WordPress.com Archives and Categories Page Display

How do you prefer your posts to be displayed on your Archives and Categories pages?

  1. Do you prefer an excerpt display?
  2. Do you prefer a full post display?
  3. Do you prefer only a permalink post title display?
  4. Do you prefer the inclusion of a thumbnail sized image?
  5. Do you prefer to create your own customized excerpts?

Background

Whether or not full posts are displayed on Categories Pages and Archives pages is theme dependent ie. it’s coded into the template and we bloggers cannot edit templates or themes.

In the majority of themes, posts on category or other archive pages show up just as they do on the main posts page in the blog and the number displayed is also the same. (See this page > Settings > Reading and note how many posts you choose there sets it for all). But in some themes only the beginnings of posts are shown, and in a few themes you only get titles or thumbnails. See here for a theme list of themes that display Category/Archive pages: full posts or not.

Excerpt Workaround

In magazine styled themes only beginnings of posts display on the front page of the blog but some have an active excerpt box below the post editor, so you can control the length of the excerpt displayed. This is the workaround you can use to override display on the front page and display a customized excerpt instead.

When creating a post or page on your WordPress.com blog, you have two editing modes available to you: Visual Editor and Text Editor (HTML).

If you wish to have a full post display you compose your whole post first in the Visual editor, then before you publish it you switch to the HTML (Text) editor, copy all the code you find there, paste it into the Excerpt box, and publish the post. This will have to be done on every post.

If you wish to have a customized excerpt and even include the URL for a thumbnail you compose your whole post first in the Visual editor, then before you publish it you switch to the HTML (Text) editor, copy the relevant code, paste it into the Excerpt box, and publish the post. This will have to be done on every post.

Questions and Answers

I began this post by asking some questions. The key question is: How do you prefer your posts to be displayed on your Archives and Categories pages?

  1. Do you prefer a full post display?
  2. Do you prefer only a permalink post title display?
  3. Do you prefer the inclusion of a thumbnail sized image?
  4. Do you prefer excerpt display created by the software on some themes?
  5. Do you prefer to create your own customized excerpts?

Those are questions that Staff did not choose to ask us WordPress.com users prior to making the decision to change the display to full posts thereby creating triplicated content.

“The reasons for this change is that we’ve received a fair amount of requests from users who want to display posts on archive pages in the same way as on posts page, and we believe this is better for consistency.
Also if you are looking for themes that display excerpts on archive pages, I’ve made a list on this thread. ” —iamtakashi, Staff

Problem with excerpts with theme comet
Excerpts no longer working
Why “summary” option is misbehaving through categories?

Discussion

The display I prefer to see on the Archives and categories pages in my blogs is the custom excerpt that I create.  I’m not happy about not being consulted about Archives and Categories page display changes. Are you?

25 thoughts on “WordPress.com Archives and Categories Page Display

  1. Sigh… well, we’re never consulted first, are we?
    If I were still using Chateau this change would piss me off something rotten, but I’m not. I designed my current blog very carefully using an image map in the footer and a separate archive page using the archive shortcode. I do have a categories widget but want people to see full posts in this current blog, because with the exception of a few posts, they’re mostly short anyway.

    What would piss me off far more would be if they suddenly get rid of my current theme – they’ve already ‘updated’ a previous version of it to the one I’m using now.

    TT… I came to the conclusion a while ago that I’m nearly past caring. Everything online is moving past me.

    Will the internet itself be even remotely recognisable in another few years? I doubt it.

  2. Dear Readers,
    I do appreciate every comment I receive. I work every day usually 6 days every week and usually for 8 hours each working day. I’m at work right now but I will eat supper and then return here and answer your comments. I am very UNHAPPY about this change and I’ll link to what I posted to the head of the Themes Team when I return.

  3. I prefer full posts because I don’t like to have to click a bunch of links.
    It would be nice if WP got all their themes set up so that you had options for many of the things that are dictated to us on a theme by theme basis.

    1. @Margie
      Really? You prefer to scroll through full post after full post after full post on Archives and Categories pages, rather than simply scanning a list of titles and clicking a title link of your choice to read a full post. I find that mind boggling.

      1. Many of the blogs I follow are photo blogs. The display of full posts on archives and categories make them look like picture books. When I look at a real picture book, I don’t look at the table of contents and then decide which picture to look at. I flip through the pages and look at each page – same for blogs that use a lot of photos.

        1. Margie,
          I consider index pages to be just that and nothing more than that. For what you describe I would have a single thumbnail image and a permalink to the post on the archives and categories pages. To me creating triplicate redundancy of posts in three sections in any blog is utterly insane.

  4. Do you prefer the inclusion of a thumbnail sized image? YES!
    Is there any chance that WP.com will add this to the 2010 theme? I would be so happy if they could.
    I’ve spent too much time organizing my blog with with the 2010 theme to change now and always felt that the option of a thumbnail image in archives is sadly missing.

