Menu

Help Readers Find the Good Stuff: Organize Posts with Shortcodes

Helping visitors quickly find what interests them is key. The faster you can guide a new reader to content that…

If you write for an audience — be it millions of strangers or your mom — you inevitably think about how your words appear to others. Very often, this self-consciousness results in overstuffed prose and too-clever storytelling. Here to remind us of the virtue of simplicity in writing is Raymond Carver, a master of narrative and linguistic economy:

“I hate tricks. At the first sign of a trick or gimmick in a piece of fiction, a cheap trick or even an elaborate trick, I tend to look for cover. Tricks are ultimately boring, and I get bored easily, which may go along with my not having much of an attention span. But extremely clever chi-chi writing, or just plain tomfoolery writing, puts me to sleep. Writers don’t need tricks or gimmicks or even necessarily need to be the smartest fellows on the block. At the risk of appearing foolish, a writer sometimes needs to be able to just stand and gape at this or that thing — a sunset or an old shoe — in absolute and simple amazement.”

Raymond Carver, Fires: Essays, Poems, Stories

Show Comments

108 Comments

Comments are closed.

Close Comments

Comments

  1. Michelle, I believe you are reading my mind! This is the second day that I’ve thought about adding a feature to my site and what do I find this morning? Of course – a post on how to use shortcodes.

    Thanks for all your help.

    Dionne

    Like

    1. Similar, yes, but with a little more versatility, since you can add all kinds of parameters for what/how things display. And since you can have other things on the page, you’re not just limited to a list of posts. But for lots of folks, adding categories to a menu will be just fine.

      Like

  2. Hi Michelle, I’ve been using shortcodes since I discovered them in Zero To Hero. (Thanks for that.) I did have a question I haven’t been able to answer for myself: If I create a page to display posts in a certain category, does the display list update itself when I add new posts to that category, or do I have to manually edit the post in order to update the list?

    Like

    1. Well, sure, when I returned to my blog – the pages had the posts listed in the category, but no thumbnail…does it just take time?

      Like