My home page is a single list of 10 article introductions. My author, category and tag pages are complete lists of articles, but only the titles. When I add pagination, each of them will have links near the bottom of each page, pointing to the pages before and after the one you’re on.
Every WordPress theme used in the normal way has built-in pagination. How it looks depends on what the theme author wants to display. Sometimes they use “previous page” and “next page” links and sometimes they use numbered links. The numbered links makes it easy to see how many pages link together. In my case, as of today, it would be 60 for the home page.
Most static site generators won’t support pagination. In fact, I don’t know of even one that supports it. Using WordPress as a static site generator allows me to do things that make it seem like a regular WordPress website. That includes pagination.
Is it worth the effort to make these changes? Yes, it is, and I’ll explain why. I’m going to give you facts, not theories, like many other people who write about search engine optimization.
There are self-proclaimed WordPress gurus out there that will tell you to “noindex” all the archive pages. What they won’t tell you is the reason for doing that.
Theme designers don’t put much thought into the archive pages (authors, categories, tags, etc.). They use the functions as the WordPress core offers them and nothing more. Some of those archive pages will turn into duplicate content (especially with only one website author) and some of those archive pages will be thin with content.
If you change the archive pages to contain more content and can avoid duplicate content, then you want them indexed. More pages indexed means more chances for people to find your website. Archive pages will lead to the full pages, increasing the click-through rate and lowering the bounce rate.
I’m the only author on this website (so far), so the author archive page will remain as it is. Using pagination would make it a duplicate of the home page. There are ways around that, but I think it would take more effort than I want to exert.
I don’t care for the whole enchilada surrounding SEO. It’s just too much work and it depresses me more than anything else. Pagination is only a tiny piece of it and easy enough to put into place.
My custom WordPress theme started out as an “index.php” file and a “functions.php” file. To make it easier to read, I’ve since separated some of the output into “include” files. My static site generation script is still only one file.
Ideally, I’ll put the pagination code in the index.php file and use the functions.php file to alter links to work correctly with my static pages. I don’t want to use the static site generation script to alter the content, but I will if it’s the only way I can do it.
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