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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. I am definitely for showing excerpts. When someone arrives on my blog they are looking for something to read so I give them a few options.

  2. I go for full posts on my front page, mostly because I’m new to really configuring wordpress to my needs. (And it just looks cooler that way IMO. Probably not good SEO) I believe I display 10 posts per page, but I’ll probably cut it back to 3 (I write long posts) just to shorten up the slider and make everything more attractive.

    Once I’m a few months in, and I do a re-design (I have one planned for “back to school” time.) I’ll probably use excerpts and have one featured post. Then maybe add a few more front page features.

  3. I currently have 10 posts on my front page, but being a newbie, I didn’t know that I could control the number. I will have to look into that.

    I have seen blog formats that only show an excerpt of each post, but I didn’t like them because I don’t like having to click on a link to read the whole post, so I don’t use those types of layouts, like Hemingway. Also, since I have a celebrity blog, it’s visually more appealing to have the whole post on the front page of the blog, anyway.

  4. Thank for your advice.

  5. I used to have 5-10 posts on my front page but I found that most people hate scrolling down too much and usually just click on the one they readily see.

    So now I have the current post in excerpt then the next 3 with thumbnails plus excerpt. People click more on image links. ^^

  6. I use only excerpts to avoid duplicate content issue in terms of SEO.

  7. What is the perfect amount of posts to have on your blog, I think this could well be a questions that doesn’t have a defined answer! What may work for a particular type of blog may well not work so good for another. From a personal point of view, It isn’t really something that I have really giving much thought too, the amount of posts that a blog has on the front page wont stop me from looking at other articles on that particular blog, what will stop me, is if the blog is a load of crap!

    But being a blogger of only 3 months, what do I know! It could be something that I may have to put more thought into as my blogging career progresses.

  8. Darren,

    I have 3 full post on my blog’s frontpage.

    I was thinking about having more post as excerpts – but excerpts often make a blog looks like an auto-blog, IMO.

    Cheers!

  9. Interesting post. Thanks for all the wisdom on blogging!! Have a great holiday weekend…

  10. an effective for the frontpage should goes 5 posts or lower which the recent is uppest..as for my views, ppl seem hate scrolling mouse down. “above the fold” is the best words to describe…

  11. I show 8 posts on my homepage, the reason I chose that is because my goal is to write 4 posts per day and having 8 on the homepage would show two days worth of posts. I’ve considered moving to 12 but I like the scroll length of 8 posts.

  12. I go with Michael… 8 posts is what I show and the first post separated from all others with an ad space. I use excerpts on home page and it’s not one or two line excerpt but say about 200 words or couple of paragraphs…

    The reason to go for excerpts is to avoid showing the users too much text in the first visible pane (without using scrolling)

    The reason to show up to 8 posts: Well, the side bar content is kinda common for all pages/posts/archives etc. So I wanted to have the 8 posts length exceeding a little more than the side bar contents (and not the other way ie. little content and a long sidebar then)

  13. I find that displaying 1 post in full and 4 partials works well for me. Enough for people to get an idea of my style but not so much as to be overwhelming.

    Of course I also think your theme makes a big difference. Since I use the traditional “cookie-cutter” themes at this point everything is oriented top to bottom. If I used something like the one here at Problogger I’d probably do it a little different than I do now.

  14. I show just 3 on my main page. That’s ideal. That way readers get a variety as you mentioned, and it’s not too long as well.

  15. On my newest site I’m using the Fresh News wordpress theme so I can ‘feature’ posts – I have two of the most recentl ‘important’ posts in a different style to the others. Below that, it’s everything in chronological order. I’ve got ten there. So that’s 12 on the front page.

    And I use excerpts on my front page, not for clickthroughs, but simply because it looks a lot neater. Normally I dislike these but on the layout I’m using it works really well.

  16. Bruce Houghton / Hypebot.com says: 07/03/2008 at 10:37 pm

    I like Darren’s approach. I can scan a bunch of content quickly and click on what matters to me without never ending scrolling.

    Does anyone know of templates to help create a front page that uses snippets and allows for “best of” lists as on this site? I’d even be willing to pay a (little) bit for it.

    Email me @ hypebot-at-skylineonline-dot-com

  17. I normally have about ten post on my front page. My main concern is simply making sure the page loads quickly.

  18. I usually have 5 posts in my front page and all of them has no excerpts, but someone from a forum to reduce them because it goes slow to open considering that I include photos on them.

