13 Built-In WordPress Options That Online Publishers Need To Know

With WordPress probably being the most popular content management and blogging platform on the internet, any new releases will inevitably create a stir amongst blogging enthusiasts as well as web hosts and designers.

13 Built-In WordPress Options That Online Publishers Need To Know

The recently released WordPress comes with additional built-in options, over and above those that were in the older versions. It is these new options, as well as those in the older versions that we seek to reveal to online publishers as well as the growing legion of WordPress converts.

Suffice it to say, you need to update to the latest version for you to enjoy any of the new features. A dashboard page that contains one or more of these cool features will inform you of the new feature by way of a pop-up message, so expect a few surprises along the way.

1. Read More

This is one feature already available on the older version of WordPress. This feature allows you to choose if you would like WordPress to display just an excerpt of your post. Where your front page is not set to show a short extract of the post it will display the entire write-up as opposed to giving reader the option of clicking a link or selecting‘open’ to see the full post.

With the ‘Read More’ feature, this process has been simplified and does not require the use of the HTML editor to activate it.

2. Disallow Comments

By selecting the “Discussions” Screen Option, and unchecking “Allow Comments”, you will disallow visitors from posting reviews or comments on that particular post. There is also the option of whether or not to allow ‘trackbacks and pingbacks’ on your page.

This option was also available in the older version of WordPress and gives you the power to choose which posts visitors are invited to leave comments on, as well as the option of disallowing reviews and comments where it may not serve any purpose.

3. Visual and HTML Editors

As a means of offering those using WordPress the option of enhancing the appearance of their posts and blogs, a visual editor as well as an HTML editor are built into the platform. For those with some basic HTML knowledge, this feature enables toggling over the HTML editor for you to make customizations to your site as necessary. The Visual Editor, however, is much simpler and is comparable to using an ordinary word processor. It is also a handy tool for making improvements to the look and feel of your site. That said, the default editor for WordPress blogs is the Visual editor and is powered by TinyMCE.

4. Easy Tweet Embedding

This newest feature of the latest version of WordPress makes embedding a tweet of your post easy by simply copying the URL and pasting it into your WordPress editor. This feature enables you to add active links, as well as the ‘follow’ button without having to rely on the use of embedded code and screenshots. This is one of the many features that contribute to the growing popularity of WordPress among bloggers.

To get started, click on the time stamp of the actual tweet. You will then be taken to the webpage of that individual tweet.

This is where you copy the URL needed for pasting into your editor.

For this feature to function properly, make sure you paste the entire URL of a single tweet and make sure it rests on a separate line of its own. Also, be sure to properly format your HTML code and use only code listed in the allowed HTML tags list.

Additionally, WordPress.com has established some code restrictions which include embeds, custom forms and javaScript.

5. Search Engine Privacy

This feature was available even before the upgrade to the latest version. Ideally, this option is meant to request search engines to respect the privacy of a blog or a post. You can activate this feature by going to the ‘Settings’ tab of the dashboard nav bar and clicking on the ‘Privacy’ link where you are presented with this option.

This is a handy tool for websites that are under development or maintenance. The request for your site to not be indexed gives the site owner a window for setting up their content without search engines picking it up while work is in progress. After you have finished performing work on your site, you can then go back and allow search engines to index the site so you will be found on search results.

As a word of caution, where you only require a few of the webpages of your website to be hidden from search engines, you should use plugins that do so. This particular feature hides every page of your WordPress site and may be detrimental to your site if you do so for a live site that uses WordPress as your content management platform and are in the process of launching a blog. This will not endear you to search engines and may even get you kicked out of the search index by search engines and hence of search listings and any such search results.

6. HTML in Image Captions

Yet another one of the new features added to WordPress in version 3.4 is HTML in Image Captions which enables you to add a link to a caption that is attached to an image. This was previously not possible. You can now directly link an image to its source and thus give credit to where it was obtained. The feature also allows you to do something that was, until the release of this latest version not possible; add text that has been formatted to make fonts bold, italics or underlined.

7. Live Theme Preview FNF

The newly released WordPress version eliminates the need for setting up a dev site or prematurely applying a theme to a site to experience how it will look or feel. Within the Manage Themes page, just beneath the inactive themes, a link that reads ‘Live Preview’ has been provided to do exactly that.

Once you click on this link, a new page opens up and here you are shown how the WordPress theme will look like once it is applied. The active theme is not affected by this action as this will only act as a preview to help you decide if it is what you are looking for. Visitors to your site continue viewing the active theme until you decide to replace it with the new theme and make it live.

8. Revisions

This option, also available before the release of WordPress v. 3.4, ensures that all versions of your posts are being saved as you continuously make revisions. When this option is enabled you will see proof of this in the post edit page where there is a time stamp of the different points in time that changes were made.

