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Clicking Through the Pages

No matter how long you’ve been blogging, there is always more to learn. As part of the Weekly Writing Challenges,…

No matter how long you’ve been blogging, there is always more to learn. As part of the Weekly Writing Challenges, once a month, we’ll highlight a feature in the WordPress.com Dashboard and challenge you to incorporate it into your blog. We want to help you take full advantage of all the tools available on WordPress.com to make your blog the best it can be — and to make your friends jealous of your web wizardry.

To participate, tag your posts with DPchallenge or leave a link to your post in the comments. Please be sure your post has been specifically written in response to this challenge; obvious attempts to link-bait will be deleted. We’ll keep an eye on the tag and highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed each Friday.


Blog posts come in all different sizes. As individual bloggers, some of us find our voice in posting updates through pictures only. Others prefer to dive into research and share our findings on a subject we are passionate about in an extensive essay to our readers. And others still prefer a combination of the two, documenting our lives and personal adventures with a combination of images and words.

A few months ago, the Editorial crew at WordPress.com began highlighting longer posts from the community through the #WPLongform tag in the WordPress.com Reader. With so much content on the web, it can be difficult to keep your reader’s attention beyond 140 characters. Pacing and rhythm are crucial elements with any type of storytelling, and adding specific breaks or pauses to your tale can help keep a reader interested, more than 1000 words in.

One excellent method of breaking up longer posts is to add pagination to them. On WordPress.com, we have a built-in tool, NextPage, that allows you to add pages within a single post by using a short HTML snippet.

To get started, write out your post and then click on the Text tab at the top of your Editor when you’re ready to start adding your pagination.

TextEditor_NextPage

You’ll need to make sure you’re in your Text editor first before adding the NextPage code!

In the places where you’d like to create the next page of your post, type

<!--nextpage-->

At the bottom of your post, you’ll see something that looks like this. We’ve also got a live preview for you down at the very bottom of this post—keep scrolling to check it out!

The numbers at the bottom of this post are an example of NextPage in action.

The numbers at the bottom of this post are an example of NextPage in action.

For this week’s writing challenge, put NextPage to work by breaking up your post into multiple pages. Need some ideas to get you started?

  • Write a parable for children/young adults. At significant points in the plot, add the NextPage code so that your readers have to click through to see what happens next.
  • Create your own type of gallery by showcasing your vacation photos like an old school slideshow with pagination.
  • Write up a “How To” guide. It can be on anything, from D.I.Y. bathing suit styles to brewing your own beer, arts and crafts with the kids to a guerrilla garden. Instead of using lists, use pages within your posts to walk us through each step.
  • Go long and create a story, news article, or other piece of longform writing. Break up the sections of your posts, or chapters within a story, by using the NextPage tool.

As always, if you have any questions or need any help, just let us know in the comments!

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  1. Ok – i tried it – and it is nice – i added it to an old post – http://wp.me/p2BmgY-UR

    my only question is can you control where the page control ends up – on mine it showed up below the likes and social network links, and i am afraid it will be missed.

    I suppose it may be a theme thing, but i would hate to have to abandon my theme just to use this tip.

    what do you thin?

    Ben

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    1. That’s right, the pages will show below your Share and Like buttons. With your theme in particular, I do think the pages are nicely highlighted.

      If you are worried about visitors missing the links, one option would be to turn off the Likes and/or Shares for that individual post. Alternatively, adding an elipses or an “Continued on Page 2” within the post can also help to highlight the page links.

      Like

      1. That helps – i did turn off the captions to the share buttons which made it way less intrusive. And adding the elipses will bring it home – thanks much – and thanks for getting back to me.
        Ben

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    2. In my theme as well, the page links are moved further down than they should be, beneath the Likes and Sharing, which would be inconvenient to turn off. I think it would make the feature much more exciting if the positioning were more convenient on all themes.

      I’ll be changing my theme within the next few weeks, so I’m not terribly bothered by this at the moment, but if my new theme also has this problem, I don’t foresee using this feature much more in the future.

      Like

  2. Awesome! It is true that with so much content on the web, it is hard to keep readers interested, especially in an era where “free time” is hard to come by. This can definitely prevent readers from being overwhelmed by scrolling through the post and realizing it will take much more time to read it than the time they have available. By using this feature, it kind of says to your reader “It’s ok if you can’t read it all now, you can read one page now and leave the rest for later…” 🙂

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    1. Great question! As a personal preference, once a post gets to about 500 words, it’s good to break it up either visually, with photos, or by introducing pagination.

      Like

  3. This is a great! I have a concern about it appearing after the sharing and like. I initially missed that this post had more than one page because of that. Is it possible to have it before sharing and likes?

    Like

  4. @ Erica

    Just to let you know, I did include a link to this page but no pingback is showing. (A new pingback has come up for someone else since the time I published my post a couple of hours ago.) I tried out the link and it brought me back here.

    The only reason I think this is important is that the link was on the last page of my slideshow. So, there may be a problem with links not registering completely if they’re not on the front page of a multipage post.

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  5. Pagination allows the writer with a significant amount of written material a creative way to organize the content in a manner that keeps the bottom line interesting, holds the reader’s attention , organizes the ideas into logical modes of presentation and keeps the writer constantly thinking and producing articles that holds his/her audience’s attention. Bravo! A very good suggestion.

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  6. Awesome gonna try it with my upcoming thesis on feminism! I was afraid to blog it because its so long. I think this will help!

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  7. My post was 8 pages. I had been putting off telling my story of moving away after university and having to come back because I didn’t think I had a lot to say about it…turns out I was wrong.

    Here it is for anyone who’d like to brave 3769 words: http://wp.me/p2S5ba-1hl

    Like

  8. I love the “next page” option when displaying pictures or posting a “Top Ten” topic. I do however favor the long length scrolling format for recipes. It’s just so much easier to scroll when cooking compared to clicking back and forth between recipe steps.

    I do wish the page options could be placed within the text as displayed in picture and not under the links and likes.

    Like

  9. As a reader I would find this more annoying than just one long post actually. I dislike having to click and wait for things to load. But then, I’m not put off by long posts, I read books. If it’s interesting and holds my attention by content I will keep reading. I find short paragraphs and varying paragraph length helps though, I can be put off by huge blocks of text.

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    1. For that, I’d probably go with multiple pages although it might be possible to find appropriate pictures. Your post already has breaks built into it, so those could be converted to page breaks.

      Your comment strikes a chord with me today. Yesterday, I released two new posts. One was for this challenge and has been getting (by my standards) a massive number of views. The other was a very unusual post for me: serious rather than humorous and about twice the length of everything else. The other is either one of my best or one of my worst (the style is experimental and the content would be seen as edgy by some) and has gotten almost no views. The thing I remind myself is that a click on the blog’s home page and archives will show the full text of my posts, so it’s impossible to know how many reads a post is getting.

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