Blog Posts in Chronological Order

paperworkBlogs are essentially a reverse chronological order publishing tool wherein the most recent published post will display on top. You cannot change this order on a free hosted WordPress.com blog but there are workarounds.

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WordPress.com and WordPress.org are completely separate, have different log-ins and run different versions of some themes with same names.  So let’s start with clarifying the differences between WordPress.com blogs and WordPress.org installs to avoid confusion.

WordPress.org bloggers can customize post order manually by editing their themes, or they install plugins to reorder the posts for any custom post types they define, including the default Posts.

WordPress.com bloggers do not have FTP access to their blogs. They cannot install plugins and they cannot edit theme templates.

By default, the sort order for queries in WordPress is descending. This will produce posts in reverse chronological order, the desired result for most blogs. The reason posts in ascending order is the default is because blogs are designed to serve returning visitors, who come to read the most recent content and who will not be inclined to trawl through hundreds of posts to locate it. That’s suitable for the vast majority of blogs but not all of them. It’s not suitable for those who want to create a site that reads in ascending order like a book.

1.   The first workaround is the option of creating a book-like structure.

2.   The second workaround is to use a single sticky post as an index page and (a) update it manually or (b) use the display post shortcode in ascending order.  (Note: The Display Posts Shortcode has a limit of 100 posts displayed.)  Alternatively, you can use the (c) Archives shortcode to display posts on a page in ascending order.

3.   The third workaround is to falsify every date-stamp before publishing.

The default timezone is UTC time. You can reset your timezone here > Settings > General Select the closest city to you in the same timezone in the drop-down menu you see there and then click “save changes”.  However, if you are writing a book or creating a blog that’s a blast from the past with diary-like entries you can look at this image (I know you are not scheduling a post) you will see where to click the edit link to change the datestamp and timestamp on a post.

Tips for Setting Your date and Time Format, Eliminating Date and/or Time Display and Scheduled Post Publication are found in It’s About Time.

4.   The fourth workaround is creating a book-like category structure and using a custom menu to display it.

Related posts:

Bloggers: Publish your book, ebook, or your blog
Create a WordPress Website Step By Step
Create a Featured Posts Page with the Display Posts Shortcode

42 thoughts on “Blog Posts in Chronological Order

  1. I followed instructions for the ‘Write-a-Book’ workaround, and had mixed results. The home page, equivalent to ‘Index’ in the workaround, shows the Chapters in the order I want them, starting with Chapter 1. The ‘Chapter’ page, where the posts are, does not. The posts there are still in reverse chronological order. What am I missing?

      1. Thanks for taking the time to respond! As I wrote earlier, the Index page works like a charm, with chapters displaying in the right order, and when you click on one of the chapters, little links on the upper left and right hand indicate prior and subsequent chapters. It’s beautiful! But on the same static home page (the index page) is a separate link for ‘Chapters’, with just the blog posts in reversed chronological order. I suspect if anyone clicks on that link, they’ll get quite confused, particularly if there are a lot of posts. I’ve tried to put in short codes for order=asc on the ‘Chapter’ page, at the end of each blog feed, and in a couple more places I could think of, and nothing has changed the appearance of the ‘Chapter’ page.

        For now, I will just live with it.

        Thanks again for taking the time to respond!

  2. Just reading about workarounds makes me happy– it’s like beating the system, but doing it fair and square, which has a very strong appeal for me.

    I’ll look forward to your rant about the WP Reader. I find it next to useless. : )

  3. Regarding your point 3 about falsifying every date stamp.

    Every now and then, my reader skips hours, that is it will go from one post time stamped at say, 3 hours, and then the next post will be time stamped 18 hours, and the rest continue on from 18 hours. The only way to overcome this is to unfollow the post at 18 hours, view the missing posts then refollow that blog.

    Last night it happened again and I left a comment on the “offending” blog to explain that my reader was acting up and why they would be receiving a new follow notification from me. They sent me this reply:

    “Hi Lignum. I am not sure whether it’s your reader. I tried to post this one from my iPhone late last night, but it turned out that it’s not published, and it’s not in draft folder either, very strange. Thus I reposted this afternoon, using yesterday’s date…”

    If falsifying time stamps causes this effect, then I recommend not doing it please.

