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How Many Posts Should You Show On Your Blog’s Front Page?

Posted By Darren Rowse 3rd of July 2008 Blog Design 0 Comments

@tcdzomba (on Twitter) asked me – “Do u have a post up about how many blog posts to keep on the front page of the blog?

It’s not a topic that I’ve written about specifically before so let me write on that topic now for you and open it up for some discussion (looking forward to seeing what others think).

I’ve never put a lot of thought into the number of posts on a blog’s front page before and think that it probably varies a little from blog to blog.

There are two main factors that I like to achieve on a blog’s front page:

1. Highlighting a variety of posts – my personal preference is to have more than one or two posts on the front page so that when new readers come to it they are more likely to find something that interests them to read.

While blogs with just one post on the front page are definitely ‘cleaner’ and can be quite visually pleasing I worry a little that they miss out on connecting with readers who come and don’t find that one post to connect with them.

2. Not too much clutter and length – I find this hard to achieve and it’s a balancing act with point #1 – but I don’t like to have my front page as being too long or too overwhelming.

As a result I try to use ‘excerpts’ on my front page – giving readers the title and a taste (a paragraph or two) of each article and the option to click a link to read more.

While I know some bloggers don’t like these excerpts/extended entries (some believe blogger do it to increase page views) I do it simply so I can highlight more posts on the front page and shorten the length of the overall page.

Another option is to use larger segments of your posts in ‘feature posts’ and to show shorter excerpts from other posts (or even just titles).

It’s a Balancing Act

As with many aspects of blogging – it’s something that you need to balance. Some blogs lend themselves more to featuring full posts on front pages, others can get away with excerpts more. Some blogs have 20-30 posts on the front page while others just have one.

I guess it’s partly personal preference and partly working out what works with your topic and readership.

What’s Your Preference?

How many posts do you have on the front page of your blog?

Do you use excerpts or full posts on the front page?

Why have you made the decision as you have?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. Currently show 5 with text and image using the excert (more feature) of wp – so not the whole article. These are then followed by 5 headlines only.

    Again, don’t want the page to be too long

  2. I have three posts on my frontpage. Just as you, I think if someone visits and is not interested in the first (only) post, he might leave.

    excerpts? Well I thought about them, but often it`s hard for me to decide where to put it… If I were to use them, I had to write very well made post introductions which are more like summaries. But I don`t like that idea (perhaps i`m lazy), so I decided to show full length post.

    If i where to use excerpts, I would put 5 post on my frotpage instead of 3 full ones

  3. Seven.
    Actual number is not so important. I tend to have enough posts to show blog’s diversity. And to visualy balance the length of the sidebar. But no matter how many posts is there, I absolutely hate full posts on the front page. Scrolling several screens just to see what is the next post is boring.

  4. I have tons of story titles on my site, but very few with summaries. I wanted my site to look more CNN and less blog.

  5. I follow an approach I don’t see being followed by most other bloggers (not sure if that’s good or bad!).

    I have a fixed text on the first page, that introduces people to the site. Yes, it is fixed – it remains there all the time. It tells people what the site contains, and talks about all the stuff they can do on the site.

    But at the top of the page, I have a block showing the title of the latst 6 posts. So, people can get an idea about the latest posts. This block is there on all the pages.

    Also, on the left side menu, I have categories displayed prominantly.

    This has worked quite well for me!

  6. I am currently using five posts on my blog, not too much, not too little, just the right amount

  7. I have 3 featured in a flash unit and then 10 going down the page. However I also use small blurbs of the content so the page is not to long. I find that people hate scrolling.

  8. I can’t help but wonder if people limit the number of posts on the front page to increase page views per visit. I’ve been considering a move to show excerpts on my font page and increasing the number of article’s shown in an effort to attact those who are referred directly to the home page from media mentions, etc.

  9. I run 6-7 blogs and my personal experience shows that the optimal number of posts on the homepage of a blog should vary between 5 to 7 posts.

    It would use 5-6 posts on the front page if my blog is updated with 3-5 posts per week and would prefer 7 posts if my blog is updated on a regular daily basis.

