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Solving issues with text excerpts

Excerpts in WordPress are great to display short teasers of articles to your website visitors. The majority of WordPress themes by MH Themes display automatically generated excerpts and it’s also possible to enter custom excerpts which will override the automatically generated excerpts for your posts and pages and thus give you full control over the content you want to present to your readers.

If you want to learn more about (custom) excerpts in WordPress or encounter any issues with excerpts of any kind which may or may not be related to your WordPress theme, please see the below collection of solutions to the most common issues with excerpts:

Difference between automatic and custom excerpts

As mentioned initially, most of our WordPress themes display automatically generated excerpts, meaning that WordPress will generate short excerpts as teaser from the first part of your regular content. These excerpts will be displayed within widgets and on archives and when users click on the Read More link/button or the post title, they will be taken to the full article.

If you prefer having excerpts that are different to your regular content, you could enter custom excerpts for your posts and/or pages. Custom excerpts are ideal to give your excerpts a unique touch and display different teaser texts by using the input field that is provided in WordPress out of the box. For more details on how to make use of this feature to enter custom excerpts in WordPress, please have a look at the following section.

How to enter custom excerpts in WordPress

You may enter custom excerpts in WordPress if you would like to display other content as teaser text than what WordPress would automatically generate from your regular post content. We have created a detailed tutorial on how to create custom excerpts which might help you understand this topic and will guide you through step by step: How to add a custom excerpt in WordPress.

Advantages of displaying excerpts instead of full content

Sometimes people would like to display their full articles on their front page or archives instead of showing excerpts. This is totally fine if you are running simple blogs for fun or hobby. But when it comes to search engine optimization and running professional websites to possibly even earn money, this is bad practice, because in that case you are displaying content on your front page or on archives and the exact same content is being displayed within your articles. Google may consider that as duplicate content and this will very likely affect your rankings in a negative way.

Other reasons why showing excerpts instead of full articles on your front page or archives is highly recommended: Displaying the entire content on your front page or on archives can have negative effects on your bounce rate and decrease page views, which on the other hand isn’t good for ad revenue. The reason for that is simple, if website visitors can read the full content on your front page, they possibly see no need in clicking on articles and after they are done reading, they might just leave your site which in the end leads to less page views and less ad revenue.

Especially when running editorial websites, like online magazines, news websites or professional blogs, it usually is best practice to teaser your articles with great headlines and short excerpts and let your readers decide what they want to read in detail. Presenting them with a nice selection of interesting articles shown within a slider or any other widget on your front page gives them all the freedom to select what they want to read next without having to scroll through entire articles.

In terms of usability and search engine optimization, displaying excerpts on your front page and archives usually is the best you can do to prevent duplicate content, high bounce rates and decreasing page views. In addition many ads and CPV campaigns are being measured based on page impressions and having less page impressions means less ad revenue. When it comes to user friendliness, shouldn’t we provide our readers with a nice selection of what they could read and then let them decide for themselves which article to dive into?!

How to limit excerpt length for automatic excerpts

When using premium WordPress themes by MH Themes, most of them (e.g. MH Magazine) are offering an option within the Theme Customizer to limit the excerpt length of automatically generated excerpts. To limit the length of automatically generated excerpts, please navigate to Appearance => Customize => Theme Options => General in your WordPress dashboard and change the option Custom Excerpt Length in Words (e.g. 25) as you like. Please note that the excerpt length for custom excerpts as mentioned above are not effected by this option.

The excerpt length option determines the length of all automatic excerpts displayed on your website, unless you are using widgets that have their own option to set the custom excerpt length. In that case you can take advantage of the excerpt length options within these widgets and override the Custom Excerpt Length in Words option. Some of the included widgets, like MH Custom Posts or MH Slider provide options to set the custom excerpt length for the particular widget.

Widgets which do not provide individual options share code with the regular archives and thus also have the same excerpt length. If you need specific options for widgets without custom excerpt length options, you would need to code your own customized widgets based on your requirements.

Why automatic excerpts are suddenly being cut off

As we have mentioned previously, there is a difference in WordPress between automatically generated excerpts and custom excerpts. By default excerpts are automatically generated by WordPress and that usually means the excerpts are being cut off after a specific number of words, followed by a read-more link. Alternatively, you can enter custom excerpts in WordPress for your posts to exactly define what content you want to display as excerpt.

Why formatting is not displaying for text in excerpts

In WordPress excerpts do not display formatting by default. Excerpts are only supposed to display short teaser texts without formatting or code. If you have added formatting or code within your regular content, this formatting won’t be displayed within excerpts. However, if you would like to enable advanced formatting and code within excerpts in WordPress, you could have a look at suitable plugins for this purpose, like for example Advanced Excerpt.

Please note, we have not tested this or other mentioned plugins thoroughly so we can not tell you whether it is still compatible with WordPress and working as expected. For any issues with this or other 3rd party plugins, please contact the plugin developers directly for support.

How to hide excerpts in MH Slider widget

In case you do not want your slider to display excerpts, you can add some custom CSS code to hide the excerpts within the MH Slider widget. If you are using the MH Magazine theme, you can for example add this CSS code to hide excerpts within the slider widget:

.mh-slider-content .mh-excerpt { display: none; }

For more information about custom CSS code and customizations in general, please have a look at the following resources:

How to limit excerpt length in widgets

For some custom widgets you can limit the excerpt length independently from the custom excerpt length you might have determined in the Theme Customizer. The MH Slider widget for example includes an option to limit the excerpt length. To make use of this option, please navigate to Appearance => Widgets in your WordPress dashboard, select the particular widget and change the excerpt length within the options panel of the specific widget as you like. For more information about the MH Slider widget, please see: Solving issues with the MH Slider widget.

You have not found a solution to your issue?

In case you have not found answers to your questions in this support article, please also take a look at our other support topics, as it is very likely that you will find your answer there. If you have purchased a WordPress theme by MH Themes and have a valid license to gain access to theme updates and support, then you may also send a support request for additional assistance.

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