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Full Text Feeds Or Partial RSS Feeds? – Another Test Case

The old Full Feeds vs Partial Feeds debate is back with Digital Inspiration posting Do You Publish Full Text Feeds Or Partial RSS Feeds?

It’s actually an interesting post because Amit demonstrates the impact of moving from partial feeds to full feeds upon Digital Inspiration.

He noticed a jump in RSS subscriber numbers and an increase in earnings from his feed ads.

I know when ProBlogger moved from partial to full feeds that I noticed similar trends – however I also noticed a decrease in actual site visits (more people reading the full content in feeds) and a slight decrease in comments being left on the blog (same reason).

I’d be interested to see what Amit’s actual site visitor levels are like and also comment levels (although he says that ‘regular readers are now participating more and more in the blog discussions’ which is interesting.

Overall here at ProBlogger I’m glad I made the switch. Reader satisfaction has gone up, I find that even when ProBlogger goes down with server problems readers are still able to read the content and while actual site readers did go down (it’s growing again) the overall readership of the site is still on the up and up.

The only downside is that I continue to find other blogs scraping content, removing any acknowledgment to authorship and adding their own ads. Dealing with this has become a daily part of my routine unfortunately.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Koby says:

    I started out publishing full feeds but moved to partial feeds to drive people to my site. I’m still new to the game and want people to see what I have to offer overall rather than just a few posts. So I use partial feeds in hopes they will come to the site to read the whole article and view more articles while visiting.

    I’ll probably switch back to full RSS feeds at the 1 year mark which is still close to 6 months away.

  2. H.S. Ayoub says:

    I started with full feed, then switched to partial feed for the sake of experimenting.

    My site visits went up, so did my Google Adsense revenue because of that.

    Subscription trends continued to go up, did not see a difference personally on my blog.

    I will probably stay with partial feeds; for the visits, adsense revenue, and above all, I noticed less blogs out there stealing my posts with no credit.

  3. Michelle says:

    When I’m trying to make a decision as to what to do on my blog I usually start with the question, “What do I find easier/more effective when I’m reading other people’s blogs?”

    So I use full feeds on my blog because when I see a partial feed I always end up clicking to read more. Not having the full article is just a one-more-click annoyance. Also, I don’t have RSS feeds for sites I don’t regularly read anyway, so the idea of trying to lure in by showing me what else you’ve done pointless–if you’re on my sage feeds I’m already a reader and I’m aware of what you’ve written the past couple weeks.

    Yes, if I’m reading a blog through RSS I might be less likely to comment but I still have a hard time seeing why comments are the holy grail of blogging. They’re merely a by-product, not and end in and of themselves.

  4. The Geek says:

    I really prefer to read a full feed, and I’m thankful that you offer one. It’s a pity that there’s not a simple way to offer a comments box inside the feed reader…. there should really be an open standard for that.

    I think it also depends greatly on the type of blog that you are running, and the popularity of the blog. For instance, I’m going to click on through to read the latest Dilbert cartoon no matter what, but I might ignore an opinion article in a partial feed unless it really strikes my fancy at that moment.

    For me, Problogger is an important enough read that I would click on through either way. I am definitely grateful that you offer a full feed, which is one of the reasons why I try to leave some useful feedback.

  5. Full feeds for me. Recognition of original content the way to go to.

  6. Sean says:

    I switched to full feeds a few months ago because I wanted to build reader loyalty, increase incoming links, and protect myself against search engine indexing issues.

    I know that when a site publishes only partial feeds, I am far less inclined to read their content. In the end, I just want people to read and enjoy what I have written regardless of whether it is via a feed or the webpage itself.

  7. Chris says:

    I think you put your finger on it — a full-text feed improves reader satisfaction. Best argument in favor.

  8. jhay says:

    I just have one question; if I switch to partial feeds and I’m using an “excerpt plugin” so that I get to choose what partial content of my posts appear in my site’s front page, does the same thing apply to my partial feeds?

