I am glad to finally release Homepage Excerpts, a WordPress plugin that I have been developing with a friend for some time already. The plugin has two main objectives. The first one is to make blogs that use full posts on the homepage more search engine friendly. The second one is to give flexibility to people that want to use both full posts and excerpts on the homepage.
Homepage Excerpts for SEO
We are all aware that Google and other search engines penalize websites that contain duplicate content. Ideally, therefore, the content of your posts should be displayed fully in one location only, and that is the single post page.
Most blogs, however, display full posts on the homepage as well, and the posts remain being displayed in full even when they slip out of the homepage into page two, three and so on.
The Homepage Excerpts plugin can be used to reduce this duplicate content while keeping full posts on the homepage. Suppose you have 8 full posts on the homepage. Once you activate the plugin you will have the option to select how many posts to display fully in the homepage. The options will go from 1 up to 8. If you select 8, all your posts on the homepage will keep being displayed fully while all the other posts (the ones on page two, three, four and so on) will turn into excerpts.
Remember that new pages usually take one week or more to get indexed by search engines, so that by the time your single post page gets indexed the post will already be out of the homepage, and it will be displayed as an excerpt, removing the duplicate content issue.
Apart from SEO benefits this change might also improve the user experience. Displaying only post excerpts on the subsequent pages will make it easier for readers to scan them quickly while searching for the post that they are looking for.
Homepage Excerpts for Layout
The plugin can also be used if you want to use an hybrid layout on your homepage, displaying the most recent posts in full and the older ones with an excerpt. On this blog usually I display the most recent post in full while making the others show excerpts, so that the reader can scan quickly through all of them. Some other people might want to display half of the posts on the homepage fully and the other half with excerpts. With the plugin you have complete control over this.
Notice that you can also select if the plugin should extract the custom excerpt from WordPress (the one that you insert manually when writing an entry) or if it should automatically grab the first X words of each post, where X is a number that can be specified on the options panel.
- Download and unzip the plugin
- Uploade the file homepage-excerpts.php to your plugin directory. (Usually
located in wp-content/plugins/)
- Log into the WordPress control panel, then go into “Plugins” and activate the
- Still inside the WordPress control panel go into “options” and then “Homepage Excerpts”
- Update the plugin options as appropriate