An excerpt in WordPress is a lot like what you might imagine it to be: a summary of an article, with a link to it included somewhere. It can be automatically produced by a specific WordPress theme, or you can use the ‘<!—more?’ tag to do so when you are writing your blog post and getting it ready to publish.
Another way to create an excerpt for WordPress is to enter the summary of the article where is says ‘excerpt field’ in the ‘post edit’ section. However, this feature is not put in there by WordPress automatically, so you will need to add it.
You will need to find ‘screen options’ in the top right corner of your post, and then enable it via the prompts. Excerpts is a great feature if you want to try and display more content within a restricted amount of space.
It is really useful for content rich websites such as magazine or news sites where the website owner wants to show more content on the front page, while linking to the complete articles elsewhere.
The most common web pages that use excerpts are search pages, archived pages, and RSS feeds.
They can also be automated, depending on how you use them. Automated excerpts generally take a section of the post while keeping to the word limit. The default limit in WordPress is 55 words, but you can change this.
There are three different types of excerpts; manual except which you enter into the post separately, automated excerpt which gets generated from post content, and the code excerpt where you use the code above to specify the part of your content that you want to be tagged.
Why You Should Use Excerpts Instead of the Full Post in Archives
When people visit your website for the first time, you want them to have a user-friendly experience, where they can easily find what they are looking for. You also want it so that search engines can easily pick up on your content and direct the right people to it.
Let’s talk a little bit about why you should use excerpts instead of full posts in your archives.
- Quicker Load Time: When you use excerpts in your archive pages, this significantly improves the page load time for archive content. This is especially helpful if you include a lot of images in your content, that all have to load. If you feature full page articles in your archives, and people are trying to scroll down to find a specific piece of content, then the page is going to load a lot slower than normal. However, if you use an excerpt, you can significantly improve the user experience. Visitors to your website can browse through dates, tags, and categories, easily and quickly.
- Prevents Making Duplicates: When you just show an excerpt on archive pages, you can avoid being flagged for duplicate content in search engines. This is because publishing full posts in your archives is going to make it look like you’ve got the same article on different webpages on your site. Search engines are quite smart at this point and are able to figure out the difference most of the time, but they can still potentially flag your website for producing duplicate content. This is definitely going to affect your search engine rankings.
- Reduces Bounce Rate: Most people tend to give up on a website if it is loading too slowly. We’ve already talked about how using excerpts can make a page load faster. It also reduces the bounce rate. Additionally, you are increasing page views, because the user has to click through to the full post in order to read the complete article. You probably already know that both bounce rate and page views play an important role in your advertising revenue.
If your website content is short and doesn’t include a lot of images, then you can potentially get away with displaying full posts on your archive pages.
However, as we have explained above, excerpt in WordPress exists for a reason, and we think that you should take full advantage of it.
If you want your load time to be faster on your website, and you want to avoid publishing the same article twice, we recommend that you make the most of this WordPress feature to encourage more visitors, and tempt them to click through to the full article.