    It’s more like a balancing act really. If you want to increase site visits and adsense earnings then go with partial feeds. If you have a high subscription and you’ve picked up feed advertisers then go full.

  9. Allen.H says:

    My flagship (currently 874 subscribers) started with full feeds, but i switched to partial feeds since my audience is less tech-savvy and would probably prefer to visit the site anyway after reading the title.

    Allen.H

  10. Marc says:

    Same to me, reader satisfaction should be the most important issue. Due to the fact there are so many interesting blogs for me to read (daily), I’ve decided to delete most of the partial feeds inside my reader, just to rediscover some overview and to realize maximum reader-friendly content.

  11. Hi Darren,

    Thank you for sharing the different outcomes of your testing the full feed
    against partial of your site.

    This is something I’ve been very interested in trying but have been worried
    that it would take visitors away from my actual page.

    I think quality is the most important factor to send to readers but at the same
    time I am new and don’t have a large number of readers so I hope to keep
    them visiting the actual sites at the moment.

    By the way, I receive updates to your site by ‘subscription’ :)

    Take Care!

  12. I seem to have gone the other way, I switched from full feeds to partial because I was driven to it by the number of people taking content and not giving the proper credit. It was driving me mad and I don’t have the time to deal with them individually, or the ability to find them and battle them.

    So unfortunately the readers suffer slightly, although I don’t think it’s such a big issue selecting a story and reading it on the site.

    The way I use my reader is that I select every story of interest and open it in a new window in the background. Once I’ve gone through my list I go through the stories and read them one at a time.

  13. Renée says:

    Why am I the only one who has an adverse effect when turning to full feed? After changing to full feed, my readership went up by 5% for a few days then went south by 40% and never got up since. It’s so pathetic that I’m considering taking that orange icon out of my site sight!

    Secondly, about MFA sites scraping my feed…I tried contacting them but no avail.

    Darren, I desperately need help on this area!!! Do I need to use some threatening words to scare the hell out of them?

  14. Melee░ says:

    I don’t know – I’d say stick with partial feeds – that way users will still come back. RSS is more about letting users know new content is available, not delivering it straight to them – or else you lose ad traffic and interactivity.

  15. quaisi says:

    Yay for full feeds!

  16. Hi Darren,

    I switched to partial feeds a few months ago as a test.

    I have seen my readers increase and will keep the current setting.

    I too want to combat those in the business of content scraping!

    It really depends on the blog owner and readership. Do some tests and stick with what works for YOU.

  17. David Krug says:

    I have always been a fan of full feeds. Long live full feeds.

  18. Joe says:

    Hey Darren,

    I switched to full a couple of months back and subscriptions went from 10 to 60-65 at present. And actual visits have even gone up slightly (don’t know why).

    I think my readers like full feeds better, so I plan on sticking with them. As far as comments, they stayed about the same. It depends on the article to drive comments.

    Joe

  19. Renée … I think that adverse effect is pet related site issue.. Since I’ve gone to full feeds at PetLvr .. my uniques have gone up and my subscriber count dropped 15% and now is stagnant .. Yes – I can’t figure out is why people are spending more time at my site than the usual 5-30 seconds!

    On my 1800HART site, my feedcount did increase aboout 20% since I’ve went to full feed, but so has my unique visitors and page views. I think it’s all because of a few linkage out there, and naturally you get more subscribers with more readers.. (don’t you?) not because of the full or partial feed.

    I only switched because Feedvertising would NOT work if you have summary feeds at Feedburner. That’s all. I prefer the partial feeds to scan for entries in my bloglines – and I’ve got about 1400 feeds currently.

  20. Full feed definitely. Hey, I clicked through to your blog from Bloglines didn’t I?

    Case in point – Strobist now prints only titles to his posts and I’m more likely than not to press ‘s’ and go forward to the next feed rather than click through to his site. He’s quite a prolific writer and instead of clicking on separate posts I’d have to go to his front page and scroll down to read the bits I want. Too much trouble and time. I have better things to do.

