On average, an adult internet user only has an eight-second attention span. Hence, your website posts should get straight to the point and immediately hook users [1]. However, what if you have a 1,000-word article to share? Is there a way to highlight its content in a concise, yet precise, manner? Fortunately, there’s a way: it’s called a WordPress excerpt. So, what is an excerpt in WordPress exactly? 🤔

It’s a manually or automatically generated article summary that is often placed on the blog index or archives sections to preview the content of each post.

📚 Read on to learn more about excerpts and how to create and modify them.

Understanding WordPress excerpts

Aside from catering to the user’s attention span, excerpts help maximize the space in your web or landing pages and fill them with more content. They’re especially beneficial to sites that have huge volumes of content or regularly publish new articles. Moreover, since the whole entry is linked to the excerpt, it’s convenient for users to access the full version of the post if they want.

By default, WordPress excerpts are generated automatically. The system takes the first 55 words of your article and uses that to preview its content. If you want to write the summary yourself or don’t think that the auto-generated version effectively summarizes the post, you can manually create an excerpt, too.

Going beyond what is an excerpt in WordPress: How to create an excerpt

Manually creating an excerpt for a WordPress post is easy. First, open the WordPress dashboard and select the “Posts” tab on the sidebar menu. Enter a post for which you need to write an excerpt manually, then click on the settings button in the top-right area of the WordPress block editor. Click that button to open the slide-down menu, select the “Post” tab, and scroll down until you find the “Excerpt” text box.

What is excerpt in WordPress

Finally, type in the article summary you want before publishing the post. Manually generating the excerpt will not affect the regular article’s content, so no further tweaking is required.

How to change the length of an excerpt

If you find a 55-word excerpt too long, you can change the length settings using the excerpt_length filter. To do this, open the WordPress Editor, select the “Appearance” tab on the sidebar menu, and then press “Theme Editor.” Next, open the functions.php file and enter the appropriate code. Here’s a sample code if you want to set the word limit to 30 words:

function my_custom_excerpt_length( $length ) {
return 30;
add_filter( ‘excerpt_length’, ‘my_custom_excerpt_length’, 999 );

If you want to change the word limit, simply replace “30” with your desired number.

Conclusion 🤓

To capture user attention and maximize web page space, you need to present a concise, yet precise, content overview. Now that you know the answer to “what is an excerpt in WordPress?” and how to generate and modify one, you can finally create engaging summaries for your articles and blog posts.

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