That’s right. Just one reason why you shouldn’t load full posts on your homepage or your blog page.
Usually people writing these lists come up with 20 reasons or 7 reasons (7 is the magic number after all). Really though, for the point I want to make, there is only 1 reason why I think you should no load full posts on your front page.
That reason is: Your homepage load time.
There are many reasons why a high homepage load time is bad, but for now just imagine there’s just one: SEO.
Google announced recently that they are paying more and more attention to page load times than ever before. They are obsessed with speed, and so should you be.
One of the biggest challenges that we as WordPress users face is the fact that overloading your WordPress installation with plugins, widgets, and bad code can really add seconds to your page load time.
I suggest cutting down to as few plugins as you can do with, remove any unnecessary widgets, and for god’s sake, don’t load full posts on your homepage.
When you load full posts on your homepage WordPress iterates over posts in what is called the loop. The loop contains all the details about the posts being loaded and that includes the title, the contents, images, and more.
When you iterate through lots of posts it takes time, just as iterating through anything in programming also takes time. For complex objects like posts (and depending on if the contents of these posts are being filtered), this can really add up.
Imagine for a second that you write long articles, include images, have complex layouts and you want to iterate and display 10 or more of these posts on your homepage.
This means that WordPress needs to pull out all the information for each post and display it during it’s iterations of the loop. This adds copious amounts of time.
To solve this, display only the_excerpt of your posts. Cut out anything that doesn’t need to be displayed. Most people don’t even land on your homepage anyway, so why bother giving a digest of the last 5000+ words you’ve written when you can provide a snappy overview of the last few posts you’ve written with links for your visitors to read more if they’re interested.
Some themes don’t enable switching between showing full posts or excerpts. In those cases I recommend using the Homepage Excerpts plugin which will allow you to cut off posts at a certain length and provide a link to read more.
Has hearing about Google’s views on site speed and how that changes your rank prompted you to clean up your page’s load times? I know it has for me – my load times are now quite low and Google’s webmaster tools thanked me for it.
So, do you display full posts on your blog’s front page? If so, why?
Photo credit: Viernest