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Should Blogs Use The Extended Entry (more) Feature?

A reader this week submitted the following question:

“What is your take on blog posts that show only the first few paragraphs on the main site and then require clicking on “more” or “continue” or some similar link in order to see the entire post? I know I rarely click to read the rest of the post, and I can’t be the only lazy one out there. So what’s the advantage of this, other than allowing more posts & titles on the front page? Is it an ad thing? Is it worth it for bloggers to do it? If not, why do they? I’ve long been curious about this, and am wondering if I’m missing out on some huge and obvious benefit to such a tactic.

The use of the ‘more’ or ‘continue’ links (also often called the ‘extended entry’ feature) on blogs has been one that bloggers have utilized for years as a way of showing only an excerpt of an article on the front page of a blog.

I personally use it on most of my blogs but know that in doing so there are a small percentage of readers who find it a frustrating feature. Like the reader asking the question they don’t seem to like having to click a link to read the full article and many see it as a tactic to increase page views and ad revenue.

The reason I use the extended entry feature is not to increase my earnings but rather to keep some order to the front page of my blogs.

I like readers who come to my blog to be able to quickly be able to see titles to the last two or three entries that I’ve made. I publish a lot of longer posts on many of my blogs and to have them appear in full on the front page of my blogs would mean that there would be a lot of scrolling down needed to view the last few entries.

I actually find blogs that post full entries on their front pages frustrating to read and tend to loose interest after scrolling for 10-20 seconds.

Of course not all bloggers use this feature for the reasons that I do. Some do use it simply to increase page impressions and ad revenue. This can be quite annoying. You click the ‘more’ link thinking that you’ll get significantly more content on the topic that’s being written about and instead get nothing (or very little).

I guess my advice in determining whether to use the extended entry feature of your blog is to ask whether the content that you’re publishing warrants it’s use – is it useful to your readers or not? If you have a long post I would suggest using the feature but if your post is short and you’re just after extra impressions you run the risk of annoying your reader.

PS: I would add that I find that fewer and fewer of my readers actually see the ‘more’ links on my blogs as increasingly they are arriving at my posts via RSS feeds. This means that they are driven straight to the individual posts and see the full entry on the one page. It’s only those who land on my front page via Search Engines or bookmarks that tend to see them.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. optimizer says:

    I think “more “or “continue” is a nice idea. This provides a thumbnail or preview of the post. If headline catches us, we clicks on “more” else don’t.
    I personally don’t find it “Annoying”.

  2. MyShrink says:

    I don’t think it is a problem on your site, you write long enough
    so i can understand what the post is about.

    What annoys me about other bloggers using this feature is that
    you have to click on it to find out if you actually want to read it.

  3. Zantor says:

    It seems like a good feature to me, but the problem is I never write posts long enough to be able to utilize it properly. My posts tend to be short and to the point with as little filler as possible.

  4. I’m a big fan of extended entry feature. That’s because 99.99% of my posts are quite lenghty. The shortest post I’ve so far is about 300 words. I can’t help it because I’m chatty gal. =P

    Having said that, I do get a bit annoyed for those bloggers using this feature with only 20 words upfront. And when I click on that link to find the whole post consists no more than 50 words. Only then I will be extremely pissed!!! And btw, the template design has nothing to constitute the use of this feature.

    Oh btw, this comment has already hit 100 words, so should I use the feature here? ;)

  5. Chris Howard says:

    Totally agree, Darren. The front page is essentially a table of recent content and is not unlike magazine’s descriptive TOC. It’s the same way all the news sites do it. It works best.

    When a reader visits for the first time, they want to know what the site’s about. If the front page is clogged with three, four or more 500 or 1000 posts… the visitor will move on.

    I wouldn’t even bother with a site that flooded it’s front page with full text of articles.

    Also, even when readers find a site thru Google, often (even most) times they are taken directly to a full article.

    Keep the front page informative.

