How To Configure WordPress Reading Settings

Learn how to configure your WordPress Reading Settings in this step-by-step tutorial.

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Configuring WordPress Reading Settings - TutorialThis tutorial is part of our WordPress configuration step-by-step training series, where we show you how to set up and configure your WordPress site or blog with no coding skills required.

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After configuring your site’s Writing Settings, the next step is to configure your Reading Settings.

There are only a few settings to configure in this section, but these are very important. Your WordPress Reading settings let you specify what visitors will see on your home page and allow you to configure important syndication and WordPress SEO settings.

The tutorial below explains how to configure your WordPress Reading Settings.

How To Configure Your WordPress Site – Reading Settings – Step-By-Step Tutorial

Select Settings > Reading in your dashboard menu …

Settings - Reading Settings

(Settings – Reading)

The ‘Reading Settings’ page will load in your web browser …

WordPress - Reading Settings

(WordPress – Reading Settings)

Reading Settings

As mentioned in the introduction section of this tutorial, there are only a few settings to configure in this section, but these are very important.

Let’s go through and show you how to configure these settings:

WordPress Reading Settings – Home Page Display Settings

The Reading Settings section lets you decide if you want to display a list of your latest posts or an individual page as your website’s home page.

If you have not created any WordPress Pages for your site yet, then the first option you will see on this screen is the option to specify how many WordPress Posts will display on your home page …

Reading Settings - 'Blog pages show at most' settings

(Reading Settings – ‘Blog pages show at most’ settings)

If your site has at least one WordPress Page, then you will see the following option at the top of this screen instead …

Reading Settings - 'Front page' displays settings

(Reading Settings – ‘Front page’ displays settings)

These options allow you to choose what your visitors will see when they arrive on your site via your home page.

WordPress Reading Settings – Displaying An Individual Page As Your Home Page

If you have created at least one page on your website, select one of the following options from the ‘Front page displays’ section:

  • Your latest posts – Your visitors will see your latest blog posts when they visit your site.
  • A specific page – Your visitors will be shown a specific page when they visit your home page (e.g. a “welcome” page, or a page with sales copy, e-commerce store catalog page, etc.), much like a traditional “static” website.

The screenshot below shows you the difference between choosing to display a WordPress page vs. displaying your latest posts on your home page …

Displaying a WordPress page vs your latest blog posts on your home page

(Displaying a WordPress page vs your latest blog posts on your home page)

Useful Tip

To learn how to set a WordPress page as the main page of your website, see the tutorial below:

WordPress Reading Settings – Displaying Your Latest Blog Posts On Your Home Page

If you have not created a page on your website yet (i.e. you have set up a blog that only publishes posts), then your home page will display your latest blog posts by default. If your website already has pages but you want to display your latest blog posts on your home page, then select Front page displays > Your latest posts

Reading Settings: Front page displays - Your latest posts

(Reading Settings: Front page displays – Your latest posts)

You can also specify how many blog posts you would like to show on your posts page by entering a number in the Blog pages show at most [xxx] posts field …

You can specify the number of blog posts to display on your home page

(You can specify the number of blog posts to display on your home page)

Tip

To learn how to set the number of blog posts to display on your blog pages, see the tutorial below:

If you want to display a specific page as your home page and a summary of your latest blog posts on a separate page, then you will need to create a blog page in WordPress.

Reading Settings - 'Front page' displays settings

(Reading Settings – ‘Front page’ displays settings”)

To learn how to create a blog page in WordPress to display a summary of your blog posts, see the tutorial below:

WordPress Reading Settings – Syndication Feed Settings

You can adjust some of your WordPress RSS Feed features to determine how the information from your site will be sent to a reader’s web browser or other applications that use RSS feeds.

WordPress Reading Settings - Syndication Feed Settings

(WordPress Reading Settings – Syndication Feed Settings)

Every WordPress site has a built-in RSS page that automatically displays feeds of your posts …

Post entries in your WordPress RSS feed

(Post entries in your WordPress RSS feed)

To learn more about syndicating content and increasing traffic with your built-in WordPress RSS feed, see the tutorial below:

Let’s go through your configuration options for this section.

Syndication Feeds Show The Most Recent …

The settings in the Syndication Feeds section allow you to specify how many feeds display on your RSS feeds page.

