An ever-present struggle for bloggers – do you show full posts or excerpt (summaries) in your blog’s home page or feed? Truth is there are a few reasons to opt for excerpts and show the read more link, instead of full posts on your blog’s homepage and feed.
If you are showing more than a handful of posts on your homepage or main blog page, this can mean a lot of content to load. Specially when you consider that in general blogging means lots of images and long posts these days.
Stats show that people will close out of a page within a few seconds if the page doesn’t load. Displaying excerpts means you’ll only be showing a fraction of the content cutting the load time significantly.
Showing summaries of your blog posts in the home page, feed, and archives allows your readers to easily skim your blog. Readers can find exactly the posts they are interested in without wasting time scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through posts they don’t really want to read.
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How to show blog post summaries or excerpts
There are a few ways to set your blog to display post summaries. The first two are available for anyone on WordPress, the last one is Genesis specific.
Show Summaries / Excerpts for all posts
From your WordPress dashboard go to Settings > Reading. Where it says “For each article in a feed, show” select Summary.
Note: This will also affect how your blog posts are seen in an RSS Feed such as Bloglovin’ or Feedly. Meaning, if you select “Summary”, readers on those RSS services will only see summaries of your posts.
Insert Read More Tag To Blog Posts
This option gives you full control of where the posts cuts off. However, you will have to do this for every posts before publishing.
In the post editor, if you are using the Visual editor, click the “add more” button while your cursor sits where you want the post summary to end. A grey dashed line will appear.
If you’re using the Text / HTML editor, add
<!--more—> where you would like the post summary to end.
Using Genesis Excerpts
Genesis allows for a second way to add the read more link to posts. One reason you’d want to use this over the WordPress’ summaries is that unlike the Summary option under the Reading settings, Genesis’ excerpts do not affect how you post appears in RSS Feeds. So you could have post summaries showing in your home or blog feed but not on your RSS Feed.
To use Genesis Excerpts, from your WordPress dashboard to go Genesis > Theme Settings. Scroll down to the Content Archives section. Select “Display Excerpts“. From here you will be able to choose whether you want the featured image to display with your excerpts, at what size, and its alignment.
What about adding ‘Next’ or ‘Read More’ within a post?
While most people use the “Read More” button for excerpts in the home page or blog feed, there is one slightly more controversial use – within a post.
There are two ways this works – one loads the first paragraph of the posts and then the reader has to click a “read more” button to load the rest of the post. This option use can be beneficial specially when used in mobile or tablets only.
The second in-post “read more” or similar button is when a blogger divides a post into multiple parts, making a reader click next over and over. This use has the same benefit of fast-load time as well as the added benefit of pageviews increase and decreased bounce rate. That being said, I don’t generally recommend this approach. Most readers seem to really dislike this strategy – at least from what I can tell from Facebook groups – and it screams “MORE PAGEVIEWS PLEASE!” Read: you’re not fooling anyone so add post navigation with caution.