    In both cases, showing excerpts is the better option, as far as it makes the blog outlook much cleaner, the number of pageviews is slightly increased and there are some duplicate content issues which can be solved this way, too.

  10. I have two tabs on my front page – Geek Love and Geek Life. Geek Love is the default tab. So I guess there’s SORT OF two articles on the main page, but you gotta click a tab to see the second.

    My recent posts box is just to the right, so folks can see the last 10 posts or so, and just below the featured articles box are the Best Of for Geek Life and Geek Love.

    I like to keep the front page pretty clean and use the –more– cut so that (hopefully) the top of the Best Of’s ends up above the fold. Doesn’t always happen, but that’s ok. :-)

  11. As my page length goes up I decreased the number per page from 10 to 5

  12. I prefer 3 or so full length posts. As a reader I despise snippets. If I had time I would write summaries for all my posts and I would display those… but I don’ so I go with full posts instead..

  13. I guess I’m in the minority here. I put the entire post (2 of them in fact) on my blog page. But, I also have menu buttons for my major categories of “People,” “Work,” “Money,” “English,” and “Law” that show the 10 latest titles per page plus the beginning paragraph or so of each. This seems to work well for me b/c my posts are content heavy and anyone who just wanted a quickie-read is not going to be happy on my blog anyway. ; )

  14. Darren,

    I agree with you. I don’t like long pages. So I have excerpts in the front page of my blog section. I show only 3 excerpts and have a sidebar with the most popular posts and recent posts (that by the way I’ve been so busy that I’m a bit behind my posting schedule).

    I have a question: What works better as landing page: a “static” page or the blog section?. I have a “static” page to introduce the concept behind my freelance business, but I’m not sure if it is a good idea.

  15. I’ve gone from showing as many as ten back to either showing one or three on most of mine. I do just one product oriented blog where I still show seven.

    i always show the full article.

    What I have done is use the widgets in WP 2.5 to make sure there’ s a list of recent articles (posts) somewhere the browser will see it, and also a category list, which I usually rename to something like topics.

    Works for me.

    Good subject Darren,

    Lowell

  16. I display five full posts on my site. However, I understand the scrolling issue and I may consider going to excerpts in the future. I really like sites that have what I call more of a magazine like theme.

    The ProBlogger home page is too busy for my tastes. Of course, Darren is extremely more successful as a blogger than I am so maybe he’s on to something. :)

  17. I’ve gone for ten.

    My readers come to see my drawings and illustrations, not to read pages of text so I find that showing ten posts gives new visitors more of a view about what I do or what my style is, whereas if I were to just show one or two there would be more visitors spending less time on the site which would probably not be enough to convince them to come back.

  18. My choise is 5 but it certainly depends on the length of the summary… I don’t like when the home page is more than 5 screens long

  19. My blog, “TheMaskedMillionaire” shows the last 10 posts in their entirety on the front page.

    I never write very long post so it is not as much as you might think.

    I like the format I have. I believe it gets people to read more of what I have write.

    Take a look and let me know what you think.

    The Masked Millionaire

  20. I think the default for Blogger is 7 at least that is what I have always seen.
    This provides a pretty diverse set provided I am posting pretty regulary within my different categories.
    Currently I have an List of activities, a movie review, a health/Eating tip, Education tip and another list of activities

    I keep a sidebar with some Categories so you can pull up documents within a category of interest
    My Blog is http://kidzense.blogspot.com

  21. I feel that the number of posts on the front page should be related to the number of posts done a day. If you do about 5 posts a day, then you should have at least 10 post excerpts on the front page, but if its like 1 post a day, you can keep maximum of 5 posts on the front page. This could give maximum exposure to all your posts and your readers may not miss your posts

  22. My blog is cool because it displays all of the most recent post, and then just shows little segments of older posts. Works well for me :)

  23. I have 5 posts with excerpts for all of them. I posted the same question on a forum a couple of days back. Some indicated that they find it a hassle having to click a link in order to read the entire post.

    Why I did that? Mainly because I hope to showcase more of my posts without having the reader to scroll all the way down, which most won’t.

