How To Configure WordPress Reading Settings

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

Configuring WordPress Reading 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 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 content syndication and WordPress SEO options.

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 WordPress dashboard menu …

Settings - Reading

(Settings Menu – Reading Settings)

This brings up the ‘Reading Settings’ page in your browser …

WordPress - Reading Settings Screen

(WordPress – Reading Settings)

Reading Settings Screen

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 Options

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 main 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)

Tip

To learn how to specify 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 displayed 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)

Practical 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 syndication feeds)

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

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 post 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 option 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 service displays full post text from your RSS feed

(Feedreader service 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 …

Feedreader displays post summary only

(Feedreader service shows post summary only)

Important Info

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 options 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.

Configuring WordPress Reading Settings - Step-By-Step Tutorial

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

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How To Set The Number Of Blog Posts To Display In WordPress

Learn how to set the number of published blog posts to display on your WordPress blog page …

Step-By-Step Tutorial - How To Set How Many Published Blog Post Items Display On Your BlogAs we’ve discussed in previous posts, by default, WordPress treats your site as a ‘blog’ and displays your latest published entries on the main page, unless you set a fixed page as a main page.

Setting How Many Post Entries Show On Your Blog Page: Tutorial

In a previously published tutorial, we also explain how to create a WordPress blog page to display your most recent blog post entries.

Regardless of your choice to have present your most recently published articles on your home page or your blog page, WordPress lets you set a specific number of blog post entries to show up on these pages (i.e. ’2’, ’5’, ’12’ etc.)

Your website will then display blog post entries on your blog page up to the maximum number of items you have specified, even if your WP website or blog contains more blog posts than the number of items you have set to display …

Step-By-Step Tutorial - Changing The Number Of Blog Post Entries Showing On Your Blog

Having the ability to set how many blog posts will display on your blog page has a number of practical uses.

For example, you can display only the latest single post that you have published. This can be handy, if, for example, you are promoting a weekly special, a ’book of the month’ type of offer, publish the latest results of your sports team, post upcoming events, set up a quarterly social page for updates and announcements, etc.

You can also use this feature to fill an empty space on your blog if your sidebar menu runs too long …

How To Set The Number Of Blog Post Items Showing On Your WordPress Blog Page: Tutorial

Whatever the reason, With WordPress you have the flexibility to change the number of posts to display on main blog page.

Let’s show you, then, how easy it is to set the number of blog post entries you want to show on your blog.

How To Change The Number Of Post Entries Displayed On Your WordPress Blog Page

WordPress allows you to specify how many posts you want to have displaying on the blog page of your website.

Useful Tip

How many posts you would like displayed is entirely up to you. there is no limit to this number …

Step-By-Step Tutorial: Changing The Number Of Published Posts Displayed On Your WP Blog Page

Note: Pick a sensible setting that won’t slow down your page as the content loads on your site. You can always raise or lower the number of items displayed on your blog page.

To set the number of blog posts you want to show on the blog page of your WP website, go to your WordPress dashboard menu and choose Settings > Reading

Tutorial: How To Set How Many Published Blog Posts Show On Your WordPress Blog

Configure your options in the Reading Settings screen as per the screenshot below:

Specifying The Number Of Posts On Your Home Page

If you are using your WP site as a blog (i.e. the default installation option), where the front page displays your latest published post entries, then edit your settings as described below:

  1. Front page displays: Set this to Your latest posts
  2. Blog pages show at most: X posts (where ‘X’ is the number of post items that you want to show – i.e. ‘1’, ’5’, ‘7’, ’12’ etc.)
  3. Click the ‘Save’ button when finished…

Step-By-Step Tutorial - How To Change The Number Of Posts To Display On Your Blog Page

How To Specify The Number Of Posts Showing On Your Blog Page

If you are using your site as a website, where the front page shows a fixed page and your most recent blog posts show up on a separate blog page, then set your options as described below:

  1. Front page displays: Set this to A static page, then select Posts page: > your Blog Page from the drop down menu
  2. Blog pages show at most: X posts X posts (where ‘X’ is the number of blog posts you want to show – i.e. ‘1’, ’5’, ’10’, ’15’ etc.)
  3. Click the ‘Save’ button when finished …

Setting The Number Of Published Blog Posts Showing On Your Blog Page: Tutorial

Now, when visitors come to your website, they will see blog post entries showing either on your main page or blog page, as per the settings you have specified …

Specifying The Number Of Published Blog Post Items Displayed On Your Blog: Tutorial

Useful Tip

To learn how to change the length of your post excerpts, see the tutorial below:

Congratulations! Now you know how to set the number of published blog post entries you want listed on the blog page.

Related Posts

If you are a new WordPress user, you may also find the following related posts useful:

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