Creating long posts is good for your readers, and good for Google, but if they're not well organized, then some readers may not stick around.

A Table of Contents can organize your post, and give your readers the option of skipping ahead to a desired section of a long post rather than having to scroll to find it.

How to Create a Table of Contents

If you understand what it is you're typing, then the whole process of creating a Table of Contents seems rather simple, and you'll find yourself adding TOC's in minutes, without the use of a plugin.

So, before we get into the process of creating the Table of Contents, let's review a few basic terms:

Table of Contents - In a post, this is a series of topics, usually displayed by bulletpoints or numbers, that are associated with an anchor tag and jump link, which enables readers to "jump" ahead to a specific section of your post or page.

Anchor Tag or<a></a> - HTML that marks a destination spot for a jump link.

<a> means you are starting an anchor tag

</a> means you are ending an anchor tag

Jump Link - This is a link that is created with the help of the HTML tag, allowing readers to "jump" over content.

Because your Table of Contents will have several topics (bulletpoints, numbers, titles, etc), and you want each topic to lead to one specific point in your post, each topic will need it's own unique anchor tag.

To make them unique, you will give them a name.

An Example Table of Contents

If you wrote a long post on useful social media platforms for business marketing, and wanted to include a Table of Contents, it might look like this:

  1. Pinterest
  2. Facebook
  3. Instagram
  4. Twitter
  5. LinkedIn
  6. YouTube

If you want this Table of Contents to be truly helpful, then you want it to be functional. You want to add links, so that your reader can click on each one and be taken directly to that section of your post.

To make it functional takes two steps:

  1. create the unique anchor tag
  2. create the link that jumps to that unique anchor tag

Now that you know the basics (yes, that's it!), you're ready to see the process in action, and can follow along to create your own Table of Contents.

Click on Next Page...

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MikeandRhi Premium
awesome Cris, so simple but only if you know how!

Now that I've created my own TOC, can you tell me how I can create a border/background for my TOC to make it stand out/identify it please??
cris1018 Premium
Sure. I can tell you how to wrap your TOC content in a box/border and make minor custom changes using CSS. That's not too much code (and you don't have to touch your theme's editor- I don't recommend people mess with the original code). I will send you a PM when I'm in my office tomorrow. May be an idea for a Part 2 to this training.
MikeandRhi Premium
Part 2 sounds promising! Thank you for your help, very much appreciated :)
BorisRoman Premium
Great information - very useful!

Thanks so much for sharing!

Wish you much success!

cris1018 Premium
Thanks, Bob!
Dave07 Premium
Excellent training Cris and very well described. Thanks 🙂
cris1018 Premium
Thanks, David, and you're welcome! :-)
Jessibelle72 Premium
Perfect! Thanks a lot!
cris1018 Premium
Thanks, Jessica, and you're welcome!
Stella741 Premium
Very interesting Cris!

I do not use tables in my content.

However, though this seems confusing to me now, i am sure I will cotton on to this way of doing a table with practice/

Thanks for sharing.
cris1018 Premium
It is a little confusing the first time through, but after the second link, the light bulb comes on. You can totally do it, Stella! They're really useful for long content posts :-)
Stella741 Premium
We'll see....
BrendaMZ Premium
Thanks for explaining how to do it. I admit I have a hard time understanding this anchor tag. I don't get it. I use a TOC plugin. Easier for me. I would need to train myself on this anchor tagging.
cris1018 Premium
You can do it, Brenda! It's actually not hard once you go through the steps on a couple links and get a feel for the correct spacing. If you try it and have any questions, let me know! :-)