Where to put the continue reading link?

Im curious as to where readers think the more (continue reading) link should go in articles. You know the link i mean…the part of your post where you top section is shown on your home page and archives as a summary.

Take the two previous posts to this one as examples – have a look at my last post. No brainer isn’t it. The post is really short so the post doesn’t need to be split up. Now look at this post which was posted just before that one. I believe that its way too long to just post without a break but where does the break go?

Let me take you back to this post, I’ve established the article needs to be seperated for the home page and archives etc but where should this break go? Should i place it near the start, near the middle or should I write a summary for the article as a whole and place it at the top.

Does it matter?

Now a lot of you reading this will think to yourselves ‘who cares, it isnt important’. I disagree. I believe its a big part of your blogging experience for readers. One site i love reading is Gizmodo. They tend to add a continue reading link if the article is more than 2-4 paragraphs. The thing i wonder about is the % of text after the continue reading link. Let me clarify. Say your post/article is 600 words. Is it worth putting a ‘continue reading’ link after 450 words. Your effectively asking the reader to visit the full article after they have already read 75% of it.

Take a look at this post from Gizmodo. The break from the home page was placed just after the 2nd paragraph. When you click to see the full article you see 2 additional pictures. Was it worth breaking the article there? Well…..

Factors that may influence where the break goes

In the example post i just spoke about, the continue reading link just showed 2 additional pictures. The reader may, in hindsight, have thought ‘well that was a waste of time’ haha.

However, i suspect gizmodos decision to break the page was based upon their site design and not wanting to make the home page post too long. There are certain factors which will influence where the more link goes :

  • Site Design
  • Consistency ie. dont break an article after one sentence and then the following article after 5 paragraphs. A little common sense should be used – browsing your archives should be an easy for your readers.
  • Article Length

I spoke about article length at the start of this post. In summary i believe that :

  • Short Post – No break in post needed.
  • Medium Length – This is where the questions arise. Do you write a summary and then post the article after the break, do you post the break midway or do you just miss a break altogether.
  • Long Post – With really long posts i dont spend too much thinking about it. After 2 paragraphs is fine for most blogs in my opinion.

One thing i havent really spoke about yet is your rss feed. Remember, anything after the break wont be included in your rss feed so the length before the break should at least be of a few paragraphs for your subscribers.

Conclusion

This is probably the most boring topic you are ever likely to read here haha :), but im sure its a question all bloggers ask at one point. Id love to hear from readers about all this.

Kevin

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