Poll Results: Will Most Blogs Migrate to Excerpts on the Homepage?

By Daniel Scocco

Two weeks ago we asked our readers: “Regardless of your personal preference, do you think that in the near future most blogs will keep using full posts on the homepage or will they migrate to excerpts?” Below you will find the results of the poll.

pollhomepageexcerpts.gif

As you can see from the graph above, the plurality of people (48%) believe that post excerpts on the homepage will indeed become the standard soon. The second largest group (40%) believe that there will be a divide, with some blogs keeping full posts on the homepage and others migrating to excerpts. Finally, 12% of the people that answered the poll think that most blogs will keep using full posts.

Personally I think that most blogs will migrate to excerpts. Not only that, but they will also approach the magazine or content-portal look. Unless you have a very sporadic posting frequency, it makes more sense let the reader scan through a large number of posts and let him choose what he really wants to read.

There are exceptions to be made, obviously. Gadget and tech blogs that have very short posts, for instance, might want to stick with full posts.

TechCrunch is perhaps the largest blog still using full posts on the homepage. Might be a bold prediction, but I think that in 2008 we’ll see a redesign which will make their frontpage look like a tech news portal.

Time will tell!

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28 Responses to “Poll Results: Will Most Blogs Migrate to Excerpts on the Homepage?”

  • Colourblogger

    I totally agree! I think that full posts on the homepage confuses users they’re not confirm with concept of a blog. They maybe think: Why is there so much text on a single webpage?

  • Napster

    Predictible results. No need for full posts.

  • Community Building Blog

    The ‘magazine style’ WordPress themes really do seem to be taking off, and with that will come an increase in excerpts on the homepage. I hope this doesn’t become the new standard though – I am a typical lazy web surfer and hate having to click on an article to read it in full (no offence to your own blog, of course!).

    – Martin Reed

  • Anthony Lawrence

    Whenever I read anything I like this I think “Why not have it all?”

    Some people prefer one thing, some another. I have a “magazine” page, I have a “full post” page, I have an “excerpts” page. I give my readers choices.

    And if anyone (even one reader) asked me to do something else, I’d do that too.. why not??

  • Daniel

    Anthony, that is a good point.

    In practice it is a bit hard to implement both solutions though.

    Darren has it, but he is the only one I know of.

    I will talk with some WordPress designers to see how much of a trouble would be to implement that on a standard blog.

  • Anthony Lawrence

    Well, I know nothing about WordPress, so I don’t know what limitations it puts upon you – that’s one of many reasons why I do my own CMS.

    The big difficulty I see is how to present these choices to the first time visitor.. what should the default be, how much space to give to offering other choices.. as any visitor can see, I’m not good on the design side..

    I’ve been thinking for some time that I need a special “very first time here” page (easy enough to do with cookies) that would orient people to their options, maybe even let them set their preference in a cookie..

  • Don

    I more inclined to the 3rd option of the mixture, on my site i have recently adopted the measure in which the newest or an article i want highlighted is displayed in full and below or in a easily seen location are about 5 excerpts from other posts and this followed by a list of the previous ones.

    I found this works effectively in retaining people who land on the front page as more variety(content) can be seen, again vital because ‘content is king’

  • TheGreatMaster

    Results are close, I’ll prefer for ever FULL LENGTH posts on homepage, I hate to click and load another page for reading a full text, especially when I want to read a post faster, a little superficial, but covering much information.

  • Ruchir

    I also think that many blogs will shift to showing excerpts on the home page. Not only do excerpts allow a user to choose what appeals to him the most but it also allows to blog authors to showcase more of their content on the home page…

  • vhxn

    Yeah I agree you had pointed out some good one.

  • TheBloggerTips

    Excerpts look nicer and the full post not necessary to be longer.

  • Catoneo

    Hi,

    I have migrated to the “excerpt” format 3 months ago and the reader number jumped soon afterwards.
    I think it’s the most comfortable access to a blog stuff.

    Rgds,
    C

  • allen

    ” As you can see from the graph above, the majority of people (48%) believe that post excerpts on the homepage will indeed become the standard soon. ”

    I don’t think you should use the word “majority” in this case. According to Wikipedia, a majority is a subset of a group that is more than half (>50%) of the entire group. This should not be confused with a plurality, which is a subset having the largest number of parts. A plurality is not necessarily a majority, as the largest subset may be less than half of the entire group. Therefore, I think you should have said that the plurality of people (48%) believed that post excerpts on the homepage will indeed become the standard soon, although it sounds kinda awkward.

