Boring Article About Excerpts (Blog Design Basics)

You are ‘designing’ a blog and you stumble over the phrase ‘article excerpt’.
What do you do? Ignore it?

I’m curious. Nowadays you see more and more blogs changing there blogposts to “Click here to Read the rest of this entry” posts.

The question about what people are using excerpts for was thrown up in “Click here to Read the rest of this entry” ???.

In general excerpts are a great way to condense content to give readers a faster way of scanning your article lists.

What is an excerpt?

A passage or segment taken from a longer work, such as a literary or musical composition, a document, or a film.

  1. To select or use (a passage or segment from a longer work).
  2. To select or use material from (a longer work).

Source: Excerpt on

Speaking of blog design excerpts are all ways to generate controllable granulated content snippets from one article. Automatically! This way a search parameter, a list of article keywords, the article title, custom fields, etc. are little bricks (read: modules) to control my blog design.

My definition for ‘excerpt’ is more technical: Granulated content

Places on your blog where excerpts make sense

I was wondering if you have any experience with excerpts. Did you or did you decide not to do this and why?

Excerpts are a great way to enhance the reading experience. Additionally using excerpts will avoid duplicate content on your blog. There are a couple of places on your blog where excerpts make sense:

  • Homepage
  • Archive pages
  • Category lists
  • Tag search result lists
  • Search result lists
  • Original RSS feed(s)
  • Secondary RSS feeds
  • ??? i.e. offers full feeds but in a blog article you have the additional possibility of a divider to only show excerpts on your blog homepage.

In general I would recommend to have excerpts in all list pages.

How-To generate excerpts

Speaking about different types of excerpts:

  • Original excerpt – Offered by your blogging software
  • Plug-In generated excerpts – Normally those plug-ins offer more whistle and bells than the core excerpt. This way you can i.e.:
    • Strip off HTML code
    • Cut off your generated excerpt after a certain length
    • Skip content (like the 1st paragraph)
    • Have your own ‘read more…’ anchor text
    • Fill the meta description (Related: 3 SEO plugins: More traffic with custom titles and individual descriptions)
    • This list could become longer and longer. For a reference check the tag attribute part for my preferred Textpattern auto excerpt plug-in: rss_auto_excerpt to see what is possible.
  • External excerpts (i.e. via extra FeedBurner feed)
  • Bookmark excerpt (i.e. via RSS feed)

Many choices…

Excerpt examples

You may want to check my excerpt examples. Link loving self reference is pretty useless because all links lead to my German page and send this article to moderation 🙂

  • Tag:
  • Category: (Diverse)
  • Search: (weather) – Full text excerpts with highlighted search terms.
  • Homepage: – Automatic excerpts with stripped HTML (except h4) plus my latest links tagged ‘Hamburg ‘ in the sidebar.

More benefits from excerpts

Absolutely useful for me is the advanced use of parameters to trigger different ad outputs, meta-descriptions and page titles. For me using this structure of different excerpts has a lot of advantages:

  • Transparent archive which is building automatically
  • Content specific ads = high CTR
  • Search engine traffic goes to single articles and not to the homepage
  • My pages are very often listed twice (and high) in SERPs (article + tag page)

If you are writing longer articles use excerpts on your blog!

5 thoughts on “Boring Article About Excerpts (Blog Design Basics)

  1. I can only say that my front page channel has the lowest AdSense income from all the editorial pages but links are selling good

  2. Your right.

    Now that I have excerpts it is only showing short text posts (6 pcs.) without ads on my frontpage. When reading the post the “high” valued ads show. Now I can make my frontpage more attractive by showing more posts.

    If I didn’t had excerpts and I wanted to keep the ads “high” valued I would only have two posts max. on my frontpage.

  3. The ad which is highest in source code should return the highest click rate. But I have also seen low ads paying good because the 1st ads are taken by big ad buyers.

    Btw. I don’t get your point with excerpts and ads. An ad is another granulated content…

  4. Nice post Markus!!

    And let me say I don’t think it is so basic or boring at all. 😉

    The main reason I came up with this is because I wanted to reduce the Adsense blocks on my homepage.

    I don’t know this for sure but the less ad’s on a page the higher the pay rate for the clicks. I know that some of the great Adsense guru’s teach this. By building in excerpts I only have 1 block per post/page.

    Although it will be difficult to monitor/analyze the changes that I’ll be making on the blog, (This because of the extra Christmas Adsense campaigns that I’m currently running on this blog.) I’ll see if I can make a report with values like Adsense clicks/returns and pageviews.

    I’ll make a blog post of it here on performancing.

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