The missing link and the most important button in the world

I’m not really a tech blog but I occasionally wander into the technical side of blogging. This time around, I am going to share a trick that should make your blog more attractive and increase page views. After that, we will discuss links in WordPress.

The power of the More tag

Want your WordPress blog to display more attractively? The More tag is your friend. What is it? Well, it’s that button up there.

read-more

What does it do? It allows you to limit how much of your blog posts will show up on your front page and archives. Why would you want this? Well, if you’re like me and write longer posts, it means that readers won’t have to scroll through your entire articles in order to browse the reading selection.

Here’s how it works. Choose where you want to put the More tag. This is what it looks like in your edit screen:

more-tag-in-use-1

On your home page, your article will now end where you placed the More tag and a “continue reading” link will appear at the bottom of the preview text.

Here is the difference between a front page that uses More tags and one that doesn’t:

Left, no tag. Right, more tag.
Left, no tag. Right, more tag.

See? We can display several articles attractively where we only had one before.

Other advantages include more articles displayed and more accurate analytics since readers will have to click on the article to read it and won’t be able to read all your latest entries in their entirety on your home page.

Some WordPress themes will add in a More tag for you but what will you do if you change themes? I thought so.

Spiffy new links!

I write my posts in Word before copying and pasting them into WordPress. If there is a link I wish to use, I just copy and paste it into the text and worry about formatting once I am actually ready to publish.

The other day, I pasted in a link and this happened:

Lois Weber

I’m not sure how long this has been around but I like it!

To experiment, I gathered some random posts from websites and bloggers I enjoy. I just took the URL from the address bar and pasted it as-is into the post. No inserting links or anything like that.

For the record, my site is self-hosted (in other words, I don’t use WordPress.com to host) and it has Jetpack enabled. (Jetpack is something you add to a self-hosted WordPress site to enable spam filters, picture galleries, related post footers and other goodies.) A detailed breakdown can be found here.

Here are the results of my little experiment:

Just plain website

http://silentsaregolden.com/featurefolder3/apppage.html

This is just a good, old-fashioned website. Hmm, nothing here.

Blogspot

http://mercurie.blogspot.com/2015/12/bringing-up-baby-1938.html

This is Google’s blogging platform. Again, nothing.

WordPress.com

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (dir. David Lee Fisher, 2005)

Something is afoot! I didn’t do anything to this link, just pasted it in like all the others. Nice!

WordPress (self-hosted with Jetpack enabled)

Mae West: Making an Impression

Well, well, well, quite a difference, isn’t it? Again, I just pasted the URL right onto the page, no special buttons or formatting required.

I absolutely love this and I hope it gets expanded to other sites. Right now, it seems to only work when the linker and the linkee are self-hosted WordPress affairs but I am hoping that it will be expanded. I see great potential for this new display style for blogathons and link sharing posts.

Please note that if you DON’T want a link to show up this way, you can override it by using the insert link button.

Here it is!
Here it is!

By the way, would you recommend switching to self-hosted WordPress?

I get asked this a lot when I mention that I am self-hosted. Here is my assessment:

It’s more expensive than WordPress.com hosting and you will be on your own for a lot of tech issues. Jetpack offers support, as do most hosting company but there is definitely less hand-holding. There are fewer rules (you can choose your own ads, etc.) but more responsibilities. I recommend at least a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS (you can learn both for free here) in order to get the most out of self-hosting. Javascript and PHP wouldn’t hurt either.

I like WordPress.com hosting a lot but I really wanted the flexibility to self-hosting. For 80% of all bloggers, WordPress.com is perfect. If you have any doubts, stay put.

6 Replies to “The missing link and the most important button in the world”

  1. I had no idea about that “more” button! Thanks so much for sharing this! I will go and implement this asap. I get a lot of clicks on my home page, but because of that, I have no idea what people are actually reading.

  2. Excellent post. I’d also offer the goofy suggestion to new WP users to test ALL those little buttons in that toolbar in a sample post (that’s not published) just to see what they all do. It’s quite a lot of fun to discover you can do more with a bit of experimentation.

  3. Knowing me and how bad I am with computers, I am going to play it safe:) I once, when in University many, many moons ago, got so frustrated with the computer that I pounded down on the keys. All the computers went down. I scurried away finding out a month later that the who lab was down for a month and they needed tech guys from Texas. Yup…staying away

    1. Scary! That’s the nice thing about the free blogging programs: people who don’t care to get into the tech stuff can focus on the writing they enjoy and not coding. When you consider what was required to set up a website when the internet first got popular with the public… Such an improvement!

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