The More Tag is one feature of WordPress that is still misunderstood by many users.
The More Tag is what triggers the Read More or Continue Reading type of links on an archive page of blog posts or other post types.
Most themes have a default link text for when the More Tag is displayed. This can be changed at the universal level, but also on a case-by-case basis (more on that later).
Many site owners forget to use the More Tag when publishing Posts, or simply don’t realize they have to insert it.
Luckily, using the More Tag is as simple as clicking a button.
Finding The More Tag
To trigger the Read More link on archive pages, you’ll need to decide where you want your preview content to stop, insert a More Tag there, and save your Post.
In the Text tab of the WordPress content editor, the More Tag looks like this:
If you’re editing a Post with the Text tab, the More Tag appears as a link up above the editor that reads more.
If you use the Visual tab on the content editor, you’ll find the More Tag in roughly the same spot. Here’s what that looks like.
The More Tag In Page and Archive Templates
The More Tag uses a built-in WordPress function called
the_content() to display a Read More tag.
When no More Tag is present in an archive template,
the_content() displays the full content of the Post. If there is a More Tag present, the Post content is displayed up until the point the More Tag occurs — then a Read More link appears.
A Few Words About the_excerpt()
Some themes use another WordPress function,
the_excerpt(), to determine what displays before a Read More tag.
If your theme uses
the_excerpt(), there is no need to use a More Tag when publishing Posts. The downside is the default is not a Read More link, but an ellipsis in brackets. If you need to replace this ellipsis with a custom link, here’s instructions on how to do just that.
The other bad thing about using
the_excerpt() is the cut-off for teaser content defaults to 55 words. There are also ways to customize the default length of
If you’re using
the_excerpt() in your theme templates, WordPress will look for manual excerpts first. These are not true excerpts, as they don’t come from anywhere inside your Post, but are input into the Excerpt box, usually below the content editor.
If you’re not seeing the Excerpt box when you’re editing Posts, it may be hidden under the Screen Options tab on the top right corner of the screen. Each type of admin screen has it’s own set of Screen Options in WordPress.
Notice in the screenshot below we’ve checked the Excerpt checkbox to make sure that field displays.
Manual excerpts appear as teaser content before the Read More link on archive pages.
Customizing The Read More Tag
Let’s say you’e using
the_content() to display a Read More link in your archive template files. You can customize this to say whatever you’d like it to.
For example, if you wanted this link to say Continue Reading, you can pass that text as a parameter to
<?php the_content('Continue Reading'); ?>
Here’s one I didn’t know about until very recently. Did you know you can customize the More Tag on a case by case basis?
To do this, use the Text editor to create a Post, and where you normally put the More Tag, add the text you want to display in the link.
For instance, if you wanted a particular Post to display the words Consume Now instead of Read More, this is what it would look like:
<!--more Consume Now-->
Here’s what that looks like in practice:
These are just a few examples of how you can use the More Tag and customize it for use in your own theme.