In today’s always on, abundantly interconnected world of Internet-based commerce and communication, you either have a digital presence and an opportunity to succeed at your chosen enterprise or you neglect to establish one and fail before you even begin. As it happens, a WordPress blog is a great way to get your name and agenda out to the waiting eyes (and ears, if you use embedded media like music, podcasts, or videos) of the Internet masses.
They’re easy to start, easy to use, and quite inexpensive to maintain. Of course, these days, domain names and web hosting are cheaper than they ever have been. As such, it’s assumed that you’re hosting your own WordPress blog. If you aren’t, go fix that now, because all the instructions outlined below apply specifically to independently hosted properties.
There is one question that every beginner asks, “How do I change the number of WordPress posts displayed?” To learn how and why to do this quickly and simply, just keep reading!
WordPress Defaults and What You Should Do With Them
WordPress blogs are set up a certain way for everyone, at least at first. It’s part of their design, and it allows for uniformity, customization, and rapid output. Of course, not everyone likes the default settings. For example, the number of WordPress posts displayed is set to ten by default. However, you can change this setting with ease. Of course, you can leave these alone, but vanilla blogs aren’t very exciting for people or search engines. This makes customization crucial for your website’s success.
Here’s how you can change the number of WordPress posts displayed on your own blog:
- Log into the command console of your WordPress blog, enter the Settings menu, then click on the “Reading” sub-menu.
- Scroll down to the row that begins with “Blog pages show…” and change that number to anything you want.
- Save your settings by clicking the big “save settings” button, and you’re done!
The Effects of WordPress Alteration
Changing the number of posts your blog displays on each page is a quickie, no sweat type of operation that basically anyone can do, but it isn’t enough to know how to do it. You need to understand why you’re doing it, and what the implications are. Why? Because every time you change something, it affects how the search engines – especially Google, Yahoo, and Bing – relate and react to your blog, and it can also have a big influence on the relationship your readers have with you and your site. Since these are the cornerstones of any successful blog, it seems prudent to take a bit of time to examine anything that impacts them. A few tips and tricks that it would be wise to keep in mind if and when you decide to change the max default posts on your blog can be found below.
This one is simple: The more blog posts you display on a given page, the slower your WordPress blog will load, especially if you move into the publication of rich, non-textual media (images, videos, music, and so forth). At its mildest, this is just an annoyance, but let it go on for long enough without fixing it, or make it severe enough by dialing the setting up to, say, fifty posts per page, can obliterate your readership and your search engine rankings in one fell swoop. As a rule of thumb, if you’re sticking with the standard, full-length format, keep the “per page” count set to ten or below.
Keeping your readers on the page is difficult and bombarding them with content may not be the answer. Consider a page full of five hundred word posts. This can easily intimidate new readers that are looking at your website. While your loyal visitors may stick around, there’s a good chance you’ll scare off a certain percentage of your readership. This is especially true of readers who aren’t sure if they like your blog or not. Keeping your post count low (10) will help to minimize the number of readers who leave a page. This will help you keep more eyes on your content.
Search Engine Optimization
The major search engines (mostly Google) are key to getting views for your content. The WordPress system works via a system of tags that tell the search engines what your stuff is about. Due to how WordPress is coded, your posts may appear on multiple pages across your site. Search engines hate duplicate content and will respond accordingly. To keep search engines happy, keep your default max post count around ten posts per page.
The Loophole, a.k.a. Getting Snipped
Now, after reading all of this, you may think that setting the number of WordPress posts displayed to anything above ten is a mistake. Ordinarily, you’d be spot on, but here’s the thing: WordPress isn’t so much different from anything else in that there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about things. In this case, you can do things with post excerpts that you can’t do with your untrimmed, full-length posts. Chiefly, you can put probably fifteen or twenty of them on each page of your blog without causing a problem. As summaries of your posts rather than the entire entry, excerpts provide a host of benefits, including:
- Quicker, snappier loading of posts and pages
- More complete search engine optimization / more favorable search engine profile
- Lower bounce rate (the metric that measures the rate at which visitors to a particular website leave after viewing a single page; measured as a percentage of overall traffic, lower is better)
- Excerpts tend to serve as bait for the posts they summarize, which leads to more page views per visitor, which means more eyes on your content
- Increased advertiser revenue (they tend to like blogs that are organized in this fashion, seeing them as more appealing to potential traffic/visitors)
One note: While organizing a blog using excerpts/post summaries carries a host of benefits, certain demographics actually favor full-entry blogs, especially if the owner of the site doesn’t take the time to write his or her own custom excerpts (letting WordPress auto-create them can result in some gnarly problems). The only real solution to this hiccup is to take a look at your blog stats, poll your visitors, and then see what works and what doesn’t. In time, things tend to settle into a “best fit” for each blog.
By now, you’ve hopefully discovered how simple it is to go about resetting the maximum WordPress number of posts, as well as how to go about it in as safe and effective a manner as possible. Now it’s time to write! Have something to say, write it in the comments below!