Friday, July 20, 2007

Why “Read More”?

Several readers have commented or written to complain about the pesky interruption of our long posts with a “read more” button which requires you to click onto another page in order to read the rest of the story (many others like the feature, but this is not addressed to those who have no problem with it).

Before “read further” was available - I first noticed it on Belmont Club - our long posts simply took up too much room. Instead of being able to scroll quickly down the page to read samples of what was on offer since the last time you visited, you had to move past numerous paragraphs before arriving at the previous post. For those who don’t visit everyday this was an onerous task. Given how verbose we both tend to be, finding your last stopping place could mean having to scroll all the way down the page, only to find that you had to go on to a previous page anyway. And for us, it meant fewer posts per page, which simply didn’t look as appealing.

Sometimes I can only visit a blog once or twice a week. That being so, it is helpful when the lead-in is fairly short so I can judge for myself whether to read the whole thing or to go on to something that appeals to me more.

So that’s our reasoning behind “read more.” Not everyone likes it, but more do than not, so until we can come up with a better way to fit more on the page (like learning to be more succinct), it’s a feature we plan to keep.

Oh, another advantage: when you click on “read more”, then the comments are immediately available and you can decide whether you want to join the fray or not. Comments by others can inspire a reader to add their own view, which makes for a better post - and a better blog.

You will note that this post doesn’t fold.

[That’s all there is]


falcon_01 said...

I'm verbose too. How do we enable the "read more" on our own blogs?

Baron Bodissey said...

Falcon --

See the blogger help instructions.

It's not too complicated. Just follow the instructions carefully.

Georgia Kafir said...

The "Read Further" feature is not Sharia compliant. I demand you remove it!

Seriously - The blog is great as it is. Anyone who has worked in the IT field knows how users don't like to click on things. I hear it almost every day, and I am sure Baron does too.

OregonGuy said...

Thanks for the tip on "how to". I prefer blogs that have "read more" as an option. It also helps focus the editorial need to state clearly your primary argument in the first sentence. Something every reader would be happy to find in the local newspaper.

BTW, I need some help here.
If you have any thoughtful ideas I be happy to hear them.

Archonix said...

Well, I do have a problem when it appears in posts that don't need it, but since I read you on google reader most of the time now it doesn't really affect me, since i displays the full posts.

OregonGuy said...

Good hit on the tatoo id.

OSP called. Thanks!

Marv said...

Why don't you start the "Read Further" page where the first one left off? This will save time scrolling.

Another possibility (not as good) is to put the Read Further link higher up and relabelled as "Read Whole article".

Mr. Spog said...

Dymphna and Baron, do you realize that the full posts all have to be loaded when one loads your main page, even though they are not displayed by the browser? View the source code for the main page to see what I mean. This must contribute a certain amount to the unusually slow (at least for those of us without broadband) loading of your main page, though perhaps the large number of images is a more important factor.

A way around this inefficient transfer of data is to set up two parallel blogs, one with the full posts and one with just the summary versions. But it is then a pain to post anything, with the necessary links between the two versions of the post, unless you can come up with some way of automating this process.

Baron Bodissey said...

Mr. Spog,

I've been having this argument with readers ever since we joined PJM.

First of all, you are right: the extra text is always there, just hidden.

However, its effect on the load time is negligible, next to nothing. Loading 8 or 10 or 12 KB of text is not significant.

Second, as for the images: I specialize in economic use of images; you'll find that the file size of almost all my images is very small, normally 5 - 15 KB apiece. I've charted the size of our posts plus images, and it is usually between 450KB and 700KB. That is not large.

Before we took on PJM ads, our blog was much the same, yet it loaded very quickly. We had dialup, so believe me, we could tell the difference when the PJM ads started.

The PJM ads are the bandwidth-suckers. The load time depends on the location of the ad server for a particular ad (which varies), the size of the flash animation (which varies), and the traffic on the ad servers (which varies). Sometimes load time will be slow, sometimes it will be exceedingly slow.

Our alternative would be to give up PJM, but they are a modest source of income, which we badly need, since I took a serious pay cut when I re-entered self employment and started working at home.

Or we could charge a subscription for reading Gates of Vienna. But, then, I'm not at all sure we'd get very many takers on that... :)

Dymphna said...

I like marv's two ideas. Can we do at least one of them?

I mean, it would be nice if the new page opened right where the reader had paused to click on read more. As it is they have to scroll down to find their place...

OTOH, we could solve that by what he says: a very short lead, but still enough to give the flavor of the piece.

I like the challenge of having to be succinct in the beginning, but still hold the reader's attention.

Thanks, marv...something to think about. *And* your solution allows even more posts on each page.


Georgia kafir --

Is that because we're lazy? I will admit, the less clicking the better for me because of carpal tunnel problems. One of the reasons i like Are We Lumberjacks? is that he has very small, very funny posts. I can hit "page down" occasionally till I've gottent to the bottom. And hardly any wrist pain.

But that is particular to his material and style; it wouldn't work here.