    So now, I maintain 3 posts on my front page. However, I see to it that my readers will not scroll down that long while reading. I believe this act will turn them off. In addition, I align my sidebar content to maximize the page.

    Although it may be an advantage to have excerpts (or expandable posts) to invite more readers, it can also slower your blog because you only just “hide” them but they are still there.

    Thanks.

  19. I am stacked with 5 posts on front site page.

  20. I tend to run at about 7 or 8, and use excerpts. When I originally went for longer excerpts, one of the models was the old design here. But I vary the length of the Excerpt too.

    I have evolved the approach. I now have the blog:

    http://www.mattwardman.com/blog/

    and an “Excerpt only” tabbed front page on the domain root, which allows the reader to look at up to 100 excerpts if they wish:

    http://www.mattwardman.com

    Matt

  21. Don’t forget Daniel’s plugin to do one full post and several excerpts:

    http://www.dailyblogtips.com/homepage-excerpts-wordpress-plugin/

  22. Right now I have ten posts on the front page, all excerpts, with 2 or 3 paragraphs showing. My daily posts are quite long, up to 1000 words, and having the full post on the front page would be just too much. I write the first paragraphs with the idea that they will be teasers to get the reader to read the full post.

    I might reduce the number of posts on the front page at some point, but I want to show the reader the range and depth of my blog. It’s only five page-down’s to the bottom, anyway.

    Works for me!

  23. On my Research Recap blog, I include the ten most recent posts on the front page. The first post is listed in its entirety while the next 9 have just the first paragraph and an image. This blog covers a handful of investment-related topics, so the new user who may not be interested in, say, green technology, might be interested in a post on the credit crunch, social media or corporate governance issues.
    I doubt many people scroll all the way to the bottom, but the page loads quickly and I don’t think that the length has any negative impact.
    I also use a tag cloud and list of recent posts so that new users can easily figure out what the blog is about and whether it’s relevant to them.

  24. I currently show 2 or three full posts, but I keep intending to switch it to 7 post summaries.

  25. The number of posts should be inverse-proportional to the frequency of your posts. I only post a few times a month on each of my four blogs.

    No on visits the home page unless they are lost/restarting navigation or directly visiting you blog (referral/repeat visitor). I only have one post with links to the last three posts on my home pages, because I like the clean look of it, and since I post so infrequently.

    What’s the point of having a lot of posts on your homepage if they don’t change often?

  26. I’ve kept it around 10, but have thought of shortening it.

    I only half like the idea of excerpts. If I could allow my readers to expand an […exerpt..] I would probably put excerpts on all but my most recent 1 or 2 posts.

    Anybody know of a WordPress plugin that expands excerpts on the same page?

  27. 2 excerpts and 15 headlines currently, will be altering that slightly though in the future but never going to be switching back to full posts again on the front page. I think it lengthens it too much, especially if multiple longer posts get there.

  28. I guess it depends on the average lenght of the posts. The more lenghty the posts, the less amount of posts. It’s a balance issue I would say.

    Another thing to consider would be the sidebar. If you have a lot of information in the sidebar, you should have enough posts in order to take advantage of the available space in the monitor screen. On the other hand, if you don’t have a lot of information in your sidebar, and a lot of posts, your screen would look kind of empty

    In my case I manage between 8-10 posts in the front page, trying to balance the posts lenght and the sidebar length as well…

  29. By default, I currently have 4 posts on my front page because I’m just beginning and that is all I have written.

    I have been using excerpts because I want to show the readers a variety of posts and pictures, and to give them the option to scan the first few sentences to see if they want to read on.

  30. I find 3 to 5 way enough also prefer a paragraph or two which then links of to something else where full article can be viewed. Due to the amount of reading I do, I like to hit the headlines and maybe a sentence or to to see if I like the article before going further.

  31. I started with ten, went to five, but i decided to come back to 10 because i write around 15 articles a month and i have a community of visotors who are limited and not so good at internet. So i am back to ten.

  32. me again,
    above in the comments I wrote that I use 3 full length pages, but soon after I read this post and especially the other comments I decided do give excerpts a try. Since my blog quite young, this could be done in a relative short time.

    I people like it better this way I cannot say yet, but it immediately decreased the bouncerate.

    So excerpts actually do have an effect: they animate people to click around, insted of just reading one or two posts and leave. This could be essential when it comes to ad clickrates / impressions.

