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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Why You Should Provide Full Feeds (especially on Blogger)

I've been talking recently about blogging for learning professionals and claiming that as a blog reader, you spend your time in the RSS reader. Someone pointed out that many bloggers use partial feeds which forces readers to their blog.

I did that for a while as well. I started with full feeds and then found myself curious about who my readers were. So, I added SiteMeter to my blog to track traffic. Then I realized that very few people who subscribe to my blog actually go to the blog - they stay in their RSS Reader. Ah, so to fix that I decided to change my feed to a partial feed so you only get the first paragraph.

What I've learned since:
  • Partial feeds are annoying as a blog reader, so I was being annoying providing a partial feed.
  • Google only indexes Blogger's feed (not the blog itself) - so search is terrible on blogs with partial feeds.
  • And, most interesting, when I switched back to full feeds, I didn't really see much traffic change. Readers rarely click through to the blog post in either case.

Bottom line: I would highly encourage anyone with a blog to provide a full feed.

I'd be curious if I've missed something here or if anyone who's providing a partial feed can convince me why they shouldn't provide a full feed.

Later maybe I'll start naming names.


HowCron said...

I will NOT try to convince you to go back to partial feeds. I'm using SharpReader, and being able to read the entire post in one application is great. There have even been a few blogs that I unsubscribed because they didn't have full feeds.

Right now, I've got about 100 blog feeds in SharpReader, and exactly 4 of them use partial feeds. Since my blog reading tends to happen during brief breaks throughout the day, I don't like being bothered with having to open my web browser everytime I want to read something.

Another tip: Post titles should be descriptive. That way, I can scan the titles and just read the ones I might find interesting. You actually do an excellent job at that.

Tony Karrer said...

Howard - I completely agree about post titles. Some blogs I've unsubscribed simply because the titles didn't tell me anything so I'd have to read too much to figure out if I cared. Definitely competes with partial feeds for frustration.

Of course, it's sometimes challenging to come up with a good title. Sometimes it's harder than writing the whole blog post.

Anonymous said...

Having spent a lot of time evangelising the use of social web in regions where there are no high speed internet, I love people who share full feeds.

Anonymous said...


If you don't mind can you please tell me how I can add the translator and bookmark service that you have to my blog?

Much appreciated- Y