Jun 182012

Good WordPress webmasters,

For a while I was trying to figure out how to offset the default WordPress “Recent Posts” widget so it skips the posts displayed on my home page.  After quite a long search I’ve found some plugins that kind of make that work but I wasn’t quite happy with the ones I tested.  Then I wanted to write my own widget, but during my testing when things kind of worked, seeing the desired result changed my mind and I believe you should give this a thought as well, and here’s why:

If your site is like mine and most others out there on the wonderful world of Internet, a big majority of your visitors gets to it through major search engines.  With me on this one?  OK, so when this is the case, they usually don’t get to the homepage but to a page that ranks the highest for the particular keyword combination they entered, so there’s no silver bullet that will make most of your visitors hit the index page (your main page) first.  If you manage to keep their attention and spark their curiosity after they hit various other pages, they might, just might come to see what the homepage and the entire site looks like.  What can help in this is the list of most recent posts, none of them skipped except in very special cases.

Skipping the first posts already displayed on your home page would only seemingly benefit the very small percentage of your visitors who hit the main page, while it would take away some curiosity hooks from the huge majority.  It is better to display the recent posts list on all pages, unless you can make it skip the first few on the index page.  But even if you could do that, I still wouldn’t, because this widget offers a very convenient quick insight into your recent posts, which is again better than making your visitors scroll, scroll, scroll…

Even the old faithful ones, AKA your regular visitors who have the homepage bookmarked won’t mind it.  I would be happy to see this on some blogs I like but don’t visit daily, because that way I could easily see which articles were posted since the last time I visited and decide to read some or all of them.

Users are very “spoiled” these days, and if you judge by yourself, they should be.   Our time is precious and we must understand it’s precious to our visitors as well, so extra convenience can’t hurt, and having a sidebar widget with a list of your 10 or 15 recent posts, even if some of them are visible on your home page, can only help.

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