So, for example, if you specify “5” items to show in the Syndication feeds show the most recent [xxx] items field …

Reading Settings - 'Syndication feeds show the most recent' option

(Specify how many items you want to display in your RSS feeds)

Your WordPress RSS feed page will display the 5 most recent post items …

Your WordPress RSS feed page - 5 items displayed

(Your WordPress RSS feed page – 5 items displayed)

If you change the number of items to something higher like “15”, for example …

Change the number of items to display in your syndication feeds

(Change the number of items to display in your syndication feeds)

Your WordPress RSS feed page will display the 15 most recent items, and so on …

You can control the number of items displayed in your feeds

(You can control the number of items displayed in your feeds)

For Each Article In A Feed Show …

The settings in this section affect how your RSS feeds display to external feed readers (i.e. when your feeds are syndicated externally).

Info

It’s important not to confuse the option to display Full Text or Summary of RSS feeds with how post excerpts display on your site.

To learn more about using WordPress post excerpts, including how to change the length of your post excerpts, see the tutorial below:

When users syndicate your feed or view your feeds using a feedreader, what they see on their browser will depend on the option you specify in the For each article in a feed, show setting, as follows: 

  • Full Text – Displays your entire blog post in a feed.
  • Summary – Display either the excerpt of your post (if you create one), or a teaser containing the first 55 words of your post. (See this tutorial to learn more about using WordPress post excerpts).

Let’s take a look at what happens when you choose the Full Text vs Summary option.

Full Text

If you select For Each Article In A Feed Show > Full Text …

For Each Article In A Feed Show > Full Text selected

(For Each Article In A Feed Show > Full Text selected)

This is what your feeds are going to look like when viewed with a feedreader …

Feedreader shows full post text from your RSS feed

(Feedreader displays full post text from your RSS feed.)

Summary

If you select For Each Article In A Feed Show > Summary …

For Each Article In A Feed Show > Summary option

(For Each Article In A Feed Show > Summary option selected)

Then only a summary of your posts is going to display when your feed is run through a feedreader service …

Feedreader service shows post summary only

(Feedreader service shows post summary from your RSS feed)

Warning

While your choice to select either of the above options comes down mostly to personal preference, if you choose to display the full content of your posts in your RSS feeds (by selecting the ‘Full Text’ option), other users can syndicate the entire content of your articles, including software designed to “scrape” (i.e. steal) content, and republish your posts in their entirety. This is how “spam blogs” (also called splogs) get content.

Unless you have a specific reason to syndicate your posts in their entirety, therefore, consider selecting the “Summary” option instead of “Full Text” until you learn how to configure your WordPress RSS feeds to credit you as the original author. This will then automatically create an attribution to every post you publish and post a link back to your site from external sites that syndicate (or even scrape) your content.

To better understand this, take a look at the screenshots below.

Here is what entries in a default WordPress RSS feed look like …

Default WordPress RSS feed entries

(Default WordPress RSS feed entries)

Here is the same RSS feed with post attributions added …

WordPress RSS feeds with post attributions

(WordPress RSS feeds with post attributions)

To learn how to set up RSS feeds with attribution links, see the tutorial below:

WordPress Reading Settings – Search Engine Visibility

The WordPress Reading Settings section also lets you configure settings aimed at discouraging search engines from indexing your site …

Search Engine Visibility

(Search Engine Visibility)

Typically, you will want search engines to find your site and index your pages, so you would leave the Discourage search engines from indexing this site box unchecked.

If you check the box to discourage search engines from indexing your site, WordPress adds code to files in your server instructing search engine spiders to ignore your site and stops transmitting information to all of the pinging services you have added to the “Update Services” area in your Writing Settings section, effectively blocking this service.

With search engines discouraged from indexing your site, you will see the message “WordPress is not notifying any Update Services because of your site’s visibility settings” in the Writing Settings > Update Services section …

You can block WordPress from automatically notifying update services.

(You can block WordPress from automatically notifying update services)

You will also see a message on your dashboard reminding you that you have enabled this option …

WordPress Dashboard - Search Engines Discouraged

(WordPress Dashboard – Search Engines Discouraged)

Important

There may be situations where you may not want search engines to index your site. For example, a WordPress site set up for private use or internal purposes only like training staff, documenting internal processes, testing different plugins, themes, or configurations, or running applications that require a dedicated WordPress site installation.

Selecting the option to discourage search engines from indexing your site doesn’t block out search engines completely. To prevent search engines from indexing your WordPress site or blog requires configuring additional settings. As stated in the ‘Search Engine Visibility’ description, it is up to search engines to honor your request.