    1. I did not mean falsifying datestamps in the way you refer to.
      Suppose you were beginning a travel blog and wanted to include all your trips and images taken years ago between 2000 – 2002. You could publish them under the dates they happened. That’s what I meant.

  4. Thanks for making me think differently about the chronology of a blog. This had never occurred to me before. What would we do without you Timethief :)

  5. Great information that it is possible to write a book with WP.com. It would be good to see an example of a ‘book’ that has been made using that technique. I wonder how to search for that?

    I clicked through to Fast Pencil and I watched a few minutes of a video on importing from a blog. I see that once imported, it is easy to move posts around, subsume them into chapters, etc. My wife Tamara was saying just a few days ago that it would be good to turn our India trip into a book. Now I know how. Thank you.

    1. I’d like to see an example as well.

      The friend I blogged about who is a photographer, world traveler and essay writer and I have been exploring different ways for her to organize her sites. She now has several and we have fund “playing” with different ideas for them. What’s great about doing this with her is she has no sense of urgency and that means we enjoy the process and even laugh at some of the results we produce before deleting them.

      1. You think? Thank you. I am experimenting with gravatars. I’m wearing a wig, but cut my hair and went auburn after that party!
        I couldn’t figure out why my follows dropped last spring. I blamed in my boob reports. Then I remembered last week that I changed my gravatar after my birthday last April! Danny took a photo of me skiing this week that I may use. We’ll see!

          1. I think it makes a difference on the “You May Like” since all they have to judge the blog is the name and face. I don’t know! The experiment has begun….

          2. I’m sorry Susie but I have have to admit that “You May Like” left me wondering what you meant. Please explain. Are you referring to related posts?

          3. You never found it???? No. It’s not related posts.
            Go to your WordPress.com Reader. On the right hand side of the blogs you follow is a list:
            Blogs I follow
            Comments I’ve made
            Posts I’ve liked
            etc….
            Under that is a list of tags you’ve used in case you want to click on them to see what others are writing.

            Under that is the …..drum roll please……:) You May Like.
            (This feed is the main reason our number of follows jumped a year ago.)
            There are four blogs listed. You can click to their blog from there or immediately subscribe.
            Let me know if you find it!

          4. Okay. Now I know exactly what you mean. I find very little value in the WordPress.com Reader. In fact I have created my own list of blogs I follow and when I use the Reader my blood pressure soars. Maybe the time has come to publish my rant about the design and operation of the Reader.

          5. They improved it and you can click on the Read more or View original for people who only have a summary or read and comment and like from the reader for people who allow their whole blog post to be read.
            They moved the reblog and added a step to leave a comment, so there aren’t as many mistakes made.

          6. What you call improvements probably does not coincide with how I define that term at all. Let’s not discuss this now, okay. Instead I’ll publish my the WordPress.com Reader sucks and this is why rant one day soon.

  6. I did something similar to what you suggested, when I created a page called “My Library”. I have my posts organized in a fashion I wish. Where I have a series of stories with a continuing character, I list them in the order written. In addition, I have jump statements in the stories, letting a reader go to the earlier or later installments.

    Thank you for helping us overcome some of the shortcomings. Silent

  7. Interesting topic. I have considered changing to a theme with sticky posts but haven’t really liked them yet. I created a private test site as you have previously suggested. Instead, I created a welcome page in my menus which seems to be drawing some traffic.

    1. Hi there,
      I don’t need to change the order of my posts but some folks do want to do that so I provided what’s possible. They aren’t particularly easy but then very few workarounds are. :)

        1. Yes and I have witnessed that. You see how much time I spend in the support forums. Lately there have been so many needing help that when combined with living my life I’m not getting the time I need to create more content here or on my personal blog. However, I do have a post almost ready for publication later today or tomorrow for this blog. Provided I don’t fall asleep after I publish it I’ll also have time to create one for my personal blog. Keep your fingers crossed for me okay?

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