Wednesday, 10 November 2010

I Should Have Used That MORE Tag From The Outset

IT IS ONLY DURING THE LAST WEEK, since returning refreshed from a long overdue holiday, that I have really paid much attention to my Blogs’ Home pages. Indeed, I have never considered them to be anything more than my most recent post – or posts. It had never occurred to me that a Blog’s home page was a separate entity that could be configured to provide a window onto the author’s most recent articles – and that the key to providing that feature was the MORE tag.

Both BlogSpot and WordPress permit their authors to specify the number of most recent posts to be placed on the home-page – and both hosts provide the ability to split those posts into two halves by inserting a special code from within their editors. When present, that code ensures that only the first half of the respective post is placed on the Home page, and a hyperlink in the form of a ‘Read more…’ label is inserted immediately below it to access the rest.

When I first encountered the MORE tag, I took it to be nothing more than a means of tidying up a Blog’s front page when an especially long article had been produced. It never occurred to me that, if I always inserted a MORE tag after my leading paragraphs, I could substantially shorten the Home page and balance the length of its Widget columns by specifying that, not one, but several most recent ‘summary’ posts should be shown.

Consistently using the MORE tag in this way would, I conceded, provide a much more professional look to my Blogs – so I immediately proceeded to make-over the last half dozen posts on the Canvey Beat to produce the new layout.

I wish I had had the intelligence to discover this particular tweak eighteen months ago when I first ventured into Blogging; because it not only makes an offering easier for visitors to examine – it also produces much more detailed statistics, and more opportunities to obtain crucial advertising revenue. In fact, if my own experience is anything to go by: not using the MORE tag can severely restrict your advertising stream.

Google’s AdSense program analyses a page’s key-words to decide on the type of adverts to present, and it weights those words in accordance with the HTML tag they appear in. Hence, more weight is given to words appearing in a headline than those in an article’s leading paragraph – and less weight to those appearing elsewhere.

If you just present a single post on your Home page, AdSense will identify few heavyweight words; but, if you present a number of post summaries, via the MORE tag, the program is presented with more headlines and will be much more likely to match key-words with the advertising types in its database. Moreover, when visitors click upon a ‘Read more…’ link, AdSense has the opportunity to present a different selection of adverts specifically tailored to the article being read.

By using the MORE tag (or split-post feature) in the way outlined here: you not only make your Blog easier for visitors to locate articles they wish to read – you also expose them to more advertising panels that might catch their eye.

It is a ‘win-win’ situation in which both parties benefit…

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