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WordPress feeds: Full text or summary?

WP iconsBy now you probably know there is a WordPress widget that lets you subscribe to a blog via email. But I’ve only recently figured out why sometimes the email notification I get includes an entire post and sometimes only the first paragraph or so. If I don’t get the entire post, then I have to go to the blog to read it. I usually do that anyway because it’s more pleasant to read there.

It seems to me if you are the blog owner, you’d prefer to have readers come to your blog to read, and let the email simply announce each new post with a preview. To do that, go to Dashboard > Settings > Reading > “For each article in a feed, show” and click “Summary.”

This way readers will receive only a summary and will come back to your blog to read; it also improves the chances they’ll see something else of interest. It also counts as another hit (but who’s counting, right?). As a bonus, and possibly even more important, It also means your blog’s RSS feeds will include only summaries and not complete posts, discouraging scrapers. You may of course prefer to be thoughtful and accommodating and mail full posts to your subscribers. That’s commendable.



      • I made plenty of sense but that didn’t stop me from having to come back here to reread your instructions before I could find the right menu item to finally ‘click.’ Now that it’s done, I must remember that the first sentence has to be some sort of teaser. Such as – Neophyte reporter discovers new reason to avoid pants.

        • If you prefer to write a custom teaser or excerpt rather than just have the first words of the post used, you can do that. Below the space where you write your post, there is a space titled “Excerpt” where you can write such a teaser/summary/intro and, as I understand it, this will be sent instead of the first part of your post.

          If you don’t see the “Excerpt” space, click on “Screen Options” in the upper right corner of your dashboard screen. You’ll see a list of items you can choose to have displayed (or not) on your dashboard — Likes and Shares, Format, Excerpt, etc. You can clutter or de-clutter your dashboard as much as you want.

    • I used to think that too. Then I learned that with this theme, The Morning After, it also controls how my front page posts and archive listings appear. And somewhere in the middle of all that I came across something that indicated it also controls the length of your email notifications. Mine should be among the abbreviated email notifications you get, as are those I get from you.

    • I think once you’ve set your blog to put out summaries in your RSS feeds, the “continue reading” message is generated automatically. The wording may vary depending on which theme you are using; I’m not sure about that.

      There is also an unrelated function on your editing page labeled “Insert more tag” (when you mouse over it) if you want to manually insert such a break in your post. These can be edited to say whatever you want (“But wait, there’s more,” “Please keep reading,” etc.). That may be what you are seeing. It’s explained here.

      The “Continue reading >>” lines you see on Pied Type’s home page are a function of this theme.

Now that I've had my say ...

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