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ProBlogger Moves to Publishing Full Feeds

Posted By Darren Rowse 19th of April 2006 ProBlogger Site News 43

As I mentioned buried away in my last post – I’ve just started a trial of publishing full feeds here at ProBlogger.

I’m not going to rehash my reasons for doing so but wanted to announce it in a post of it’s own so that everyone is on the same page.

This will mean that those of you who are used to and like the ‘excerpts’ are going to start seeing full posts which I understand will annoy some. Depending upon your News Aggregator some of you might have the option to subscribe to only see excerpts – others of you might need to get used to scrolling a little more.

As I say above – this is a trial. I’m doing it as a response to a poll of readers that I conducted a few months ago which said that the majority of you wanted it but also on a hunch that it might be worth the trouble. I will be tracking things on a number of fronts including:

  • RSS Subscriber Levels – currently at 5242
  • Blog Visitor Levels – currently averaging between 4000 – 5500 visitors a day
  • Content Theft – I currently find a few site’s republishing without in what I see as unethical ways each week

After a month or two I’ll make a decision as to whether to keep publishing full feeds or whether to return to partial ones.

I hope that this experimental transition does not cause too much grief for anyone.

PS: I’ve also taken the decision to experiment with Feedburner’s RSS ads in my feed now that it’s full feed. Another experiment which I’ll keep you up to date on.

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.
Comments
  1. Excellent! Please keep regardless of what happens :)

  2. First off, I’m glad that you made the switch. I think your readers will be appreciative and, in my own theory, truncated feeds only offer slight protection against content theft and, very soon, will be made obsolete by new scraping technology that can actually scrape from the permalink.

    However, since you’re messing around with Feedburner, be sure to use Feedflare if you aren’t already. The attribution addon can help ensure that anyone who does scrape your content will also scrape the attributing information for the post.

    Also, the Uncommon Uses feature is a great way to fight splogging and other content scrapers. I’d check that list at least daily.

    Finally, if you are having a major problem with content theft in the future and want help with it, you can always just drop me a line. I’m always eager to help wherever I can.

    Good luck with your experiments!

  3. thanks Jonathan – I’d just added the attribution flare and a copyright one and regularly check uncommon uses. It was these things that helped me move forward with the decision.

  4. Sweet! Thank you for the full feed. I’m more likely to comment now because of it. (Hope I didn’t just jinx it and compel you back to partial feeds). Thanks again.

  5. Good luck with your experiment, Darren…I’ll be interested to see how it turns out.

    @ Mike — I was just wondering why full feeds would make you more likely to comment?

  6. Fantastic news – yours was just about the only truncated feed I grudgingly kept subscribed to, having long since jettisoned any site that just teased me with a partial feed.

  7. I like the full feed. It saves a click and I think that sometimes I missed some good stuff that has come out.

  8. You really have a great blog.

  9. I switched from full feeds on my Software Gadgets blog to partial feeds a few weeks ago and visits to this relatively new blog went up over 400 percent — and have stayed up. However, I really like the idea of full feeds. If they work well for you, I will revisit the issue when my blog is better established. I have a guts feeling that full feeds hurt the average new blog, but could help many established blogs.

  10. Thanks Darren, this is wonderful news. I very seldomly stay subscribed to partial feeds. Yours was one of the exceptions. I think you’ll increase your readership in the end. I hope you share your results with your readers :-)

  11. Wow. You would not believe how happy I was when I saw this. Just awesome!

    By the way, when I switched my feeds to full, I expected less visitors to my site, less clicks, etc.. But, everything just got better! More visits, more clicks, more subscribers, and happier subscribers.

    Hey, question… or more of a thought. RSS users are usually more tech savvy then say an average visitor. Some people say that switching to full-text is worse because less of your subscribers will come to your site and possibly click on an ad. But, because the visitors are tech savvy, won’t they most likey not click an ad either way? So really, there should be no worry about less clicks when going full-text… I suppose.

  12. Hooray! I hope you keep up the earnings..

  13. brian – I think that could be right.

    Another theory – RSS readers are more tech savvy and are often bloggers themselves. The more of them you reach the more likely you are to get them linking to your blog from theirs which in itself brings benefits of more readers from the links and the SEO benefits…

  14. I think the full feeds is a great idea, I personally prefer that format.

  15. Awesome move with the full feed, and an ad in the post is a good idea too.

  16. Darren – Ah yes. That is very true as well. I actually have noticed an increase in link backs. I would also imagine that because of my non-creative side when it comes to titles of articles, the full content being shown attracts them to view the article more then a clicking a boring title in a excerpt to read it increasing the chance of a link back, getting added to delicious (using the FeedBurner buttons), etc.