To enable this, go to Screen Options, check “Revisions” and your previous revisions will now be visible. This feature works by saving your work as a new revision every time you are working on your post and choose to save your work. The older versions appear as blue links which, if clicked, will take you to that particular version and you could either use that for comparison, further revision or even to revert completely to one of these older versions.

This feature can come in handy when you suddenly think of re-using material that you had previously discarded.

There is also a function available to enable a side by side comparison of two revisions. To do this, go to the Text Editor, under the Revisions section, select the first revision date that you are interested in, next select the other revision that you would like to compare. Click ‘Compare Revisions’ and you will get the requested side by side view to enable comparison of the two versions/revisions.

To restore a previous version of a post simply locate it on the list of revisions and click ‘Restore’ which is found at the bottom right hand corner.

9. NextPage (Pagination)

There is no need to search for a plugin that splits long blogs or posts to make them available on multiple pages. This feature has been readily on previous versions of WordPress. You can enable the Page break option by pasting: <!–nextpage–> into your HTML editor where you want your post to end and send those reading the post to the page where it is continued.

As for you, just continue writing out your post – the post editor screen will not be affected. This will only come into effect when the content is posted on the live site and readers choose to continue reading beyond the point where you have placed a page break.

Adding another <!–nextpage–> will, likewise, split the post and carry it over to another page.

10. Theme Customizer

The ‘Theme Customizer’ is a new feature available with WordPress v3.4 and, along with the ‘Theme Preview’ option, it has been developed to enable WordPress users to gain access to a much quicker way of editing and previewing a number of WordPress options at once. These include:

  • Background Image
  • Static Front Page
  • Colors
  • Navigation
  • Site Title and Tagline
  • Header Image

These options are available on the nav bar found to the left of the WordPress screen and once you are done making all the necessary changes click the “Save and Activate” button or simply cancel to continue using the current features without making any changes.

With the ‘Theme Preview’ option, you are able to see the final appearance of the theme in real time although this is a preview version visible only to you.

11. Size of Post Box

As the size of the ‘post box’ does not change when you toggle from Visual to HTML, you may be in need of a change of the screen to enable you to see more lines and avoid getting everything cramped together.

The default size of 10 lines for the post box can prove to be too small and, therefore, WordPress offers you the option of increasing this size.

To perform this change, go to the ‘Settings’ option found on the navigation bar on the left side of the WordPress screen. Below this, click on “Writing” to reveal the “Size of Post Box” option. From here you can choose the number of lines that is appropriate and more comfortable for you.

This feature also comes in very handy when you need to figure out the best layout for a post that features a combination of both images and text.

12. Easy YouTube Video Embedding

Just like embedding a tweet into your WordPress site, the function of embedding YouTube videos has been around for some time. Following similar instructions to those used in posting a tweet to your website, copy and paste the full URL for the YouTube video, making sure that you place the link on its own separate line. That’s all! No other steps required.

As an example, a screenshot is given of how a YouTube video, featuring a video of New York filmed with a time-lapse camera, is embedded in the editor, together with the actual video as visitors to the site would see it. Simply copy the URL of the video you intend to embed onto the webpage that it is featured and paste it in the editor.

Shortcodes available from the WordPress Support blog give guidance on how these can be used to customize features of the embedded video, such as width, height or to simply prevent other videos from being displayed at the end of the one that you have featured.

Unfortunately, the shortcodes are not effective on self-hosted blogs, but only on posts hosted on WordPress.com.

13. Screen Options

Although not many WordPress users are aware of the post edit screen display options, they are quite easy to access and equally as easy to use. In order to access these options, look for a grey button with a downward facing arrow and labeled “Screen Options”. This is found on the post edit page and is located on the upper right hand corner of the page.

Upon clicking this button, a drop-down menu is displayed where you can activate the available options by checking or unchecking them.

Checked options are the ones that will be available on the edit screen while those that remain unchecked will not appear. For example, when the box referring to “Excerpts” is checked this will enable you to define an excerpt that you intend to feature on your post. Likewise, when the option for “Author” is checked in the ‘Screen Options’ menu, you will be able to display the name of another author, other than yourself, which is a useful option for posting articles that belong to other writers.

As you are now probably able to figure out, if you suddenly realize that a particular option is missing from your post edit screen then, you should first have a look under the ‘Screen Options’ to see whether the feature has been disabled.

WordPress employs the use of cookies, which are stored in a database, as well as on your computer to save any configurations that you’ve set. This is important as it ensures that things will still look the same when you use another computer or use a different browser.

More Light At The End…

As you can see, these features continue to simplify the work of content hosts, as well as other web developers and content providers by offering even more innovative options. The added flexibility and ability to customize sites, pages and posts plays a significant part in attracting more followers, users and admirers to the WordPress content hosting platform.

An interesting fact that emerges from these cool options is that online publishers now have available to them features that would otherwise require them to search and install plugins for certain features to be available. You might also know of other amazing features that the WordPress community has not yet caught up with and you would like to be the one who unleashes its brilliance to the rest of the WordPress Kin!

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