Friday, February 26, 2010

How Many Blog Posts Per Page?

A blog's home page, much like other Web sites, faces tradeoffs when it comes to how much information is presented at one time.

Displaying many posts at once increases the chances that readers will see something they like. Just count the number of links in any one place at traditional news sites, such as the Washington Post's local page, though this can quickly lead to clutter. Luckily, blogs typically consist of one post after another in a vertical layout, with other page elements-- like "about me" and ads--off to one side. This linear presentation is less likely to overwhelm the reader, as the long string of posts is out of sight and mind until the reader scrolls down. The longer readers can scroll without having to click to new pages, the more likely they are to be engaged by what's being said and continue reading.

Conversely, having fewer posts per page makes the site load faster. This had been becoming less of a consideration the past few years as broadband speeds accelerated, but the issue has seen a resurgence as many people access the Web from iPhones or similar devices via 3G (or cellphone) signals. Additionally, profit-driven ventures will prefer fewer posts per page, as interested readers will generate more page views and ad impressions as they explore the site.

For many blogs, this decision will be dictated by the site's content, as pointed out by some commenters at BlogCatalog. A photographer's blog that contains a lot of high-res images should be limited to only a few posts per page, but blogs that consist mostly of quotations and short analyses can have dozens of posts per page.


Adam Gurri said...

Interesting point about load time becoming more important again because of people viewing blogs on their mobile phones.

Some blog platforms address this by presenting phones with a version of the blog that is optimized for them--most notably WordPress.

Zuri said...

Optimizing for phones is becoming less and less of an issue as phones, such as the iPhone, are becoming more and more in tune with desktop web browsing. It's only a matter of time before the phones catch up. So I wouldn't waste my time optimizing my blog worrying about pocket toys (even though I already have). Instead, I'll continue to concern myself with creating good content, which will always have a long-term monetary benefit.

(BTW, why are there so many ads on this blog and it is so new? You do realize you're not going to cash in for months? If at all.)

Greg said...

Is there are certain threshold of experience or traffic required before you can start putting up ads?

I figured it would be nice to have them up from the start, but I could see how it would be a turnoff.