Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


The Results: Full text or snippets?

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:

High-level findings:

  1. 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)
  2. Most of you who favored [Read more...] links did so because it made the page more aesthetically pleasing
  3. 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 item

Note: 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Related post: Snippets or full text?

Location: Hatfield, UK

Related post: Snippets or full text? Interim update...