Weekly Writing Challenge: Leave ‘Em Wanting More
No matter how long you’ve been blogging, there is always more to learn. As part of the Weekly Writing Challenges, once a month, we’ll highlight a feature in the WordPress.com Dashboard and challenge you to incorporate it into your blog. We want to help you take full advantage of all the tools available on WordPress.com to make your blog the best it can be — and to make your friends jealous of your web wizardry.
To participate, tag your posts with DPchallenge or leave a link to your post in the comments. Please be sure your post has been specifically written in response to this challenge; obvious attempts to link-bait will be deleted. We’ll highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed on Friday, and in our monthly newsletter.
Every writer knows the importance of using a good hook to get a reader’s attention. We carefully craft the first paragraph of our post to engage, connect with, and draw our readers in. Beyond keeping a reader’s attention, the beginning of our blog posts act as a central part of storytelling where we construct the foundation of our tale and build an eagerness in our audience to read on. More, more!
With blogging, we have unique tools available to us that can aide in developing our stories: a strategically placed image, an audio clip that adds ambiance in the background, a gripping “To be continued.” In our Longform Layout post last week, we offered even more options for keeping readers engaged through the use of graphics and subheadings, diagrams and ellipses. But did you know that on WordPress.com we have a built-in way for you to give your users only a taste of your post from your blog’s home page?
When writing your post in the Visual Editor, you will find a small icon with a dotted line in the center. This is the More Tag. The More Tag is a tool for splitting your post content — wherever the More Tag is placed, a Read More link will be displayed. In fact, you used the More Tag when you clicked through from the Daily Post home page to read this post.
If you like playing around in your Text/HTML editor, you can also customize the More Tag to add your own version of Read More. By entering the More Tag in the Text editor, you can append more with the message you’d like visitors to see as the linked portion of text.
<!--moreWhat's behind door number three?-->
In the example above, What’s behind door number three? would show in place of Read More. One small note: while it’s technically possible to add more than one More Tag to your post through the editor, only the first one will be active on your site.
For this week’s writing challenge, explore using the More Tag as a way of building a sense of anticipation into your post. Take advantage of customizing the Read More link to offer a tongue-in-cheek continuation or thoughtful segue into the next portion of your post. Want a few ideas to get started?
- Save your More Tag for later on in your post and give your readers a choose your own ending post with multiple finales to your tale. (Note: this is also an excellent place to use page jumps as well!)
- Go for a classic genre of suspense: write a horror story, using the break to build tension as your readers move to the next page.
- Write your own prompt, and answer after the jump. Then, you can ask your readers to weigh in as well.
We can’t wait to see what more you can do with the More Tag!
When participating in a challenge, it’s common to link back to our Weekly Writing Challenge post, which will result in your post being included in the list of Pingbacks under the comments. If you’d like to create a pingback to a Daily Post prompt, make sure you’re on the individual post page — you can get here by clicking on the Read More link or the title of the post — and copy the URL from your browser (that’s the http://daliypost.wordpress.com/2013/08 . . . bit). Paste the URL into your own post, or use the Add Link button to turn some of your text into a link.
(If you add a link to your post, but aren’t seeing your site included in the Pingbacks section, go to your Settings >> Discussion page in the Dashboard to make sure that you have pingbacks enabled. Of course, if you run into any trouble, just let us know!)