  21. Cyndi L says:

    So Darren, I’d really appreciate it at some point if you did address the issue of content scraping. It’s driving me nuts! What is your daily routine for dealing with it exactly? I’m subscribed to enough technorati searches that I find them really quickly, but what next?

    Thanks for all the great info. I’ve learned a lot from your blog :-)

  22. Michael says:

    @ Renée — Are you sure that your subscriber count has actually dropped? There are often fluctuations in FeedBurner’s stats. One of the biggest culprits is Yahoo, who for some reason often stops reporting the MyYahoo numbers to feedburner for weeks at a time. It may very well be that all your subs are still there but they’re just not being reported to FeedBurner for some reason.

  23. Trent says:

    I think a full feed with a small unobtrusive ad at the bottom is the best of all worlds, myself. That way, people can read your content however they like, plus you get some ad views.

  24. Blog Bloke says:

    I offer three feed options: Full, Summary and Headlines only. It is better to give your readers the option to choose from which feed they want to subscribe to, and not make the decision for them.

    “He noticed a jump in RSS subscriber numbers and an increase in earnings from his feed ads”.

    That’s fine if you have the subscribership size to justify getting an invitation from Feedburner’s Ad Network. Otherwise, the average blogger is left out in the cold..

  25. Darren Rowse says:

    BB – it’s frustrating for smaller bloggers not being able to use FAN. Another option that accepts everyone is Feedvertising (my review here. I’ve found it works well for me on smaller and larger blogs alike (obviously the bigger ones earn more – but smaller ones can still earn something).

  26. I access a lot of content via RSS only, but as you can tell, it’s not stopping me from accessing your blog via the site itself.

  27. Alex Leung says:

    I use partial feeds to draw the feed readers to my full site. I spent a lot of time on the design and layout, so it would be a waste if they weren’t to visit it in the browser. It’s a matter of character and personality, for my visitors to see and get to know me through how the site is layed out.

    I recently also integrate my latest Flickr photos into my feed via Feedburner. This is a much needed feature to draw traffic to my photos, since my frontpage already uses a Flickr widget.

  28. I’ve started running into problems with users scraping my my content…how are you battling it?

  29. mudin001 says:

    full feed for me!

  30. Hello Darren inspired from your post I have started two polls to get to know how german blogs will handle this and what RSS readers think about it, thanx for this post!

  31. damon says:

    hi, definitely vote full feeds, for quality ..yes

  32. John Hood says:

    I offer both full and summary feed options. And the majority of readers prefer full.

  33. Ana says:

    I have the same dilemma, I am testing full feeds on several of my blogs but since they are in different niches, it’s still a hard one to figure out.

  34. Blog Bloke says:

    Darren, that’s great for WordPress users et al, but what about Blogger?

  35. Darren Rowse says:

    Not sure BB – does blogger allow full/partial feeds these days? It’s been a while since I used their platform.

  36. John says:

    Yes, Blogger Beta gives three options for the site feed: None, Short, and Full. It also allows one to edit the feed post footers to insert ads or other things.

  37. Blog Bloke says:

    I’ve sent them an email and will let you know.

  38. MJR/slef says:

    I’ve been experimenting with a hybrid: my blog is arranged into topic pages (not individual posts) and the feeds contain the full text of the latest post, but linking through usually gets you a page of the whole topic, opened at the latest post, near to links to the start of subtopic and start of topic. Complaints of both “why don’t you post the full text” and “why don’t you trim your text” types dropped to near zero. Best of both worlds?

  39. Darren,
    I noticed when I subscribed to your site, I visited the actual site less, and also skipped commenting a few times….scrolling through, more than reading straight on.
    That’s why I decided to keep the subscription, but drop by here too.
    I didn’t even notice it at first, until I read it here, and went….hey, yeah…you’re right!

    Cheers, Deb/Jersey Girl

  40. I addressed this same issue last week:
    Should I From Full to Partial RSS Feeds?

    You can read my reasoning there, but in summary I decided not to switch.

