WordPress news and updates for Writers: The Chronology Issue

WordPress has long been attracting writers who use the blog format to demonstrate their abilities. Using brief, regularly published pieces you can build an audience as well as a portfolio. While random blogging is great for some, it sells WordPress short on other possibilities.

Maybe you’ve thought about publishing sample chapters of your most recent novel, or telling your Harry Potter-style story in cliff-hanger segments (hey, it worked for Alexandre Dumas and his Three Musketeers stories). Or perhaps you just want to give updates to an ongoing project.

The problem is that sequential storytelling flies in the face of the blog tradition that floats the most recent work to the top of the queue. Luckily, you have the means to show your work as it progresses, in sequential order. With a little finesse, your site can demonstrate your writing prowess in a seamless and professional manner.

This edition of WordPress news and updates brings you tips for working around the chronology issue:

Controlling the Order of Posts

The first option WordPress gives is more for narrative blogging where new audience members would benefit from starting at the beginning if they so choose.

WordPress suggests using the Order parameter stated as “?order=asc” to create a URL that shows your posts in chronological order.  The example provided includes specific date criteria before the parameter:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/?order=asc

In this example, you can view all entries for The Daily Post from January 2014 in ascending order.

But maybe you’ve been writing for multiple years at various intervals and just want to put everything out there in order of appearance. To view every post, but in ascending order, take out the month and year like this and just use the parameter by itself:

https://yourblog.wordpress.com/?order=asc

There’s still more flexibility to explore with dates and the Order parameter. For example, by removing the month designation, this link for The Daily Post displays all 2015 posts from the start of the year:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2015/?order=asc

Once you have the link created, provide it somewhere on your site. One idea is to create a page called “Start from the Beginning” and talk about your work as a whole. Wrap it up with a link to your blog as shown above with the appended Order parameter. We can assume that once your readers catch up, they’ll only want to see your latest work and can follow along with the normal blog view from that point forward.

If, however, you want your content to always appear in ascending order (oldest posts at the top and newest at the bottom), you can set your Front or Blog page accordingly.

Setting the Blog Page

Create a page with your blogs listed in the order you want them to appear. Name the page Chapters or something similar (Chapters is what is used in the WordPress example). Each entry or chapter needs to be linked appropriately. As you add more content, you’ll need to add a link for each new entry on this page.

Now just set your Chapters page as the Blog page and when readers click on it they’ll see your blog entries in the order you prescribed.

To set the Blog page, click on WP Admin at the bottom of the tools pane on the left. Now select Settings and this will open a side menu with increased options. Select Reading to control how your audience will encounter your Blog page.

This is where you can change the page from displaying your latest posts in default order (newest to oldest) to displaying them as you desire. Just select your Chapters page to be the designated Blog page.

Setting the Front Page

Maybe your work on the Great American Novel requires more of a standard look for your readers. In this case WordPress suggests a Table of Contents or Chapters page.

As above, list your chapters and set the URLs for each one. Title the page appropriately, such as “Chapters” or “TOC” if you like so you know what it is. Then set it as your Front page so readers encounter this view immediately.

As before, select the WP Admin view at the bottom of the tools pane on the left. Select Settings to open the side menu, then select Reading to change the controls for the Front and Blog pages.

This is where you can change the page from displaying your latest posts to displaying the page you created for your Table of Contents. Set your Chapters page as your Front page, and voila! Your site looks just like an e-book.

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