Use the More Tag on WordPress

By Daniel Scocco

Sometime ago I wrote the article “Post Excerpts on the Homepage?” where I argued that displaying only post excerpts instead of full posts on the Homepage could have some benefits. It would increase the number of page views, make it easier for readers to scan through the different posts and make sure that your blog is not facing any duplicated content penalties.

Unfortunately many readers prefer to have full posts on the homepage so that they can read the content right there, without needing to click around. A simple solution to accommodate both sides is to use the “more” tag on WordPress.

When you insert the “more” tag on a post WordPress will display only the content that is placed before the tag, adding a “Read more” link to the post. Using this feature it becomes possible to display fully only the latest posts while making the rest display post excerpts.

Suppose you decided to use four posts on your Homepage. In that case you will place the “more” tag on all your posts excerpt for the latest four. Once you a write a new post you will edit the one that just slipped out of the Homepage and add a “more” tag to it.

This solution will make sure that you are not incurring any duplicated content penalties. Google usually takes from four to seven days to index new content, and by that time you will already have placed the “more” tag on your post.

Additionally it will also improve the usability. While readers visiting the Homepage are looking to read the content the ones that hit “Previous Entries” are usually looking for a particular post, so displaying only excerpts from the second page onwards might make it easier for them to scan through the posts.



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33 Responses to “Use the More Tag on WordPress”

  • simon

    The duplicate content thing is somehow worrisome, Let us say I am writing an article about SQL stored procedures. The thing is there potential of a substantial amount of your content being similar or the same as whatever that is out there is greater. Are these crawlers smart enough to differentiate all these pages?

  • Bang Kritikus

    Thanks Daniel

  • Daniel

    How do you know you got a penalty for that? It is not really clear what Google considers duplicate content, after all on the homepage you have like 5 full posts, and on the single post page only 1.

  • Techzilo

    When i put full post on index, it was crawled, incurring me a penalty for duplicate content. Thats the risk.

  • Daniel

    TechZilo, I don’t get what risk you talking about. You mean you should not even leave homepage posts full, and place excerpts everywhere?

  • TechZilo

    Daniel, I did this but backfired! My posts are indexed quite often, and my last post which was full view on index was indexed within 30 hours! Is it really worth such a risk? I think not.

    Regarding some of your querries of full post in feed and partial post on blog, just use Full Text Feed plugin(i think from cavemonkey50.com)

  • Ger

    I have been looking for a more widget like this thanks

  • Bes

    Everton, I will let Daniel answer that. 🙂 I think one reason Daniel is suggesting that is because of the data some bloggers have collected on RSS feeds; many people prefer full feeds rather than partial feeds, so the same concept and result can also be applied in some cases to actual website pages, outside of the feedreader.

    Gregory, yes, I do the same thing. That should accomplish what is suggested here, and more. Having any script to show and hide excerpts will allow people who do not want full posts on the front page to read the partial excerpts, while allowing people to click a link to load the full content within the same page.

  • Gregory Pittman

    Would using an AJAX or JS type plugin to show and hide “more” on the front pages (and successive ones, too) accomplish what you’re suggesting here? I personally really don’t like partial posts on the front page, and I would hate to pass that burden on to my readers. But if it were easy and quick, without having to fully load another full page, it wouldn’t be so bad.

  • Everton

    Daniel – you keep saying that readers prefer full texts on homepages? How do you know this?

    personally, I prefer excerpts on the homepage so I can quickly scan and find the articles I want to read.

  • Bes

    I have been doing this on my site for almost a year or so now, I think, where I display full excerpts on the front page while hiding them with the “show more” tag.

    Also, the last paragraph has a good tip, to have excerpts on the archives pages, to make it easier for people to browse pages.

    You know what would be even nicer? To allow users to choose between full archives and partial-excerpt archives, to let them decide how they want browse previous posts. 🙂

  • Brian

    My thought was to add a html line to each post that said “if index page does not equal 1 then –more–” but a short search of the wordpress site didn’t find a variable for the page number of the index. You’d still have to manually add it to each post, but you could do it at the time of writing.

