Jump to content

Cre8asiteforums Internet Marketing
and Conversion Web Design


Photo

Blog home page:full posts or excerps


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 03:44 AM

Hello there.

Though there are numerous threads whether to use full or short entries in RSS feeds (this and this one) , I am interested to know whether site visitors appreciate to read full posts on blog homepage or or to scan through excerps to click on.

Which of them do you prefer, and why?
What would be your usability assertions here?

Kim, could you recommend either of them specifically for a business blog with long, informational articles?

Thanks for the input :)

Edited by A.N.Onym, 15 June 2006 - 03:50 AM.


#2 Adrian

Adrian

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 5779 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 04:30 AM

For short posts, I prefer to see the whole lot. I don't want to read a paragraph or so, then have to click a link to read the other paragraph.

Where posts are longer, I think I actually prefer them to be split up. Hitting the home page of a blog, if it's full of long posts, it's harder to scan up and down the page fully. Usually if I'm browsing round a blog, it's because I'm looking for something specific, so I want to get around quickly.

I prefer the full text RSS because then I'm in reading mode, and if I'm keeping up to date with my feeds, there's only ever a few in one feed at once.

Blog homepages often display around 10 items, in my mind, a paragraph or so for each, with click to read more type links is nicer.

That way, when someone hits your homepage for the first time, they see more than one long post and the navigation above the fold. You might have 2/3 snippets displayed, giving a slightly better feel for your content.

#3 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 04:49 AM

WordPress allows either providing a custom excerpt or the first 120 words of the post (becides just cutting the post at any point).
Perhaps, indeed, short posts can fit in the 120 words.

I was thinking of providing excerpts for long articles and putting full short articles on the homepage, too, just as you mentioned.

But if I show 2/3 of my posts, wouldn't blog readers feel the same as you do when you click further to read just another paragraph? Wouldnt excerpts be more informative than the introductory sentences of a post?

I was hoping to get various opinions from the point of view of blog readers. Are there any other aspects that should be considered?

Off Topic offtopicWhy is it that a post author can't edit the post title? :)

Edited by A.N.Onym, 15 June 2006 - 04:50 AM.


#4 Guest_joedolson_*

Guest_joedolson_*
  • Guests

Posted 15 June 2006 - 05:38 AM

But if I show 2/3 of my posts, wouldn't blog readers feel the same as you do when you click further to read just another paragraph? Wouldnt excerpts be more informative than the introductory sentences of a post?


Hmmmm...I interpreted Adrian's comment as "2 or 3" snippets...

Personally, what I would like to do (although I haven't tried it) would be to display the most recent post in full with 3 or 4 snippets of the previous recent posts. I think it's valuable to provide the most recent content in full without requiring an extra click, but to make scanning easier by snippeting previous posts.

Short posts are a challenge, I think - hard to specify a snippet length which would be successful at that point. What may be useful would be a more complicated determination for snippet length using the remaining length as a factor. A snippet = first 80 words plus remaining words if there are fewer than 80 words remaining. This way, snippets would be variable and never require anybody to click through and read only a brief additional amount of content.

I don't know whether any existing blog software does this, or has a plugin to do it, but I wouldn't think it would be that difficult to write one.

#5 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 05:59 AM

Hmmmm...I interpreted Adrian's comment as "2 or 3" snippets...


Hmm. Sounds like a good idea, but it depends on the snippets and what I can write in the excerpt - the latter can be more informative than 2-3 snippets. Unless the snippets carry some important thoughts. Then reading the post may becomee less interesting for some. Decision, decisions and decisions..fun :)

#6 Adrian

Adrian

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 5779 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 06:10 AM

Hmmmm...I interpreted Adrian's comment as "2 or 3" snippets...


Hehe, yes, sorry, I should've been clearer there, that's what I meant.

With something like Wordpress, you have the option of displayng a full post by default, and then inserting <!--more--> where you want to break the content with the 'click for more' link.

When I'm skimming over a blog generally, I prefer smaller chunks of text. But I'd rather see a slightly larger chunk of text, than click a link to read a line, or a paragraph more.

#7 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 06:18 AM

I am fully aware of the <!--more--> tag at WordPress, but I don't like it, because it mostly impossible to break a page at a natural stop before making the extract huge.

