Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Adding a table of contents can do wonders for longer blog posts. It helps visitors find specific information quickly. But, what if you want to add one without installing a plugin in WordPress? Today, I’m taking a look at the Topic Table of Contents generator and seeing if it’s worth using.
Keep in mind, I’m only reviewing the WordPress table generator from Topic. The website is full of other tools for SEO as well as a few others I might look at later.
What is the Topic Table of Contents Generator?
A table of contents is a section of the post or page that highlights the points of the text. It lets visitors know what to expect and how to find specific sections.
A table of contents generator helps you create these sections with little-to-no fuss.
Topic, an SEO-based content company, gives you free access to a generator that you can use without needing a login or registration information. However, you do need to copy and paste a code snippet into WordPress.
This, in and of itself, isn’t all that difficult. But if you want to change its structure and appearance after the fact, you’ll need to brush up on website programming to edit the code.
How Well Does the Generator Work?
Generally speaking, the app functions as intended without hangups or drastic side effects. And from what I can tell, there are no issues when it comes to PageSpeed Insights scores.
The table of contents generator is easy enough to use. Simply add your URL and the system will do the rest.
Lets You Pick and Choose
One of the things I like about the Topic Table of Contents generator is how you’re able to pick and choose what elements are added. Of course, you can also do this with most plugins.
However, I can ignore certain things from being included, such as specific headings. With the plugin I use, I would have to enter the text of the heading or the “H” code entirely.
Picks Up Sidebars as Well
When searching through your site, Topic will pick up and add sidebar headings to the table of contents. This is kind of annoying as I now have to go through and remove each of them before making the table.
With a plugin, it scans only the actual content of the blog post.
OK Design Options
The table of contents generator only has a handful of design options available. You can change the text between six different statements, choose from 18 base colors, and alter the alignment on the page.
Theoretically, you should be able to use a color scheme that is closely related to your site’s overall layout. I just prefer to have more flexibility in customization.
Then again, this is a free ToC generator, so what can you expect?
I do, however, like the pastel colors that are available.
Must Use Embed Code
The generator will give you a code to embed into WordPress. This isn’t normally an issue, especially with how easy Gutenberg makes adding custom code.
Essentially, it’s just a copy and paste directly into your webpage. If you’ve never done this before, I suggest taking a look at Topic’s tutorials for adding the code from the table of content generator…which I mention next.
Tutorials for WordPress
I was going to complain about the video quality when switching to full screen for the instructional videos. But, they cleared up shortly after starting.
I guess that’s the difference between hosting videos on Vimeo vs YouTube.
At any rate, Topic does a good job easily breaking down how you can add the ToC to WordPress.
Tiny Font Used
So, this throws up a red flag for me. The font used in the ToC for WordPress is small compared to the rest of the content. This means you’ll have to make it larger for the average person to read it.
Why is this important? Because Google flags small text as an error in Search Console. If it’s tiny on a desktop, 27-inch widescreen, I can only imagine the headaches it’ll cause on mobile devices.
In order to make the font larger, you’ll have to mess with the code snippet from Topic. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be a nightmare.
Needs Done for Every Post and Page
Now, not every single piece of content in WordPress needs a table of contents. However, I’ve found them invaluable for improving on-page time for visitors. By looking at the table, they can see what sections are covered.
With that being said, to use the Topic Table of Contents generator, you’ll have to go through the free tool every time you create a long blog post.
Although the process isn’t overly difficult, I prefer the automation of plugins to do this for me. Besides, I have far more customization options if I use something like LuckyWP Table of Contents.
Requires a Live Page to Work
In order to use the table of contents generator from Topic, your webpage already needs to be published and live. This means if you have subscribers or people who click on push notifications who visit immediately, they won’t see the ToC.
Although it only takes a few minutes to get the code and embed it onto your posts, some may not see the table.
This probably isn’t too much to worry about, depending on the creator. Personally, I hate the idea of having to do an update because I was missing something after I hit “publish.”
Would I Recommend Using the Generator as a Blogger?
Overall, the Topic Table of Contents generator works as described. It’s a quick and easy way to set up a ToC in WordPress without installing a plugin.
However, the biggest problem I can see with this tool is its inability to change font size in the design phase. This means it’s up to the users to change the size, which not everyone knows how to do.
You’d think creating an automatic tool in this fashion, Topic would have realized a lot of their users are going to be novice level. Perhaps it’s a feature that will come out at a later time.
If it does, be sure to comment or let me know so I can review the app again. I have no problem giving credit where credit is due.
Personally, I side with the use of LuckyWP or any one of the current table of contents plugins in WordPress. I just have far more control over customization options, automatic placement, and overall usage.
On the other hand, I do know a lot of people who want to keep plugins to a minimum. This isn’t a bad idea if you’re trying to keep your site’s speed scores in check.
So, if you’re one of those people who wants to keep plugins to a minimum, then yes, the Topic Table of Contents generator is a decent choice. Especially since it’s a free ToC generator.
But if you’re like me and enjoy the flexibility of customization in a plugin, this probably isn’t going to be a good fit.
I do have to say how the Topic generator is very easy to use. Aside from adjusting your font sizes accordingly, it’s essentially a quick-and-easy process to add a table of contents to WordPress.
I’m just not a fan of making people figure out their own font sizes in code. And, I would rather have the automation of various plugins.
Still, it’s worth a try if you want to see it in action. Since it’s free to use, you really have nothing to lose but about two minutes of your day.
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