There are a number of different ways you can load new content on your site’s search results or blog pages—previous/next links, load more buttons, infinite scrolling, or numeric pagination.
And while you get previous/next links by default from most themes, load more buttons are easy to implement, and infinite scrolling is (arguably) better for mobile traffic; numeric pagination still stands as the best pagination solution for SEO, user experience, and usability.
In this post, we’ll cover the basics of numeric pagination in the context of WordPress and list some of the key benefits it offers. We’ll also run the rule over three of the best, free plugins that can help you add numeric pagination to your site.
Let’s get started.
What Is Numeric Pagination?
Have you ever searched for something on Google and noticed that the results were split up into many pages? Yeah, me too.
The numbers at the bottom that let you jump to a different search results page is numeric pagination. You can jump to the second page or the tenth page directly from the first page.
Within the context of WordPress, splitting lists of posts or a single, long post into multiple pages is pagination. Numeric pagination is all about distributing content over several pages and linking them at the bottom of every page. But why should you use numeric pagination?
- Decreased page loading times. Without pagination, your site’s blog page displays all of your blog posts in reverse chronological order every time someone accesses it. As you can probably imagine, this has a negative impact on your page’s loading times. But if you implement pagination, you can split up your blog posts into multiple pages and effectively reduce page loading times.
- Improves user experience and usability. Numeric pagination significantly improves your site’s navigation by giving your readers an idea of how far back your archives go. This way, they aren’t left to endlessly click the Next link until they reach the post or page they were looking for.
- Good for SEO. It’s not just us humans. Web crawlers aren’t too keen on following dozens of Next links per crawl session. Numeric pagination allows them to click to any page they want in your blog’s archive. This also provides quicker access to related pages which in turn can potentially improve your site’s SEO.
All in all, numeric pagination allows both humans and spiders to jump as far back as they’d like in your blog’s archive directly and find what they’re looking for a lot faster.
3 Plugins for Adding Numeric Pagination to Your WordPress Site
Numeric pagination plugins help you paginate your WordPress site without having to worry about breaking it.
We rounded up some of the best (free) plugins from the WordPress Plugin Directory and tested them out. And in this section, we’ll put each one through its paces, list their key features, and share our findings.
WP-PageNavi is one of the most popular plugins out there for adding numeric pagination to your site. You will need to have some WordPress development experience to be able to use this theme since it requires you to replace the code for existing page navigation in your theme with the plugin’s template tag.
The plugin’s configuration settings allow you to set the page navigation text and let you choose which page navigation style you’d like to use and how many pages to show. And if your site has a few dozen pages then you can choose to show larger page numbers in addition to the normal ones – like we do on Developer Drive.
- Lets you label the page navigation text.
- You can disable page navigation when there’s only one page.
- Includes options for showing larger page numbers.
WP-Paginate by Max Foundry is an incredibly easy to use numeric pagination plugin for WordPress websites. It features a neat settings page that is easy to understand and lets you enable/add custom CSS, if you’d like. One of the great things about this plugin is that it combines previous/next links with numeric pagination – similar to how Google implements it.
In addition to this, you can choose to display or hide pagination from several different locations on your site (such as the home page, blog page, category pages, etc.) and position it however you’d like. Unlike the WP-PageNavi plugin, WP-Paginate lets you disable your active theme’s default pagination by simply checking the option through the settings tab i.e. you don’t have to mess around with the theme’s core files directly.
- Lets you configure your pagination’s location and position.
- You can choose from one of four preset styles.
- Lets you add custom CSS and HTML markup to the pagination code.
Pagination by BestWebSoft
Pagination by BestWebSoft is one of the most customizable plugins available for adding numeric pagination to your WordPress website. It lets you display pagination on your site’s homepage, blog page, archive pages, search results pages, and paginated posts/pages by simply ticking the boxing next to the options. And if you’d like to paginate some other template (for instance, comments) then you can simply add the line of code (that’s given in the settings tab) in the template file.
The Pagination by BestWebSoft plugin has an entire tab dedicated to customizing the numeric pagination’s appearance on your site’s front-end. From there you can set the alignment, padding, background color, text color, and much more by simply pointing and clicking – no code required. But if you’d like some finer control over how the numeric pagination looks, you can always head over to the custom code tab and add your own CSS.
- Tons of customization options.
- Lets you add numeric pagination to comments and paginated posts/pages.
- You can choose to display previous/next links along with the numeric pagination.
Numeric pagination allows you to deliver a better user experience to your site’s visitors and helps improves your site’s SEO and usability. With indisputable benefits like these and a selection of high-quality plugins at your disposal, you have every reason to try it out for yourself.
Let’s quickly recap the main numeric pagination options that are available to you:
If you’re a WordPress developer then we recommend going with the WP-PageNavi plugin since you’ll need to mess around with the theme’s core files a bit. It’s a lightweight plugin that packs all the features you need.
But if you’re not particularly technically inclined, we’d recommend going for WP-Paginate. It’s incredibly easy to use and comes with a few preset styles right out of the box.
And for those of you who receive a lot of comments on your posts/pages and need a way to showcase them effectively, Pagination by BestWebSoft is for you.