Also, after clicking on the link from the homepage a visitor is taken to the page and the top of the screen is scrolled to the place where the cut off was placed. If it was placed in the midst of a paragraph, it may be hard to find the place to start reading.

There can be an option to end an extract in the post with dots, place the <!--more--> tag, insert a line break and continue the post. This seems like a lot of work to do for every post, and it also doesn't look that good as a whole (on the post page).

That leaves me with either writing a custom excerpt for every post or display the first 120 words of the post (using the excerpt tag). Too bad I can't choose to either use an excerpt or full post (in case my post is 121 words). Maybe that'd require some PHP coding, but I am not a coder.

#8 Adrian

Adrian

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 5779 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 06:28 AM

I don't like it, because it mostly impossible to break a page at a natural stop before making the extract huge.


One thought that raises in my mind, is part of the problem actually the content?

If I'm writing a longer post, I tend to try and make the first paragraph or so a kind of overview, what the post is about kind of intro. Stick in the <!--more--> tag afterwards, and then start ranting at full speed afterwards, heh.

Completely agree with you that writing a whole seperate excerpt for every post is a PITA.

Our magazines sites actually do often have an entirely seperate 'intro' body of text for the reasons you're raising, but they come from the journalistic background and can be very picky about that kind of thing.

#9 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 06:32 AM

You are right, the problem lies in the introductory paragraph.

My intros are usually short and consist of one or two sentences. Think it'll be enough to be placed on the homepage?

I was thinking providing a more thorough piece of text may be helpful, just because, as you have said, it will give more insight about the content of the article.

Perhaps the solution is indeed to fix the first paragraph. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 15 June 2006 - 06:33 AM.


#10 Adrian

Adrian

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 5779 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 06:35 AM

I often annoy myself by not being able to say what I need to say, without taking it too far, heh. Peter is a master at it though, heh, I've always been jealous of his ability to get a message across in a couple of lines :)

Those intro paragraphs I often find are the hardest to write, more planning required!

#11 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 06:45 AM

Well the thing with the intro paragraphs and me is that I don't like long intro paragraphs - a sentence or two look good to me. Just listing subheading titles and smallish paragraphs on the main page doesn't look good either.

I am more looking at placing about 3-5 sentences on the home page, but as you can guess, this may go further than the first paragraph of a post. That's why I was looking for a program solution to the problem.

For now, I'll try to work on my first paragraph and see how my readers perceive this.

Another solution, yet, is to use the excerpt for longer posts. May be worthwhile in the long run, as it is just extra unique content.

Thanks for keeping up the discussion :)

Edited by A.N.Onym, 15 June 2006 - 06:46 AM.


#12 cre8pc

cre8pc

    Dream Catcher Forums Founder

  • Admin - Top Level
  • 13613 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 10:47 AM

I'm wrestling with long posts in RSS feeds.

I had mine set to a preview and a link to read more at my blog up until my blog was accepted by Blogburst. Before my acceptance was final, I was required to switch to full posts, which I did, with reservations.

I'd read that some people say their traffic goes up when they do that. Mine went down, but the number of Bloglines subscribers went up. They likely read the entire post at Bloglines, and never click into my blog. Now, if traffic contributes any hint of a positive to search results, this bothers me.

I like to visit blogs, as a way of rewarding them for their good posts and there's often other topics they've posted that I discover, or links to other blogs that I find.

The definite persuasive point is that introductory sentence and paragraph. For shorter posts, and those that start and then link to the blog, if the first sentences don't grab my attention, I move on.

I think business blogs and revenue generating blogs want the traffic coming to their blog and anything that prevents meeting that requirement is not practical.

#13 Adrian

Adrian

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 5779 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 05:42 PM

If you're talking RSS feeds and regular readers, I still think it has to be full posts.

But when you're talking about a blog homepage, I think there's a subtle difference in the people likely to be visiting. They aren't so likely to be the tech savvy regular readers already grabbing your RSS reader, especially bearing in mind RSS really hasn't hit the main stream yet (even if you include the people using RSS who don't realise it).

I'd read that some people say their traffic goes up when they do that. Mine went down, but the number of Bloglines subscribers went up. They likely read the entire post at Bloglines, and never click into my blog. Now, if traffic contributes any hint of a positive to search results, this bothers me.


