WordPress 201 – Changing Settings for Reading Posts

Welcome back to Indie Plot Twist’s series on settings for free WordPress blog. If you’re joining us for the first time, you can read previous posts here.

Remember that these discussions are targeted for Free WordPress users. Most of the instructions in the series will also apply to self-hosted WordPress users, but there will be differences.

This week, I’ll walk you through the default settings for how readers view and read your post. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Sign into your account.

Step 2: Click on “Settings” in the menu on the left side of the dashboard.

Reader settings for free WordPress blogs screen shot 1

Step 3: A drop down menu will appear. Click on “Reading”.

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Step 4a: You will land on a page called Reading Settings. You have a number of options for changing the way readers see your blog.

Front Page Displays

You have two options. Your latest posts is the default setting. Most bloggers use the default setting, since the purpose is to present the newest content first.

Reader settings for free WordPress blogs screen shot 9

A static page option makes your blog behave more like a website, with a landing or home page that is always the same. People can still land on other pages if they’re following a link, but anyone who types in your URL will land on the page you’ve chosen. If you want a static landing page, click this option.

NOTE: You can only do one or the other.

Step 4b: Front Page Displays

Once you’ve selected a static page, you have to choose the page you want to be your home page. The two options (Front page: and Posts page:) will become active and you can select from either of those options.

Reader settings for free WordPress blogs screen shot 10

Front page: Every page you currently have published is displayed in this list. Click on the down arrow on the right side of the “Select” box and select the page you want. If you don’t have any pages published, you’ll have to set up and publish the page first.

Step 4c: Posts Page Display

Posts page: Choose a page on which posts are displayed. This list will also include every page you’ve published, so if you want a special page for showing posts, you will have to publish one. In the list below, the page “Blog Posts” has been published to host blog posts. The name should be simple enough to tell people that’s where they need to go to read blog posts. This isn’t the place for clever titles or names.

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TIP: Publish a page with a descriptive title such as “Blog” or “Blog Posts.” Don’t put any content on the page. The page will appear in the page menu of every page of your blog and is accessible by clicking on that link. But the real purpose of this page is to give you a landing page to select for the Posts page option.

Step 5: Blog pages show at most

This setting determines how many posts will show up on each viewing page of your blog.

The viewing page is the page that shows up on a reader’s browser. The default is 10 posts.

Reader settings for free WordPress blogs screen shot 12

Step 6: Syndication feeds

Syndication feeds show the most recent…. This is the number of incoming syndication feeds to which you’ve subscribed. Syndication feeds are the same as subscriptions. When you subscribe to another blog via a syndication feed (also known as RSS or really simple syndication), you get a notification every time that blog publishes new content. This option allows you decide how many feeds appear in the appropriate widget on your blog. The default is ten.

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NOTE: If you’re not following any blogs by RSS, you can skip this section.

For each article in a feed, show…. This determines what appears in the syndication feed notice. Either the full text or a summary. If you choose to show syndication feeds, I recommend using the summary setting (which is the default). You want your blog to be fast loading, easy to read, and free of as much distracting information as possible. A full feed takes up a lot of space. It also slows the load time for your pages and posts.

TIP: Unless you’re subscribing to blogs with content that complements your blog, don’t show syndication feeds.

Step 7: Site Visibility

You have the option to set your blog so that search engines can find and index your blog. This is the default and is the best setting if you want Google and other search engines to be able to find your blog and to find each new post.

Reader settings for free WordPress blogs screen shot 14

You can also choose to discourage search engines. Your blog will still be public, but search engines will be discouraged from indexing your blog when they find it. Please note that if you choose this option, it’s up to each search engine to honor your request.

Finally, you can make your blog private. It will still be online, but will be hidden to the public. It becomes more or less a private journal.

Step 8: Related posts

You have the option to show older posts that may be related to your new posts if you wish. Related posts are generally shown at the bottom of each new post. Older posts that are related to each new post are linked to and give readers an option to read other posts you’ve written on the same or similar topics.

The default is “Show related content after posts.” You can opt to show a “Related” header and/or links in a visual form (see the sample shown within the illustration below).

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Step 9: To infinity and beyond

You can set your blog so that readers can view an unlimited number of posts without going to a new page. The page loads 7 more posts whenever a reader reaches the bottom of the current viewing page.

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Step 10: Enhanced Feeds

Each post is published with a certain number of information items. Usually, the author of the post, the date of publication, and categories or tags. The default is “comment count” and “sharing”.

When you choose either “Categories” or “Tags”, each tag appears as a link that allows readers to search for other posts with the same category or tags.
Reader settings for free WordPress blogs screen shot 17

Step 11: Follower Settings

With these settings, you can change the automatic emails sent from your blog to new followers.

The first box is set by default to show a follow button to logged out users (readers who have not registered with WordPress). You can uncheck this box to keep logged out users from subscribing.
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Step 11a: Blog follow email text

Your WordPress account has a default response for anyone who subscribes to your blog. The default message follows:

Howdy.

You recently signed up to follow this blog’s posts. This means once you confirm below, you will receive each new post by email.

To activate, click Confirm Follow. If you believe this is an error, ignore this message and nothing more will happen.

If you want to change the response message, type or copy your preferred message into this box. Make sure you include information about the confirmation email and how to activate the subscription.
Reader settings for free WordPress blogs screen shot 19

Step 11b: Comment follow email text

This box is similar to the previous email. This response email is sent to anyone who subscribes to a particular post.

Readers may choose to subscribe to individual posts if they’ve left a comment and want to be notified of further comments.

Again, there is a default message.

Howdy.

You recently signed up to follow one of my posts. This means once you confirm below, you will receive an email when new comments are posted.

To activate, click confirm below. If you believe this is an error, ignore this message and nothing more will happen.

If you wish to change the message, simply type in a new message.

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Step 12: Click the big blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page.Conclusion

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Congratulations! You’ve worked your way through the reader settings.

Conclusion

Remember that the purpose of these settings is to make reading your blog as easy and pleasant for your readers as possible. The longer it takes to load your blog or the more cluttered it appears, the less likely readers wait long enough to see what you have to say or stick around long enough to read everything you have to say.

Try the various settings to see how they affect your blog, then choose those that work best for you.

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