A while back I did a post on the discussion settings in WordPress. I explained how these areas are often overlooked, or neglected. We set up our blog, get the basics going, then write our little brains out. Occasionally, we find another useful widget or plugin to install. But often it stops there.
In your reading settings, there are just a few options, but they are pretty damn powerful.
The first is this little bugger: the options of your latest posts or a static page of your choosing to display on your front page. This one choice alone has probably caused grief and countless hours of unsatisfied Google searches.
Let me explain.
With most WordPress themes, once you have set them up, you will often find that your blog is the homepage or your landing page. So, when someone puts in your URL, that is where they land. But not everyone wants that. Some would rather have a static homepage. Something that tells their readers about them and their blog, or, if it’s a business blog, what the heck they do. But as you can see above, WordPress, by default, sets your front page to be “Your latest posts.”
Here is how to fix this.
Simply go in, create a page called “Home,” and add some content to it. Then create another page, call it “Blog,” and leave it blank. After you do that, come back and change the settings to this:
And, like magic, you now have a static home page and an inside blog page. I cannot tell you how many people have spent hours and hours trying to figure this out. In fact, here is a comment from someone on my blog who had found my video on this:
“Hi, I am new to WordPress and found this video to be a life saver. I could not work out how to change my Homepage to a regular page while making my “posts” appear on the blog. Been reading the blogs for an hour, people talking about the the CSS files etc. Just tried your solution in the reading settings and it worked— a treat, such a simple fix to what must be a very common problem. Thanks a million.
The second part of these settings is this:
Both of these seem straightforward, right? But again, they are hidden, and not always found. The first one, “Blog pages show at most,” lets you control the number of posts on your blog page, otherwise known as the index page. This also affects the pages, the search results, and categories and tags.
The second part, “Syndications feeds…,” controls your feed when it is sent out. Now if you are wondering, BTW WTF is an RSS, you can read an earlier post of mine. Here’s the short version: when someone clicks on your feed, it controls how many posts are listed. I’m sure someone out there believes there is a magic number for this. But in reality, it is whatever number you choose. Just know that when someone looks at your syndication feed, you can control how many posts they see from the recent posts you have written.
(Just remember, for number of blog posts shown, some themes have settings that will overwrite this.)
And last, but not least, the full text or summary option:
This setting controls how much of your post shows when it goes out, as well as when the post goes out to your email subscribers. Picture this. You sign up for FBBB via email. You get notified when a new post comes out. In that email, you will either see an excerpt or the full post.
Now the million dollar question. What is best?
Some argue that an excerpt is best. Why? To read the rest of it, they have to click through (and they will if you create a great excerpt, leaving a cliffhanger or teaser that makes them just have to read the rest). And when they click through, they are on your actual blog, where they can leave a comment, see all the other goodies on your site, maybe even click on an affiliate ad. You want them to add to the number of views in your stats. Makes sense, huh?
But others argue that readers are constrained by time. When they sign up for an email feed, they want to be able to open that email and read it then and there. Don’t make me click through read it. I just don’t have those extra seconds in my life. But you are thinking, they never came to my blog, so they didn’t see the ad for my webinar below the post!
Obviously you will need to decide for yourself what you feel is best for your readers. Or spend more time googling it to get serious advice from some expert or guru. In any case, a decision will need to be made.
So, have you spent time struggling with a long search only to find these settings neatly tucked away?
Do you have a strategy or preference for either the full text feed or summary feed?