This ‘extra’ material can include:
- Ads – some bloggers are including multiple ads – text links, banner ads, affiliate links and more
- Feed flares – (services like Feedburner offer a large array of different things including ‘digg this’ links, copyright notices, delicious bookmark links, comment counters, email to a friend links, technorati counters, alexa rankings, feed circulation counters, buttons, stock tickers, trackback counters etc etc – Feedburner have lots of them.)
- Related Posts – a list of related posts
- Recent Comments – the latest comments on a post (I’ve only seen this once)
The list could go on and I suspect we’ll see more and more bloggers experimenting with different ‘extras’ to include in their feeds.
I have no problem with bloggers using their feeds for advertising or to leverage traffic back to their blog and I’m also in favor of people pushing the boundaries of how RSS can be used. However, when the ‘extras’ at the bottom of each post are bigger than the actual posts you write – then you’ve got clutter than will annoy many of your subscribers.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Those subscribing to your feeds are generally loyal readers. They’ve made a decision to subscribe because they’ve seen your blog somewhere and are probably familiar with it. While there’s nothing wrong with driving traffic back to your blog from your feed – you probably don’t need to educate them on every aspect of your blog on every post.
- Also remember that RSS subscribers are going to see your posts every day – variety is the spice of life but seeing the same long list of links at the end of your posts every single day could cause readers to get a little bored.
- Multiple posts per sessions – some of your subscribers will only read your feed every few days (or less frequently). As a result they might have to scan through 10 or so of your posts in a session – seeing the same long list of ‘extras’ 10 times in a row.
Once again – I’ve got nothing against bloggers experimenting with a few extras (I have a handful myself) – but keep asking yourself whether they add to or detract from your feed. In isolation (or in small numbers) extras can add a lot – but all together they can get a bit much.
One way to tell is to subscribe to your own feed and try to read it objectively. Does the way you’ve set it out frustrate you? If so it could annoy your readers also.