Poll Results Split the Internet
Well, one does. The other is near universal. Also, I haven’t seen so much as a raised voice yet. Also also, the sample size here is extremely small. Take with a large helping of salt accordingly. So generally? Hyperbole all around in that headline.
Moving on. Let’s start with the easy one first.
Infinite Scroll vs. Pagination
If you’re unfamiliar with Infinite Scroll — think Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Google Image search. When you are scrolling through posts or items, you never have to hit ‘next page’. As you near the end of the currently loaded items, it will automatically load another set for you to continue with.
Pagination on the other hand you must actively click to progress to a new set of items.
There are instances of some news sites using ‘Infinite Scroll’ to load entire new articles as you reach the end of whatever article you’re currently reading. The intent being to increase a user’s time on site. Many find it irritating though, and God forbid you ever actually want to come back to an article loaded this way at some point in the future.
This poll though was specifically in the context of a blog’s main post index, or archive. Not while already reading a specific post.
The sample size was small (n=14) but the responses fairly one-sided within that. The main audience of respondents are themselves bloggers but were asked to answer from the perspective of consumers of content on other blogs.
So what can we tell from this? Mainly that within this particular niche of the game blogging landscape, most do not appreciate the Infinite Scroll feature. But equally, no-one is going to call you a dunderhead or stop reading your blog over it if you want to enable it.
Also? Potentially fewer people use an off-site mechanism for reading blog posts than I suspected!
Full Posts vs. Excerpts
This one was much closer, as you’ll see. The poll again asked respondents to consider things from the perspective of a blog reader and whether or not they liked to see full posts on the main archive/index.
The argument for excerpts runs that by seeing multiple posts easily, it’s more likely that something will grab their attention to read. That it makes it easier as someone new to a blog to quickly get a feel for the type of content and how much it might interest them. Others noted a changing preference based on typical post length. Longer posts leaning them toward preferring excerpts, while a shorter typical post length was OK to display in full.
This poll had a sample size of n=16 through marginally larger reach. Excerpts had an early and strong lead, but in the end?
Amongst respondents who actually use a blog’s website for consumption of the content? Dead tie.
Do as you will! Decide for yourself! Although having said that, if your posts tend toward the lengthy end of things — perhaps give excerpts a stronger consideration.
Otherwise, what theme do you like? What looks more aesthetically appealing to you? Are you OK with the load time that comes with full post loading?
So What Will I Do?
Infinite Scroll will be kept off and I’ll be sticking to excerpts for now.
I was using full post display prior to the recent redesign.1 My reasoning being that most readers land directly into a post anyway, where this question becomes moot and for those that don’t land straight into a post scanning for what they’re after in the archive should be quicker and easier with excerpts on.
It doesn’t hurt that the page load time according to GTMetrix has come down from just north of 5 seconds to around 3 seconds. That’s with displaying way more post entries per page, too!