By default, blogs display whole posts on the homepage. This makes it easier for people to read your most recent posts without having to open each post. But should you really display full posts on your blog? Truth is, there are a few reasons why you should display post excerpts on your homepage instead of full posts.
It’s great for SEO
Displaying excerpts on your home and archive pages will improve your SEO in two ways: it will prevent you from showing duplicate content and it will lower your bounce rate.
We all know that Google hates duplicate content. When you show full posts on your homepage, you will actually show each post at least twice (once on the post page and once on the homepage). Most blogs also show full posts on archive pages, that means you might have the same post on your blog page, category page, tag page, or author page. If you use excerpts, you will only show the full post on the post page.
Showing excerpts on your homepage will also help you lower your bounce rate. A bounce is when a reader leaves your blog after viewing a single page. If you have read more buttons on your blog page, your readers will have to click on your post to read it and you will have more page views.
It decreases page load time
Writing long posts with many images will have a huge impact on your site’s loading speed. And we already know that most people will leave the site after a few seconds of waiting for your blog to load.
By using a short intro paragraph and a featured image, you will significantly decrease the time your readers will have to wait for your site to load.
It makes your blog easier to navigate
I know you don’t want to hear this, but most people will not read all your posts. Some of them just want to browse your site to see what it’s about, while others might be looking for a specific post.
We are told to show the most important info above the fold because most visitors won’t have the patience to scroll down and see what’s below the fold. Well, most users have even less time and patience to scroll through all of your blog posts.
Showing post excerpts on your homepage will help readers easily skim your posts. They don’t have to scroll through long posts that are full of images to find what they are interested in.3 reasons why you should display post excerpts on your blog's homepageClick To Tweet
How to display post excerpts on your homepage
Not all WordPress themes have support for post excerpts, but you can still display them without adding a single line of code.
Insert the Read More tag in blog posts
You don’t have to be on WordPress to use this method. Blogger, Squarespace, and even Tumblr have the read more tag.
Unfortunately, you will have to add the read more tag to each blog post. But this also means that you can choose where to cut off the post summary.
When you write a blog post, just place your cursor where you want to end the summary and click on the Insert Read More tag button in your toolbar.
If you are using the text/HTML editor or if your blog doesn’t have a Read More button, just insert
<!--more—> where you want the post summary to end.
Display post excerpts on a Genesis theme
If you have a Genesis theme, it’s very easy to display post excerpts on your homepage.
Just go to Genesis > Theme Settings in your dashboard and scroll down to Content Archives. Change the display settings from Entry content to Entry excerpts.
This will automatically add excerpts to your homepage every time you publish a new blog post.
If you check the Include the Featured Image box, your homepage will show the featured images that you can add to your blog posts.
You can also find the Content Archives under the WordPress customizer. Just go to your homepage and select Customize from the toolbar. Scroll down to Content Archive and change the display settings to Entry excerpts.
Use a plugin
Go to Plugins > Add New and search for ‘excerpt’. Find the Easy Custom Auto Excerpts plugin and install it. Activate it and go to the Excerpt page.
This plugin will allow you to display post excerpts on your homepage, show an image, customize the read more button, or to enable or disable excerpts in your RSS feed.
Note: If you go to Settings > Reading on your dashboard, there’s an option to show full text or summary for each article in a feed. This option doesn’t add excerpts to your homepage. It will only shorten your RSS feed so people that follow you using an RSS reader will not be able to see your full posts.
Do you display post excerpts your homepage?