To learn how to block search engines from indexing your WordPress site, see the tutorial below:

Click ‘Save Changes’ when you are done configuring your settings …

Save changes to update your settings

(Save changes to update your settings)

WordPress Writing Settings – Additional Information

Installing plugins and themes on your WordPress site can add new settings to your WordPress Writing Settings section …

Plugins and themes can add additional settings to the WordPress Reading Settings section

(Plugins and themes can add additional options to the WordPress Reading Settings section)

Congratulations! Now you know how to configure your WordPress Reading Settings. The next step is to configure your WordPress Discussion Settings.

How To Configure WordPress Reading Settings - Tutorial

Next Step: Click Here To Learn How To Configure Your WordPress Discussion Settings

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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)

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How To Configure WordPress Writing Settings

Your WordPress Writing Settings can help drive new visitors automatically to your website. Learn how to configure your WordPress Writing Settings in this step-by-step tutorial.

Configuring WordPress Writing Settings - Step-By-Step TutorialThis tutorial is part of our WordPress configuration tutorials, where we show you how to set up and configure your WordPress site or blog with no coding skills required.

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After configuring your WordPress General Settings, the next step is to configure your WordPress Writing Settings.

This section controls options and settings related to creating and editing. This includes your site’s default Post Category and the default Post Format, the Post via email feature and the update services that WordPress notifies whenever new content is published on your website.

Complete the tutorial below to learn how to configure your WordPress Writing Settings.

Configuring WordPress: Writing Settings – Step-By-Step Tutorial

Click on Settings > Writing in your main WordPress menu …

Settings Menu - Writing

(Settings – Writing Settings)

This brings up the ‘Writing Settings’ screen …

WordPress - Writing Settings Screen

(WordPress – Writing Settings Screen)

Writing Settings

The first two options in the ‘Writing Settings’ area affect your Post/Page settings, while the rest of the settings in this section controls external publishing methods.

Writing Settings - Default Post Category & Format Settings

(Writing Settings – Default Post Category & Format Settings)

Default Post Category

Use the drop-down menu in this section to select the default Post Category. The default Post Category is the category that WordPress will assign to a new post if you do not assign a specific category when writing the post.

Note: If you delete a Category, any posts that were assigned to that Category will be reassigned to the default post Category.

To learn more about WordPress Post Categories, see the tutorial below:

Important

After WordPress 4.3, the ‘Formatting’ section is no longer being added to new WordPress installations. The feature is still there, but it is not visible on the ‘WordPress Writing Settings’ screen …

Writing Settings - Formatting

(Writing Settings – Formatting)

WordPress automatically converts all of the emoticons in your posts into graphical smilies.

To learn more about using emoticons in WordPress (including how to disable this feature), see the tutorial below:

Default Post Format

Use the drop-down menu in this section to select the default Post Format. Post Formats are used by themes to create different styling for different types of posts …

Select Your Default WordPress Post Format

(Select Your Default Post Format)

Note: This setting will only be visible if the currently activated theme supports Post Formats.

To learn more about using WordPress Post Formats, see the tutorial below:

Post via email

This option lets you set up your site to publish emails as posts. The way this works is that you send an email to a specific address you’ve set up for posting content to your WordPress site via email, and WordPress adds the content of your email as a new post …

Post via email

(Post via email)

The following message is displayed at the beginning of the Post via email section:

“To post to WordPress by email you must set up a secret email account with POP3 access. Any mail received at this address will be posted, so it’s a good idea to keep this address very secret. Here are three random strings you could use …”

To enable the post by email feature, you will need to complete the following fields:

  • Mail Server – A mail server receives emails on your behalf and stores them for retrieval. Your mail server will have an address like mail.example.com.
  • Port – Servers typically use port 110 to receive requests related to emails. If your mail server uses a different port (see your webhosting provider for this), then use that port number into this field.
  • Login Name – If, for example, the email address that you will be using for posting by email is remote@example.com, then ‘remote’ is the Login name.
  • Password – Enter the password for the above email address into this field. WordPress generates three random example passwords that you can use at the beginning of this section.
  • Default Mail Category – WordPress will assign the category you specify here to all posts published via the Post by email feature. You can also create a new post category specifically for posts that you plan to publish via email.

Useful Tip

To learn how to set up and use the post by email feature, see this tutorial:

Note: The Post via email feature is optional. You don’t need to use this feature to post content to your WordPress site. Just add content normally as described in this step-by-step tutorial: How To Create A New WordPress Post.