    But you’re right, you could just call 1 page of posts in your index and then at the bottom of the homepage link to the second page of the current months archives (which you’ve set up as excerpts). I think that would work.

  • Daniel

    Brian, I don’t think there is an automatic way to add the “more” tag. What should be possible, however, is to make the “previous” pages of the homepage display post excerpts instead. You just need to figure a way to divide the page 1 of the homepage from pages 2,3,4 and so on.

  • Brian

    re: More tag and feeds
    Depends on how many posts you keep on your front page and how often people are reading your feed. (I was somewhat shocked to find that some feed readers don’t clear out their feeds every day; they sort of read each feed in spurts).

    I still think there’s got to be an easy way to automate adding the More for the later pages.

  • Matt Wardman

    That approach feels too “manual” to me.

    There are enough things to remember about editing a blog without needing to edit old posts routinely.

    I have blogged a couple of ideas here:
    http://www.mattwardman.com/blog/2007/04/18/how-much-of-an-article-do-you-leave-on-the-front-page/

    Matt

  • Daniel

    You will be adding the “more” tag once the post slips out of the homepage, by that time it will be out of your feed as well so it shout not cause problems.

  • Brian

    There’s got to be a way to automate this. You can have variables in the WP loop (I have one set up to put an adsense banner only after the 1st and 2nd posts), so it shouldn’t be too hard to do. I’m just not sure how WP treats the 2nd page.

    Also the newest version of WP causes More tagged posts to be cut off in your feed. So if you’re publishing full feeds you’ll want to add this plugin to fix that.
    http://cavemonkey50.com/code/full-feed/

  • Mark Alves

    If you offer full RSS feeds, keep in mind that the “more” tag will change these to partial feeds by default in WordPress.

    I’ve heard of a plug-in to override this, but haven’t tested it myself.
    http://cavemonkey50.com/code/full-feed/

  • Mike Panic

    I use the more tag pretty often, sometimes I write articles that are 1500+ words and they just scroll on and on forever, I’m not a fan of that and I read blogs all day, I can imagine that your average user isn’t a fan either.

    Other uses for it is when I have more then one video in a posting, I don’t always want them there.

    Another upside to the more tag is it gets the reader onto pages other then just your homepage and often gets your hits count up. This is really important if you make money on your blog and / or sell ad space outright.

    John Chow doesn’t use the more tag and writes really long articles. If I’m on his hompeage and I don’t want to read the first article, I have to scroll forever to get to the second. As a reader, this annoys me.

  • Amanda

    The more tags work well if you write long ones I did a huge thing on this on my website because sometimes entries are too long and people dont want to read them they just want to skim them or have to scroll the whole site just to find the one post.

    It helps.

  • Daniel

    dikiz, yeah a plugin would be really handy. Just think that I needed to place the more tag on 200 posts I had on the archives…

  • dikiz

    I use myself the more function, but yeah a mix between the two would be even better.

    But it might be a bit boring in practice to edit everytime you previous posts. Would be nice to have little plugin that does the job for you 🙂

  • Atanas Yanev

    What about using:
    noindex, follow ?:)

    If Google is your main problem with this… 😉

    Check this plugin for noindex, follow:
    http://www.seologs.com/wordpress-duplicate-content-cure/

  • Bret

    Keeping the newest entry appear in full and then condense everything else with the “more” tag is how I lay out my home page. Sometimes, however, I do leave some posts in full for a little longer than usual if the post is extremely short. Overall the combination approach works well for me.

  • Daniel

    Zud, I have seen on quite a few of those Tumblelogs, but the haven’t catched my attention.

    Secondly, even if I wanted to create something on that style I would just use WordPress and write shorter entries. That way you would still have lots of funcionalities.

  • Mini ZuD

    Good deal if you have WordPress…

    To go in an entirely different direction Daniel, what do you think of tumblelogs?

    Have you had a chance to review any and what’s your opinion?

    Z

  • Manta SEO Solutions

    Daniel, it probably depends on the theme or the way the blog is setup (how easy it is to read) but your suggestion is excellent.

    I see some people keep the homepage in full length posts and when you go to the next page, all have the more option on as you suggest in the last paragraph.

    People usually scan pages and probably see more when you have excerpts of every post.

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