We always look for ways to improve our blogs. We always look for tips on how to write better, market better, and how to make our websites better. One of the most important elements of a blog is, of course, blog posts. We are always conscious of how we write, how we strategize content, how to effectively add other forms of media like videos and images, and even how long our blog post should be. It’s said that blog posts should ideally take 7 minutes to read – or approximately 1,600 words. Any longer than this and your readers might lose interest.
So what do you do if you’re writing long-form content but still want to keep your readers engaged? Help them navigate through your post. One of the best ways to do that is to create a table of contents. Not the table of contents that you see in books, though. The table of contents we’re talking about is the one where your reader can immediately be redirected to the section of your blog post they’re interested in – just like how Wikipedia does in their pages. So how do you create a table of contents for your blog post?
There are two ways you can create a table of contents: manually and with a plugin.
To create your table of contents manually, you will be dealing with HTML code. The first thing you have to do is to go to the post you want to add a table of contents to. Go to your first heading you want to include in your table of contents and click on that. When the toolbar shows up, click on Show Block Settings. A toolbar will show up on your right, click on Advanced.
In the HTML anchor box, put a unique ID name for your heading. This will be your anchor text that will turn into jump links later. Take note that your anchor text should be one or two words. If you use two words, separate the words with a hyphen. Repeat this step for other headings you want to include in your table of contents. In this example, we used first-anchor, second-anchor, and third-anchor.
Afterwards, decide on where you will put your Table of Contents. After you’ve decided, add a new block. We selected a numbered list for our table. After you’ve put all the headings down, it’s time to create jump links. To do this, highlight the text you want to link and click the link button. Type hash (#) and then the anchor text you put earlier in your headings.
After creating the jump links, your table of contents is now ready.
Table of Contents Plugins
If you don’t like doing it manually, there are also numerous plugins in WordPress that you can use to create your Table of Contents. There are premium and free plugins that you can use. Furthermore, depending on your preference, you can choose simple ones as well as a table of contents that you can customize its appearance.
If you’re a newbie blogger, or just looking for something simple and affordable, you can try to use Easy Table of Contents. It’s free and easy to use as it automatically creates a table of contents for you. You can choose how to display the table, as well as choose to hide it in specific sections of your blog.
Another popular plugin is Fixed TOC. This is a premium plugin which means that you have to pay for it. This works amazingly as it automatically scans your headings to create your table of contents for you. This plugin also has animated effects, meta boxes for each page, and other options for customization. If your readers are from different parts of the world, this plugin can also translate your table of contents to any language you choose.
Another plugin we like is Ultimate Blocks. If you’re a fan of the block editor or the Gutenberg Editor, this plugin is something you will also enjoy. It’s very easy to use as you can just use blocks to add your table of contents which will be automatically created for you. No other configurations needed to use this plugin.
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