Post Excerpts: Should You Use Them On Your Homepage?

StevenBlogging

Should you show only post excerpts on the homepage of your blog? Poll a group of one hundred bloggers and you’d be surprised at the answers you’ll get. There is no definitive answer and, in the end, it comes down to whatever your readers seem to prefer. But here are some points to consider….

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Some bloggers will tell you no, they use full posts on the homepage because that’s how blogs were set up back in the day and that’s what readers are used to. But “Back in the Day” was a long time ago and people are getting more comfortable with blog navigation.

If your blog posts are usually long or packed with lots of images, then showing full posts is going to make for a very cluttered, disorganized appearance on the homepage, a distraction for most readers. Consider showing the most recent post in full and the next nine as excerpts.

Showing excerpts only increases your page views, but unless you’re being paid on page views then this should really matter.

However, there’s something to be said for isolating your reader on one single article. If you’re showing full posts on the homepage you risk losing the readers’ focus. They’re reading an article about the benefits of XYZ and right beneath it is an article about the benefits of ABC and right beneath that is a recipe to make their own GHI. Eventually they read so much it becomes a case of TMI and they don’t even remember why they came to your blog.

Consider your audience

If you’re attracting the younger crowd who grew up on the Internet then excerpts are the way to go. These guys know to click through on the “more” tag or headline to get to the article. They also are more easily distracted and won’t want to scroll through ten 1500-word blog posts to get to that one at the bottom of the page.

If you’re attracting an audience that might not be familiar with blogs – and there are still a good number of visitors who fall into this category – then use full posts on your homepage. If your posts are typically pretty long, consider only showing five instead of 10 or 15, and highlight other important posts in the sidebar.

Personally, I prefer to see excerpts when I hit a blog, especially when the blogger uses clear navigation. So many blogger think all they have to do is add that “read more” attribute and everything’s fine. But a lot of readers still don’t know to click on that.

Instead, use a plugin or manually create a complete link and tell your readers – Click Here to read the rest of this article. Get rid of some of that junk over in the sidebar and use text or images links to highlight the important content you really want them to see. It sounds too easy, but if you take your readers by the hand and lead them, they’ll read anything you want them to read. So if it makes you blog easier for YOUR visitors to navigate, use excerpts on your homepage.

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