One of my favorite things to do is visit the sites and blogs that have installed and are actively using the Book Review plugin. It affords me the opportunity to see the different ways in which the plugin is being used, and to spot potential problems. It’s also very rewarding just to see it being used on other blogs besides my own.

One thing I’ve been noticing fairly frequently on a number of sites looks something like this:

Excerpts show a snippet of your full blog post

Odds are, this isn’t how you want your excerpts to look. You probably want the snippet to show the first couple of sentences from the body of your review. So what’s going on?

By default, if you don’t write your own excerpt, WordPress will grab a snippet of your full blog post and use that instead. When using the Book Review plugin with the Review Box Position set to Top, this means that your excerpt will start with the information that normally appears at the top of your review posts, which includes the book’s title, author and genre.

Write Your Own Excerpts

The good news is that there is an easy way to avoid this and make your excerpts look much better. At the very top of the posts page in the WordPress admin is a Screen Options tab. Clicking on that opens a new section that includes an Excerpt checkbox. Go ahead and check this box if it’s not already selected:

WordPress Screen Options
Excerpt checkbox in the WordPress Screen Options

You should now see an Excerpt box beneath the WordPress editor:

WordPress Excerpt Box
Excerpt box on the WordPress Posts screen

All you need to do now is enter a brief description into the box, and your excerpt will look more like this:

Custom Excerpt
Custom excerpts in WordPress

This is a relatively small improvement that you can make fairly easily, but one that will make your site more appealing to your visitors.

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