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WordPress Table of Contents Plus: Mastering Navigation & SEO


Integrating user-friendly features, such as a WordPress table of contents (TOC), has become paramount in the evolving landscape of website development, especially for content-rich websites. TOC stands out as a crucial element for enhancing user navigation and engagement. This article explores “Table of Contents Plus,” a dynamic WordPress plugin designed to simplify the creation of a comprehensive table of contents. We will dive into the functionalities and benefits of this plugin, guiding users through its application to improve website navigation and user experience.

Overview of Table of Contents Plus

Table of Contents Plus is a versatile plugin for WordPress that transforms how content creators and website owners organize their online material. Tailored for WordPress, this plugin automates the generation of a table of contents, linking directly to different sections of your content. It goes beyond creating a basic table of contents; it offers a robust solution with customization options, including automatic insertion, depth control, and aesthetic adjustments to complement your site’s style.

The plugin intelligently detects headings in your posts and pages, compiling them into a cohesive table of contents. This automation benefits long-form articles, guides, or extensive content where navigation can be challenging. Its easy usage makes Table of Contents Plus a valuable tool for WordPress novices and seasoned users.

Importance of a Table of Contents in Web Content

A well-implemented table of contents in a WordPress site serves multiple critical functions beyond just organization. It significantly enhances the user experience by allowing visitors to quickly understand the structure of the content and navigate to sections of interest. This ease of navigation is critical in retaining visitors, reducing bounce rates, and encouraging deeper engagement with the content.

From an SEO standpoint, a table of contents can positively impact a website’s ranking. Search engines like Google favor sites that offer a good user experience and straightforward navigation, directly influenced by a well-designed table of contents. Moreover, a WordPress table of contents can potentially create rich snippets in search results, allowing users to jump directly to a section of the article from Google’s search page. This feature improves visibility and can increase the click-through rate from search engine results.

The Table of Contents Plus plugin emerges as a powerful tool for WordPress users, addressing aesthetic and functional aspects of website management. By implementing this plugin, website owners and content creators can significantly improve navigation, enhance user engagement, and potentially boost their SEO performance.

Impact of Table of Contents on Google SERPs and SEO Performance

Within the scope of SEO, particularly for WordPress users, the table of contents offers a significant advantage in influencing Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). With a well-structured table of contents, Google can recognize the headings and potentially display them as clickable links directly in the search results. This feature enhances the visibility of your content and makes it more accessible to users searching for specific information.

For example, when a user searches for a topic covered in your post, the “WordPress table of contents” generated by the plugin can lead to the display of subheadings under your page’s title in Google’s SERPs. These links, known as “sitelinks,” allow users to jump directly to the section of the page that interests them the most, improving user experience and potentially increasing the click-through rate for your content. This integration of the table of contents with Google SERPs highlights the plugin’s role in website organization and enhancing SEO effectiveness.

When Table of Contents Plus generates a table of contents for a WordPress site, it operates by meticulously scanning the post or page for headings that are defined using HTML tags, typically ranging from H1 to H6. Each heading within the content is identified based on these tags, creating a structured hierarchy.

In the HTML aspect, the plugin assigns anchor links to each heading. These anchor links are essentially unique identifiers (or IDs) attached to the headings corresponding to the links in the table of contents. When a user clicks on a link in the table of contents, the browser navigates directly to the page section with the corresponding anchor ID.

This process is facilitated through HTML’s built-in anchor linking capability, ensuring smooth and precise navigation within the page. This functionality enhances user experience by allowing easy access to different content sections. It maintains the integrity and structure of the HTML, ensuring the webpage remains SEO-friendly and accessible.

Technical Example: Linking Headings and TOC in HTML

To illustrate the technical workings of Table of Contents Plus in generating links, let’s delve into a simple HTML example. Consider a webpage with a heading:

<h2 id="section1">Introduction</h2>

In this case, “Introduction” is the heading text, and id=”section1″ is the unique identifier assigned to this heading. The Table of Contents Plus plugin recognizes this heading and creates a corresponding link in the table of contents.

In the table of contents, this link is represented in HTML as follows:

<a href="#section1">Introduction</a>

This anchor tag (<a>) creates a hyperlink that points to the #section1 part of the URL, which corresponds to the id attribute of the heading. When a user clicks on this link in the table of contents, the browser understands that it needs to scroll to the part of the page where <h2 id=”section1″>Introduction</h2> is located. This process creates a seamless and direct pathway from the table of contents to the respective content sections, enhancing the navigability and user experience of the webpage.

