WordPress has lots of different options and settings. Most of the time, it is pretty cut and dried— what we need to do when we encounter them. And if we don’t know the answer, we listen to the experts or google the question to get sound advice.
But not everything is a simple decision. Here are three settings that, well, have two sides to the coin.
This one is a two-parter. These are found in your “reading” settings.
First, there is this one.
How many feeds should we list when a new post goes out?
On one side, the regular readers probably don’t need to see more than your most recent post. They are thinking, why am I getting these older posts I’ve already read. But maybe they missed your last email.
On the other hand, your new readers might appreciate seeing some of your previous posts. And how many is too few or too many?
Secondly, what about this setting?:
Your choices are to either show the full text (your entire blog post), or just an excerpt, which is called the summary in your settings.
There are two ways to think about this. When you give readers the full post, they don’t have a motivation to click through to your site because they already have everything they need. While it’s true that readers who loved your blog so much that they signed up for your RSS feed may still click through, you might lose some people who don’t take that extra step. And that can have an impact on your comments. But some readers tell us that they like getting the full post in a feed because they can quickly skim through it to decide if they want to click through or come back to your site later and read it. So, you see, it’s not a simple decision.
The second option is to go for the summary, or excerpt. It’s a lot less clutter for your reader, but as the blogger, you must pay close attention to what you put in it. It had better be a damn powerful headline. And the excerpt should stop at a point that leaves your readers so curious that they just have to click through to read the rest of your post. Otherwise, you may lose them.
Whenever we create a hyperlink, we have two options: send the reader to another page within our site, or take them to an outside source.
So the link either opens in a new window/tab or it opens in the same window:
What should we do? In the past most people have followed the rule, if linking within your site, open in the same window. If linking outside your site, open in a new window or tab. The reasoning behind the latter is that way you don’t lose your reader, because once they close that new window or tab, your site is still in a window or tab.
The other side of the coin is that most people are used to pushing the back browser arrow to get to where they were. And when they can’t, they are frustrated. And who needs more open tabs and windows?
I am finding more and more that people are arguing the point to never open a new window. In fact some can back up this argument with some pretty startling statistics. So, who is right?
Your editor window still gives you the option of underlining a word or phrase. If I had my way, I would remove it. Because, even though people are moving away from making linked text underlined, many users have been trained to click on underlined things. Sure, underlining is a way to emphasize text (were you tempted to click on that?) but so is bolding, italicizing, or a combination of both. Isn’t that enough?
Sure, you might be thinking, there are still important reasons to use it. Titles of lists, perhaps. Not every reader will assume it’s a link, right? And if they do, and it doesn’t work, they will figure it out.
(We won’t worry about the email or comment we might get about the broken link in our post.)
So there you go: some food for thought. Is there a right or wrong way? Talk amongst yourselves and let me know which side of the coin you are on. I may even tell you what I do.