  • Daniel

    You are correct Allen, I will restructure the sentence.

  • James Chartrand – Web Content Writer Tips

    Excerpts are in. We’d blogged about blog design trends for 2008 and portal-style blogs were right there on the money.

    BUT! When you use an exerpt-style blog, your feed cuts off as well. AVOID THIS! It’s annoying as hell to have a feed cut off and a post cut off as well. (Yes, we wrote about cutting off your readers in two paragraphs or less. We hate partial feeds.)

    For WordPress users, get partial posts on your home page and a full feed with the Full Text Feed plugin.

    Cheers!

  • Beth

    I have to say, I agree that more blogs will probably just display excerpts in the future. That way, readers can see a bigger range of titles to choose from quickly, so even if your first 3 or 4 posts don’t appeal, they still might stay to look at another. I personally don’t mind how it goes, since a lot of the time you have to click on a post to get to the commenting section anyway.

  • Tony Lawrence

    @james

    “BUT! When you use an exerpt-style blog, your feed cuts off as well”

    Well, that’s a limitation of the specific CMS you are using, not a fact of nature.

    One of the many, many reasons I write my own CMS code..

  • Kathy

    If excerpts are the wave of the future, lots of people will need to get REALLY good at their lead-ins if they expect people to expand the post and read further. I expect a lot of people will suffer for not having a compelling opening. An engaging opening gets my click, a poorly-written one gets a click-away.

  • David Bradley

    I switched both my main blogs over to excerpt just over a week ago and saw record-breaking RSS subscriber numbers for both (and that was before the Feedblitz spike!)

    db

  • Michael Aulia

    Funny….cause I always use excerpt posts at my blog (feels tidier)

  • CatherineL

    Interesting results. I think I will stick to full posts for now. The only reason I would change would be if I got a new theme which was more conducive to excerpts.

  • Cole

    I must admit – I was thunderstruck at this. “Excerpts?” thought I, “Who the hell wants those?” And the results said many people do.

    But, my friends, not all blogs are created equal. There are many communities within the blogosphere as it has come to be known and they function in vastly different ways. For instance, excerpts are not so popular in my area of the web (personal, amateur blogs) except in the cases of extremely long blogs and doing an excerpt or magazine styled blog would simply be ridiculous.

    In our corner, it’s not simply about hits but about people actually reading blogs and each and every entry. Full posts forces a skim through if not a full read through in the way that department stores put more desirable stock in the back so that you walk through everything else on your way.

    Personally, I hate the excerpts. There’s nothing like my reading being interrupted by a “read more” link to make me exit a page. Whatever happened to bringing the content to your visitors as quickly and efficiently as possible? Isn’t forcing a visitor to click to see the rest of (or even the entire post) a bit like using thumbnails which don’t give a decent preview which results in the visitor having to download the whole wallpaper anyway?

    But, it doesn’t seem like my logic applies to your corner of the blogosphere. Maybe blogs can’t even be labeled under a single umbrella term anymore.

  • Anthony Lawrence

    @cole

    It’s that “make me exit a page” that sends quivers down webmasters spines.. you’ll leave if I have excerpts, the other guy gets equally ticked off if he can’t have them..

    That’s why I do it all: my main page is “magazine” style with an excerpt from the most recent post at the top, but you’ll also see links that that you could bookmark for excerpts (all recent posts presented as excerpts) and “blog format” which is more like the traditional blog: each post fully presented, newest first.

    My intent, of course, is to try to make everyone happy. My fear is that the hasty visitor who hates excerpts will never notice the link that will give them what they want.. but of course if I made the default full posts, there’s probably even less chance of noticing those posts.

    What’s a poor webmaster to do?

  • medyum

    Whenever I read anything I like this I think “Why not have it all?”

    Some people prefer one thing, some another. I have a “magazine” page, I have a “full post” page, I have an “excerpts” page. I give my readers choices.

    And if anyone (even one reader) asked me to do something else, I’d do that too.. why not??

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