Sunday, February 11, 2007

Full or should it be Short Feeds?

What are your habits when reading RSS feeds in readers such as Google Reader or Bloglines? Do you dislike not being able to see the whole feed because the blog owner syndicates the first paragraph or 255 characters, whichever is shorter. If you tut tut or grumble about blogs that do this please consider not doing the same with your own blog.

My own habits are as follows when viewing RSS feeds in Google Reader:
  • Speed reading as I have a huge list to wade through and for this reason hate shortened feeds with more time taken to load up blog sites.
  • A shorten RSS feed, the 255 characters will have to catch my attention to visit the blog, which often they don’t so I delete that feed without visiting. Possibly I miss out on good content further down the blog but what I don’t see I don’t miss.
  • If full RSS feed content is interesting I will often click to the blog site to get the feel of the post on its site. Don’t know why, just do. Perhaps it has something to do with a well designed site that makes a longer post easier to read.
  • Reading a full feed often encourages me to comment on blog sites as I have the time to absorb the information quickly.
  • Moved away from Bloglines as I couldn’t view images in the feed; love images when they are available.
  • Recently deleted blogs from my Feed Reader, as I found I wasn’t visiting their blogs at all with the first paragraph or 255 characters, whichever is shorter in place. Still a few I am mulling over as to delete or not.

There are also gimmicky tweaks to blog templates that shorten a post on the owners blog site. These have to be expanded to read and once more I will often pass over these as I can’t speed read without extra clicking involved. I always thought a blog was about sharing your words so why hide them and make your visitor have to work that much harder to find the content to the heading? I find these blogs are also not pleasing to the eye and make the page relatively hard to read, where I prefer a newspaper style where different text format will spark my interest to read more.

I believe it is a brave soul that uses the shortened version for their RSS feeds. Especially if they are not properly established in the blogsphere, because I would think a reader would have to be very familiar with the blog authors way of writing to know it would be worth while visiting their blog to read more. Familiarity often in the first place comes from a Full Feed. I do understand those blog owners that make money from their ads wanting visitors but is shortening a feed really the right way to do it? I visit many professional blogs with AdSense and other means of advertising whom do use the Full Feeds; I also enjoy visiting their blogs from these full feeds.

Apparently many busy commuters load up their laptop with feeds directly to their email inbox to read while traveling by train or bus to work. Full feeds are the order of the day, as there are often no internet connections to view the full post on the blog.

Concluding this Long winded post: I realise that every blog owner has their own thoughts on how they should run their blogs and I do respect that, after all we are individuals with minds of our own as to why things are done the way we do. I would love to know about your own RSS Feed Reader habits. if you want to share please leave a comment, as I read on another blog today, I dare you. lol

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Katherine said...

I'm glad you blogged about this Susan - I've been pondering this topic of late.

Some comments:
* I went from long feeds to short feeds and then back again for my own posts. I don't think the images post in short feeds and given I've got an image based blog it seemed a bit silly to have have short reads.
* Even though I write longer posts than many I ALWAYS try to make the first 255 characters count as much as possible - both in terms of feed readers and search engines.
* I've got far too many in my feed reader, need to start weeding and know how I operate - tempt with your first three lines or lose me! Largely irrespective of whether you've got a short or a long feed.
* I've switched feed readers from Bloglines - who seem to think Google/Blogger are blocking all images from blogspot blogs (seems very unfair to me!) - to Google Reader - which is a bit 'hit and miss' in terms of

Given the sometime vagary of blogrolls I'm just about to revamp the blog roll on my blog as I realise it's no longer reflecting my 'must reads' - but I've no idea how fast that little exercise is going to be!

zandria said...

Very interesting, Susan! Valid points; I completely agree. A blog-friend of mine pointed out this article, too, that gives additional reasons why it's best for bloggers to use a full feed.

Aaron B. Hockley said...

I prefer blogs with full-text feeds... in general I won't subscribe to blogs where I have t click through for more info on every post...

Susan Borgas said...

Thanks everyone for participating as it all helps bloggers to become aware of how their readers use RSS Feed Readers.

Katherine I did notice you trying the short feeds out and must admit relieved when you reverted back to the full once more.

There are so many good blogs out there now that culling the blogs that don't meet our expectations anymore soon become redundant.

Zandria thanks for commenting and a big thank you for the link. It has some excellent reading, especially following some of the links in the comments section.

Aaron your input is also appreciated and thanks for visiting my blog.

Clever Dude said...

With 52 feeds in my Google Reader, which I hear is on the light end, I'm finding that I focus on the articles with pictures and full feeds, even if there are better articles.

ProBlogger is writing a series on how to make your RSS feeds POP.

Susan Borgas said...

clever Dude thanks for visiting and participating. ProBlogger is one of my favourite haunts and always interested to see what Darren comes up with.

I would have 300+ feeds. Many are comment feeds which I must clean up as they are from post way back and no longer needed. Quite a few blog feeds as well that are rarely updated but like to keep them just in case. By allowing only the updated feeds to show it keeps things reasonably tidy and the rest forgotten until something turns up out of the blue.