Do You Find The WordPress Next And Previous Post Links Useful?

By a show of hands or better yet a show of comments, do you find the next post and previous post navigation in WordPress useful? It’s there by default and many blogs including this one keep it, but how often do you actually click to see the next or previous post?

Just to make sure we’re talking about the same thing here’s an image of what I’m talking about with the two links circled:

Image of the typical post heading on this blog

Speaking for myself I’ve certainly clicked them on posts before, but I realize I don’t do it all that often and lately I’ve been removing them from many of the themes I’ve designed.

Because post titles can become quite long the links themselves can become quite long, which looks a bit messy to me. That’s easily fixed, but the main question is how useful you find the links.

If you don’t mind I’d appreciate a few thoughts. Leave a comment below. Thanks.

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  1. Ill take this chance to voice my opinion about something. For me, I find them nice but not for the reason you intended. For people who regularly check the blog, a history is useless because they already know what you wrote about.

    It becomes a sort of archive.

    I believe this out of scope but, I like the your image with the title, that helps to anchor a voice.

    • Thanks Bryan. The image is something I like too. I think it helps with branding like you say.

      So the links themselves you like? Imaging the image above with everything still there except the two links. Would it still be just as valuable to you or is it the link that make it useful?

      • I still see value in the image and the title, with your picture.

        I like when people use the opening/closing bio, your header in away is the opening bio.

        You’ve always been against archived links and thats exactly what that is.

  2. I don’t really care for them. If I like the post I’ve read and find the blog interesting, I’ll probably go see what the next post was and the one after that and so on. Having the links doesn’t make me any more likely to do that.

    If the navigation on your blog is fairly standard, most people can easily find your other posts if they are so inclined.

  3. I think the related posts widget is far more useful because it can usually provide more information on the topic at hand, which is usually what drew the reader in the first place. A historical record distracts more than it contributes, in my opinion, especially if the topics aren’t related. If you were to keep it, I would move it to the bottom. I don’t know if that’s possible with Wordpress, though.

    • Thanks for stopping by VM. Moving those links to the bottom is not only possible, it’s quite easy. I’m thinking the bottom of the post would be a better place for them, though I’m still thinking they don’t need to be there at all.

    • Thanks Dan. I think that’s a couple of votes for the bottom of the page.

      By the way your wish is my command. The iPhone plugin has been added. You’ll have to let me know if it’s working since I don’t currently have an iPhone. I need to wait for my contract with Sprint to end first.

  4. i think its good thing to add previous and next posting link with interesting title because its offer something new and visitor also know about another subject and make an interest!!

  5. Rather than say “previous page – next page”, I want them to say (in your case) “Seven Jobs I Might Have” and “The SEO Dojo: Take Your SEO To The Next Level”so they display the titles of the posts in the anchor text rather than just saying previous and next.. how do I do that?

    I figured it out before, but I can’t remember how.
    I know this is an older post I’m replying to so you might not notice this comment for awhile I’ve subscribed to follow up comments, so when you do if you could please respond I would apprciate it, thanks

  6. I think they can be an addition in some cases, even if complemented with related posts. However, the design and placement itself is probably more important than just the occurrence. Like: what would be the optimized visual design (in terms of font-size, color, etc) and place in the lay-out (e.g. above, underneath, fixed to sides)? For example, there are many themes who have for example arrows fixed on the left and right on the screen, but is it optimal? Do you have any experience what kind of set-up would provide a high click-through rate?

    • Good points. It’s been awhile since I wrote this, but at the time I kept wondering if anyone really kept clicking next or previous over and over again to find new content. I’m still not sure most people do, though I think pagination maybe helps.

      I think the arrows are meant to give a sense of movement, though space, though why left and right should map to previous and next, I’m not too sure.

      I don’t know what would improve the clicks. Again I question how valuable it is to read though a site by clicking to the next or previous post all the time, often without any idea what that post will be. Like anything else I would think you have to experiment and try different colors and shapes, etc and just measure to see which works best.

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