Update Services

As explained in our WordPress Traffic Automation Blueprint, one of the most powerful features of using WordPress is its ability to notify external services like directories and search engines whenever new content gets published on your site …

WordPress can automatically notify directories and search engines when new content gets published on your site!

(WordPress can automatically notify directories and search engines when new content gets published on your site!)

When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the update services of the sites listed in the Update Services box …

Update Services

(Update Services)

By default, WordPress only adds one service to the ‘Update Services’ box with a new installation (http://rpc.pingomatic/).

To take full advantage of this powerful feature, however, you will want to add more update services as described below.

Go to Settings > Writing> Update Services and paste your list of ping service URLs (one per line) into the Update Services area …

Paste your ping service URLs in this box

(Paste your ping service URLs in this box)

When entering your Ping service URLs, remember to separate multiple entries with line breaks.

Tip

We have prepared a comprehensive list of reliable and authoritative ping services for your WordPress site or blog. Copy and paste the URLs (one per line) from the zipped file below into the “Update Services” box inside your Writing Settings screen …

warning

Note: If you block your WordPress site from displaying to search engines, the message “WordPress is not notifying any Update Services because of your site’s visibility settings.” will display instead of the update services list …

Update Services will not display if you prevent search engines from indexing your site.

(Update Services will not display if you prevent search engines from indexing your site.)

Click Save Changes to update your settings …

Save your changes to update your settings

(Save your changes to update your settings)

WordPress Writing Settings – Additional Notes

Installing plugins and themes on your WordPress site can add new settings to your WordPress Writing Settings section …

Plugins and themes can add additional settings to the WordPress Writing Settings section

(Plugins and themes can add additional settings to the WordPress Writing Settings section)

Congratulations! Now you know how to configure your WordPress Writing Settings. The next step, is to configure your WordPress Reading Settings.

"{How

Next Step: Configure Your WordPress Site: Reading Settings

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"I love the way your email series "Infinite Web Content Creation Training Series" is documented and presented. It is very absorbing and captivating. The links and tutorials are interesting and educational. This has motivated me to rewrite my content following the concepts I am learning from the email series." - Mani Raju, www.fortuneinewaste.com

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How To Configure WordPress General Settings

Learn how to configure your WordPress General Settings in this step-by-step tutorial.

Configuring WordPress General Settings - Step-By-Step TutorialThis tutorial is part of our WordPress configuration tutorial series, where we show you how to set up and configure your WordPress site or blog with no coding skills required.

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After cleaning up your new WordPress installation, the next step is to go through and configure your WordPress settings.

WordPress Settings Menu

(WordPress Settings Menu)

Your WordPress Settings comprise of the following sections:

Important

As new plugins and themes get added to your site, you will find that new entries will be added to your Settings menu …

Plugins and themes can add new items to your Settings menu

(Plugins and themes can add new items to your Settings menu)

In this tutorial, you will learn how to configure your WordPress General Settings.

Configuring WordPress General Settings – Step-By-Step Tutorial

Click on Settings > General in your WordPress dashboard menu …

Settings - General

(WordPress Settings Menu – General)

The ‘General Settings’ screen will load in your browser …

General Settings

(WordPress General Settings Screen)

The WordPress ‘General Settings’ screen controls most of the general configuration settings for your site, including:

  • The title and location of your website.
  • Who can register on your site as a user, member, etc.
  • How dates and times are calculated and displayed on your site.

Info

For a complete description of General Settings features (we have included general descriptions of these features below for ease of reference), see the official WordPress documentation page below:

To configure your WordPress General Settings, complete the fields and options listed below:

1) Site Title: Enter the name of your site or blog here. Most themes will display this title at the top of {every page|your pages] and in your visitors’ web browser title bar. WordPress also uses this title as the identifying name for your syndication feeds.

2) Tagline: In a few words, explain what your site is about. You can enter a slogan or a tagline. A tagline is a short phrase or sentence used to convey the essence of the site and catch your reader’s attention.

3) WordPress Address (URL): This field should display the full address of the directory where you have installed WordPress.

For example, if you have installed WordPress into a directory called “blog”, then your WordPress address will be http://yourdomain.com/blog.

If you have installed WordPress correctly, there should be no need to edit this field.

4) Site Address (URL): Enter the address you want people to type into their browser to reach your WordPress site. This is the directory where WordPress’ main index.php file is installed.