Understanding Table of Contents Plus Plugin

Table of Contents Plus by Michael Tran is a specialized WordPress plugin that enhances website navigation and organization. It caters specifically to WordPress users seeking to improve their site’s user experience and SEO performance. Integrating a table of contents into posts and pages provides an intuitive way for visitors to navigate lengthy and detailed content, making it a staple for content-rich WordPress sites.

Origin and Development

The development of Table of Contents Plus stemmed from the need for a simple yet effective solution to organize content on WordPress sites. Recognizing the challenges website owners face in managing extensive articles and guides, the creators of this plugin sought to offer a tool that not only simplifies content navigation but also enhances the overall structure and readability of web pages. Over time, the plugin has evolved, incorporating user feedback and adapting to the changing dynamics of web design and SEO, ensuring it remains a relevant and powerful tool for website optimization.

Core Features of the Plugin

Table of Contents Plus has several key features:

  1. Automatic TOC Generation: The plugin automatically detects headings within your content and creates a table of contents, saving time and effort.
  2. Customizable Settings: Users have control over aspects like the depth of headings included, whether the TOC appears on pages, posts, or both (including many other content types), and at what point in the content it should be inserted.
  3. Styling Options: It offers a range of styling options to ensure the TOC fits the aesthetic of your site, with choices in colors, fonts, and sizes.
  4. Smooth Scroll Feature: Enhances user experience by providing a smooth scrolling effect when visitors click TOC links.
  5. Shortcode Functionality: Shortcodes offer the flexibility to insert the TOC anywhere in the content.

Collectively, these features contribute to making Table of Contents Plus a powerful tool for improving the structure and navigation of WordPress websites.

Comparison with Other Table of Contents Plugins

Compared with other table of contents plugins available for WordPress, Table of Contents Plus holds its ground due to its simplicity, customization options, and reliability. Here’s how it stacks up against competitors:

While several options are available for adding a table of contents to a WordPress site, Table of Contents Plus distinguishes itself through its blend of simplicity, customization, and performance, making it a preferred choice for many WordPress users.

How to Install and Configure Table of Contents Plus WordPress Plugin

Setting up Table of Contents Plus on a WordPress site is a straightforward process designed to be user-friendly and efficient. We will guide you through the plugin installation, configure its basic settings, and customize its appearance to suit your site’s design. This setup process ensures that your WordPress table of contents functions correctly and aligns with your site’s aesthetic and usability goals.

Downloading and Installing Table of Contents Plus

To begin using Table of Contents Plus, the first step is to download and install the WordPress plugin on your WordPress site. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Access the WordPress Dashboard: Log in to your WordPress site’s admin panel.
  2. Navigate to Plugins: Go to the ‘Plugins’ section and click ‘Add New’.
  3. Search for the Plugin: Type “Table of Contents Plus”.
  4. Install the Plugin: Locate the plugin in the search results and click ‘Install Now.’
  5. Activate the Plugin: Click ‘Activate’ to use the plugin once the installation is complete.

This process integrates Table of Contents Plus into your WordPress site, making it ready for configuration and customization.

Access TOC Plus Settings

On the left side menu bar, hover over [Settings], then click [TOC+].


In the [Main Options] tab of Table of Contents Plus, various settings are available to customize how the WordPress table of contents appears and functions on your site.
Basic Settings

Position: [before first heading (default)]
This setting allows you to choose where the table of contents is automatically inserted in your content, such as before or after the first heading. The default setting shows the TOC at the beginning of the content.

Show when: [4]
Define the minimum number of headings a post or page should have before a table of contents is automatically generated. No TOC will be shown under that number of headings in your content.

Auto insert for the following content types:
[V] post
[ ] page
Select the types of content (posts, pages, and more) for which the table of contents should automatically appear. The default setting is for “pages,” but if you have a regular content website, you should deselect “pages” and set TOC only for the “posts.” Since most of our pages are policy pages or short content, we do not require the TOC. You can set the TOC only for specific pages, using the


shortcode at the beginning of the textual content.

Heading text: Customize the heading text for the table of contents.

Show title on top of the table of contents: [V]
Decide whether to display a title above the table of contents. The default title is “Contents”. You can choose something else from one of the examples provided in the description.

