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For most industries, the ideal blog post length ranges between 1,500 and 2,000 words. But it can be more, depending on your niche. Comprehensive posts delve deeply into topics and offer significant value to readers. But not everyone has the time to read thousands of words.

That’s why you need a table of contents (TOC). It provides a clear overview of your blog post, allowing readers to navigate your webpage easily. Readers can immediately tell whether or not your article contains the information they need.

To create a positive reading experience for your audience, your TOC must be clickable, well-structured and up-to-date. In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a WordPress table of contents that meets these requirements. 

Let’s dive in.

What is a table of contents in WordPress?

A WordPress table of contents is a list of headings in a WordPress post that enhances the reading experience by providing an overview of the webpage. It allows readers to jump to specific sections within the page, eliminating the need to scroll through large walls of text.

It also makes your content appear well-structured, which improves readability and creates consistency across your WordPress website.

How to create a table of contents in WordPress

There are two ways to create a table of contents in WordPress:

  • Manually.
  • Using a plugin.

Let’s consider each method in detail.

How to create a WordPress table of contents manually

The Gutenberg block editor allows you to create a WordPress table of contents without a plugin. It’s the default editor you get when you install WordPress, so you don’t need to change anything.

Creating a WordPress table of contents manually is a longer and more technical process than using a plugin. However, it can help you optimize your website’s page speed because it doesn’t load up plugins that strain your server’s resources.

To proceed with the manual route, log in to your WordPress dashboard. Then, navigate to Posts > All Posts and select the post you wish to add a table of contents to.

How to find the post you want on WordPress.

Add heading blocks to all the sections you want to display in your table of contents by following this step-by-step guide:

  • Place the cursor where you’d like to create a title. 
  • Tap the enter key to create a new line.
  • Click the plus sign (+) on the far right of the new line and select Heading.
  • Ensure you select the appropriate heading level. H2s are usually used for headings appearing in the WordPress table of contents. However, you can also use H3s to add more structure to your post.
  • Type your heading and repeat this process until you have all your headings.
Adding a block on a new line.

The next step is adding unique identifiers to each of the headings you just created:

  • Click on the heading you wish to start with.
  • Find the Advanced tab on the right sidebar of your WordPress window under the Block tab.
  • Tap the down arrow to reveal the content of the Advanced tab. 
  • Identify the HTML ANCHOR field and provide a unique name. A name could be one or several words, separated with a hyphen.
  • Repeat this process for all the headings you wish to add to your table of contents.
Adding an HTML ANCHOR to a heading.

Finally, create a clickable table of contents by following these steps:

  • Scroll to where you want to add your TOC. 
  • Create a list block using the block editor toolbar, then list all the headings you want your table of contents to display.
  • Highlight each item on the list and click the link icon on the block editor toolbar. This feature lets you add a jump link that directs users to a specific page section.
  • To create a jump link, type # in the URL field, followed by the corresponding unique name (HTML anchor) you gave the title in the body of the post.
  • Tap enter to complete the process.
Create jump links using the items on your list.

You have successfully added a clickable link to your WordPress table of contents. Repeat this process for all the items on your list until the table of contents is complete.

How to create a WordPress table of contents using a plugin

Using a plugin is easier and more efficient than creating a WordPress table of contents manually. Plugins help you save time and effort so you can focus on creating engaging blog posts your audience will love.

Besides its ease of use and time savings, other benefits of using a plugin to generate a table of contents in WordPress include: 

  • Automation: Plugins automatically insert a table of contents in WordPress by scanning a post and identifying all the headings, so you don’t have to do it yourself.
  • Consistency in formatting: Plugins ensure consistent styling and formatting on all your posts, making them a valuable tool when adding a TOC to several posts. 
  • Dynamic updates: Whenever you add new headings or modify existing ones, you need to update the table of contents to reflect the change. Most plugins automatically update the table of contents, saving you time.
  • Customization: Plugins provide various options to help you customize the appearance of your TOC. The final look of your table of contents in WordPress depends on the plugin you choose and the level of customization it offers.

The benefits above show how convenient TOC plugins can be. However, like with any other WordPress plugin, security concerns exist.

Do WordPress table of contents plugins make your website vulnerable to security threats?

The answer is no, but it’s conditional.

