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WordPress Tip: Finding Future Post Permalinks

In Technical Tips for Publishing a Series of Articles on Your Blog, I offered tips for how to use WordPress to publish a series of articles on your blog, linking manually between the blog posts after they have been published.

One of the benefits of writing articles series as future posts is that you can link between the posts before they are published – but only with links to past posts, not future posts.

When you include a link to a post that hasn’t yet published, the reader will click on it and find themselves staring at a Page Not Found 404 Error. Not a polite thing to do, is it.

However, you can play some games with future posts to include links to posts which haven’t published on posts which haven’t published yet.

Why? Tracking all the links in past posts after the post has published can be time consuming. Why not shorten some of the fuss and link to the posts before they’ve published. You may still have to edit the posts once they are published to add links to upcoming posts, but let’s do a little of it now as we are developing the posts and the thoughts are fresh in our heads.

I’ve been using this technique to generate links in my article series for a long time, and it helps speed up the process for me. Let’s see if I can explain it so you can understand how simple this is and how much time you can save.

Here’s the scenario.

  1. I have written and published as future posts, posts which will publish next week, four posts.
  2. In post one, I’ve not included links to posts two, three, or four.
  3. In post two, I’ve included links to post one.
  4. In post three, I’ve included links to posts one and two.
  5. In post four, I’ve included links to posts one, two, and three.

There are two “styles” of links in WordPress. One is by the post ID number and the other is the “pretty permalink”, the text post slug.

A typical post ID number link looks like:

http://lorelle.wordpress.com/?p=2196

A typical post “pretty” URL link looks like:

http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2007/10/03/pretty-permalinks-article

In order for the last link URL to be generated, your blog post must be published. Published, but not necessary published for the public to see.

Yes, you can estimate what your blog post’s post slug link will be, or just use the post ID number link, but why guess when I can tell you how to find and use the post slug link, helping you add pretty links to your future posts in a blog article series.

Creating Links to Past Posts in an Article Series

In post one, there are no links to future posts, and can’t be until those posts publish so the public can see them. Links to unpublished posts, even published future posts, will lead to Page Not Found Errors.

According to WordPress’s methodology, while post one hasn’t “technically” published to the public’s eyes, it’s still “published” as far as WordPress is concerned. Thus, I can put links to post one in post two.

Example of WordPress Post ID link

While working on post one, the draft post and post preview tells me that this particular post has the URL with the post ID number of 2196. Before I “publish” the post, I set the timestamp to a date next week as a future post. Then I click Publish.

In the browser tab with my post preview, after the draft post has finished saving all the last changes and information to the WordPress database, reload/refresh the page and the URL should change from p=2198 to the pretty link with the date and post title.

Example of WordPress Post link with the post slug text

Copy that and put it in a link in post number two where you need it, such as:

<a href="http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2007/10/03/what-are-pretty-permalinks" 
title="What Are Pretty Permalinks">Yesterday</a>, I covered 
the definition of a permalink, and 
today, I'm going to cover...

Once post two has “published”, with the timestamp date and time set to release on your blog after post one, repeat the reloading of post two in the post preview tab of your browser and copy and paste the pretty link into post three. Repeat all of this to add more past post links to post four.

Your introduction on post four might look like:

In this series, I've covered 
<a href="http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2007/10/03/what-are-pretty-permalinks" 
title="What Are Pretty Permalinks">the definition of permalinks</a>, 
<a href="http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2007/10/03/changing-permalinks" 
title="Changing Permalinks">how to change your permalinks</a>, 
<a href="http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2007/10/03/redirecting-permalinks-in-wordpress"
title="Redirecting Permalinks in WordPress">how to redirect 
permalinks</a>, and in the final on this series, I want to cover...

Once you have posts one through four’s links, once each has been “published” as a future post, you can put together a list of all the posts in the series. Save the list in your text editor. When the article series is done, you have all four post links in a list, ready to edit each post and connect all of them together in the series, without wasting more time hunting for links to each post.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

3 Comments

  1. Posted October 24, 2007 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    I used to “hand code” series of posts – and it became very labour intensive when I got to about post 15 in the series. Thankfully I found a great plugin called In Series at http://remstate.com/ – I recommend it highly.

  2. Posted October 24, 2007 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    @Christopher –
    Lorelle knows about this plugin but her article is addressing series on WordPress.com – on which you cannot use plugins at the moment.

  3. Posted November 6, 2007 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    Cool idea Lorelle! For 404 Error Page handling you might like the new Google 404 Error Page Plugin.


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