  24. Darren,

    Thanks for responding so quickly to my request. It’s good to see all the different responses in the comments. Right now I am running three but based on these responses may increase it by a post or two.

    Excerpts seems to be a good option too but I don’t know how to set that up in Blogger. Does anyone know?

  25. I originally started out using exceprts or employing the “more” method so that users would have to click to see more of the post but I found that with too many articles (and I tend to illustrate with pictures a lot) it looked confusing. Now I just limit the number of posts to about 5 or 6 and it fills out the page nicely.

  26. I guess it comes down to the length of the posts. I find that long posts would be better as blurbs on the front page, maybe 6 – 8 at a time. However, with shorter posts I don’t see a problem with a full 10 at full length. But even still, I think blurbs are the most ideal because of the way people browse blogs. Just noticing the way people use feeds seems to make sense that people would want blurbs in the blog as well.

    Is there a plug in available to format your page like this? Or is it theme dependent?

  27. The actual question should be how many above the fold. I imagine most are using Blogger or WordPress and they use 5-7 posts on the main page, but only one or two probably are above the fold, depending on whether or not they use extended post summaries.

    If it’s like Blogger’s front page, yes, it probably matters how many posts he sticks there. But, for the rest of us, it’s typically 1-2 posts and the rest are just things people end up scrolling down for and most probably give up after 3 or 4 page downs, making the final talley not overly important.

  28. I have the 4 most recent posts (all excerpts but modified) and I created a script that will search and find the first image it finds, thumbnails it and puts it ahead of the excerpts on the first page.

    I also display the 2 most recent reviews I have done to perhaps entice more readers/visitors with interesting topic (among other reasons for me to do this)

  29. Currently running 10. Eeek… looks like I need to cut it down. Have been considering excerpts so I can show 10, but I know readers like to see the full post.

  30. I have 5 posts on the front page, but just an excerpt, As a reader I don’t mind doing one click to read the whole post and actually prefer to have a variety of optioms on the front page.

    But not with clutter.

  31. My blog is still in the early stages but as well as five featured articles which rotate at the top of the page, in time it will have links to about 30 different posts and articles on the front page, split across several categories.

    The latest post in each category has an excerpt, with the remainder just clickable titles.

    It sounds a lot but I think it’s all organised rather neatly. Let me know what you think!

  32. Atleast 5 to 6 I think…Just to give them a choice and let them know what I am all about…

  33. I’ve played about with this but have stuck on 10 full posts for quite some time now.

    I think 10 posts gives people a good idea of what my blog is about and I use full posts because I want people to be able to read my blog on it’s home page.

    I think it would change the whole user experience (and the relationship I have with readers) if the home page was simply a sign post to the rest of my blog’s content.

  34. I agree that I do not want my front page to look cluttered. I think anywhere from 4-6 posts on the front page are ideal, depending on the length of your posts. If they are longer, display less posts.

  35. It’s all about design.

    I have 35 posts from 8 categories on the front page – some excerpts, some links. And a lot of pictures.

    It looks more like media than blog and works quite well. More clicks. Many more.

  36. The look of my blog is very important to me, as it’s largely about crafts and my readers are looking for visual inspiration. I have six or seven posts on my front page and I try to keep them quite visually varied.

  37. Good topic Darren. Personally I like to use excerpts as well as only a few posts on the front page. I like what Brian said about the 5 posts w/excerpts then 5 headlines.

    My reason for using excerpts is two-fold. One, I like to get more on the front page without it being to cluttered and long, and two, I heard it’s a good idea to only have one of your pages show the full article. Something to do with duplicate content and such?

    So,I try to use excerpts on every page except the single post page. However, I wouldn’t mind exploring what Brian is doing with the excerpts and headlines on the front page, as I like how that looks and the information it provides without being too cluttered.

  38. There is a debate that always seems to tell me there are just as many people who hate the excerpts (readers) as there are people who prefer them. I have opted not to excerpt, and I follow the philosophy of the commenter who said enough to balance the sidebar. I average five posts on front page since my topics are diverse. Again, lots of opinions so what the right answer is, is elusive to me. I do know I prefer to worry more about what readers want than SEO. I’m finding the comments here interesting.

