Over the months since I started blogging this blog, I’ve tried a number of different variations of the front page: columns on the left or the right, one column (or two or three or more), many themes, images, etc. but I didn’t pay much attention to one question: How many posts should you have on your frontpage?
It’s a central question: have too few and you risk new readers clicking away when they find nothing of interest within their first glimpses; have too many, and you risk confusion, slow download times, and mental overload. So what is the right number for your front page?
This also begs another related question: should you publish whole posts on the front page or should you just show excerpts to attract attention, so that readers have to click through to the actual page? If so, perhaps that number of excerpts can be greater than if full posts were used.
The default setting in WP is 10 which you can access in your WordPress Dashboard under Options >>> Reading under the section ‘Blog Pages’ pictured here:
So how many posts should you set? Let’s deal with some popular blogs to see what number these popular bloggers are comfortable with:
- John Chow dot com: John has only 5 posts displayed, but each post is fully readable. Additionally, his posts are tending to be quite long.
- Naturally, JohnCow also features 5 full posts in the same format.
- CashQuests dot com: Currently is displaying 11 posts but all are excerpted. She features one article at the top that may be a recent article. In the main area, she shows 10 general posts.
- ProBlogger: Darren’s blog is features 8 excerpted posts, one video, and a long list of popular posts.
- AndyBeard: Again it’s 10 posts, but they’re all excerpted.
- GeniusTypes: He has 16 posts, but all excerpted.
- NetBusinessBlog: There are 10 full posts on the frontpage.
- Blueprint for Financial Prosperity: He has 7 full articles.
- Beyond the Rhetoric: He has got 6 full posts of moderate or greater length.
- the.[ED]ition: Ed has 5 full-length posts on his front page.
Calculator’s out: the average seems to be about 8 posts per frontpage. If you’re setting up your blog for the first time, then the default might be fine. I’m shooting for between 3 and 5 on my own page because it’s quicker to scan, and identify posts of interest. But that might be too few.
There seems to be some loose connection between increasing the number of posts and using excerpts, but the data set is really too small to draw any actual conclusions… I did check other prominent bloggers, but since there are thousands of blogs, why not do your own check, and let me know the results in the comments! That’d be interesting.