Improve WordPress Excerpts for Better Performance, Traffic, and Engagement

Improve WordPress Excerpts for Better Performance, Traffic, and Engagement

Excerpts are vital for your WordPress posts. They’re a short snippet from your posts that you can display on your homepage or elsewhere.

The more fine-tuned the excerpt, the faster your site can load. Plus, your SEO can improve, and the snippet can be the clincher to entice users to read your article.

All of this can lead to increased traffic and a much higher quality WordPress site.

This article takes a look at what precisely an excerpt looks like, how they’re used, ways to add them, customizing their look, and more.

Plus, I’ll point out the differences between an excerpt and a meta description. Then, show you how you can boost your meta descriptions with our very own SEO plugin, SmartCrawl.

We’ll be covering how to:

By the time you get through this article, you’ll be a (wait for it…) excerpt expert.

Expect More With an Excerpt

When you create an excerpt for your post, you expect to get results from it. And you will.

Excerpts are an essential feature to get a grip on because, by default, WordPress shows full posts on your blog, the home page, and the archives of your site.

That can lead to a lag when it comes to site speed. It can also cause search engines issues because of duplicate content on your site.

As for page speed, your pages will load faster due to it just loading a small portion of articles. Along with engagement that an excerpt can bring due to a catchy glimpse of the article, they keep users happy with quick load times.

All this being said, you will want to use excerpts on:

  • Any archive pages for categories and tags
  • The blog post page if it’s featured on your static home page
  • Your WordPress homepage if blog posts are displayed

Many WordPress themes are set up to use excerpts by default or give you the option to display the full article or a snippet. Be sure to find out if your theme has this setup or not.

WordPress will automatically create an excerpt for you that uses your post’s first 55 words (and, depending on the theme, possibly more) if it is included with your theme.

Automatic excerpts are frequently a poor reflection of the article. Those first few words or sentences need to reflect your post with a nice summary. Frequently, an introduction to an article won’t convey that.

Therefore, it’s good to…

Customize Excerpts in WordPress

Luckily, WordPress makes it easy to customize the excerpts, so you don’t just rely on the default.

All of this is done in the WordPress content editor. There should be a dropdown that says Excerpts. If it’s not there, check your Post’s Screen Options.

Clicking on Excerpt will get one created.

From here, it’s a matter of creating an actual excerpt for your post. The dropdown will enable it.

You’ll want to come up with something

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This article was written by N. Fakes and originally published on WPMU DEV Blog.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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