  5. Very interesting and relevant. Like a lot of things about web design, it zipped past my head without me thinking about it until you pointed it out.

    Personally, I like excerpts with an image. That works OK in the theme I am using at the moment but it’s something to watch out for if I decide to change themes at some point in the future.

    I am sure there are a lot of people who would like to be aware of this ‘feature’.

    One thing about the images in ‘excerpts with images’ is that of course, there has to be an image in the post.

    However, in order for the image to show in the excerpt it also has to be a ‘featured’ image – at least in the theme I am using.

    And featured images can only be set post by post (as far as I know) and not as a batch.

    So for old articles which don’t have featured images set, it’s a case of trawling through the articles one by one. Something to occupy a windswept winter’s night perhaps?

    1. Your blogs are photoblogs so it makes sense to me to have excerpts that do include images and I do like excerpts with images.

      You may have noticed that I have been switching themes lately searching for one I can settle into. So far I’ve worked with Inuit Types, Able, Twenty Ten and Sight and I’m favoring Sight. All have active excerpt boxes and that’s important to me. Hence discovering Staff intends to make this change was very upsetting to me.

      Re: featured images in older posts
      Yes, it is a project for a long winter’s night that I may be taking on once I decide which of the themes I’ll stick with for awhile.

        1. I’m thinking that I liked Sight better, except for one important thing. It is that the Twenty Ten has very nice typography and Sight doesn’t. Have you tried Hatch?

          “Hatch is a lightweight, bare-bones theme for photographers, illustrators, and visual artists. Your portfolio is certain to stand out with the theme’s bold featured images, full-width posts, and a space for your logo. Read on to find out how to set up your own stunning website with Hatch.”

          http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/hatch/
          http://hatchdemo.wordpress.com/

          1. You are right about the typography in the Sight theme. Did I see that you used Blaskan for a day or two?

            I like Hatch and I am using Hatch Pro on my self-hosted site at Photographworks :-)

          2. Yes I gave Blaskan a try out. I didn’t like the size of the post titles ie. too big.
            Aha! I’m not crazy I thought I saw Hatch on one of your blogs. :)

  6. One reason I chose “The Morning After” theme is the excerpts / opening sentences on the archives page. They help a reader decide whether the entire post might be of interest. I’m very relieved WP didn’t decide to “fix” the theme. The excerpts are exactly right — more useful than a simple listing of titles, but brief enough to allow a lot of listings on a single browser page. Thumbnails (small ones) would be a nice addition to the current archives format. Otherwise, don’t mess with it!

    Do I understand correctly that WP changed some themes to show full posts on the archives page instead of just titles or excerpts? That’s ridiculous. Why do that? If a reader wants to see the full post, they go to the post. Or maybe the home page. An archives page should be a quick, easy reference to all the posts in a specific category. Honestly, the WP devs should stick to debugging stuff that doesn’t work instead of messing up themes that were carefully conceived by actual designers.

        1. I had to restrain myself from being snarky. It’s so annoying that Staff are cast in the role of nannying us ie making decisions that directly affect our blogging without consulting us. arararggghhh! In the case of infinite scroll when many objected the response was that the majority were not complaining. This time it’s the opposite that we are witnessing ie. the tryanny of the minority.

  7. I think I see what changed, but I like this better, if I understand it correctly. I use the “insert more” feature (read more…) on all of my blogs to keep it loading easily since I use a lot of photos. The whole post only shows up if I forgot to use that feature. I just add it through editing.

  8. “The reasons for this change is that we’ve received a fair amount of requests from users who want to display posts on archive pages in the same way as on posts page, and we believe this is better for consistency.
    Also if you are looking for themes that display excerpts on archive pages, I’ve made a list on this thread. ” –iamtakashi, Staff

    IMO, the “fair amount of requests” has not come from users but from above: ie Matt. Reason? I have no idea. Why take control away from individuals?

    I’ve written in the forums that the more tag is not the same as a custom excerpt. And it is NOT! I like my small thumbnail images in excerpts, and my background colors and borders.

    There is also another function/feature of using a custom excerpt that I’m not sure applies only to themes with functional custom excerpts. That is that when you choose a summary for you RSS, what goes out is at least part of your custom excerpt. And your custom excerpt goes out to email subscribers as well.

    If the powers that be disable custom excerpts, then I believe these un-noted features will also be disabled. This is especially bothersome for my work blog (I don’t “do” facebook for my personal use). My boss requires me to add blog posts to facebook and other social media. This change means that I must compose something to go out for all that (social media and emails) then republish posts with full-sized image and full post moments later.

    or I should be satisfied with the arbitrary truncation or non-customizable “more” tag…
    duck feathers (and other bad words…)

    Or move to wp.ORG…

    I agree: not a good change.

    1. Hi Tess,
      Given that the majority of users were not even consulted, it’s a piss-off that we are told that a minority, who have not made their case in public spaces and places for changes are having their will done. I am annoyed – very annoyed because like you I want to have the ability to create custom excerpts arrrggghhh!

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