Not at all surprised there were less visits to the site, and more bloglines readers, and when you consider the other aggregators out there, is there a chance that your content is now actually being read by more people?
Which has the knock on effect of possible generating more links etc... to you....

I tend to subscribe to the Scoble point of view, that using full text RSS feeds is a way of connecting to influencers. Maybe not the people who would click on ads and stuff anyway, and who might not bother reading if there are full text feeds, but who are the kinds of people who might direct traffic to you if they are reading your content.

I think the only time those kinds of people are really going to be looking at blog home pages is when they first discover it, and want to check out other posts, or if they are coming back to find out more about who's behind a blog and other details about it.

Which is why I think a home page needs to be more scannable than the RSS feeds, shorter snippets of posts, along with the other stuff.

#14 EGOL

EGOL

    Professor

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 5479 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 10:17 PM

Depends upon your goals...

If your goal is visitors then post the full article and have individual pages for every article. This will pull more SERPs. Rationale for this can be read here... http://www.seomoz.or...tail.php?ID=630

If your goal is pageviews then post a snippet and require the visitor to clickthrough to read the full post.

But the bottom line should be determined by stating our goals clearly - then doing log analysis along with consideration of ad impressions, revenue per day, sign-ups, linkbuild rate, etc. These are real performance metrics. Trying to guess what our visitors prefer is squishy... we should try to determine their actions vs. the reward that we seek and let that data guide us.

Edited by EGOL, 15 June 2006 - 10:18 PM.


#15 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 10:22 PM

Yeah, probably including full posts in RSS feeds is the way to get loyal readers and links (maybe).

However, it also depends on the post frequency. I doubt anyone would like to receive pagefuls of text every single day in their RSS feed. It'll grow the readers tired reading your blog (unless it is really interesting).

Would anyone suggest ideas of both including the most informative post extract and the least amount of text?

An introductory paragraph or an excerpt? Which would you prefer to read on the homepage?

#16 BillSlawski

BillSlawski

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 15644 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 10:27 PM

WordPress allows either providing a custom excerpt or the first 120 words of the post (becides just cutting the post at any point). Perhaps, indeed, short posts can fit in the 120 words.


I'm using a plugin on one wordpress blog that lets you set the number of words that you want to display, as a default, for your posts. So it can be more than 120 words, and I don't have to use the "more" tag.

It's at:

http://dev.wp-plugin...wiki/PostTeaser

It can also let you ignore the use of the postteaser for selected posts

#17 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 10:47 PM

Thanks, that looks just what I was searching for :)

Still, any thoughts on whether unique excerpts (not the text from the post) should be preferred to post text cutts?

#18 BillSlawski

BillSlawski

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 15644 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 11:10 PM

Still, any thoughts on whether unique excerpts (not the text from the post) should be preferred to post text cutts?


I thought about using unique excerts for a while, and I ruled it down.

I think that people expect to see the text from the post itself as what shows in a feed, and using an excerpt that doesn't appear in the post is going to confuse people.

I've used full text, and I've used shortened versions, and decided that since I like seeing full text in feeds when I read them, I'd try to go with that in the feeds that I send out.

#19 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 15 June 2006 - 11:29 PM

Well, custom teaser will it be.

Thanks for the plugin, Bill, that's exactly what I needed - tune the amount of words to cut the posts at, applied without tweaking a template - ideal for a non-programmer :)

#20 BillSlawski

BillSlawski

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 15644 posts

Posted 16 June 2006 - 03:33 AM

Yep.

You may want to take the part out estimating how long it might take someone to read the post. I'm not sure that it's necessary. But other than that, I like the plugin a lot.

#21 Adrian

Adrian

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 5779 posts

Posted 16 June 2006 - 03:43 AM

I do find it a bit disconcerting that with Wired, the feeds have a completely different set of text to the way the article starts. They do have a proper introduction, not just a snippet. Which I guess is fine, when you think they are writing articles, rather than blog posts. Still, just seems a bit weird to me at times.

#22 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 18 June 2006 - 11:32 PM

By the way, here is a post on how teasers help increase page views.



RSS Feed

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users