Understanding the WordPress Configuration Settings – Reading

December 20, 2012

There are not as many options to set in the Reading Settings screen when compared to the previous screens, but the options here can be just as important to you and your site. The settings here cover what your front page displayed, how much content should be shown when on viewing archives and feeds, and if search engines should index your website.

Front page displays

This option controls what your users will see when they first visit your website. Setting this option as “your latest posts” makes it so WordPress will show a list of your latest published blog posts. This setting is for those sites that are set up to be primarily a blog. Setting this option as “a static page” makes it so WordPress will show a page of your choosing as the home page of your site. This setting is for sites that want to use WordPress as a content manager/editor, as well as those sites that do not create blog posts.

Front page vs. Posts Page

When selection the static page option of “front page displays” setting, you will have to choose which page will become your home page. If you have a page titled “Home,” then that is your most likely option. If you do not have such a page, and are still unsure which page to use, then choose the page that best summarizes your or your site’s purpose.
The “posts page” option is where WordPress will display your blog posts, and can be titled anything from “Blog” to “Articles” to “Rants,” and so on. While this option is not necessary if you only use one category or do not create posts, defining it now will save you the trouble of doing so in the future.

Blog pages show at most

If your theme does not explicitly define a limit on the amount of posts any page should display, then WordPress will limit the amount of displayed posts to this number. Ten is a good starting number for most blogs, and you can adjust it according to the length of your posts and if your archive pages display post excerpts or the full post content.

Syndication feeds show the most recent

Similar to the “blog pages show at most” option, this number limits the amount of posts that will be included anytime your RSS or Atom feeds are visited. A lower number keeps the amount of work needed of your server down, but a higher number helps your subscribers to see more of your posts.

For each article in a feed, show

This option pertains for your RSS and Atom feeds as well, and will decide the amount of content your feed subscribers are allowed to see when viewing your content using their feed readers. The “full text” setting will allow your subscribers to read entire posts without visiting your website, while “summary” only gives them an excerpt of each post to encourage your subscribers to visit your website to read the rest of the post.

Search Engine Visibility

Checking this option will tell search engines that you would rather not have them index your website. It goes about doing this by inserting

<meta name='robots' content='noindex,nofollow' />

into your website’s section. It is up to the individual search engines to understand and honor this request, but some of the most popular will respect your wishes. Checking this option is good for sites that are currently under development or need some privacy.

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