How To Configure WordPress Reading Settings

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

How To Configure 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 search engine indexing settings.

The tutorial below shows you how to configure your WordPress Reading Settings.

Configuring Your WordPress Site – Reading Settings – Step-By-Step Tutorial

Select Settings > Reading in your WordPress menu …

Settings Menu - Reading

(WP Settings Menu – Reading)

The ‘Reading Settings’ page will display 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 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 A Specific 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.
  • An individual 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 posts you would like to display 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 …

Specify how many items you want to display in your syndication feeds

(Specify how many items you want to display in your RSS 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 posts, 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).

Important 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

(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 service …

Feedreader 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 selected

(For Each Article In A Feed Show > Summary 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 displays post summary from your RSS feed)

Useful Information

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)

Useful Information

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 this 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 settings 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 - Step-By-Step Tutorial

Next Step: Learn How To Configure Your WordPress Discussion Settings

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How To Configure WordPress General Settings

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

Get Thrive Leads for WordPress

Configuring WordPress General Settings - 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 include the following sections:

Important Info

As new plugins and themes get added to your site, you will find that new items 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.

How To Configure WordPress – General Settings

Click on Settings > General in your admin menu …

WordPress Settings Menu - General Settings

(WordPress Settings – General Settings)

This brings up the ‘General Settings’ screen in your web browser …

WordPress General Settings

(General Settings Screen)

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

  • Your website’s title and location.
  • Who can register on your site as a user, member, etc.
  • How WordPress calculates and displays dates and times.

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 your website or blog’s name 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 in 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 the attention of your readers.

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 should display as http://yourdomain.com/blog.

If you have installed WordPress correctly, there should be no need to change the information in 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 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 be identical to the WordPress Address (URL) unless you plan to move your WordPress files to a different directory in your domain but still want visitors to access your site via your root 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.

Important

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 move 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 …

Give WordPress its own directory

(Give WordPress its own directory)

Warning

Changing your WordPress Site Address URL requires editing code inside WordPress files. Unless you are an advanced WordPress user, 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 roles mean in various tutorials in the training module below:

Important

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 …

View your dashboard in another language

(Change your WordPress 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’ web browser …

View your Site Title and Tagline

(View your Site Title and Tagline)

Useful 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:

Info

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 site.

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

Configuring WordPress General Settings - Step-By-Step Tutorial

Next Step: Configure Your WordPress Site: Writing Settings

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