Excellent Uses of Excerpts in Blog Design

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Blog designers consistently face the decision of showing full posts or excerpts on the front page. Personally, I prefer excerpts because they make it easy for the visitor to quickly scan the most recent posts and see what’s of interest to them. The downside of course is that they’ll have to click through to a post in order to read it in its entirety.

Displaying excerpts on the front page can also give the designer an opportunity to add some creativity to the design and to make it a bit more visually appealing. In this post I’d like to take a quick look at 5 blogs that are effectively using excerpts to create a functional and attractive front page.

Carsonified

The front page of Carsonified has a lot going on. It’s a great design, but the look obviously wouldn’t be possible without a well-executed use of post excerpts. On the left side of the screen you’ll see the most recent excerpts with a picture of the author and the comment count in a nice speech bubble. In order to really appreciate the use of the excerpts you need to evaluate the page as a whole and how the excerpts allow visitors to see which posts interest them, but they still allow plenty of space for other content.

Carsonified

Kineda


Kineda has a colorful, clean design that displays excerpts of 8 posts above the fold. The excerpts are very short (the posts are typically short also), but I don’t remember seeing other blogs that put that much content in sight at once. Each excerpt includes a picture, the date, and the number of comments. Since multiple posts are added on some days, this gives visitors a chance to see all the most recent content without missing anything. This approach gives the front page a nice look with a lot of visual appeal.

Kineda

PSDTUTS

PSDTUTS and NETTUTS both use the same design with some minor changes, and both have an attractive front page that effectively uses excerpts to show off recent posts. Each excerpt has an image to the left, which is the finished product of the tutorial in most cases. The excerpts also include links to vote at four different social media sites. For a tutorial site that covers graphic design I think this layout is wonderful. As a reader of the site I frequently visit the site when I’m messing around in Photoshop. With the excerpts and the images I can scroll through the pages easily to find something that interests me.

PSDTUTS

Art Culture

Art Culture uses a bit of a magazine-style approach with its front page. The most recent post has a large excerpt with an image, and other recent posts have attractive excerpts with images, dates and a link to comment. Art Culture shows six of these smaller excerpts followed by a featured post and two larger excerpts.

Art Culture

La Privata Repubblica

The front page of La Privata Repubblica shows 8 excerpts with corresponding images. This keeps their front page fairly short and still presents a good bit of content and some images to increase the look of the page.

Privata Repubblica

What’s Your Opinion?

How do you think the decision of full posts or excerpts affects the design of the front page? Are there other examples that you would like to point out?

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16 Responses

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  • Pavel Ciorici, May 23, 2008

    Nettuts inspired me to create my actual theme using excerpts :)

  • Jeremiah, May 23, 2008

    Could you imagine if PSDTUTS showed full-sized posts on their front page? lol

    Anyways, I’m up in the air about excerpts usage. I usually just use them when I have a really long post to hide away.

  • slippers, May 23, 2008

    nice reviews, thanks for sharing it out.
    looking forward for more great reviews in here.
    good luck mate

  • Randi Colia, May 24, 2008

    Any data indicating whether excerpts or full versions actually work better in terms of keeping visitors on site, etc.

    As a user, I like excerpts. My experience on the other end of things, however, is that full posts perform better.

  • Web Success Diva, May 25, 2008

    Great post showing, yet another, reason to use excerpts effectively. Thank you, these are great examples.

    Maria Reyes-McDavis

  • Eric, May 25, 2008

    This is actually quite true, I think I’ll try to incorporate this more in the future.

  • Vandelay Design, May 26, 2008

    Randi,
    I haven’t seen any data to really convince me that either is more effective than the other. I’ve read things that support both sides, so to me it makes sense to think about a blog’s specific audience and try to determine what will work best. Like Jeremiah mentioned, if PSDTUTS used full posts it would be a nightmare trying to find anything on the front page because they are so long, so that decision is pretty easy.

  • BlogMeTheMoney, May 27, 2008

    Those are some really impressive sites with regard to design. Thanks for sharing this article.

    As for excerpts, I prefer them and find they make a site with many posts a lot cleaner looking and easier to navigate. And the added bonus of 1 more page view cant harm ones alexa rank either.

  • Shivanand Sharma, June 4, 2008

    Is there a nice way to arrange all the trackbacks/pingbacks at the top or the bottom of the comments list in wordpress? Something like http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/25/pay-per-play-media-i-was-wrong/

    I read a little at http://www.walkernews.net/2007/10/30/highlight-author-comment-and-pingback-in-wordpress/ but apparently the $authurl is not documented at wordpress.org.

    I ask because trackbacks and pingbacks in the comments’ list make it look dirty

  • dzieci, June 16, 2008

    I use excerpts on my site too. Please take a look!

  • Jon Soroko, July 10, 2008

    Is there a difference in the net effect of using “excerpts” and just using the “more” tag after a predetermined number of lines?
    J.

  • Vandelay Design, July 10, 2008

    Jon,
    I prefer the custom excerpts because you can include as much or as little as you want. Rather than cutting off at an awkward point you can make it look a little better on the front page. That’s just my preference, plenty of people use the “more” tag.

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