    I’m happy with full-feeds. I’m excited to hear how things work out for your site. Keep it up, too. Your blog has always been a favorite :-)

  17. […] You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your ownsite. […]

  18. Darren, I’d just like to echo what several other people have commented: you were one of the few truncated feeds that I continued to subscribe to and I’m really appreciative of the fact that you’ve decided to give this a go. My hunch is that it will prove to be a worthwhile move and I look forward to finding out whether this proves out when you do your trademark in depth analysis down the road.

  19. I’m really happy to see full feeds. I rarely subscribe to partial feeds… the excerpts on their own aren’t worth reading, and they often don’t contain enough info for me to decide whether the full post is of interest. With all the competition for attention, I think full feeds will serve you much better in the long run.

    Full feeds allow me to skim the full article or read it completely, which is far more useful. I save most of the posts I find of interest directly in my feed reader, which is another reason I appreciate a full feed. Really, the only reasons I *ever* visit blogs in a browser are to comment, bookmark, or blog an entry. Or when I find a new blog via a link, etc.

    I hope you decide to stay with full feeds.

  20. Did you switch them off already? All I’m getting is partials :(

  21. that’s odd Michele – I am getting full feeds. Not sure if feedburner has updated with them yet or not….

  22. I say keep the full feeds! Thanks mate!

    Perhaps you should do a poll…

  23. already did a poll George (and mentioned it in the post above as a reason for going with full feeds) – it was clear people wanted full feeds :-)

  24. Darren – weird! It’s working fine in my other RSS reader, but Thunderbird only downloaded excerpts.. I’ll have a look at my settings this evening to see if I’ve done something odd :)

  25. I prefer full feeds to partial ones. But why don’t you conduct a poll on the subject?

  26. thanks for the feedback everyone.

    and for those suggesting a poll – I’VE ALREADY DONE ONE!!!!! :-)

  27. good work, its more useful this way

  28. I fully agree with the change!
    Specially in a blog like this one. The information provided is too essential to be cut in the middle.

  29. Perhaps you should hold off on the RSS ads. You’re changing two variables at once, which will make it harder to measure the impact of either one. you won’t know which changes are a result of publishing a full post feed and which are a result of the RSS ads.

    I recommend a poll :D

  30. And the big question, Darren: are you doing this across your more commercial blogs as well?

  31. Not much of a change for me really. I use thunderbird for RSS and have it set to open the site linked by default. I got tired of reading blan rss when I could see the actual page if I waited 2 seconds. Sounds like everyone else likes it though.

  32. Thanks Darren. I have always promoted full text feeds and as a reader it is much appriciated. I think I will get more content from your site now that I don’t have to skim through and judge if a partial text feed is worth my time….

  33. Finally you’ve made the right choice, Darren. As far as I can tell, I’ve always skipped through the first couple of lines of your feed before simply MARKING IT AS READ. While reading through my own about 300 subscriptions, I have little time in reading summaries. I end up reading the full content, and not just a few lines without getting to the whole topic at all.

    Because I usually scanned through your headlines, I usually found nothing that kept me attracted for more than 5 minutes. But by now, I’ve already read five of your posts in the feed reader without skipping yet. And of course I clicked at your site to comment… ;)

  34. Great to read your full feeds now. Just to let you know that the “Copyright Problogger Blog Tips” copyright feedflare was developed by me. Nice to see it at work on your feed.

  35. Darren,

    Thanks for the full feed. One problem that I notice, however, is that when I click on the feedburner permalink, it no longer redirects me to the correct page. Instead, it brings me to your RSS page at feedburner, where I have to scroll through the list to find the post that I am looking for which is a bit annoying. I don’t know if I am the only one having this problem or not but it is a bit annoying.

  36. Hi Darren, Just wanted to say that after a long hiatus I have resubscribed to your blog in my bloglines account. I visit your website regularly and also keep tabs on it through the newsletter you send out, but the thing that swung it for me was your decision to publish full RSS feeds. Many thanks!

  37. welcome back James – nice to have you :-)

  38. Yay!

    When I click on post`s title to get to the website itself it displays the feedburner`s feed page instead of the post.

  39. ReveNews Full RSS Feed Hot Off The Burner!

    I could write a really long entry describing the reasons ReveNews now publishes a full feed (just released here). I really could. But you know what? Darren said it all for me a while back. Scoble even has some decent thoughts on the matter. I’ll just …

  40. […] Lately, there is one feed that takes over 35 seconds (even with a 4 Mb downstream connection) to load. Where most of my feeds are clean at the end of the day, the feed of Problogger.net currently holds over 150 articles that I kept for re-reading… As a result – and especially since he has his feed in full-article format – the right panel of Bloglines showing the articles of Darren takes enormous time to load. […]

  41. […] Why the switch? Well I figure that joining the likes of Amit Agarwal, Darren Rowse, Robert Scoble, and Nick Wilson is not a bad group to be part of. These are bloggers that have huge subscribers and so their insight is certainly worth considering. […]

  42. […] I switched to Full Feeds – my gut tells me that this was actually a significant factor in the surge (although at the time I […]

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