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Do You Use the "More" Tag?

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Today, no reflective posts about failing, no comparisons between bloggers and insects…not even a reference to Disney. Today, I just want to pose a simple question: Do you use the more tag?

In case there are any new bloggers out there, the “more” tag on a blog post allows you to show just part of the post on your homepage. Users who want to read the entire post can click “read more” and see the single post page to continue reading. I see three major advantages to the more tag:

  1. It allows you to show more posts on your homepage in the same about of scrolling space, so readers see more titles from the start.
  2. It increases the number of page views and single-post views you receive, which is helpful if you’re being paid according to stats when writing for someone else. This also increases the number of times an ad will load on your website, so advertisers generally like to see higher numbers.
  3. You can more accurately track which posts are most popular, since people can’t read the whole thing on  your homepage.

Some of the best bloggers out there use the more tag, or some other code to show only part of a post on the homepage. Mashable shows the first few sentences. Copyblogger shows the first paragraph or so. David Risley shows the first five to ten lines. Shoemoney uses the more tag if the post is more than a paragraph or so.

There are also some well-respected bloggers out there who don’t seem to be using the more tag. Kommein, Successful Blog, Jonathan Volk, Seth Godin…as far as I can see, they don’t use the more tag or show partial posts on their homepages. Chris Garrett uses it some of the time.

With the three advantages listed above, it’s easy to see why a lot of people are using the more tag. So why am I (and other bloggers that I’ve listed) not firmly aboard? It isn’t for lack of caring or being lazy. My main concern is that the busy reader won’t click through to read the entire post.

I’m confident in my ability to write interesting, helpful blog posts, but I’m not always a “straight to the point” type of girl. I think about how i read websites myself. If the post doesn’t catch my attention right away, I’m probably not going to click through to read the rest. However, if the full post is up on the home page, I’ll typically read past where the more tag would have been before deciding that the post is boring and looking for something new to read.

That means that a post has more text to get through to me.

I probably miss some really cool posts that way. No matter how good you are at writing a title or excerpt, every reader is different, and what catches the attention of one person might not catch the attention of another. I worry that using the more tag means that fewer people will read to the end of my posts.

At the same time, the above three reasons to use the more tag do make sense. So, what I personally do is use the more tag if I hit 800 or so words in a post. Shorter than that, I post the full text. Do you use the more tag? Why or why not?

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. Yes, she used a picture of the creation of this very blog post to illustrate. It blows her mind, man.

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