How to Change Your WordPress Blog’s Write and Read Settings

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

You can personalize your WordPress blog with the Writing and Reading Settings. This will let you customize things like search engine visibility, or how you want to be found when people search online for keywords.


Click the Writing link in the Settings menu; the Writing Settings page opens.

This page lets you set some basic options for writing your posts. There are options for choosing how your posts look and how WordPress handles some specific conditions.

After you set your options, be sure to click the Save Changes button; otherwise, the changes won’t take effect.


Take a look to see what these options can really do for you.

Option Function Default
Formatting Determines whether WordPress converts emoticons to graphics and
whether WordPress corrects invalidly nested XHTML automatically. In
general, you should select this option.
Default Post Category Lets you select the category that WordPress defaults to any
time you forget to choose a category when you publish a post.
Default Post Format Lets you select the post format that WordPress defaults to any
time you publish a post to your blog.
Press This A small application to use in your browser that lets you post
information and content you find on the web to your blog in a quick
and easy fashion. Just drag and drop the Press This button to your
browser’s bookmark toolbar to use.
Post via E-mail Lets you publish blog posts from your e-mail account by letting
you enter the e-mail and server information for the account
you’ll be using to send posts to your WordPress blog.
Update Services Note: This option is available
only if your blog is made public in the Privacy settings.
Lets you indicate which ping service you want to use to notify
the world that you’ve made updates, or new posts, to your
blog. The default, XML_RPC, updates all
the popular services simultaneously.


The third link in the Settings menu is Reading.


You can set the following options in the Reading Settings page:

  • Front Page Displays: Choose what you want to display on the front page of your blog: your latest posts or a static page.

  • Blog Pages Show at Most: Type the maximum number of posts you want to display on each blog page.

  • Syndication Feeds Show the Most Recent: In the Posts box, type the maximum number of posts you want to show in your RSS feed at any time.

  • For Each Article in a Feed, Show: Select either Full Text or Summary. Full Text publishes the entire post to your RSS feed, whereas Summary publishes only an excerpt.

  • Search Engine Visibility: By default, the Discourage Search Engines from Indexing This Site option is not checked. If you are one of those rare bloggers who doesn’t want search engines to be able to visit and index your blog in their search directories, check the Discourage Search Engines from Indexing This Site option.

Generally, you want search engines to be able to find your blog. However, if you have special circumstances, you may want to enforce your privacy settings. When you have Search Engine Visibility selected, search engines and other content bots can’t find your website.

Be sure to click the Save Changes button when you’ve set all your options in the Reading Settings page to make the changes take effect.