or Why the <More> Tag is Important
Tools like Google’s Blogger, Type Pad and WordPress have made world-class tools available to the masses for little or no cost. Today it’s perfectly sensible to launch off into the blogosphere with nothing more than an email address. Of course it helps if you have something to write about.
It also helps to have some grasp of the blogging tools that make your blog user-friendly. So instead of learning HTML try learning the ins and outs of your chosen blogging platform. Where to start? Why yes, I do happen to have a suggestion…
We’ve probably all come across the above line or something similar in a blog or website. It typically follows a short excerpt or intro found on the home page of said blog or website. Mine says Read the rest of this entry>.
There are several reasons for using this cute little tag. The most obvious is to compact the home page and archives. If your blog displays five articles on the home page it’s a safe bet the content will extend “below the fold” (meaning the user must scroll down to see everything).
So let’s suppose your current article, the one that’s displayed at the top of the page, doesn’t interest me or is not your greatest work. Of course this is hypothetical- I realize each blog your write is progressively more fascinating than the last- but bear with me. Hypothetically speaking, all I see when I visit your site is one looooonnnng article about something I’m not particularly interested in. Who’s to say I will scroll down to see all those great article below the fold? Chances are I will yawn and move along.
Another advantage to this approach is seen if your blog publishes and email or RSS feed. Instead of dishing out the entire article I prefer to publish a teaser- then the reader clicks through to my site to read the rest. This is extra important if you’re trying to market something through your blog!
Getting the Most of More
Optimally the More tag should be inserted somewhere that allows the reader to get the gist of your article. Or at least intrigue them enough to want to continue reading. I prefer to place it below the first or second paragraph and at least one image.
Including an image above the More tag allows a thumbnail to be displayed in RSS readers, Facebook links, etc. It also helps attract attention to the excerpt you have provided and- assuming you’ve chosen a relevant image- convey the subject of the article.
But most importantly do this last. Write the article first, then go back and proof. This is the time to decide where you want to split the post. Inserting it any sooner usually just causes problems and risks accidental deletion. And you may not need to at all! If you’re only dealing with a few paragraphs you probably shouldn’t bother using the More tag at all.
Now all you need to know is how to do it. Well, that depends.
Blogger calls it a Jump Break and WordPress calls it a More Tag. In the Blogger editor the icon on the toolbar looks like a torn piece of paper. In WordPress it’s a boxy icon next to the spell checker:
If you don’t see it try clicking the Kitchen Sink icon on the far right.
Type Pad is the most creative, calling it the Post Excerpts Using the Split Extended Entry Feature. Um… okay. It looks like this on the Compose toolbar:
No matter what it’s called you basically put the cursor where you want the break to appear- and click! The result in the composition window it might look like nothing more than a dotted line. Even if you preview your post you’ll probably be underwhelmed. It isn’t really noticeable until you have published your article. Read up on your particular blogging tool for more details and ways to customize the text that is displayed.
Then get out there and make everything a little More!