1 Technical Reason Why You Shouldn't Load Full Posts On Your Home Page In WordPress

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.

Homepage load times

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

Josh Kohlbach

Josh is a software entrepreneur from Brisbane, Australia. He spends most of his time helping e-commerce store owners. This is his personal blog where he shares his thoughts and other tidbits on online business and life in general.

This Post Has 14 Comments

    1. Josh Kohlbach

      You’re right, comments are generally not cached very well unless you’re using a plugin like WP-Cache. From what I understand the cache is updated each time a new comment is added.

      This is fine for post pages, but long homepages is the problem here.
      .-= Josh Kohlbach´s last article: Bluehost Adds New CPU & Memory Protection Features =-.

  1. dental hygienist

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  2. Walter

    I’m not aware of this Josh and I’m glad I have read this information. I now need to reconsider my blog. 🙂

    1. Josh Kohlbach

      Thanks for stopping by Walter! I’d say it’s probably one of the most underconsidered SEO facts around at the moment. It’s good to be always on top of the game.
      .-= Josh Kohlbach´s last article: Self Promotion Isn’t Evil =-.

  3. Rose

    Informative post Josh. Another reason is to prevent scrapers from scraping the entire post.
    .-= Rose´s last article: Daughter suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder =-.

    1. Josh Kohlbach

      Too right Rose, most scrapers don’t bother going past the first page. Though a lot also now use sophisticated RSS scraping techniques too – maybe another reason to not have full posts showing in RSS?
      .-= Josh Kohlbach´s last article: The Top 5 Social Outposts I Use And Recommend =-.

  4. Jarret

    Some themes–particularly magazine themes automatically post excerpts instead of using the “read more” feature on standard blog designs. Do these types of blog templates (I’m using Hybrid-News) avoid the WordPress loop that you mentions?

    I’ve tried several things to speed up my site. Initially, I installed very plugin known to mankind, then played around with customizing my CSS with images everywhere. The end result was that my site load time was pretty slow.

    I’ve tried to speed up my site by removing images in the CSS and using various other plugins. I’ve had decent results with WP total Cache. Webo site speed up seemed to work until I kept running into CHMOD errors for no apparent reason. It’s no longer listed at wordpress.org, so I guess they’re no longer offering a free trial version.

    After adding Google’s CDN for some javascript, going back to WP total Cache, removing several widgets/plugins, removing several images from my CSS, my site is still fairly slow (slower than 70% of sites from Google Webmaster).

    My last few vices are probably the jquery slider, large images in posts, and sexy bookmarks plugin.

    I’ve tried the basic version of Hybrid vs. Hybrid News which has zero CSS images and no slider, my site is nearly 40% faster. However, it doesn’t look very visually appealing.

    Anything else that you would suggest, Josh?
    .-= Jarret´s last article: Is coffee bad for you? =-.

    1. Josh Kohlbach

      Jarret, The WordPress loop is an integral feature of WordPress and is one of the features (programmatically) that I think makes it great as a CMS.

      Problems start occurring when you’re iterating through that loop of posts too often, and wasting time computing things on each iteration (1 iteration per post).

      Considering that, you’re pretty safe with magazine style themes as they usually load between 10 and 20 posts on the front page, but only the first 50 characters or so – at that point they deliberately break out from the loop (or they should) to avoid processing data they don’t have to.

      The more plugins you use that mess with stuff to do with your posts the worse the issue becomes.

      Images are usually a culprit too – the more images you have loading the worse off you are. Text loads faster than images which is why I have all my menus in text, the side bar is mostly text, and all my headings are text too.

      To cut down your image load times try making them PNG files (they retain quality at a relatively cheap price memory wise), or better yet make them JPGs. JPGs will loose a little bit of quality, but using tools like photoshop you can adjust it to get the sweet spot between quality and file size.

      In short, make things text instead of images where possible (using CSS can help you achieve similar effects in some cases), make your CSS files external which means put all your CSS code in a file and include that into the page, and do the same with your javascript – in a file, and include it instead of putting it all in the page.

      To me, it’s all about balance – you don’t want to sacrifice quality all the time, but it’s good to keep an eye on it. Try the PageSpeed plugin for Firefox to get some insight.

      Btw, you’ve inspired me to turn this comment into a post – I’ll try to put together some more concise tips for reducing load time soon!
      .-= Josh Kohlbach´s last article: Lowering Your Website’s Bounce Rate (How Design Effects Performance) =-.

    2. Jay

      Hey Josh,

      I look forward to your next post. 🙂

      I’ve just wasted hours fixing my site–had some malicious code possibly from installing a new plugin last week. I noticed with Firefox that I was loading components from some unusual websites and had to clean everything up which took me hours since I am new to hosting a WordPress site. I found a ton of Base64 code in my theme and plugins directory which I removed along with other files.

      Hey, I just posted in another thread on your site–I noticed that you’re also using the Hybrid Theme Framework. I like the clean look of this site and I was wondering if you built this from the Skeleton theme?
      .-= Jay´s last article: Is coffee bad for you? =-.

    3. Josh Kohlbach

      Thanks mate, I’ve got a couple of ideas in the pipelines I’ll be posting soon!

      That sucks hearing about that. Last think you want is having to spend time on fixing your site that you could be spending on writing. Sounds like you’ve got quite a good grip of WordPress, most people wouldn’t have even noticed.

      I replied in detail over on the buffet framework post, but yep, it’s a child theme of Hybrid. Gotta love Justin’s fast loading code.
      .-= Josh Kohlbach´s last article: Lowering Your Website’s Bounce Rate (How Design Effects Performance) =-.

  5. Jarret

    Ooops, I’m having some problems with my keyboard, sorry for the litany of typos, lol.

    *mention not mentions
    **every plugin not very plugin, lol
    .-= Jarret´s last article: Is coffee bad for you? =-.

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