Blog Content Accessibility

I have something against blogs that make it difficult to read them remotely. I’m a big fan of RSS feeds. They’re the things that allow busy folks to keep track of the latest and greatest happenings on the Web with much greater ease. So there are a couple of things that kind of bug me:

* Blogs that don’t have RSS or that have them but put them in difficult-to-locate spots. There are _some_ blogs (like those found on MySpace, for instance) – not a lot of them – that simply don’t publish RSS feeds. I make it a habit to avoid these like the plague, no matter how quality the content is on these blogs. It’s just a bit too difficult and time-consuming to visit these on a regular basis to see if there are updates. There are others, though, that publish RSS feeds but place them in such a way as to make it extremely difficult to subscribe to them. Windows Live, for example, puts the feeds for their blogs in a place where browsers like Firefox can’t even auto-detect them. I guess that it shouldn’t be any real surprise that Microsoft makes you jump through unnecessary hoops in order to use their particular brand of blog service.

* People that use the <!--more--> tag on almost every entry. There are some people who propose that publishing the full content of your blog entries to your feed will reduce the amount of traffic to your blog. They suggest that the best way to get people to come to your blog is to give them a taste and then finish luring them in with the promise of more. I’m not one of those people. In my opinion, excerpting every single entry to your feed is only a little better than having no feed at all because it still forces readers to click through in order to finish reading. I usually avoid blogs that only put excerpts in their feeds (there is one “notable exception”: on my blogroll) for this very reason. I use the <!--more--> tag sparingly, usually just to hide spoiler information from those that don’t want to see it. Maybe using excerpts really does work well for most people. Personally, I prefer to post full content and write what I hope are quality entries that will encourage people to come to my site to comment.

Of course, these are just my personal opinions on these two items. As the saying goes, your own mileage on these may vary a bit on these, and I would be very interested in hearing about your experiences in these areas. That is, after all, what comments are all about.

5 thoughts on “Blog Content Accessibility”

  1. Oops, I suck. LOL …

    In all seriousness, I don’t use RSS feeds. I visit all my sites through bookmarks. So I organize my blog the way I use other people’s blogs. I use the “more” option because I know all my articles do not appeal to every person. That way when someone comes to my site, they can gather enough information to find out if they want to read the article and then spend the time to do that, otherwise continue on to the next one. I assume people are only going to stay so long on my page so if they spend too much time scrolling through 2 articles they aren’t interested in, they will leave without finding the stuff farther down that will interest them. Does that make sense? Plus, sometimes I get rather verbose. And by sometimes I mean frequently. : )

    Should I change that? Is it less than optimal? I don’t do one sentence teasers or anything. I do a handful of paragraphs before using that tag. I’m such a noob with this stuff. I’ll take constructive criticism if you have any to offer on my site in particular.

  2. Well, you actually use the tag judiciously. There are some who use it simply to drive traffic to their blogs, and those are the ones I was complaining about specifically. If you were using a hosted version of WordPress instead of the .com version, I’d recommend a plugin that lets you have two different feeds – one that displays excerpts and one that displays full posts. Actually, that causes me to think that maybe I should leave some feedback for the WordPress development team to request that feature. I know I’d much rather be able to read full posts in my feed, regardless of where the ‘more’ tag shows up.

  3. Sorry for the double post (will I score a triple on your blog?!) but I wanted to give you a quick update on this subject.

    About once a month I try to go through my categories and just check the flow of each one. Sometimes I tag things weird at the moment and don’t discover that it doesn’t really fit in there until I am browsing my own categories. So I was doing this yesterday as my monthly clean up and decided I didn’t like my use of the -more- tags. Long story short, I pulled those tags probably from about half of my articles. It took the better part of the day but I like the flow of my blog better. I had a specific length that I would use those tags in and I made that length longer. Overall, I am happy with the change.

  4. Honestly, angel, I’m glad to hear it. This is just my personal opinion, of course, but I think that excessive use of the ‘More’ tag actually does more to interrupt flow than to aid it. Basically, my own philosophy is that I like to make my blog as accessible for my readers as possible. Part of that is allowing my readers to be able to scroll down my blog continuously and be able to read everything without having to click into each entry individually in order to get the whole story. I know I don’t like doing that, and I won’t usually spend too much time on a blog that makes me have to click into each entry in order to finish reading. It takes time to do that, and I don’t usually have that kind of time (Hint: I have 123 blogs I follow on a daily basis). As I’ve mentioned before, about the only time I’ll ever use the ‘More’ tag is to hide spoiler information. Aside from that, it’s a free-for-all with my content.

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