Ah, WordPress. We love to complain about it in all its buggy glory, yet here we are. One of the things that divides people is the WordPress Reader, so let’s chat about it.
I’m very gung-ho WP Reader. It makes life so much easier. I don’t want blog notifications clogging up my inbox. And I am a doofus. With the Reader, everyone’s posts appear in one place (except when they don’t, which is annoying). I don’t have to go anywhere to see my notifications; they’re quick and easy to check. I can’t even imagine the buttloads of email notifications I’d have to wade through if I didn’t use the Reader. Yuck!
There are 2 people I follow on Blogger that I get email notifications from, and that’s plenty. There are some self-hosted bloggers I follow that I’d have to subscribe by email to get their responses to comments (and the responses of everyone else to that post), but that seems all kinds of excessive. Then again, if I have more than one email in my inbox, I start to get confused, so there’s that.
I read people’s posts in the Reader unless they (like me) don’t allow that, but I still arrive there from the Reader. My concentration is craptastic, and the uniform appearance, with dark text and white background in the Reader is so much easier to read. It doesn’t take much in terms of busy backgrounds or text that doesn’t stand out for me to give up and bail on trying to read.
I don’t really understand how people manage to not use the Reader. I’m dazed and confused enough as it is with it, and have strong doubts as to whether I’d still be blogging without it.
Show excerpts only in the Reader
Some annoying people, like me, won’t let you read their posts in the Reader; you have to click through to their actual site. Some of these blogs aren’t intending to be annoying; they’re self-hosted and use WordPress.org. I don’t actually know the details of how these folks get their blogs to show up (or not show up, as the case may be) in the Reader.
For the people like me who use WordPress.com and are annoying by choice, this is how to do it, if you’re so inclined.
My Sites > Settings > “Writing” tab > scroll down to “Feed settings” > toggle “Limit feed to excerpt only”
I first switched to excerpts only when I upgraded to the business plan. I was trying out running ads through Google AdSense, and ads don’t show up in the Reader, so to get a clear picture of whether or not I could make a bit of money that way, I forced people to the site itself. I eventually decided that was a failed experiment and I didn’t have the buttloads of visitors that you need to make money off of ads, so I briefly switched back to being viewable in the Reader.
The block editor
But then the block editor came along. I started using a lot of media+text reusable blocks in my posts. Those look really ugly in the Reader, because it doesn’t do fancy blocks. I’m too attached to the convenience of media+text reusable blocks, so back to excerpts only. I prioritize my convenience over yours because, well, it’s my blog and I’ll be annoying if I want to. 😉
So, that’s some of my thoughts on the Reader. I would love to hear yours!