Allow the user to toggle the visibility …: [V]
It allows users to show or hide the table of contents on the page by clicking a button. If you uncheck the box, this button will not be displayed.

Show text and Hide text: Customize the text for the toggle visibility button.

Hide the table of contents initially: [ ]
This option, when selected, will have the table of contents hidden by default, requiring the user to click to view it. This is for you to decide if you want it to be shown by default or if the user will need to click the button to show it. It would be best to show the TOC so the visitor can see it immediately for a better user experience.

Show hierarchy: [V]
Enables the display of a hierarchical structure in your table of contents, reflecting the organization of headings in your content. It should be selected.

Number list items: [V]
This setting allows for numbering items in the table of contents, enhancing readability and structure.

Enable smooth scroll effect: [ ]
When enabled, clicking a link in the table of contents results in a smooth scrolling effect to the corresponding section rather than an abrupt jump. Visually, it is a nice feature, but adds to the site code, making it slightly heavier. Visitors will not significantly benefit the user experience, so we recommend deselecting this option for a slightly faster page loading time.


Width: Set to ‘Auto’ by default. Define the width of your table of contents. Keeping it ‘Auto’ means the plugin will determine the optimal width based on the page layout. However, you can also specify a fixed width if preferred.

Wrapping: The default setting is ‘None,’ ensuring that the table of contents remains a distinct element on the page. This setting controls how text or other page elements wrap around the table of contents.

Font Size: We set it at 95%. This option lets you adjust the font size of the text in the table of contents. This setting is crucial for ensuring the table of contents is readable and visually harmonious with the rest of your content.

Presentation: This aspect of the Appearance settings is about the overall look and feel of the table of contents. It encompasses elements like color schemes, border styles, and background colors, enabling you to create a table of contents that functions well and integrates seamlessly with your WordPress site’s aesthetic. You can select between the available visual themes for the TOC or customize it with the “Custom” option.


To show “Advanced” settings, click the “show” link next to the Advanced section.

Lowercase: [V] Ensure anchors are in lowercase
This setting ensures uniformity in URL fragment identifiers, enhancing consistency and SEO performance. Typically, all the words are capitalized in the headings. This means the anchor URL will also have capitalized letters, which is not recommended for the SEO URL structure. So, we will turn this option on to convert anchor links to lowercase.

Hyphenate: [V] Use – rather than _ in anchors
This setting replaces underscores with hyphens in anchors, adhering to the URL best practices as lowercase anchors and improving readability. We will also turn this on.

Include homepage: [ ] Show the table of contents for qualifying items on the homepage
This can be useful for WordPress sites with long-form content on their main page. For most content sites, this setting is not needed. You can check the guidelines for an SEO-friendly homepage.

Exclude CSS file: [ ]
Selecting this option prevents the loading of the plugin’s CSS styles. This is useful for users who prefer to customize the appearance of their table of contents completely using their own CSS. This, of course, turns off all the appearance settings from above. We don’t use custom CSS styles for Table of Contents Plus, so there is no need to turn this setting on.

Preserve theme bullets: [ ]
For sites with custom bullet styles in their theme, this option allows the table of contents to support and incorporate them, ensuring visual consistency across the site. If you don’t know what it is, there is no need to turn this on.

Heading levels: This setting lets you select specific heading levels (e.g., H1, H2, H3) to include in the table of contents. Deselecting certain headings allows more control over the content hierarchy in the TOC.

Exclude headings: This feature enables the exclusion of specific headings from the table of contents, offering granular control over its content.

Restrict path: This advanced setting allows the table of contents to be restricted to certain paths, providing flexibility in its deployment across different sections of a WordPress site.

Default anchor prefix: [i]
This option lets you customize the prefix used for anchor tags, enhancing the personalization and SEO of the table of contents.

Saving Settings

When you finish the configuration, click the [Update Options] button. Finally, clearing all the caches before navigating to your website to check the appearance would be best.

Verifying Table of Contents Appearance and Functionality

Once you have placed the table of contents using Table of Contents Plus on your WordPress site, it’s crucial to ensure it is visible and easily accessible to your users. After you set up and apply the plugin’s configuration, navigate to your website with a browser to check that the TOC looks as intended.