  6. A.H says:

    I have one blog which i use the “more” thingy on each of every post, it’s at http://www.dailybuzzer.com , 2 reasons:

    - The blog contains videos and NSFW pictures, you don’t want them playing without the person actually willing to see them.

    - To increase pageviews & revenue, i won’t deny that. I actually think it’s god damn smart and simple, if you’re lazy enough not to click a video link, then you get no video =P

    A.H

  7. jhay says:

    I say it depends upon the blogger’s preference and blogging strategy. I agree that this issue is starting to loose its noise because more readers are visiting blogs via the RSS feeds and seldomly sees the front page of the blog.

  8. jdanylko says:

    I agree with A.H. and jhay (#7 & #8).

    I’ve built my site from scratch and that was one of the things I definitely wanted to implement on my site. It only displays the first two paragraphs on the first page. If it’s more than two paragraphs, it automatically adds the ‘more…’ to the end of the post.

    I also remove all of the links from the main page, so if they are interested in the post, they *have* to click on the ‘more’ or the title to get the details and links.

    It definitely pushes people to look at the detail page to record an entry saying “I was here.”

  9. tanya says:

    I run a food reviews website and I use the extended entry feature on most of my entries. I used to have the full entry but then I would only have about 3 or 4 reviews on the front page. Splitting the text enables me to have more on the front and I make the the exerpts long enough to give readers a feel for where the review is headed. Since 90% of the visitors are from search engines, they usually see the entire individual entry anyway and so I find that this works for me. When I have shorter posts, I don’t use extended entry and there is no link to click through.

  10. I use it on almost all of my posts. I will put a paragraph or two on the front page, usually with a picture if there is one, and then have the meat of the article on a sub page. I prefer my readers being able to go down my home page list to see what is there.

  11. Doug says:

    I think the extended entry feature is a “must” to have but should not be over used. I tend to only use them whe I have massive entries. It’s also useful to tack stuff on the end. You don’t necessarily want all included images or YouTube embedded objects showing up in the main “latest posts” view as it will clutter the page as well as bloat it a lot, which is potentially bad for both the readers and your bandwidth charges. Overall, I’d say at least 3/4 of my posts are displayed in whole on the main page though.

    As for ad impressions – I don’t think it’s a big deal anyway. Typically most sites get more traffic from search engines than direct readers anyway, so they will probably be directed straight to the full article view (as would RSS subscribers). The readers who are actually scanning the latest entries on your site regularly are the ones you don’t want to piss off by making them click through all the time.

  12. nova says:

    Would readers really criticize a blogger for using that feature and accuse them of trying to generate more page views? Even if that was the writer’s intention, how would that cause the reader to not continue?

    You’re on the internet. There are links on the Internet. You click them. I cannot believe someone wouldn’t “feel” like clicking a link. It’s almost laughable.

  13. jim says:

    I do it to get more stories on the front page, less scrolling for readers and such. I figure if the opening paragraph or two isn’t interesting to the reader, they can move on… if it is, clicking one link shoudln’t be that big of a hardship. I agree with nova, clicking a link is hard? Ha, that’s laziness.

    But on shorter posts I put the whole thing on the front page…

  14. Wesley Green says:

    I use the “more…” on 99% of my postings, as well, simply due to the length of the majority of the posts. Due to the size of the postings, I think the visitor would probably just scan through the first article, grow tired and/or frustrated at having to scroll so much just to see what was available and go somewhere else.

  15. Martin Ralya says:

    I also find blogs with a front page full of longer posts irritating to read, although it usually doesn’t prevent me from reading them anyway.

    On my blog, I consider the front page an advertisement for the site — and the more titles you can see at once, or with a bit of scrolling, the easier it will be to see what I write about (and whether or not it interests you).

    As far as “more” links followed by a sentence or two, I avoid that practice. I only use the link if I have more substance after the jump, and if there’s a good break point at the start of the post.

  16. Doug says:

    What makes my comment sit around in moderation for so long while others get posted?