  39. Depends on the blog. 3, 5, & 7 are all numbers I’ve experimented with.

    I determine part of it based on the length of my sidebars (I don’t want them to be longer than the entire front page, even if they’re longer than many individual posts (but often shorter than 2). And in part based on what feels right when I scroll down the page. 10 just seemed like too much. I have one blog with very short posts, so I put 7 on the front page. Another has much longer, so 3. I hope that after that point people will click on to the next. But if not they’ve gotten more than 1.

  40. I think I’m still figuring out what will work best for me too. What I’ve thought about doing (and don’t know how to do yet – or even if it’s possible) is creating the page in such a way that links to a previous post in a new post appear on the same page. So, if you clicked the link within the new post, the screen would page-down to where the old post is instead of changing the page or opening a new window. That would be ideal . . . but I imagine a bit too much programming for my tech-limited self at the moment.

  41. I think it depends on posting frequency and if there’s any schedule to posting. My personal blog maintains a strict posting schedule: one post every weekday. As such, my front page has five posts and I use extended entries of varying lengths. this way, readers can expect to easily scroll through the front page. Consequently, I try to make sure my side column content isn’t so long as to hang down beyond the post column. This keeps the page looking tidy.

  42. Dear Darren,

    I have a story to add. In my Blogspot blog, I recently enabled the expandable post summaries feature. And with the hope that it will reduce the home page content to a paragraph of summary for each post, I increased the number of default posts to about ten. And only later I found out that the posts actually loaded fully nonetheless. And that caused the blog’s total size to rise to 400 KB. Would you believe?

    With the hundredth post in CuteWriting (yesterday) I was at work the new design. WordPress design is now adopted to Blogspot blog. Please check that out and I am back at the three post style. Now on, I am going to keep this and not do any expandable post tweaking. In WordPress it is easy, but in Blogspot it’s not at all possible until Blogger themselves release such a feature.

    Liked your post

    Lenin

  43. Ten, because that’s the TypePad default, apparently, and I’m still too head-scratchy about this to have some other opinion.

    Excerpts, not whole entries, because I’m pretty sure my drive-by reader has better things to do than read every single word I’ve ever blogged. Or, anyway, if I can’t convince him otherwise in the first paragraph or two, then I don’t deserve the blogospace!

  44. I have one featured post on my home page plus 4-6 other post excerpts. Once I subscribe to a blog, I don’t visit the actual site very much, so as long as all the content is worthwhile, I have no preference for the format of other blogs.

  45. I post at least once a day on my blog and I do three stories per page. I’ve experimented with various pages per page and it hasn’t made much difference really. I’ve tried to implement the read more thing to get more pageviews but I have been unsuccessful. Every time I do the read more thing on my blog it wants to add the feature to all my past posts as well as future ones. Me no like dat.

  46. Clutter? Darren, you have one of the most cluttered home page live on the ‘net. I don’t even go to your home page anymore.

    I do agree with you, setting a limit although I have hemmed and hawwed over excerpts and full posts. I think it also depends on whether you are a new blog or not, and the frequency of your posts as well.

    Then again, your “niche” is another factor as well.

    And let’s us not forget the important factor, our readers.

  47. I use a theme that let’s you have a lot of different posts on the home page.

    I chose this theme for this very feature, as I feel it gives my visitors a bigger snapshot of what’s on the blog so they find more things they are interested in.

    My concern was that people coming to the blog the first time would really have to be interested in the post showing to read it and then explore further into the blog. At least now they can have a variety of choices, increasing the chance they will see something of interest and importance to them.

    I really think the theme has a lot to do with it.

  48. I use five posts per page.

    I think that’s a good and reasonable number–it provides enough on the first page to give readers a true sense of what the blog is all about without making them have to scroll down a ton.

  49. I have headlines and short excerpts on my landing page. Until recently this was 3/blog but just upped it to 5 after a reader sugggestion.

    The actual blogs show full posts, currently 10 but sometimes I change that if there are a bunch of long/short posts.

  50. Mine uses 5 posts. The content fits just right with the sidebar and my blog visitors don’t have to scroll down too much.

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