Back in the day, web developers had to code a table of contents by hand using HTML, making each item an anchor link and adding an anchor to the different parts of the blog post. Lucky for you, it's a hella lot easier now.

You can now build a table of contents with one click!

Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase. Please note that I only get affiliate links for products that I use.

graphic of a table of contents in a website

How did I do this?

This table of contents was created by using the Rank Math table of contents block. With RankMath, you can create a table of contents that is automatically generated based on your headings, making the process quick and painless. Each bulleted item is pulled from your H2 headings, and the indented items are H3 headings. The links are there; no coding necessary!

Here's another Table of Contents

This table of contents block comes with Kadence Blocks. It has a similar look to the Rank Math TOC, but did not pick up my brand colors.

Understanding the Importance of Table of Contents

If you're a blogger, you know how important it is to create quality content that engages your readers. But what happens when your content is long and complex? How do you ensure that your readers can easily navigate through it and find the information they need?

This is where a Table of Contents (TOC) comes in handy. A TOC is a list of the main sections or headings in your blog post, along with their corresponding page numbers. It provides readers with a clear overview of your content and allows them to jump to the section they're interested in without having to scroll through the entire post.

Not only does a TOC improve the user experience by making your content more accessible, but it can also have a positive impact on your SEO. Search engines like Google look for well-structured content that provides value to users. By using a TOC, you're signaling to search engines that your content is organized and easy to navigate, which can help increase your blog traffic.

Creating a TOC is especially important for longer content, as it can be overwhelming for readers to try and navigate through a lengthy post without any guidance. By breaking your content down into sections and providing a TOC, you're making it easier for your readers to engage with your content and stay on your site for longer periods of time.

By using a TOC, you're making it easier for your readers to navigate through your content and find the information they need, which can lead to increased engagement and blog traffic.

Identifying Suitable TOC Plugins

When it comes to creating a table of contents in a WordPress blog post, using a plugin is the easiest and most efficient way to get the job done. Choose a plugin that is the best fit for your needs.

Since I recommend Kadence Blocks for designing your site and writing your blog, and they have a TOC block, you don't need to add any additional plugins to your site.

I also highly recommend Rank Math, an SEO plugin that includes a built-in table of contents feature. This plugin is user-friendly and offers a range of customization options, allowing you to create a table of contents that fits seamlessly with your blog's design. Again, you can use what you already have to accomplish two things with one plugin.

Customizing Your TOC

Once you've created a table of contents for your WordPress blog post, you can customize it to match your website's design and style.

Here are the customization options for the Rank Math TOC. You can exclude certain headings, such as anything smaller than an H3 to keep your table of contents from looking too cluttered:

Design and Style Customization

You can change the color and icon of your table of contents to match your website's branding. To do this, go to the settings of your table of contents plugin and go to the styles tab.

You can also customize the text color, background color, and typography of your table of contents. You can also add padding to make your TOC stand out more in a blog post.

With the Kadence blocks TOC, you get a lot of customization options. You can make your TOC one, two or three columns, and you can make it collapsible, which is a real space saver in a long blog post.

Customizing your table of contents can help it blend seamlessly with the rest of your website. By adjusting the design options and advanced settings, you can create a TOC that is both functional and visually appealing.

Positioning and Insertion of TOC

Once you have created a Table of Contents (TOC) for your WordPress blog post, the next step is to position and insert it in your post.

Normally, you would insert it at the top of your blog post, but you may want to have a brief introductory paragraph first so that your readers have an idea of what your post is about before they start skimming it.

Understanding Headers and Subheadings

Headers and subheadings are an essential part of any well-structured blog post. They help to organize your content and make it easier for readers to navigate your post. Headers and subheadings are also important for search engine optimization (SEO) because they tell search engines what your post is about.

In WordPress, there are six different levels of headers, from H1 to H6. The H1 header is typically used for the main title of your post, while the H2 header is used for subheadings. H3, H4, H5, and H6 headers are used for further subheadings or to break up content into smaller sections.

When creating headers and subheadings, it's important to use them in a logical and consistent way. Start with an H1 header for your post title, then use H2 headers for the main sections of your post. Use H3, H4, and H5 headers for sub-sections within those main sections.

Headers and subheadings should also be descriptive and relevant to the content they introduce. Avoid using generic headers like “Introduction” or “Conclusion.” Instead, use headers that accurately reflect the content that follows.

Once your article is set up properly with headings and subheadings, your table of contents block will display them neatly!

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Enhancing SEO with TOC

Including a Table of Contents (TOC) in your WordPress blog post can be beneficial for your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. When search engine bots crawl your website, they analyze the content to determine what the page is about and how it should be ranked. A well-structured TOC can provide a clear and organized overview of the content, making it easier for search engine bots to understand the context and relevance of the page.

Moreover, a TOC can also help to improve user experience by allowing readers to quickly navigate to the section they are interested in. This can lead to longer time spent on the page, lower bounce rates, and higher engagement rates, which are all factors that can positively impact your SEO.

In addition to adding a TOC to your blog post, you can also optimize your SEO by including relevant keywords in your headings and subheadings. This can help search engine bots to understand the main topics covered in your post and rank it accordingly.

Lastly, it is important to ensure that your website has a sitemap, which is a file that lists all the pages on your website. This can help search engine bots to crawl and index your content more efficiently, improving your overall SEO.

Addressing Common TOC Issues

Creating a Table of Contents (TOC) in a WordPress blog post is a great way to improve the readability of your content. However, there are some common issues that you may encounter when creating a TOC. Here are some tips to help you address these issues:

TOC Not Displaying Correctly

If your TOC is not displaying correctly, it could be due to a few reasons. First, make sure that you have added the TOC block to your post. If you have added the block, but the TOC is not displaying, try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

TOC Including Unwanted Headings

If your TOC is including unwanted headings, you can exclude them by adjusting the plugin settings. Go to the plugin settings and look for the “Exclude Headings” option. Here, you can specify which headings you want to exclude from the TOC.

TOC Not Updating Automatically

If your TOC is not updating automatically when you make changes to your post, it could be due to a caching issue. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, try disabling any caching plugins you have installed.

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