WordPress Pagination Guide: Enhance Your Site’s UX and SEO

Let’s say you create a WordPress website with large amounts of content. Or maybe a lengthy blog. Then, sometimes, it may become a little tedious for the readers to navigate the page to its entirety. That deteriorates the user experience of the website.

To solve this issue, WordPress experts add Pagination to the page or site. That makes it easier for your readers to browse your content. There are two ways to go about it, i.e., through manual coding and WordPress plugins.

So, how do you add Pagination in WordPress? Well, I’ll answer that question. But first, let’s see what Pagination is.

What is Pagination?

Pagination, also known as Paging, is the practice of dividing large amounts of content on a WordPress page into multiple, smaller pages. Basically, it splits your content into bite-sized chunks rather than presenting it all on one potentially overwhelming page.

Without Pagination, the readers would have to scroll through the entire list to find what they’re looking for. That can be frustrating and discourage them from exploring further. With Pagination, you might display only 10 posts per page, along with clear navigation buttons (like “Next” and “Previous”) that allow users to easily move between pages.

It’s like a physical book. The content is divided into chapters and pages for easier reading and navigation. That makes it better than one endless scroll.

So, do you want to add Pagination in WordPress? I suggest you consult with a professional WordPress development company. Or, if you want to implement this feature yourself, move to the next section.

How to Add Pagination in WordPress?

Pagination is a valuable tool for breaking up long lists of content on your WordPress site into smaller, more manageable pages. There are two ways to add Pagination in WordPress. First, you can manually edit the code, and second, use a WordPress plugin.

Manually Editing the Code

Manually adding Pagination in WordPress offers fine-grained control over the look and feel. But of course, you will need a little bit of technical know-how, especially with respect to the WordPress file directory structure. Because you will be editing the theme files. Here’s how the process goes.

Step 1: Identify the Loop

Navigate to your theme’s index.php file or the relevant template file where your content displays.

Look for the WordPress loop, usually wrapped in <?php while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?> tags. This loop retrieves and displays your posts one by one.

Step 2: Implementing Pagination Functions

paginate_links(): This function generates a full pagination bar with page numbers and navigation links. You can customize it with various parameters, such as:

  • ‘base’: URL structure for the pagination links.
  • ‘format’: Format of the page numbers (e.g., /page/%#%).
  • ‘current’: Current page number.
  • ‘total’: Total number of pages.
  • ‘prev_text’: Text for the “Previous” link.
  • ‘next_text’: Text for the “Next” link.

next_posts_link() and previous_posts_link(): These functions generate individual links for “Next Page” and “Previous Page”. You can customize them with text and styling options.

Here’s a sample code showing how to use paginate_links().

if ( have_posts() ) : ?>
  <?php while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>
    <?php endwhile; ?>
  $total_pages = $wp_query->max_num_pages;
  if ($total_pages > 1) {
    $args = array(
      'base' => get_pagenum_link(1) . '%_%',
      'format' => '/page/%#%',
      'current' => max(1, get_query_var('paged')),
      'total' => $total_pages,
      'prev_text' => __('« Previous'),
      'next_text' => __('Next »'),
    echo paginate_links($args);
<?php else : ?>
  <?php endif; ?>

Step 3: Style your Pagination

Use CSS to style the generated links and navigation elements to match your website’s design. You can target specific classes or IDs generated by the functions.

On top of executing this process, there are some additional practices you need to consider:

  • Error handling: Implement error handling to gracefully handle situations like invalid page numbers.
  • Accessibility: Ensure your Pagination is accessible for users with disabilities by using appropriate semantics and keyboard navigation.
  • Mobile responsiveness: Adapt your pagination styling and layout for optimal display on mobile devices.

Now, if you’re uncomfortable with coding, there’s always the option of using a plugin for easier implementation of Pagination. But if you still want the flexibility and control over the functionality offered by the manual method, I suggest you consult with WordPress development experts.

Through WordPress Plugins

Now, on to the biggest weaponry in the arsenal of WordPress, its plugins. Installing a WordPress plugin can help you add a host of features to your WordPress website and take it to the next level.

Here’s how you add Pagination in WordPress through a plugin.

Step 1: Access the WordPress Admin Dashboard.

Step 2: Navigate to the ‘Plugins’ section, click on ‘Add New’, and search for your preferred pagination plugin like WP-PageNavi or WP-Paginate.

Step 3: Once you have found the desired plugin, click ‘Install Now’ and then ‘Activate’.

After activation, you can configure the plugin settings to meet your specific pagination needs. Be sure to check the compatibility of the plugin with your current WordPress version and theme to ensure smooth functionality.

Step 4: Access the dashboard and navigate to the WordPress settings.

Step 5: Next, select ‘Reading’ and locate the ‘Blog pages show at most’ option.

Step 6: Then, enter the desired number of posts per page in the input field.

Step 7: Scroll down and click ‘Save Changes’ to save the configured pagination settings.

After setting up your Pagination, test it thoroughly on different devices and browsers to ensure it functions correctly. If you encounter issues, consult the plugin’s documentation or support forum for help.

But what kind of benefits will adding Pagination in WordPress have? Let’s see.

What are the Benefits of Adding Pagination in WordPress?

Pagination is an excellent tactic that you can add to a website with a large number of posts and pages. It offers a bunch of benefits for your website. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

  • Reduced overwhelm: Pagination breaks down your content into smaller, bite-sized chunks. That prevents your visitors from feeling overwhelmed by a massive page full of information.
  • Enhanced navigation: Pagination allows users to easily navigate through your content, finding specific information quickly and efficiently. This improves their overall browsing experience and encourages them to stay engaged with your website.
  • Faster loading times: Pages with less content load faster, enhancing user experience and reducing bounce rates. This is especially important on mobile devices, where slower loading times can be frustrating.

Moreover, paginated pages can be crawled and indexed more efficiently by search engines, potentially impacting your website’s ranking. Plus, Pagination helps organize your content logically. That makes it easier for users to find relevant information and understand the flow of your content.

So, if you want to add Pagination in WordPress or make your website better in any other way, contact professional WordPress experts.

FAQs on Adding Pagination in WordPress

Can I customize the pagination design in WordPress?
Yes, you can customize the pagination design in WordPress by using CSS. You can add your own styles to the "next page" and "previous page" links, as well as the pagination numbers, to match your website's overall design.
How do I add Pagination to my category pages in WordPress?
To add Pagination to your category pages in WordPress, you can use the same method as adding Pagination to your posts and pages. Alternatively, you can also use a plugin specifically designed for adding Pagination to category pages, such as Category Pagination or WP-PageNavi Style.
Can I add numbered Pagination instead of "next page" and "previous page" links in WordPress?
Yes, you can add numbered pagination instead of "next page" and "previous page" links in WordPress. This can be achieved by using a plugin that offers this feature, such as WP-Paginate or Simple Pagination. You can also add this feature manually by using WordPress' built-in pagination function.


Pagination can be an outstanding strategy for your WordPress website. It enhances user experience and engagement and boasts accessibility, SEO, and performance benefits. To that end, there are two ways to add Pagination in WordPress: through manual coding and through WordPress plugins.

Although manual coding can be a little technical, it offers more control and flexibility over the design and functionality of Pagination. However, installing the WordPress plugin will be easier to implement and customize.So, do you want to customize the user experience of your website? Then contact our experts today!

Mehul Patel is a seasoned IT Engineer with expertise as a WordPress Developer. With a strong background in Core PHP and WordPress, he has excelled in website development, theme customization, and plugin development.

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