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How to Add Floating Links for Next and Previous Posts in WordPress

Links to the “next” and “previous” post in WordPress is a fundamental bit of navigation that’s there by default at the bottom of individual articles. But what if you want floating next and previous post links that are always visible? As it turns out, that’s pretty easy to achieve.

Allow me to introduce you to a great plugin called Floating Links – Fancy Next Previous Post Links – Pagination.

The Floating Links plugin introduces navigation links to the left and right side of the page. The links and pagination are configurable, so the appearance and functionality can match the needs of any site. Not only that, the plugin has the option to paginate within a specific category.

This allows for custom pagination that usually isn’t possible in WordPress.

Using Floating Links couldn’t be easier, so let’s get started.

Log in to your WordPress admin panel.

In the left column navigation, mouse over the “Plugins” link and click the “Add New” link.

mouse over the "Plugins" link and click the "Add New" link

In the “Search plugins…” box, enter “Floating Links.”

search for the WordPress Floating Links plugin

Once you have located the plugin, click the “Install Now” button.

click to install the WordPress Floating Links plugin

When the plugin has been installed, click the “Activate” button.

click to activate the WordPress Floating Links plugin

You don’t have to do anything to activate the plugin. It’s already working.

By default, on your homepage, it will provide top of page/bottom of page options and a home link.

top page/bottom page and home link

The “X” icons are minimizers. You can remove those in the settings if you don’t want visitors to have the option of minimizing the links.

When you go to a post or page, more links are available.

links on a post

Mousing over a link displays a preview of the post that the link leads to.

mouseover previews post or page

The preview can be turned off in Display Settings > Enable post data.

In the left column navigation, mouse over the “Floating Links” link and click the “Floating Links” link.

click the "Floating Links" link

There are two main sections you’ll work with: Primary Bar, and Secondary Bar.

primary bar and secondary bar

Primary Bar controls the links on the right side of the page. Secondary Bar controls the links on the left side of the page.

To add or remove a link from one of the bars, click the name or icon you want to add or remove.

click the the link you want to add or remove

If the link is enabled, click the green checkmark to disable it.

click the green checkmark to disable

If the link is not enabled, click the box to enable it.

click the box to enable

Display Settings

Access the Display Settings by clicking its tab from the top navigation bar.

click the Display Settings tab

  • Navigate in same category
    Enabling this restricts the next and previous arrows to articles in the same category rather than paginating through all posts. The option is disabled by default.
  • Enable post data
    This controls whether previews are shown when you mouse over the next and previous links. It’s enabled by default. You can also enable “Featured Image” to add the featured image to the preview, and “Post Date” to add the post date to the preview. Both of those options are disabled by default.
  • Hide on Load
    Minimizes the links on page load. Premium feature, not available in the free version.
  • Show on % scroll from top
    Displays links after the specified percentage of the page is scrolled down. Premium feature, not available in the free version.
  • Show on specific pages
    Display the links only on one specific page. Premium feature, not available in the free version.
  • Show on specific posts
    Display the links only on one specific post. Premium feature, not available in the free version.

Design Settings

Access the Design settings by clicking the Design tab.

click the Design tab

In the Design tab, you can change the colors of the links, the icons used, and the position of the link bar.

changing icons

changing link colors

changing position

Great Navigation Is in the Eyes of the Beholder

Floating navigation (especially smart floating navigation) is a beautiful, modern thing. But which navigation is beautiful and which is intrusive and unwelcome varies from person to person. There are places visitors expect to find navigation, and the side of the screen isn’t always one of those places.

That being said, “previous” and “next” links are handy, and they have been around since the dawn of the web. So you really can’t go wrong providing them to your visitors. And the ability to navigate within a specific category in WordPress is undoubtedly a valuable tool.

As I mentioned at the outset, the “next post” link in WordPress is a fundamental tool. But it’s great to have the level of control over the page navigation and pagination that the Floating Links plugin provides.

Do you incorporate any kind of non-standard navigation on your site? Have you worked with any other plugins that allow pagination within categories? Let me know in the comments.

Author: Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips is a web hosting industry veteran, helping people make the most of their web presence since 1995.

Updated on October 29, 2019

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