Optimizing Headings for an Effective WordPress Table of Contents

To optimize the effectiveness of Table of Contents Plus for your WordPress site, it’s essential to organize your content’s headings thoughtfully and strategically. A well-organized structure of headings not only enhances the clarity and readability of your content but ensures that the WordPress table of contents is coherent and user-friendly.

Start by clearly defining the main topics (using H2 tags) and subtopics (using H3, H4, and others) in a hierarchical order. This logical structure allows the plugin to accurately detect and list these headings in the table of contents, providing users with an intuitive navigation path through your content.

Avoid overusing headings or creating too many levels, as this can lead to a cluttered and overwhelming table of contents. Instead, focus on creating a balance, ensuring that each heading is meaningful and contributes to the overall flow of the article.

By effectively organizing your headings, you create an optimal WordPress table of contents that enhances user experience and makes engaging the information they need easier.

Utilizing Shortcodes in Table of Contents Plus for Enhanced Control

In Table of Contents Plus for WordPress, shortcodes like [TOC] and [NO_TOC] provide additional control over how and where your table of contents appears within your content.

The [TOC] shortcode can be placed anywhere in your post or page to insert the table of contents at that specific location manually. This is particularly useful for customizing its placement or for content where you do not want the table of contents to appear at the beginning automatically.

On the other hand, the [NO_TOC] shortcode is used to exclude specific headings from the table of contents, offering a way to streamline your TOC and keep it focused on the main sections of your content.

It’s important to note that Table of Contents Plus offers more shortcodes, each with unique functionalities. These additional shortcodes can be found in the plugin documentation or on the plugin’s homepage in the WordPress plugins directory. Utilizing these shortcodes effectively can significantly enhance the functionality and user experience of your WordPress table of contents, giving you the flexibility to tailor it to your specific content needs.

Ensuring Consistent Visibility and Accessibility of the WordPress Table of Contents

When utilizing Table of Contents Plus for a WordPress site, consistency in the placement of the table of contents across your content is critical for a seamless user experience. Since we enabled the feature to show the table of contents on all posts, the plugin, by default, positions the TOC at the top of the content, just before the first heading. This default placement ensures that visitors have immediate access to the TOC, allowing for quick navigation right from the start of the page. Maintaining this consistent placement across all posts not only aids in user navigation but also contributes to your site’s cohesive look and feel, reinforcing its professional appearance.

In scenarios where the table of contents is not enabled by default for all pages, but you choose to include it on certain pages, it’s crucial to maintain the same consistency in placement. Using the shortcode, you can manually insert the table of contents in the same location as it appears on other pages (posts), typically at the top before the first heading. This approach ensures that regardless of whether the TOC is automatically inserted or manually placed, its location remains uniform across your website. Adhering to this consistent placement strategy enhances your WordPress site’s navigability and overall user experience, making it more intuitive and user-friendly for visitors.

Compatibility Check with WordPress Themes

When integrating Table of Contents Plus into your WordPress site, ensuring compatibility with your chosen WordPress theme is essential. After enabling the table of contents, take the time to thoroughly check how it appears and functions within your site’s layout. This compatibility check is crucial because while the plugin is designed to work seamlessly with most WordPress themes, each theme has its own unique design and coding structure, which could affect the appearance and functionality of the table of contents.

Look for alignment, text formatting, link functionality, and overall aesthetic to ensure the table of contents is operational and visually harmonious with your site’s design. Sometimes, you may need to adjust the plugin settings or add custom CSS to achieve the desired look and functionality.

Ensuring the WordPress table of contents blends well with your theme enhances the user experience. It maintains the professional integrity of your site, contributing positively to both usability and aesthetic appeal.

Best Practices for Using Table of Contents Plus

To maximize the effectiveness of Table of Contents Plus in your WordPress site, it’s essential to follow certain best practices. These guidelines ensure that your table of contents improves site navigation and enhances overall site performance and user experience. You can make the most of this powerful plugin by adhering to these practices.

Ensuring Accessibility and Mobile Responsiveness

An essential aspect of using Table of Contents Plus is ensuring your table of contents is accessible and mobile-responsive. This means:

  1. Testing for Accessibility: Make sure the table of contents is easily navigable for all users, including those with disabilities. This includes checking for keyboard navigation and screen reader compatibility.
  2. Optimizing for Mobile Devices: With mobile devices, a significant portion of web traffic, ensuring that the table of contents displays correctly and is easy to use on smaller screens, is crucial. Adjust settings like size, spacing, and toggling features to enhance mobile usability.