You must install properly coded plugins from trusted sources and regularly update them to protect your website from cyberattacks.

You must install properly coded plugins from trusted sources and regularly update them to protect your website from cyberattacks.

Properly coded plugins typically have high ratings, great reviews and a large user community. So, it’s best to consider these key aspects when choosing a plugin.

Since we’ve covered all bases, let’s dive into how to install and run your WordPress table of contents plugin.

On your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Add New

You’ll find two options to install a plugin:

Add a new plugin.
  • Using a ZIP file: Avoid this option unless it’s your only one. With a ZIP file, you risk uploading malware from your computer or third-party source to your website.
  • Using the WordPress plugin directory: This is your safest option. All plugins submitted to the plugin directory undergo a review process that ensures they meet quality and security standards.

If you opt for the ZIP file method, download the plugin’s ZIP file from a trusted source, like the developer’s official website. Then, you can upload the file to your WordPress Plugins page and activate it.

For the second method, access your WordPress admin dashboard, visit the plugins directory and search for your desired plugin. Then, install and activate it.

Once activated, a plugin is ready for use. After this point, creating a TOC will depend on the plugin you installed. 

While there are several free plugins, some will require payment to access certain features. To avoid inconveniences, check whether a plugin is free or premium before selecting it.

After installation, you may need to configure your plugin’s settings. Most plugins need you to configure the appearance and default functionality before use. 

Best plugins to create a WordPress table of contents

Let’s explore some of the best table of contents plugins on WordPress. They have great ratings, receive frequent updates and have a large community of users, making them reliable choices for your website.

1. Easy Table of Contents

Easy Table of Contents plugin enables you to create a customized TOC.

The Easy Table of Contents plugin automatically creates a TOC on your posts by actively scanning for headings. Hence, the table of contents is always up to date.

Despite this, you can manually add a table of contents to your WordPress posts or turn it off on specific posts. 

Key features

  • Numerous customization options help you get the desired appearance.
  • Active and friendly customer support team.
  • Compatibility with multiple editors like the Classic Editor, Gutenberg, Divi and Elementor.
  • Hierarchical TOC organizes subheadings within higher-level headings.
  • Option to choose which heading levels (e.g., H2s or H3s) appear in the table of contents.
  • Smooth scrolling enables readers to navigate to specific sections of the post.
  • TOC can be affixed to a certain point, so it’s always accessible even when readers scroll down the page.
  • Seamless integration with search engine optimization (SEO) plugins like Rank Math.

Best WordPress table of contents plugin for: Creating a customized table of contents on blog posts.

Price: Free.

2. Table of Contents Plus

Table of Contents Plus is a powerful plugin for creating TOCs for long-form content.

Table of Contents Plus is an open-source WordPress plugin that creates a hierarchical table of contents for an enhanced reading experience on long-form content. By default, the TOC goes before the first heading in a post.

It was designed with Wikipedia in mind. Therefore, the table of contents can be as detailed and nested as desired. This gives the reader an overview of an article before diving in, improving your website’s overall user experience.

Key features

  • Administration panel for customizing display position, appearance and minimum number of headings.
  • Advanced settings let you exclude heading levels like H5s and H6s from being displayed in the table of contents.
  • Option to disable the TOC for a specific post or page.
  • Sidebar TOC positioning aids navigation and accessibility.
  • Support for custom post types.
  • Insert the table of contents anywhere using WordPress shortcodes.

Best WordPress table of contents plugin for: Creating a table of contents on posts with numerous headings.

Price: Free.

3. BetterDocs

The BetterDocs plugin allows you to create sticky TOCs for accessibility.

BetterDocs is one of the best plugins for creating a resourceful knowledge base to ease the pressure on your customer support team. While BetterDocs isn’t a dedicated TOC plugin, it allows you to create a table of contents with clickable links.

You can use the plugin to create comprehensive support pages that provide customers with instant help instead of creating tickets with the support department.

Key features

  • Sticky TOCs are always accessible on scroll, making your webpage more navigable.
  • Automatic TOC generation as you write new content. 
  • Multiple templates enable you to create landing pages, single docs and archive pages without writing code.
  • Option to create users and assign access permissions accordingly. 
  • Compatibility with the Elementor Page Builder.
  • Built-in live search feature allows users to get the exact information they need to solve their problems.

