There are two ways to create summaries of blog posts; excerpts and read more tags. The results are quite different depending on the styling and coding of your WordPress theme. In this article I show visual examples of both and explain how to use Excerpts and Read More Tags
How the Read More Tag works
The Read More tag is added to the content at a place of your choosing. The tag is added in the visual editor of WordPress.
Simply place your mouse cursor where you want the tag to appear and click the icon shown in the image above. Once inserted into the content it looks like the image below.
Once the tag has been inserted it appears similar to the image below on the live site. When clicked the link takes the reader to the rest of the article.
What I like about the read more tag is that it maintains the post formatting, showing the full size feature image, the meta data and comment links at the bottom of the post.
The Read More tag is useful if you have long articles and your reading settings are set to show a number of posts on a page. This reduces the amount of scrolling and exposes your readers to more of your posts.
When using the read more tag it is important that the first few sentences provide the essence of the article because this will be what influences your readers to click-through.
How Excerpts Work
When you write blog excerpts for your posts you are providing your readers a teaser. These words can be quite different from the open sentences of the post.
If your WordPress theme is coded to use excerpts you can craft an excerpt otherwise use the Read More Tag as explained above.
The excerpt is a content summary, use this opportunity to influence your readers and give them a reason to click-through and read the entire article.
The excerpt will appear with a thumbnail rather than the full size image, along with the title and a link to the rest of the article, as shown in the image above.
Under the editor you’ll find the “excerpt” dialogue box. Write your excerpt here. You can use HTML to provide some styling to your excerpt.
Either way you chose to summarize your blog posts the important thing to remember is that it’s the opening sentence for the read more tag and the excerpt itself that are MOST IMPORTANT words. Chose your words wisely and you will have also created a meta description for search engines.