins which further makes it appealing to the search engines.
One of the ways for making your WordPress blog post highly appealing to audience and to the search engines is by creating table of contents in your (long) posts or pages.
People today like to skim through the content instead of reading it entirely. They are only keen to read content about their interested topics.
Although your content might be informative if its longer (around 1000 words or more), chances are that some people will likely read only the desired information which is relevant to them.
Your blog post without the table of contents will compel the reader to read the entire article which is certainly you don’t want them to do.
So, in this post, I am going to list out the steps for creating a table of contents in WordPress Post which will also be helpful from an SEO point of view. So here we go.
Plugin Used: Table of content Plus
There are a number of plugins available in WordPress to create the table of content.
In this post, I am going to use the plugin “Table of content Plus”.
This plugin is highly recommended due to the ease of operating it and has lots of customization features.
You would need to install this plugin from your WordPress dashboard.
Simply type “Table Of Content Plus” in the plugin search box and you will find it.
Once the plugin has been installed and activated, you need to go the settings option in the dashboard where you will find “TOC +”. Simply click on it.
You will see options as shown in the below image.
As you can see, most of these options are pretty self-explanatory but I am going to explain all the useful ones.
Options and how they affect the Table Of Contents
In the above image you can see four options in the drop-down menu. These options change the position of the Table Of Contents.
For a normal blog post or pages, I recommend you to opt the “Top” position as it looks better on most occasions.
The rest of the options “Before First Heading”, “After First Heading”, “Bottom” are pretty self-explanatory.
2. Show when
In the below image, you can see the “Show When” option.
This option allows you to display the Table Of Contents only when the total number of headings in your blog post are greater than the selected no of headings from the “Show when” option.
It doesn’t make any sense to have a Table Of contents when there are hardly 2 -4 headings in your blog post.
Table Of Content seems appropriate in situations when the reader has to scroll a lengthier content.
Therefore I normally include TOC when I have more than 5 or preferably 8 headings (and subheadings).
3. Adding Table Of contents on your WordPress Page
There can be instances when you need to add the Table Of contents on your WordPress Pages also.
The option of “Auto insert for the following content types” allows that particularly.
Just checkmark the option of “Pages” from the list of options available as shown in the below image.
By doing this, every page on your WordPress site will have the Table Of contents at positions that you have specified from the first option of “Position”.
As you can see, there is an option for “News” also.
So if you have checkmark this option, every content in “News” category will also have the Table of Content section which is pretty useful sometimes.
4. Changing the title of Table of contents, hide and show option
You can change the title of TOC if you want. By default, the title is “Contents”.
You can also change the title for “Hide text” and “show text” options. For reference, check the below image.
5. Show Hierarchy
By selecting this option, you can arrange the heading according to their types. H3 headings will indent inside H2.
And H2 headings will indent inside H1.
Note: Selecting this option can be tricker sometimes because you may add multiple h3 subheadings under different h2 headings. Therefore I advise you to select this option only when there are h3 subheadings under a single H2 subheading.
6. Number list items
If you want to display the Table of contents in a numbered list, then choose this option.
By selecting it, your TOC will look like the below image.
7. Enable smooth scroll effect
On clicking any option in TOC, you may not like to jump away straight to that particular content.
You can instead have a smooth scrolling effect. The option of “Enable smooth scroll effect” allows that.
You can change the width, font size, presentation style from the “Appearance” option.
You can also play with tons of advanced options too.
They are easy to understand and in most cases are not really required.
I highly recommend keeping a simple and sober style of Table Of Contents.
When you incorporate the table of contents in your blog post, Google might even display the subheadings in their search results (depending on the query).
Readers are impatient today and want information quickly.
Therefore whenever possible and needed, have the table of contents in your site pages and especially on your blog posts. You will receive the SEO advantages of employing it.