Last week we made out first plugin available on the ProBlogger Community: an Infinite Scroll Wordpess Plugin. It’s a plugin we’ve been using on Digital Photography School since we redesigned it late last year.
With each of these plugins we release we want to share why we’re using it on our own sites, and also give you some options on how you can the techniques yourself (community member or not).
The infinite scroll plugin is does one very simple task: as you reach the bottom of a page (typically an archive of posts), it will automatically load in some additional posts. Once you get to the end of the new list, it will load more until you run out of posts.
With an infinite scroll, you’re essentially doing away with the need for ‘pagination’ which are those “next page” and numbered buttons you often come across. Sites like Google Image Search, Facebook, and Pinterest all use this infinite scroll technique.
It’s something that has actually been around for quite a while, and I’m often surprised it’s not as widespread as perhaps it should be. This is because are both downsides and upsides for a plugin like this.
- When a user is browsing a list of posts it can be bringing in new posts without the user need to click (or think).
- It’s a quicker to show new content (the user doesn’t have to load a whole new page).
- It’s more friendly for touch devices (tablets and phones) as you’re not asking your readers to zoom and touch those tiny numbers.
To put is simply: your helping expose more of your content to users for less work.
- People can’t get to your footer unless its sticky (or you run out of posts)
- With an endless stream of posts there is no point of reference for people to go back to: “I remember seeing that on page X”.
- If it’s not backwards-compatible (ours is) it will affect how your site gets indexed by search engines.
At the end of the day you’ll just need to make the choice yourself!
So how do you add and infinite scroll on your WordPress blog?
Obviously if you’re a member of the ProBlogger Community you’ll get free access to our infinite scroller. One of the handy features of ours, that I’ve not seen any others, is the ability to include infinite scroll of related posts at the end of a actual blog post, not just an archive page (see the video at the end for a demo).
There is an infinite scrolling plugin in the wordpress plugin directory that looks like it was updated only a month or so ago with some nice features.
If you’re using a theme from WordPress, some of them actually have the infinite scroll built in.
Of course if you are a developer of have access to one, they can make one for you too!
Here’s a demo of our scrolled that will give you a better idea of how to set it up and how it works.
This is just a first of a many of plugins we’ll be releasing over on ProBlogger.com. If you’ve not signed up yet, we’d love to see you there!
Any if you’ve got any questions or experiances with this approach I’d love to hear them in the comments too.