To or not to


Using the <!–more–> tag in blog posts has become second nature to me but as it’s second nature it’s also something that I realised I no longer questioned and to be honest, can’t remember if I did back in the day when I wrote my first blog post! So when I published a post the other day and forgot the <!–more–> it got me thinking about why I use it.

When I started thinking about it I went to a the blogs I’m subscribed to as I wanted to see how they did it. I noticed the SEO companies all used the <!–more–> tag while it was a 50/50 split with the non-seo focused companies.

First off (for anyone who doesn’t already know) let me explain what I mean by <!–more–>.

When you’re writing a post you can choose a part where you want a summary of your post to end and a ‘Read More’ link to appear linking to the rest of the post. Much like on the homepage of this blog where you will see a few lines and then the chance to read into the post further.

An example of how <!--more--> looks

Why do I use the <!–more–>?

With my blogs it’s personal preference, I simply think it looks better and is more usable. I think it cuts a long list of posts into easily digestible chunks and lets a visitor scan the homepage of the blog and easily pick a topic of interest (without scrolling through posts that are perhaps of no interest).

On the same note as above, it also reduce page sizes/loading times as it’s loading (in our case) 6 snippets rather than 6 full posts (often with images).

When visitors come to my blog I want them to be enticed with loads of headlines and to see a full variety of the types of posts we do (with a few different authors on this site visitors it makes it more important to visitors to see the variety of topics we cover).

Why would someone not use the <!–more–>?

Using <!–more–> means visitors have to perform one more click to get into the body of your post and as we know, every click counts! If your <!–more–> hasn’t been configured then the user is taken to the end of where the finished reading the snippet and it can appear confusing or annoying (rather than being taken to the top of the page).

Also, if your opening paragraph doesn’t grab your browsers attention then they could be ignoring content that could be of interest to them (if only they had been able to easily/quickly continue reading and ge to the juicy bits).

And as for SEO?

If we consider duplicate content issues then it shouldn’t have suprised me too much that the SEO companies were using <!– more –>. If every blog posts title is a link to the full post (as is the default) and you don’t use <!– more –> then you have two copies of each post on your site (i.e Duplicate Content) which, while it won’t necessarily incurr a ‘penalty’ it can affect crawling speeds (as the crawlers have more work to do) and cause a URL to be given more importance than you might like (and displayed in a higher search result position).

My last comment on it.

Personally, I definately think using <!– more –> is most suited to this blog (even ignoring the SEO points) as I find it is more friendly and usable for any vistors but I’d like to hear from you…

  • What’s your opinion on the look, feel and usability?
  • Do you use <!– more –> on your blog?
  • If you do use <!– more –> then why?


For more about configuring the <!– more –>link then visit this site.

So if you’re interested in reading more about <!– more –> then visit the WordPress site.

Demystifying Duplicate Content Penalty

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    • PoLRweb
    • 2nd March 2010

    I think if the posts are small and set to display a set number of posts on the index page then the loading time wouldn't be affected too much (I think that's what you mean by 'size'?) but yeah, an index page displaying say 5 full length (for example, 3+ paragraph) posts could be quite an effort for a user to 'browse' as they would be more likely to scan the full post than immediately be drwan to an item of interest.

    • PoLRweb
    • 2nd March 2010

    Good point about being on a mobile device but a few questions:

    1) How many sites do you go to that have image-heavy articles? I'm thinking that although you can start reading prior to images being downloaded, it surely still affects the loading times of the page and would be highlighted even further on a slow connection?

    2) Having seen how you get your blog feed onto your phone, you see the Blog title and date (I think!) then have the option of clicking on each post and reading the full thing – Is this not quite similar to using the <!–more–>…i.e you're seeing a snippet (in this case the title) then reading more if it interests you?

  1. I actually like to use the more tag for all posts too.

    It not only allows for the more sizeable 'snippet' but also makes me think harder about the actual snippet (or wording before the more tag) in order to make it interesting for someone to read.

    I don't actually see how any blog over a certain size could actually not implement them, surely this would sacrifice some elements of usability.

    • Stu
    • 2nd March 2010

    As an blog consumer who – mostly – reads blog articles via Google Reader on the iPhone, I have a preference for being able to see the whole article and prefer when the more tag is not used. I find having to click on a link to see the rest of the article cumbersome on the slower network connection of a mobile device.

    • PoLRweb
    • 1st March 2010

    Hey Paul, Your's was one of the sites that I checked out. I was in two minds to use the 'extra click' argument as I don't think it really stands anymore, I think users are now becoming more sophisticated and if they see a headline they like then they won't think twice about clicking though. Maybe I'm wrong but I'm willing to risk it on my blogs!

    • PoLRweb
    • 1st March 2010

    Thanks Dave, I know I've not used it once or twice when my post has been small but other than that I couldn't really think of an example of when it would be suitable to show full,long posts without the <!–more–>

    • Paul
    • 1st March 2010

    Defo with the <!- more -> for my own site, I like it to look clean and again it reduces load times. I have been on some designer blogs that have ramped up high res images stacked on top of one-and-other and the blog takes an age to load – its not good, and it is only 1 click away to get to the full post if you use the more tag – it just makes sense to me to include it.

  2. Personally I use the more tag as it make scanning posts on the home and archive pages much easier. People get to see the variety of articles and can click to read those they're most interested in.
    Having a large number of full posts listed on the homepage is often overwhelmi and doesn't suit many sites, maybe only those that post short articles.