  41. Doug says:

    Am I the only one in the world who actually prefers partial feeds as a reader? Since I use Bloglines I’m online and in a browser already and middle-click anything of interest by default. There’s nothing I hate more than several screens long of a long article with several large images/graphs/etc on a topic I don’t care about. And don’t get me started on when that same article appears 3+ times in a row for whatever reason(content updates, bloglines glitch?)

  42. MJR/slef says:

    I prefer partial feeds, especially if the author is in the habit of long posts. If they write long articles often and only offer full feeds, they’re taking a lot of space and processor time in my aggregator (relatively), so they had better be damned good else they get deleted.

    Also, full text feeds are just useless extra bandwidth payments if your readers use “Live Bookmarks” tools, as far as I know.

  43. Brandon Wood says:

    As a reader, I prefer sites that offer full text feeds, so I do the same with my own blog. Some people think this will cause you to lose traffic, but I truly believe that if you have good content, even your subscribers will visit your site to see more of what you have to offer, or to comment on a post. I regularly visit many of the sites I’m subscribed to (including this one).

    If you are concerned about is traffic and making money from ads, you should be able to make up the lost ad revenue from your main site with ad revenue from your feed.

  44. Dustin says:

    Once again you come with the helpful information.

  45. Ms. Q says:

    Sorry for the dumb question but I seem to be googling in circles – how can I tell if I am publishing a full or partial RSS feed? I am using the capability that came with my WP theme and I can see my headlines using Yahoo as my reader, but that’s about it for my knowledge. Do I have to subscribe to Feedburner or some other service?

    Thanks!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Inspiriert durch die aktuelle Diskussion auf dem ProBlogger.net Blog von Darren Rowse: [...]

  2. [...] Since the feeds exist, WHY wouldn’t they be promoted on the site? Clearly, they don’t realize that “RSS is the paperboy” (see question #4). An RSS subscriber is clearly more engaged and interested in the content. They are more likely to turn more pages, participate in comments, and post links on their blogs, in turn driving more traffic to the site. I don’t expect them to provide full content feeds, though some sites havehad encoraging results. [...]

  3. [...] Full Text Feeds Or Partial RSS Feeds? – Another Test Case Confirmação de que feeds completos fazem bem para o blogueiro. (tags: Blogging ProBlogger) Tags Locais:  Sem Tags [...]

  4. [...] Full feeds can cause feed income to rise. Both ProBlogger and Digital Inspiration wrote about their experiences with full feeds and income. Both ProBlogger and Digital Inspiration noticed a jump in feed income after switching to full feeds. [...]

  5. [...] Some of our blog posts managed to get on the radar screens of eminent blogging personalities like Jeff Jarvis, Nicholas Karr, Robert Scoble, Dave Winer, Darren Rowse, Michael Parekh and Steve Rubel. [...]

  6. [...] Congratulations Eoin. Keep it up. If I may make one comment, when you find the button, can you turn on full texts in your feed? It makes it much easier to read all your blog posts. [...]

  7. [...] RSS Feeds Filed under: blogging — joshmaher @ 2:40 pm With all of the discussion lately about RSS feeds, I wanted to clarify my position….I distribute full text feeds (none of this half baked stuff to make you get out of your easy chair and walk over)…. [...]

  8. [...] RSS Feeds Filed under: blogging — joshmaher @ 11:59 am With all of the discussion lately about RSS feeds, I wanted to clarify my position….I distribute full text feeds (none of this half baked stuff to make you get out of your easy chair and walk over)…. [...]

  9. [...] RSS Feeds Filed under: blogging — joshmaher @ 1:00 am With all of the discussion lately about RSS feeds, I wanted to clarify my position….I distribute full text feeds (none of this half baked stuff to make you get out of your easy chair and walk over)…. [...]

  10. [...] this may not generate you any money directly, it is an important part in keeping your readership. Problogger and Scobleizer did informal studies and found that people want full feeds. Of course this opens you [...]