7. Read More
I am always surprised by how many people do not know about or utilize this handy option.
If you do not have your front page set to show post excerpts, it will show the entirety of your posts unless you instruct WordPress to truncate them at some point and then link people to the full post.
The Read More button does this easily, and you don’t even have to toggle over to the HTML editor to use it.
8. Visual and HTML Editors
While we’re on the subject of toggling over the HTML editor, I suppose I should explain what that means.
WordPress gives you the ease of a “WYSIWYG editor,” which means “what you see is what you get.” In the screenshot directly above, the Visual editor is being utilized. Anyone who has used a word processor will feel comfortable using the Visual editor.
The last screen shot on Page 1 of this post, however, is in the HTML editor. Though I spend most of time using the Visual editor, sometimes it is necessary to toggle over and make granular HTML changes.
You need to have at least basic HTML skills to make use of this editor. If so, it can offer additional flexibility in customizing the look and feel of a post.
9. Size of Post Box
One aspect of the screen that will not change when you toggle from Visual to HTML is the size of post box. However, if the default size of 10 lines is too small for your taste, as it is for mine, you can easily change it.
In your dashboard navigation bar on the left side, click on the “Writing” link under Settings. The first option on the ensuing page is “Size of post box.” Enter in whatever size you wish.
I like to be able to see at least 20 lines myself, so that I’m not cramped and so that I can see how images fit with the text.
10. Screen Options
Speaking of options, there are a number of other display options for the post edit screen.
Unfortunately, many people do not know how to access them. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to do so.
In the upper right hand corner of the post edit page is a gray button that says “Screen Options” and has a small downward facing arrow.
Click it, and a menu drops down with a number of options that you can check or uncheck. Any options that are checked will show up on your edit screen. If unchecked, you won’t be able to see them.
For example, if you’re posting an article by another author — so that you need to change the Author to someone other than yourself — you need to make sure the box next to “Author” is checked in the Screen Options. Similarly, If you want to be able to define an excerpt, you need to be sure that box is checked. And so on.
If you are looking for an option on the post edit screen and cannot find it, check your Screen Options before you do anything else.
11. Disallow Comments
One particular Screen Option is “Discussion”. This gives you control over whether readers can post comments on an article and whether trackbacks are allowed.
If you check “Discussion” and then uncheck the option for allowing comments, it will disable comments for that post only. Sometimes this is useful when you have a post for which comments would be unnecessary or unwanted.
Did you know that WordPress saves every single revision you make of an article? It’s true.
Scroll down in your post edit page and you should see a widget like this:
If you do not, open up your Screen Options and check “Revisions,” and it will appear.
Every time I save this post, which I do often when writing a longer one, WordPress saves a revision. Thus, if I changed or deleted something from an earlier draft, but later wanted to reincorporate it or, revert to an entire previous draft, it would require only a few clicks of a button.
By clicking on any of those links in blue, I am taken to that revision. I can then compare the revisions, or copy a specific section and bring it over to the newest version.
I cannot tell you how many times this built-in feature has saved my tookus or simply made life easier.
13. Search engine privacy
And finally, my old nemesis.
In the Settings tab of the dashboard nav bar, you will see a link for “Privacy.” Clicking on this link provides just one setting option:
You can choose to allow search engines to index your site, or request that they wait.
Why would you want to keep search engines away? If you are still developing the site, you may want to keep the spiders away until you have the content on your pages just so before they get indexed. Then once your site is ready to be found by search engine users around the world, you can toggle to the other option to open the floodgates.
Here is what you don’t want to do: toggle off allowing search engines to index the site as you prepare to launch a blog on a live site using WordPress as a content management system.
Can you keep a secret? I’m about to tell you something that I haven’t admitted to anyone publicly but that I have been roundly and justifiably mocked for here at Synthesis HQ:
I did just that right before we launched the Synthesis blog and it caused our entire site to be removed from the index for a few days.
It was a valuable, though totally avoidable and unnecessary lesson.
Learn from me: only toggle search engines off when you want every page of that particular WordPress install hidden from search engines. There are plugins that allow you to hide individual posts from search engines, if necessary.
The Moral of the Story …
The lesson of this post should be simple: WordPress has a plethora of built-in features that make our lives as content publishers much easier than they would otherwise.
And a lot of times, what we think we need a plugin for is already handled easily by WordPress itself.
These 13 built-in options are great examples, and everyone who uses WordPress should know and utilize them.
What other built-in options does WordPress have that you use frequently and think everyone else should know (but might not)?