Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jump Breaks for Feeds–New Blogger Feature

Google has an early holiday present for us in Blogger: Jump Breaks for Feeds!  Now we can fully manage up to what content our loyal readers can read when they subscribe to our feeds. And it’s not just plain text, HTML and images are also enabled for additional customization.

So what are blog feeds anyway? For those who don’t know, it’s not the food left in your blog for search crawl spiders and ants to eat. :) Rather, it’s one way to update your loyal readers of new content in your blog. They can subscribe to the feeds and through readers (such as Google Reader) are able to, well, read the fresh content. Don’t forget to check out and subscribe to my feeds!

So then what are jump breaks? No, they’re not electric cables to start dead batteries. Those are jumper cables. Jump breaks are used to shorten blog content shown in blog indexes or homepage. If you’ll notice in my homepage you’ll see Continue Reading… links in almost every post. That’s because those posts have jump breaks in their code.

So Why Control Content Found on Feeds?

Previously, the content control on feeds for blogs in Blogger was limited to just two (or three if you totally disable feeds): short and full. Both their cons far outweigh their advantages. Here’s why:

With Short,

It means each feed is truncated to the first 400 characters. 400 characters is not exactly that bad. Most post introductions already get to their point, or thesis statement if you will, before reaching this limit. Some writers however tend to wind, failing to make a point until after several sentences, or even paragraphs.

The worse thing with Short is actually the disabled HTML and images. Plain text is so boring! And we all know images can be very catchy. They can hook readers and keep their interest piqued.

With Full,

All there is in your post, including HTML and images, are displayed in feeds. Chances are, they won’t bother visiting your blog since they can read everything in the feeds already! That’s a decrease in blog traffic, ad views, page views, etc. Only when readers ever bother to comment on your post will they visit your blog. We can’t wait for that.

But with Jump Breaks,

You get to choose the right amount of content that can be shown in feeds. HTML and images are enabled. If done correctly, you’re providing concise information and still keep readers wanting for more. That’s a certain click to your blog.

How to Enable Jump Breaks for Feeds
  1. After logging in to Blogger and being redirected to the dashboard, click on Settings of the blog whose feed behavior you wish to modify.
  2. Under Settings, proceed to Site Feed.
  3. In either Basic or Advanced Mode, there is a drop down list next to Allow Blog Feeds or Blog Posts Feed. There you can change the value to Until Jump Break.
  4. Click Save Settings. And you’re done!

How to Add Jump Breaks

So now that feed content is shortened to until jump breaks only, it’s time to know how to add jump breaks.

It’s very simple. In your blog post code (you can find the code in HTML mode), just add <!--more --> to where you want to cut off the post.

Literally whatever content after that code snippet will not be shown unless the user decides to continue reading by clicking on the Read More » / Continue Reading… link.

How to Change Read More » Link

By default the link inserted to view the full post page is Read More ». I actually changed mine to Continue Reading… to make it more noticeable. You can change yours too to whatever you like by following these steps:

  1. From your Blogger dashboard, click on Design of the blog you wish to edit.
  2. Under Page Elements, click Edit under Blog Posts.
  3. In the dialog box that appears, change the anchor text for the link in Post page link text:.

You can use tags to emphasize and italicize the link like mine:

<b><i>Continue reading...</i></b>

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