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Excerpts of posts displayed on a blog index page usually end with a link saying "Read more", "Continue reading", or similar.

Now, it's very well understood why "click here" is not a good link text, but don't most of the arguments hold for a "read more"-link?

  • it doesn't provide any information when read out of context (read more about what?)
  • it is a verb phrase

I'm thinking something like "More about [post topic]" could be better, albeit more verbose.

  • 1
    Yes, the same argument applies and your suggestion is good. – DA01 Sep 29 '11 at 22:04
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It's a verb phrase because it's a call to action; in your blog example it's also navigation, but it's not the same as labeling a link "click here to go to X". Users already know how links work and they want to know where the link goes or in this occasion what a link does.

Calls to action are usually buttons because of the visual differentiation and emphasis that buttons can give, as Smashing Magazine describes. However a link on a website can serve the purpose of simple navigation (in which case the action is obvious) or actions (in which case text or other context should tell you what the link is doing).

Take a look at our FAQ, the "show more" links are more clearly calls to action and the act more like actions than navigation, but functionally they're similar to a blog's "read more" links, a blog could even use javascript to immediately show the whole blog post when clicking "read more" making it more clearly a call to action rather than navigation.

More about link text and calls to action.

  • 3
    Wow, this is a great answer. – Patrick McElhaney Sep 30 '11 at 0:14
  • The problem with good answers is that there's little room for another answer :P – JohnGB Sep 30 '11 at 10:02
  • I don't think this answer takes accessibility into account; if a user is using a system to navigate that skips from link to link then "read more" doesn't provide enough context for them to be able to make an informed decision about whether to activate the link or not. Something like "Read more about accessible link texts" (or whatever the subject of the target page happens to be) would be much better. – Andrew Martin May 16 '18 at 14:53
3

I think using "Read more" as only link anchor text on a page listing several excerpts is a bad choice. (See also my answer to a similar question SO.)

Screen reader users that use the function to access a list of all links on the page might hear something like:

Hyperlink: Read more
Hyperlink: Read more
Hyperlink: Read more
Hyperlink: Read more
Hyperlink: Read more

So they have no idea where these links will lead to.

Instead, the link anchor text should include the context, which could be the article title (maybe even a shorted version of the title).

However, on a page that only contains one "Read more" link, the link text might probably work.


See also these questions where it’s discussed if such "Read more" links are even necessary:

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