Notes:

  • If you have installed WordPress into your root (main) directory (i.e. if you are using WordPress as your main website), the URL will display as http://yourdomain.com without the end slash (/).
  • If you have installed WordPress correctly, there should be no need to change the information in this field.
  • For most setups, the Site Address (URL) should look just like the WordPress Address (URL) unless you need to move your WordPress installation files to a different directory in your domain but still would like visitors to reach your site via your root (main) domain.
  • If you change the URL from http://yourdomain.com (i.e. no www) to http://www.yourdomain.com in the General Settings screen, WordPress may log you out of the site after saving your settings. If this happens, simply log in again and continue working as normal. The new URL will be updated in the WordPress database.

Useful Info

WordPress allows you to install your website into a subdirectory (e.g. http://yourdomain.com/wordpress), but have your website pages served from the website root directory (e.g. http://yourdomain.com). If you need to relocate WordPress to a different directory, click on the link in the Site Address (URL) description section or refer to the instructions in the official WordPress documentation page here: Giving WordPress Its Own Directory …

You can give WordPress its own directory

(You can give WordPress its own directory)

Warning

Changing your WordPress Site Address URL requires editing code inside WordPress templates. Unless this is absolutely required, we recommend leaving the settings in this section as they are. If you are not comfortable editing code, please consider using the services of a professional.

5) Email Address: WordPress will send messages and notifications regarding the administration and maintenance of your WordPress site to this address.

Notes:

  • Your website administration email address can be different than the address you specify for your admin user account (the admin account email address is sent an email only when someone submits a comment to a post created by the user “admin”).
  • The address you enter in this field will never be displayed on your site.

6) Membership: If you plan to allow other people to register as users on your site (e.g. for a membership site, customer account, or private access to certain areas), check this option. If not, leave this option unchecked.

7) New User Default Role: If you did not check the “Membership” checkbox above then ignore this section. This drop-down menu allows you to select the default role that will be assigned to new users or registered members added via the Administration > Users > Users Screen.

The options are:

  • Administrator
  • Editor
  • Author
  • Contributor
  • Subscriber

We explain what different WordPress user types mean in various tutorials in the training module below:

Info

The time and date settings described below can affect WordPress plugins and services that integrate features on your site like making bookings, sending reminders, or setting appointments.

8) Timezone: Select your city or timezone from the drop-down menu, or just ignore this option.

9) Date Format: Choose the format that you would like to use to display dates on your site, or just ignore this option. The Date Format setting is typically used by themes to display dates on your site, but it does not control how dates are displayed inside your administrative screens (for example, when managing posts).

10) Time Format: Choose the format that you would like to use to display times on your site, or just ignore this option. The Time Format setting is typically used by themes to display time on your site, but does not control how times are displayed in your administrative screens (for example, when editing a post’s timestamp).

11) Week Starts On: This option controls how the WordPress calendar displays its first column …

WordPress General Settings - 'Week Starts On' settings

(WordPress General Settings – ‘Week Starts On’ settings)

12) Site Language: Specify the language to be used in your dashboard …

Change your WordPress dashboard language

(Change your dashboard language)

13) Once you have entered all of the above settings in this section, click Save Changes to update your settings.

To review and further edit your Site Title and Tagline, go to My WordPress Site > Visit Site (tip: to view your home page and continue working on your settings, open a separate window by right-clicking on the ‘Visit Site’ link and choosing “Open Link In New Tab”) …

My WordPress Site > Visit Site

(My WordPress Site > Visit Site)

Your Site Title and Tagline display on your site and in your visitors’ browser …

View your Site Title and Tagline

(View your Site Title and Tagline)

Practical Tip

You can also view some of the changes you make to your General Settings like your Site Title and Tagline without leaving your WordPress dashboard by going to the WordPress Theme Customizer section (select Appearance > Customize in the dashboard menu) …

WordPress Theme Customizer

(WordPress Theme Customizer)

Learn more about using the WordPress Theme Customizer in this training module:

Useful Information

Note: Because WordPress keeps your site’s content separate from your web design (web design is controlled by your active WordPress theme), the information entered for your Site Title and Tagline will remain the same regardless of the themes used in your site. WordPress themes and WordPress plugins, however, can affect how titles and taglines appear on your website.

Congratulations! Now you know how to configure your WordPress General Settings.

Configuring WordPress - General Settings

Next Step: Configure Your WordPress Site: Writing Settings

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"I love the way your email series "Infinite Web Content Creation Training Series" is documented and presented. It is very absorbing and captivating. The links and tutorials are interesting and educational. This has motivated me to rewrite my content following the concepts I am learning from the email series." - Mani Raju, www.fortuneinewaste.com

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