Last week, I asked whether you prefer to see introductory "snippets" or full text in the blogs you read. I also opened a survey to allow you to vote on it. Here are my findings:
- Most of you (about 66% of those who responded) preferred full text (and even within this group, many still like [Read more...] links for loooong posts)
- Most of you who favored [Read more...] links did so because it made the page more aesthetically pleasing
- People using RSS readers tended to favor full text (at least based on the mentions in the comments)
More color on these findings:
From the comments, I classified people as "Clickers," "Scrollers," and "Straddlers" - here are some observations on each.
- like to be able to quickly scan lots of article introductions
- tend to cite the cleaner look of the [Read More...] approach as a key factor in their enjoyment
- were more likely to read blogs and feeds while online
- Eric Mack offers some thoughts on why he uses the [Read More...] approach in the comments to the original itemNote: a couple of Clickers gave a use case in which they scan a page, then tell Firefox to open the links in a new tab, effectively queuing up all the [Read More...] articles they're interested in for later review. Great idea.
- want to see information all in one place
- often find the [Read More...] approach as something that breaks their concentration / continuity
- don't like being left hanging (or just don't like to click)
- complained that they are sometimes forced to click a [Read More...] link, only to find 3 lines of additional text that could've been on the home page anyway
- are more likely to use offline readers to read blogs and feeds.
- like to see a flexible approach based on article length - if the article is very long, break it so the page isn't quite so busy
- like the cosmetic benefits of links, but don't mind having medium-length posts in their entirety on the home page
- a couple liked snippets on the home page but full text in RSS feeds (I'm not sure I know how to do this, though)
- Bert Webb and John Richardson have some good comments (in the comments to the original item) about their philosophy on when [Read More...] links are better.
What I'm going to do about all of this
I think Bert and John are right on with their "length matters" philosophy. So, I'll continue to post full text on my pages unless I have a really lengthy post - in which case, I'll break it and continue on another page. I've even done that recently on the Never Work Alone blog.
A final note to all you people who break your posts and continue on another page
If you're a blogger, and you use the [Read More...] technique, a few user requests have come through loud and clear in this survey:
- Only break up your posts if their length warrants it. People get annoyed if they have to click over for just a few more lines of a post. You look like you're just trying to create more page views - and that's only good for you, not the reader.
- Make sure you leave enough of a summary on your home page to give people a sense of your point so they can make an informed decision about when to click through, and not wind up disappointed.
- Don't break in mid-thought or mid sentence. Ideally, you'll have a synopsis on your home page (like an executive summary) with the details on the click-through page.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this little study. I appreciate all your participation and input on this topic! I can rest easy knowing I've made an informed decision.