By Anne White
Insights atoms are an intuitive, and interactive, way to display your posts on your site. There are a number of different insights atoms, each with their own design and functionalities. However, the main function of all insights atoms is to display posts, and other content types, within a single atom on the page. Each atom will display posts slightly differently, and will therefore be used in different areas of your site, for different reasons. It is a good idea to read the individual atom guide before adding any to your site.
Before adding insights atoms to your site, you should first ensure that you have a number of high-quality posts to display. If you need more information on how to create posts for your site, take a look at our “Creating a Post” guide. You should also have a strong taxonomy structure, and have applied it to your posts properly. Insights atoms do not necessarily need a taxonomy structure in place in order to display posts, but it will allow you to determine which posts you would like to be pulled through more accurately, and will also make it easier for your users to navigate through the displayed posts. We have a number of taxonomy-related guides to help you set up a killer taxonomy strategy – in order to learn more about setting and applying a strong taxonomy strategy, take a look at some of our “Introduction to taxonomy“, “Setting a taxonomy strategy“, “Managing taxonomy“, and “Popular categories and tags” guides.
Once you have ensured that you have a good number of high-quality posts with a strong taxonomy strategy applied, you can begin adding insights atoms to your site. First, you should decide which insights atom you need to use. Each atom has slightly different functionalities and will therefore display posts in different ways, meaning they should be used for different purposes. For example, an insights carousel might be used to display related articles at the end of a post, whilst the extended insights atom would be more useful as the basis of an insights landing page, to display a larger number of posts at once. Check the individual atom guides for information on how posts will be displayed in each atom.
Most insights atoms have a number of options which allow you to choose which posts will be displayed. Every atom will allow you to manually select certain posts. This can be done by typing the name of the post you wish to display into the custom post or manually select post field within the atom settings. You can choose a number of posts, depending upon the specific atom and its purpose. If posts have been manually applied, they will remain displayed in the insights atom regardless of how many other posts have been created, or how old the posts are, until you manually remove them from the atom, or delete the post.
By default, if posts have not been manually added, most insights atoms will simply display your latest posts. This will automatically display newly published posts, meaning that the posts being displayed will change depending upon how many have been created and how old they are, with older post being removed as they are replaced by newer posts. In most cases you will also be able to choose the number of posts that you would like to be displayed. For example, an insights atom that is being used on an insights landing page will usually display a large number of posts, whilst an insights atom that is simply displaying featured articles as part of a larger page, may only need to display three or four posts.
You may also be able to choose a number of posts to be loaded onto a page once a “load more” button has been pressed. These posts will otherwise remain hidden until the button is clicked.
Some insights atoms will also allow you to manually select posts that should be excluded from the atom. These can be added by typing the name of specific posts into the exclude posts field. These will not be displayed, regardless of whether they fit the other criteria for posts displayed in the atom. In some cases, you can also choose to offset posts, meaning that the atom will display the latest posts, excluding the number of latest posts that you have determined. This is useful for displaying posts in multiple different insights atoms on the same page, as it means that the latest posts can be pulled through to both atoms, without repeating the same posts.
Depending upon the insights atom, you will usually also have the option to pull through specific posts based on their taxonomy. This is usually based on the category of the post, which you can enter into the select categories field. Entering a category into this field will display the latest posts that have been assigned that category. This would be useful helpful, for example, when displaying related articles at the end of a post. This will allow you to pull through posts that are the same category as the post on which they are being displayed. It is worth noting that manually selecting posts will override any of the taxonomies that have been selected, meaning that it is not necessary to select categories if other posts have already been manually applied.
Some insights atoms will also allow you to pull through posts based on other taxonomy, such as content type. This is useful when it is necessary to pull different posts through to different pages. For example, a news page may require posts that have been assigned the content type “News articles”, whilst a page displaying press releases would pull through posts with the content type, “Press release”.
Some insights atoms will also allow you to pull through posts based on their author.
Most insights atoms will then have further fields that you will need to fill in and customise. These include options such as how the posts will be displayed within the atom. In many cases, you will be able to choose whether the taxonomy of the posts, such as categories, tags, and authors, as well as the description, should be displayed within the atom. There will also be options to change the size and colour of the different text as well.
Once you have added the insights atom, chosen which posts you would like to display, and customised how they will be displayed, you will have a fully-functioning insights atom that should helpfully display your chosen posts for your users. Unless you have manually chosen posts, they should also automatically update, meaning that you will not be required to maintain them by adding new posts yourself.
You can improve your users’ experience even further by adding filter atoms and linking them to your insights atom. This will allow your users to navigate more easily through posts and quickly find content that is relevant to their interests, without having to wade through posts that do not relate to them. To learn more about filter atoms, and how to use them, take a look at our “How to set up filters for insights” guide.
As you can see, insights atoms offer you a huge range of options for displaying posts, including the number of posts to be displayed, the taxonomy of the posts that are displayed, and how the post will be viewed by your users. These insights atoms therefore give you a lot of flexibility when displaying your posts, and make it easy for your users to find posts that they are looking for. This improves the user experience of your site.