Should You Publish a Full or Partial RSS Feed?

May 20, 2011Leave a reply

If you’re not familiar with RSS, watch this video.

One common question is whether businesses should publish full or partial RSS feeds.

In a full feed, RSS readers can read entire articles in their reader without having to click a “Read More” link that takes them to the full article on your blog.

In a partial feed, obviously, only a small part of each article is posted in RSS readers, and readers must finish reading on your blog.

Proponents of partial feeds are concerned that 1) website traffic will be reduced if they publish full feeds, and 2) full feeds make it easier for content thieves to republish their articles.

They also argue that clickbacks to articles on site are instant feedback — you learn which articles resonate more with readers.

Answering the question is a function of whether you want to spread influence or drive website traffic.

Influence Versus Website Traffic

If you want to spread influence, then publish a full RSS feed. Give your best content away, and piles of it. The more the better.

If you want to bring traffic back to your website, go with a partial feed.

But understand this: The influence approach will generate more traffic and market buzz for you in the long-term.

We’re major proponents of full feeds because we understand the power of influence on the web.

Sure, you’ll have a few knuckleheads that will skim your content. Sure, your RSS readers may not come back to your site as often.

But, as the music industry has learned the hard way, trying to control content online is a losing battle anyway. What’s more, you should hope and pray that people start spreading your content.

Sure, you want to be attributed, but most people will give proper attribution. And the people who don’t have lame sites, audiences, and business models, so you don’t need to worry about them.

And so what if RSS readers don’t come to your site? Are you worried about banner ad advertising revenues? Don’t — they’re too paltry to worry about. Unless you’re getting 10,000 hits per month or more, advertising shouldn’t even be on your radar as a viable income stream.

Generate high-quality, relevant content. Get it out into as many venues as possible. Publish the heck out of it.

You’ll develop a reputation as an influencer and it will come back to you exponentially over time.

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