  17. Doug says:

    No website included apparently.. weird. I’m not interested in spamming my URL (this is my crappy outdated personal URL) and my comments get held up for moderation…

  18. My own tendancy is to go for shorter posts but more variety so I rarely use the “more” tag. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever used it either for my personal blog or other ones that I manage. My posts are usually straight to the point and do not require it though I am moving into the direction of longer and more unique content. I will probably begin to use the “more” tag more in the future.

  19. pcunix says:

    I offer both.. and more.

    I have a page that only has title links – an old fashioned index.html

    I have another page that has excerpts from the last 15 posts with a “more” link.

    And yet another that has 5 or more of the most recent posts in their entirety (more than five if the posts are shorter, but always at least 5 posts).

    So the readers get to choose. I also have theme pages; these show only Mac posts, only Linux posts etc.

    Give the readers choice – some like it hot, some like it cold.

  20. Darren Rowse says:

    Doug – comments are moderated for a variety of reasons. Newer readers are especially moderated at present. No offence but I’m hit by thousands of attempted spams a day so things have had to be a little tighter lately.

  21. Tahir says:

    I am glad you bought this up. I dont use this feature because I rarely write long posts. I have a lot more pictures on my site because of the nature of my blog. However I find it interesting that people can make more money through ads by making them click to read more. not quite sure how that works. I will however test out using the ‘more’ feature one day when I have a bit more readers coming to my site.

  22. The annoying thing about it is that even though it makes sense to use a feature, since Google bases pagerank on your blogs first page, you will not get good search results for the content of your post. Which would be terrible. One Pagerank should exist for your entire website.

  23. Greg says:

    Darren,

    I also agree that the use of this feature is helpful to those scanning a blog for relevant content. It is especially useful when the blogger writes extended posts, which are likely irrelevant to the visitor looking for a specific topic.

    On the flip side, it is likely better to shorten posts whenever possible to match the short attention span of most people on the Internet.

  24. Chuck says:

    I agree with Jim,

    For the most part, if I find that the first paragraph or 2 isn’t interesting then I haven’t missed anything if I don’t click the “more” link. The few times I did click the link in hopes that the post would get better I was greatly disappointed.

    So if the post is good then people who are interested will not be upset about having to click through to the entire post.

    Chuck

  25. Jay says:

    I think it’s also quite useful when there is a team of bloggers for one site. That way, if a couple of the authors are prone to posting lengthy entries, it won’t necessarily “bury” the other posts to the bottom of the page.

    Take Metroblogging as an example (I write for Montreal). We were all asked to make use of the feature on a regular basis a while back. And it makes sense to use it in our case. But on the flip side, I don’t use it on my personal blog, though what I write there isn’t usually quite as long.

  26. Brian says:

    I completely agree. Either way the reader’s laziness is a factor. If they aren’t interested enough to click “more” they probably aren’t interested enough to scroll to the bottom of a page of long entries.

  27. George says:

    I think it’s excellent to keep the front page clean and organized. Personally I don’t think it’s a pain to click through to a post if it’s something I’m interested in.

    I’m reverting back to doing excerpts, so will make sure that the headlines are attractive enough for deserving the ‘read more’.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Why hide the last six posts? Well, I find 8 full posts on the front page to be very disorderly. But it’s clear that quite a large segment of readers detest clicking the (more…) or (continue…) link if I were to display only excerpts on the front page. So, I opted for this solution. While readers will still have to click the Display button for the whole article, they can rest assured that they will not have to move to another page just to read the article, nor will I artificially inflate my page views and CPM ad revenue. [...]

  2. [...] Using the “Read More” Feature: Good or Bad? A reader asked Darren Rowse, Problogger.net, what his take on using the “read more” rather than posting full texts on the front page of the blog. [...]

  3. [...] Darren asks should blogs use the extended entry (more) feature? Personally I don’t like to use it – that extra click to get to the full content annoys me, but I can see the advantages to using it. [...]