    I wonder why no one here mentioned the bouncerate as an measurable indicator for the effect of excerpts ???

    so long. Egbert

  33. Egbert, thanks for a good idea

  34. I`m glad I could inspire you

    PS: sorry for the bad spelling / missing words in my previous post… I was thinking about something else while writing

  35. I have one featured post on the front page, plus 4 recent articles. All are excerpts. I also have 5 or 6 miniposts in the right sidebar, and 5 updates and corrections in the left. All are excerpted.

    I try to keep the article posts equal to the sidebars, so there are no great areas of white space. I sometimes have to change the amount of miniposts showing to do that, but otherwise it pretty much stays the same.

    I think a lot depends on your theme, also. A standard blog type theme can have a different layout and still look good, but a magazine style theme virtually screams for excerpts.

    I’ve seen one blog in my tiny little niche that had 20 full posts on the front page. Not very professional looking, IMO.

  36. I have 7 posts on the front page. My posts are generally lengthy, covering various aspect of health issues and fitness- so I would want visitors to generally know what I write but at the same time, do not require them to scroll all the way just to see other posts that do not interest them. Previously, I feature the full posts as I also thought there is nothing much that can be done with Blogger. Through some guided tutorials from the net, and trial and error, I’ve finally figured out how to truncate the posts at the front page on a Blogger template. After that, I find that the number of unique visitors (it has nothing to do with pages per click) literally doubled and they stayed longer on my site. So, I guess excerpts works for me.

  37. I normally write bit long posts. I keep all my pages with 3 posts. I think that’s not too many. If you only have 1-2 posts and if the visitor do not get connected with the site he will not continue reading to the back pages.
    At the end of my every post,
    I put links for atleast 2 previous posts.
    And with the adsense experiments I did 3 posts did the work for me.So i am not gonna change it anytime sooner.
    Eranda
    antharjalaya.com

  38. I think that is the biggest problem with my blog right now, is in fact, I have too many posts on one page now I’m going too change it, but I’m afraid if i change it it will change my viewership. I will be changing soon. Nervous though.

  39. Darren, I have 5 posts on the blog page. I think 5 is a decent amount because sometimes there are too much in one post. I am using excerpt on posts, but I don’t always put readmore link. So you might see an entire post if the post is not that long and doesn’t make the page crowded. But if I see that the page will have tons of images and will look crowded then I put the first 3 paragraphs and then let the readers read it in the full post.

  40. I have a featurific widget on my front page, a WP plug-in and it features my selected “best posts” in a cool flash widget.

    Below that I have an excerpt from my latest post and in the sidebar is the recent posts and all posts by category. Everything is clearly labeled with Titles in bold.

    I think it’s important that readers come to the blog and be able to quickly see what’s there, and find the post titles without having to look all over the place.

    I think you can lose a lot of readers if the nav is unclear.

    Thank you!
    JR

  41. It seems that there is no standard answer, so allow me to add that I recently updated my template with a magazine style, opting for one post on the front page with the excerpt or “teaser” feature.

    I also offer the 10 most recent posts in an easy location on a sidebar.

    What do folks think? See http://www.ariwriter.com

  42. I’m playing with the idea of using ‘More’ with very long posts (I do really long analyses of presentations for example which may go on for pages) and leaving shorter posts alone.

    I did go for the strategy of ‘curiosity’ posts (sticking the ‘More’ tag in the middle of a sentence) but it didn’t quite match with being an authentic communicator…!

    The thing I HATE is when someone’s post is shortened in an RSS reader. I just don’t read it.

  43. I keep 5 posts on the front page. I want to give readers a taste of diversity without getting too long.

  44. I keep about 5-6 posts on my blog frontpage. I also have the 10 most popular posts titles on my sidebar (which is visible on the frontpage). I get some decent click through on those popular post links.

  45. I have about 12 posts on the main page. Not sure if it is a good idea because each post has an image. I know I hate loading loads of images from other webpages… actually might just change the number of posts now.

  46. Hmm… interesting discussion. I decided to change mine from 10 full-length posts to 3.

    It just make more sense. Who wants to do all that scrolling anyway?

  47. I just recently put a new version of my blog online, and I am trying out 4 excerpts on the front page. I am excited to see how that works.

  48. i suggest 4-5 post is great…it look neat..and if user find even a single post interesting..they will keep moving on and on..!!! in search of some post which entertain them

  49. Well. I show 5 posts on the main page.

  50. I went with 5. Just a gut feeling on the look. More than that just seemed like a lot.

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