A Magic Diet Pill: The Read More Tag

Face it, nobody lands on a blog Home page. It is like that front parlor in homes of old, pretty, comfortable, neat, inviting but unvisited. Think about it, how do your readers get to your posts? They follow a Twitter link or see your notice on Facebook, and go right to the post page. If someone searched for something they too wind up on a post page and not your Home page.

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Yet the “look and feel” of your Home page can make a huge difference in your success. There are two important reasons why showing less and revealing more by using the “Read More” tag can do magic for your blog.

What is that magic “Read More” tag?

In the WordPress editor it looks like a squared-of hamburger and is right in the edit tools bar above the edit area. In Live Writer it is on the Insert ribbon in the Breaks area (on the left) called “Split post”. The Blogger editor shows it as a torn sheet.

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The read more tag inserts this HTML code: <!—more—>, not even a real HTML tag, but it is understood by most blogging themes or templates and stops listing the post at this point on your Home page but not on the individual post page. You get just the first part of your post showing.

So your Home page is compact, tight, “svelte” – hey I had to play up the diet idea.  It shows just the front part of the post. If you have managed to get a visitor to go to your Home page (a topic for another day) you can display an enticing array of introductions. Visitors can see past these excerpts and won’t get annoyed having to scan down a long article, they just might check out more of what you are offering. So that is the first bit of magic, your Home page shows less of each post, but reveals effectively more of what you have to offer. A big plate of appetizers!

And that brings us to the second reason for employing the read more tag. By showing just the introductory sentence or paragraph you will almost instinctively work on that to make it enticing, inviting, captivating. Wordsmithing just these few words is easier than doing the whole article, so you are likely to spend the time doing it. These are the words that may show on Facebook and in search returns. Having spent the time to make this into an effective little ad for your post will get you more visitors. Magic!

One word of caution: Do not make the introductory paragraphs into teasers. Teasers are just as nauseating in blogs as the are on the local TV news. Make the reader want to read more of what you have to say, not “find out” some bit of trivia.

Good blogging to you!

.:.

© 2016 Ludwig Keck

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About Ludwig

Lending a helping hand where I can. . . My motto: If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
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26 Responses to A Magic Diet Pill: The Read More Tag

  1. Vanessence says:

    Great info, Ludwig! I think many WP themes are doing this by default now, too, so that might be something for folks to look for when picking one. 🙂

    • Ludwig says:

      Thank you, Vanessence,
      The themes that do it by default are nice, but they are not intelligent and can’t pick the right place to break. Even on those themes the look can be improved with careful use of the read more tag.

  2. capejohn says:

    I found your blog after you answered a question for me in the 101 site. This continue reading button is a great tool.

  3. Awesome tip. I’ve seen this used on some of my favorite blogs and it really works for me. I haven’t employed this yet and am not quite sure if I have a home page or blog only opposition going on but get the general idea. I’ll have to give this a try. I’m learning more about this whole blogging thing every day. Happy I jumped into the 101 and gave myself a kick start. I’ve been exploring posting methods and accidentally destroyed all my past blogs – about three months worth but no big thing, I learned not to delete photos out of your media library. Onwards and upwards. Think I’ll pick it up and continue with the program. Thanks for your tips and efforts they are appreciated!

    • Ludwig says:

      Thank, Mitchell,
      Oh it is heartbreaking to learn of you experience. Hope things go better in the future.
      See you in the Commons.

  4. glenncogar says:

    I have been looking for a tip like this, going to try it next blog post 🙂 thanks!

    • Ludwig says:

      Thanks, Glenn,

      On one of my blogs I post the full length and go back to the previous one and insert a “read more” tag. So only the first bits of older blogs show.

  5. I am so with you on that teaser thing. There seem to be only four or five of them, and they are used ad nauseum. But I understand why folks might resort to trying to trick people to read their post. After all, that’s what the major bloggers and news outlets use to grab our attention, isn’t it? Or try to?

    Finding the right words is the hardest part about all this for me. Words that, without exaggerating or promising something they cannot deliver, draw the reader in, and keep them reading.

    Thanks for sharing your expertise with us. I can’t help wondering why you joined a Blogging 101 class.

  6. KevvyR says:

    Great post – an often-overlooked feature – I love it when I’m posting something would take up too much of the front page myself!

  7. Laura Cereta says:

    Great advice. I get tired of scrolling down my whole blog MYSELF. I can just imagine it would annoy others, lol. Question. Is this something I can put in as an “edit” to pieces to clean up my blog?

    • Ludwig says:

      Well, Laura, seems you find the answer long before I got to your comment here. Thanks for asking, and yes, you can edit your posts even years later and include a Read More tag.

  8. jennifertucker44 says:

    Thank you. I am a technology newbie and your posts I know are going to help me be a little more tech savvy.

  9. Grace Blake says:

    I couldn’t agree more! My homepage is much like a sampler of all my posts – there’s a photo and a title. Or a smorgasbord, if you will!

  10. Eric says:

    I’m heading back to edit all of my previous posts… great tip!

  11. With you all the way on this, Ludwig. I appreciate a home page that makes it easy for me to learn what the site is about, who writes it, and an attractive display of article titles and headers. Like so many, I don’t appreciate the teasers you mention. I’m tired of all the “you won’t believe,” and “what he did next brought everyone to tears” headlines. Tell me what’s coming up, and if it’s something I want to spend time with, I’ll click on it.

    Wonderful lesson. Thank you.

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