Recently I have been kicking around the idea of creating the main page of my blog to mimic that of a Magazine style layout. Displaying the most recent post at the top and then a breakdown of the next 4 posts in 2 columns each with excerpts is what I have had in mind. At the very bottom I have included the 2 most recent reviews I have done here on my site as well. It seems more people like the gadget type reviews than anything really.
Why did I do this?
I looked over my blogâ€™s statistics that are collected by Google Analytics and found that majority of my traffic does go directly to individual posts rather than my main site. Though traffic that comes from other blogs tend to point towards my main page (root domain) and I wanted to show more interesting posts to those who visit the main page. I also thought that offering an excerpt instead of the full post at the main page would allow for a more varied listing of posts that I offer people to read. This also allows people to have to scroll down less when they land on my domain.
In doing a change like this I find that the first few sentences will need to be able to grab the reader/visitors attention and entice them to click on the Continue Reading link so they can read the rest of the post. I also have created a script which will scan the posts and find the first image tag it finds, creates a thumbnail on the fly, and then adds it to the excerpt. Grabbing readerâ€™s attention visually is also a big help since most of us enjoy seeing images or photos of what they are reading.
West End of City of Vancouver
The above picture was inserted to demonstrate the thumbnail script in action. On the main page of the site (while it is in the top 5 most resent posts) the script till grab it, thumbnail it, and insert it in the excerpt. This of course will not work once there is 6 posts published in front of this one but hopefully it gives you an idea.
What future plans do I have for something like this?
When I find more time (after I free myself from doing product reviews) Iâ€™ll look at creating the thumbnail script into a WordPress plugin, though I see this mainly for technology sites such as www.futurelooks.com (where I got the idea from) or other blog sites with magazine style layouts. Who knows perhaps there could be other uses for it.