Best WordPress table of contents plugin for: Creating a knowledge base on your WordPress website.

Price: Free (with limited features). Premium plans start at $55 for individuals (when billed annually).

4. Ultimate Blocks – WordPress Blocks Plugin

Ultimate Blocks — WordPress Blocks lets you create visually appealing TOCs with custom icons.

Ultimate Blocks — WordPress Blocks Plugin is built with engagement in mind. It helps increase your posts’ engagement by providing tools that simplify consent sharing. 

Using this plugin, you can create compelling CTAs, social sharing buttons and content filters. All these features trigger action, which leads to a higher conversion rate for your business.

Key features

  • Table of contents block lets you create an appealing TOC based on the headings in a post.
  • Options to hide specific headings and display what’s most important to your audience.
  • Collapsible table of contents allows readers to collapse or expand sections as needed.
  • Customization options for displaying your table of contents in a column and adding visual appeal with custom icons.
  • Sticky table of contents for full visibility as users scroll through your webpage. 
  • Content filters help visitors sift through your post to find sections that interest them.
  • Post grid block enables you to organize your content on a page so it’s easier for visitors to find related content in various categories. 

Best WordPress table of contents plugin for: Bloggers and marketers seeking to increase engagement on their WordPress site.

Price: Free (with limited features). Premium plans start at $49 for a single website (when billed annually).

5. SimpleTOC – Table of Contents Block

SimpleTOC – Table of Contents Block.

SimpleTOC – Table of Contents Block creates a table of contents from all the headings in a WordPress post. However, you can customize the depth of nested headings to whichever level you desire. 

Adding a WordPress table of contents with SimpleTOC is easy; just add a new block and select SimpleTOC from the list of items. The plugin’s ease of use is rooted in the fact that it’s designed specifically for Gutenberg — the default WordPress editor.

Key features

  • No configuration required. Once you install the plugin, add a SimpleTOC block to your content and you’re good to go.
  • Inherits the style of the WordPress themes it runs in.
  • Smooth scrolling effect achieved using cascading style sheets (CSS).
  • Option to create a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section in your content.
  • Compatibility with third-party tools such as GeneratePress (theme) and Rank Math (SEO plugin). 
  • Multilingual support for languages like Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish and French.

Best WordPress table of contents plugin for: Beginners and time-constrained website owners who want to create a basic TOC.

Price: Free.

Best practices for creating a table of contents in WordPress

A well-structured table of contents can mean the difference between a satisfied or frustrated reader. Below are some best practices to help you craft a table of contents that keeps your readers happy and engaged.

Craft concise headings

Concise headings improve readability by highlighting key points in your content. They get customers to decide whether they want to interact with your content faster by jumping to specific sections. 

Concise headings are easily digestible and can be skimmed through, enhancing your website’s user experience. 

Concise headings are easily digestible and can be skimmed through, enhancing your website’s user experience.

Organize headings logically

Organizing headings logically helps readers find what they want faster and anticipate specific content in your blog post. It also prevents readers from getting lost in sections that don’t address their pain points. 

Hyperlinks make the items in your table of contents clickable. These links help your readers navigate to specific parts of your content instantly. 

With hyperlinks, visitors don’t have to scroll through the entire article to find what they want — they can quickly jump to the section they’re interested in.

Keep your table of contents up-to-date

An outdated table of contents may confuse readers, making it hard to navigate your webpage. To keep readers engaged and satisfied, your TOC must reflect any changes that affect your headings or the overall structure of your post.

Consider creating a content update checklist that reminds you to update your TOC whenever you modify your webpage.

Final thoughts: How to create a WordPress table of contents

A WordPress table of contents benefits you and your readers. Website visitors enjoy a seamless experience, which signals to Google that your website is helpful.

Google considers helpfulness an essential ranking metric. Therefore, creating a positive user experience may ultimately boost your search engine rankings as long as the quality of your content is superb.

If you’re ready to build your website, you can’t go wrong with a WordPress-recommended web host like Bluehost. Whether you’re building an informational website, a blog or an eCommerce site, we have a plan that suits you.

We offer reliable WordPress hosting plans that help you launch a breathtaking WordPress website in simple steps.

Kickstart your online journey with Bluehost today.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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