Implementing these practices guarantees that your WordPress table of contents is user-friendly for all visitors, regardless of their device.

Balancing SEO and User Experience

While Table of Contents Plus can positively impact your SEO, it’s crucial to balance SEO benefits with user experience:

  1. Avoid Overwhelming Users: While a detailed table of contents can be good for SEO, ensure it doesn’t overwhelm or confuse users. Keep it concise and relevant to your content.
  2. Use Headings Strategically: Utilize headings effectively in your content, as these form the basis of your table of contents. Well-structured and meaningful headings can enhance both SEO and user navigation.

Balancing these elements ensures that your WordPress table of contents aids in search engine ranking while providing value to your users.

Updating and Maintenance Tips

To keep Table of Contents Plus functioning optimally, regular updates and maintenance are essential:

  1. Regularly Update the Plugin: Keep the plugin updated to ensure compatibility with the latest WordPress updates and to take advantage of new features and bug fixes.
  2. Monitor Performance: Regularly check the performance of the table of contents on your site, especially after WordPress or theme updates, to ensure it continues to work as expected.
  3. Backup Before Updating: Before updating the plugin, back up your WordPress website to prevent data loss in case of compatibility issues.

These maintenance tips help ensure that the WordPress table of contents continues to perform well, keeping your site organized and user-friendly.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Users may occasionally encounter issues when using Table of Contents Plus in a WordPress environment. Understanding how to troubleshoot these common problems ensures that your table of contents remains a valuable and functional website component. This section covers critical troubleshooting strategies for the most frequent issues users encounter.

Solving Compatibility Problems with Other Plugins

Compatibility issues between Table of Contents Plus and other WordPress plugins can occasionally arise. To address these challenges:

  1. Identify Conflicting Plugins: Turn off other plugins temporarily to see if the issue with the table of contents resolves, which can help identify the source of the conflict.
  2. Update All Plugins: Ensure all your plugins, including Table of Contents Plus, are updated to their latest versions.
  3. Seek Support: If the problem persists, seek assistance from the plugin developers or the WordPress community forums for specific advice.

Addressing compatibility problems promptly ensures that your WordPress table of contents functions seamlessly alongside other plugins on your site.

Addressing Formatting and Display Issues

Formatting and display issues with the table of contents can detract from user experience. To resolve these issues:

  1. Check Plugin Settings: Review the Table of Contents Plus settings to ensure they are configured correctly for your desired formatting and display.
  2. Customize CSS: If the default settings don’t align with your needs, consider adding custom CSS to fine-tune the appearance of your table of contents.
  3. Responsive Design Testing: Test the table of contents on various devices to ensure it is responsive and displays correctly.

Properly addressing these formatting and display issues enhances the functionality and visual appeal of your WordPress table of contents.


With this guide, you get an in-depth look at Table of Contents Plus, a handy WordPress plugin that significantly enhances website navigation and organization. We’ve covered everything from installation to advanced customization, offering insights and tips for WordPress users to make the most of this plugin.

Recap of Key Features and Benefits

Table of Contents Plus stands out with its array of features and benefits:

  • Automatic TOC Generation: Saves time by automatically generating a table of contents based on content headings.
  • Customization Options: Offers extensive customization in appearance, structure, and placement, aligning the WordPress table of contents with the site’s design and user needs.
  • SEO Enhancement: Improves website navigability and structure, positively impacting SEO performance.
  • User Experience Improvement: Enhances user experience by providing quick and easy navigation through content, especially in long-form articles or comprehensive guides.

These features collectively elevate the functionality and user engagement of any WordPress site.

Future Developments and Updates

As WordPress continues to evolve, Table of Contents Plus is expected to receive updates and new features, keeping pace with the latest web standards and user expectations. Future developments might include enhanced customization features, improved compatibility with emerging WordPress themes, and more intuitive user interfaces. Staying updated with these developments ensures that your WordPress table of contents remains a robust and effective tool for your site.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

Table of Contents Plus is an invaluable plugin for WordPress site owners and content creators. It improves the structure and navigation of your site. It contributes to a better overall user experience and potentially enhanced SEO performance. We highly recommend integrating this plugin into your WordPress toolkit, keeping in mind best practices for installation, customization, and maintenance. With its user-friendly interface and versatile features, Table of Contents Plus is an excellent addition to any WordPress website, irrespective of its size or content focus.


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