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Some blogs show the full blog post in the Home/Category page instead of a shorter excerpt of the blog post, for example http://blog.mozilla.org.

I find that:

  • Sometimes it's hard to skip to the next blog post.
  • It takes a long time to load the whole page, especially when it contains many images.

Are there any good reasons for showing the full blog post in the Home/Category page instead of an excerpt?

  • This question is tricky to answer without having the customer insight they probably have. Maybe they discovered that nobody browsed around in the older entries but just went straight for the newest one and then left. Also, the main entry point might well be Google search, going straight to the post. – Babossa May 15 '14 at 6:12
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Depending on the blog there are a few possibles:

  • It's the default setup in whatever blog software they're using and they just left it that way
  • Whoever set up the blog prefers it that way
  • They're catering to a group of users who visit the home page to catch up with several posts at the same time - so having the full posts makes for a simpler reading experience
  • Posts make sense as a series - so having multiple posts present on the same page makes sense
  • ... and a bunch of other made up reasons if I wanted to spend the time ...

I can think of reasons why it would be sensible. I can think of reasons why it would be dumb. I can think of reasons why it doesn't really matter. Without talking to the folk whose blog it is and understanding the requirements of their readers it's going to be hard to say up-front which is more likely ;-)

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I did some research on this a few years ago. Here's a summary of the conclusions:

The advantage of using excerpts is that the home page of the blog reveals more posts. The page can be scanned easily and there's a higher chance that a visitor will find something he/she likes. Also, the visitor can easily locate a specific post if he came looking for one.

The downside of using excerpts is that it reduces the likelihood of the user reading your latest post, because now he has to make a conscious decision to read it. By default he only sees the excerpts and he needs to decide to press the Read More button. Without the excerpt all your visitors are exposed to the entire post, and you only lose the visitors who decide to abandon it. With the excerpt no visitors are exposed to the entire post, and you only gain those who decide to read it. This will usually be a much smaller number. It's an opt-in vs. opt-out problem.

When your posts are very long and/or contain a lot of visuals, it's best to use excerpts regardless of the dilemma above. Also when you post frequently and your posts are longer than a couple of paragraphs.

When it's very important for you to make sure that your users read your posts, it's best not to use excerpts. Also, when your posts are short, using excerpts can be detrimental since the navigation that they introduce is redundant.

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