We’re going to reformat the homepage; take the poll and tell us what you think!

Starting this week, we’re going to reformat the homepage. We’re going to show only the first bit of each post, plus a “read more” button. That will let you to see all the recent posts without so much scrolling. Our hope is that this will keep recent posts from falling off your collective radar so quickly.

This is an experiment, we’ll change it back if that’s what y’all want. So here’s a poll, tell us what you think. (note that you might want to wait until the change takes effect, and then give it a few days to see what you think before you fill out the poll.)

20 thoughts on “We’re going to reformat the homepage; take the poll and tell us what you think!

  1. Um, the website still looks the same to me… (long posts, no “read more” button). Have you switched modes yet?

    • No, we’re going to start switching with the next post. In retrospect, perhaps should’ve made the change with today’s post, but it was so short it didn’t seem worth it.

      • Ah, ok. That makes sense. One starts to wonder when 46 people have already filled out the poll…

      • Yes, a number of people think this is such a good idea (or in a few cases, such a bad idea) that they don’t even need to see the change before deciding.

        Which is understandable, actually, since after all there are plenty of blogs that make you click through to read full posts. Tenure, She Wrote, often does, for instance.

  2. Not that you asked, but I thought I’d share thought on this anyway. (I chose ‘read more option’ being better). Most people probably don’t visit every day. And most people probably don’t read everything. Serving that audience is probably better — because the people who read everything can be served quite easily a variety of ways too (email subscribing, RSS/feedly, clicking on ‘more’). I think it’s nice for the new visitor to see a breadth of offerings, and not just the one recent post. (I wanted people to see a variety of new posts but still be able to read the newest fairly easily — it took a while for me to come upon what I think does this well for my site.)

    • Absolutely Terry, you’ve basically spelled out our thinking in more detail than I bothered to.

      I’ll be curious to see if has any detectable effect on our traffic patterns.

      • To clarify, I think that part of why new posts drop off the readership’s collective radar so quickly is because many people don’t visit every day. So when they visit, I suspect that they mostly just read the most recent post or two. Or else don’t read any, if the most recent post or two isn’t of interest. I doubt many occasional visitors are scrolling way down as a way of discovering posts to read.

  3. Personally, I’d like to see the most recent post in its entirety, but only an excerpt with a read more-option for all the other posts on the first page. Really long posts could maybe be the exception, with a shortened version to save space even when they are posted.

    • “Personally, I’d like to see the most recent post in its entirety, but only an excerpt with a read more-option for all the other posts on the first page. ”

      That would be inconvenient for us to do, sorry. We’d have to go back to each post after it was published and manually insert the “read more” tag. Of course, we have to manually insert that tag anyway. But it’s easier for us to do it when we’re writing the post.

      • That’s what I do. A new post is up in full, and the rest are previews. When I schedule the next new post, then I add the ‘read more’ tag on the most recent post. It takes a bit of thought and time to do this.

      • Ok, and it was merely a suggestion. Also, I think that there are wordpress plugins to handle this automatically (e.g. show x number of posts in full and the rest as excerpts), but I might be mistaken.

      • We’re hosted for free by WordPress, so most plugins aren’t available to us.

        Yes, you can question whether it’s silly of me to be so cheap about spending money on a blog I clearly care so much about.🙂

  4. This new format seems to break subscribing by email. Now the email only has the very beginning and you have to go to the website to read the whole post. Gives you more accurate numbers but annoying from my end. Not sure if you can keep the format but have the email show the whole thing.

    • Thanks! We weren’t aware that that would break the email subscriptions, which we’d intended to keep as full text. I’ll look into that.

      Perhaps this explains why the votes on the poll suddenly started turning against the new format after the first post in the new format when up.

      Wonder if we’ve broken full-text RSS too.

      • This is exactly the reason I voted “leave as is,” except I am RSS. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blog where putting in a jump (as in the new format) does not break the feed.

      • Whoops. I may have to sheepishly take that back. Looks like yesterday’s post did show up in full. Chalk one up for preceived notions.

      • Thanks. Glad we haven’t broken RSS too.

        Afraid I haven’t been able to find a fix for email subscriptions. Don’t think there is one, given that we’re hosted for free by WordPress. The default behavior seems to be that, if your blog shows only a teaser, so does your email feed–which is probably the default most people want. Apparently we’re a little unusual in wanting full posts in our subscriptions, but not on the homepage.

    • I agree with Stephen on this. I get all my Dynamic Ecology (and other blogs) via email, and having to click through from an email is annoying. If it is something I am interested in, I will do it anyway (as I have done with Brian’s post today), but I would prefer to just have it all in one email.

      That being said, before I figured out how to subscribe by email, I would just visit this blog periodically to see what had been posted. In that sort of case, I think the “Read More” option is helpful. If you can fix the email situation, I would vote for the “Read More.” If not, I would likely vote against.

  5. I read on-site and regularly (i.e. I don’t generally miss posts). I don’t like the new format because it’s an extra step to click. Also, I can’t do a quick skim to see how long the post is (like Brian’s today!) without making that click. My two cents.

    • Thanks Margaret. That’s the trade-off. This change is probably annoying for avid readers like you, and probably pleasing for occasional readers. So there’s no pleasing everyone, and we’re trying to figure out who to please.

      We could look into putting a word count at the top of each post, or inserting it into the “continue reading” text. Have it read “Continue reading (XXX words)”. We’d have to do that by hand for every post. I like that suggestion, I’ll try to remember to start doing it for my posts.

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