Thursday, December 23, 2010

Your blog page (home page)

In the beginning was the blog, composed of posts.

The blog page, or home page, shows your most-recent posts in classic backwards order, last-first. Your readers see this page first when they navigate to your blog at its root address.

Many new bloggers want, or think they want, a static home page with a link to their blog page, and there are a fair number of tricks and hacks to achieve something like that.

However, Blogger is not set up to provide a static home page, and it is worth understanding the editorial rationale for starting with your most recent blog post.

Simply put, readers have short attention spans and it is usually better to immerse them in your freshest work right away rather than make them read some introduction. Returning readers in particular will not like have to scroll or click past the same old thing every time they visit your site.

In any case, unless you hack your site, the conventional blog page is what your readers will see first. Two considerations follow from that:
  • Give special care that the first few paragraphs of every post are well-written and engaging. These words will, for a time, be the first thing your readers see.
  • Use sidebar gadgets to promote and link to older content. For example, the Archive gadget can list all of your posts by month; you can link to your favorite posts with a links or text gadget; you can feature recent comments by readers.
Blogger generates your blog page dynamically and you do not control fully how it looks. There is an absolute limit on the size of all generated blog pages based on the amount of data Blogger loads to serve it on the internet.

Once you hit that limit, Blogger will automatically end the page and bump older content to subsequent archive pages (reachable by a link at the end of the page).

Finally, Blogger orders these posts in reverse chronological order by date published, on the freshest-first theory. This does not always answer.

The most popular remedy, and the easiest, is to change posting dates to achieve the desired order. For another workaround, see here.

Next: Post pages.
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