There is an interesting discussion going on about what’s the most effective design for a blog homepage. Is it a single page design or a homepage with excerpts? Blogs are moving to excerpts and there are some good reasons for this.
For example let’s take the statistics of the Eclectro website. Those are interesting because last month we changed the lay-out from a single page design into a magazine-style design with only excerpts on the frontpage.
The Eclectro weblog – a Dutch weblog about electronic music – started in July last year, it is written by volunteers and reaches around 15.000 visitors a month generating over 40.000 pageviews a month.
The reason for the Eclectro re-design came from the content. The high speed of new articles made some other (valuable articles) drop of the frontpage too fast. There was no visual difference between short posts, sometimes only containing news and the special posts containing unique content or special reviews.
This could all be solved by creating a magazine-like template for the frontpage, and so we did. The downside, you have to make an extra click on the homepage before you can read the article. And maybe there would be some resistance by the readers.
The effect is very good, not only are we able to show more posts on the homepage we can also show more headlines and excerpts in the first screen (before the scroll). Dropping the single-page website had actually has no negative effect at all and we haven’t got complaints about the change of homepage style.
Here are some statistics * of the Eclectro homepage (with 9,401 views in december and 8,373 in november; total visitor number (15.000) for the entire site is roughly the same for these 2 months)
(* thanks to Inge):
9,401 Pageviews on the homepage
Previous: 8,373 (+12.28%)
– good: with a similar total amount of visitors, the number of homepage visitors is higher than last month, which means that more people see all our content.
00:01:49 Time on Page
Previous: 00:02:14 (-18.62% )
– the lower number makes sense, since the real messages are on another page.
29.48% Bounce Rate
Previous: 42.02% (-29.85%)
– excellent! apparently, people stick longer and are better teased to click further and not leave at once.
25.05% % Exit
Previous: 33.49% (-25.21%)
– again, excellent! less people leaving, more people clicking through.
The image shows the average used connection speed of visitors on the Eclectro website over the past half year. High speed connections are mainstream.
The image shows the average used screen resolution used by visitors on the Eclectro website over the past half year. Average screen width is growing, although the height isn’t. Widescreen is very popular.
What does it mean?
The average viewer of the eclectro website has a pretty good connection and a reasonable screen width. A blog template was designed with scrolling in mind, one long page with the ten most recent posts on the homepage. Around the same time this single-page blog-design got popular we did see RSS become very popular as well. The design of a feed is often similar to a blog.
RSS is chronological the way the original blog design is. The magazine style is more based on the content itself. Making a selection in what is the best content. RSS is more valuable for the real heavy user of a website, is there something new I haven’t read? A magazine design is more useful for the average website visitor. The guy or girl who types the url a few times a week to see what’s new and more important what’s interesting enough to read.
Are RSS, widgets, Netvibes, iGoogle and e-mailsubscription accepted so broadly by heavy internet users that we can drop the single-page design? What do you think, and what do your statistics tell you (please share). Should all blogs with more than two posts a day seriously consider a design with only excerpts on the frontpage? Or is the single-page not dead at all?