January 21, 2014
I first understood how important it was to enable readers of my blog to be able to easily print a copy of a post some years back.
A reader left a comment on the post asking for a print-friendly version of the post so he could read it offline and retain for future reference. For every one person asking, there are always countless others who think the same, but would never let me know.
(And if you’ve ever tried printing a non-printer-friendly Web page, you’ll know how frustrating it is — wrong layout, wasted pages and ink … you end up wishing you hadn’t bothered …)
It seems simple, but without enabling readers of your content to print it out, you lose some of your power to influence, your ability to retain and attract your readership, and even potential guest posting opportunities.
This article explains how to install basic print-friendly capability for your WordPress blog. It takes all of five minutes and you (and your visitors) benefit for a long time to come.
There are numerous plugins available, but the one I’ll focus on here is called WP-Print — I have no personal interest in it, other than I’ve used it personally on a number of my own blogs. It’s quick to install, and easy and simple to use.
Because some plugins can introduce security problems, one thing to check before installing a new one is the rating, and how many times it has been downloaded. WP-Print has been downloaded around 400,000 times, and it’s rating is more than 4 out of 5 … so it’s a safe bet you’ll be fine installing it.
After installing it, each post on your blog will have a print icon which, when clicked, presents a clean, concise and print-ready version of your post — one particular benefit is that any links in the post are referenced at the bottom with the full link provided.
Here are the simple steps required to get it working for your own blog:
1. Install The Plugin
Log into your blog, and click Plugins from the left-hand menu. Click the ‘Add New’ link at the top and search for WP-Print.
You should then see the WP-Print plugin — click the ‘Install Now’ link provided.
If for whatever reason this doesn’t work for you, locate the plugin on WordPress.org, download the zip, and upload the wp-print directory to your /wp-content/plugins folder
2. Activate The Plugin
After installation, you should see the plugin listed on your blog (again click Plugins from the menu on the left).
Click the Activate link provided.
3. Update Your Settings
Go to Settings > Print on the left of your blog, and this takes you to the settings page for WP-Print. Adjust the settings as required, such as selecting the print icon you want to use, and what you want to be included on the print-friendly version of the post.
4. Regenerate Permalinks
You’ve got to do this or the plugin won’t work properly, but it’s very simple. Just go to Settings > Permalinks in your blog, and click Save Changes.
5. Add To Your Theme
The last step is to add a small code snippet at the point where you want the print-friendly button to appear.
To edit your theme, you can either do it from within WordPress (access the theme editor via Appearance > Editor) or via the editor you normally use for Web page development. Just be sure to back up your existing files first – you’ll find your theme at wp-content/themes/THEME_NAME
Unfortunately due to the code involved, it’s not possible to reproduce it here, but you’ll find the full details within the readme.txt file for the plugin (go to wp-content/plugins/wp-print/readme.txt).
Once that’s done, your visitors will now be able to print out your posts — easy!
Steve Shaw is the founder of vWriter.com, the content creation, management and distribution platform that helps your business grow traffic, build engagement, and ‘Be Everywhere.’ Get your copy of his Be Everywhere online marketing blueprint, and find out how to create your own Google-friendly authority site that will stand the test of time and come to dominate its niche - https://www.vwriter.com/blueprint