Blaugust 23- Creating Navigation for a Post Series

Yes, I’m making a series about series! So meta!

This time around, we’re talking about creating navigation between your series posts… and if you even need to. It might seem like a simple topic, but providing your readers a way to move between posts on your blog is important – especially if you aren’t writing a daily series and will have posts in between series posts. There’s a number of ways you can approach this!

WordPress Plugins

For WordPress, there are some third-party plugins that are made just for building series posts and linking between them. You can use one of those – and I have in the past – but I often found it more cumbersome to use in the long run. It’s been so long since I’ve used one – especially since I’m running a blog that doesn’t allow me to install plugins – I’ve just learned how to do without. But if you’re self-hosted, do see if there’s something out there that can assist if you need it!

Link in Post Text

Sometimes a series (such as the Valheim series I wrote about in the last post) isn’t important enough to make a navigation. Or perhaps you can just link to the previous post in the text (like I just did above). Sometimes I do that at the beginning of a post with a short summary of what happened last time.

For example:

The link here leads to the previous post that I’d written. That way, if they missed the previous post, or they are curious about looking back at what you’re referencing from before, they have a way to do that.

Just make sure that the link opens up the previous post in a new tab so that you don’t take the reader away from the post they’re currently reading.

Previous and Next Links

Another way you can approach this is to manually create forward and back links between posts. I do this for my Spot of Simmery posts on this blog. It looks something like this:

So this is post 10, and it links back to post 9 and forward to post 11. Pretty simple. I also have a link to the overall archive page – I’ll be talking about creating an easy archive page next time!

There’s a few things to keep in mind about this approach:

  • You have to remember to continue adding the navigation each time you create a new post
  • You have to remember to go back to the previous post to add a forward link as well
  • If you move your blog or change your URL, these links will likely need to be updated

There are plugins that provide forward and backwards navigation between posts, and some WordPress themes have previous and next post navigation built into the posts already. But those only work when you’re writing a series of posts back to back.

So while manually linking takes a little more work, I find it the best way to move a reader directly through posts in a series.

WordPress Category

One other thing you can do is to create a WordPress category especially for your series. When you do that, every post in your series will appear on the category page, starting with the newest post first.

However, if you want an auto-updating archive page that’s in order from first to last, that’s a topic I’ll tackle next time!