Either/Or: Full Posts vs. Excerpts
Sometimes, simply checking a box or clicking a button can make a subtle, but significant difference in the way your audience reads and reacts to your blog. In these posts we’ll dig deeper into the Dashboard, and explore some either-this-or-that decisions that are as low-stress as they are high-impact.
Some blogs tease the reader with excerpts from each post. Others display entire posts from the get-go. Which option is the right one for you?
Go with full text
If your posts tend to be brief, or are image-heavy, full text might be best. It’s a good idea to give visitors to your blog a satisfying bite of your content, not just a crumb. Most of us don’t enjoy clicking on a post only to find out we’ve already seen all there was to see, so presenting your post in its entirety will save your visitors a few extra clicks. This way, you encourage them to spend their time at your blog doing what matters: reading your content.
Another point to consider: if you’re a recent or infrequent blogger, going full text will give your blog a heftier feel as you add more and more content.
Go with excerpts
if you write long posts, or if you publish very frequently, maximize your space with excerpting. Scrolling down a blog full of long posts can become a pain if you include the full text of each one. It might also reduce the overall number of posts your reader sees at any given visit to your blog.
There are a couple of ways to control how much of a post your readers see when they enter your blog. Some themes allow you to define an excerpt for each post as you write it, and the excerpt is then featured on your homepage once your post is published. Anyone who wants to continue reading can click the post title to go to the full post.
Alternatively, you can easily add a More Tag to your posts, cutting off the text your reader sees. Even better: you yourself choose the point at which the excerpt ends. Clicking ‘More’ will take your reader to the rest of the post.
- Good to know: you can limit the visible amount of your post not only on your homepage, but also on your followers’ feeds. In your Dashboard, click Settings >> Reading, and choose whether the feed shows your entire post or a summary.
To use or not to use… Infinite Scroll?
With the format of your homepage posts – Full Text or Excerpt – settled, here’s one more thing to think about: should your homepage last…forever? (Or at least until your very last post?)
- Go with infinity: some types of content — photos, videos, quotes, short texts — can be consumed quickly, and in great quantities. Why not give your readers more of what they like, more quickly? To activate Infinite Scroll, go to your Dashboard, and click Settings >> Reading. All you need to do is check the Infinite Scroll box, and you’re set.
- Stick with pages: other types of posts (for examples, longer essays) can be savored more easily with some pacing. Making your readers click on the next page allows them to take a breath — and prepares them for more great posts.
Note: sometimes, you have to forego Infinite Scroll, namely, when you’ve selected footer widgets, which, alas, can’t be displayed when there is no footer.
These easy either/or tweaks can really shape the way your visitors navigate through your content. Which option do you use? Why?