There’s been a long running debate on the use of full or partial feeds. Some bloggers believe that partial feeds is the best type of feed to use while others think the opposite and that full feeds is the way to go. This is quite a confusing topic.

A couple months ago, I was debating with myself whether to use partial feeds or full feeds. Since late last year, my feeds were all partial because I was using the < more > tag. This feature cuts off posts in RSS feeds even if you specify full text in your Reading > Syndication Feeds options. I guess I’m getting old, because I totally forgot that I had the Excerpt Reloaded plugin which I have been using in previous themes. What this plugin does is if a post does not contain an excerpt, it cuts off your content to a specified length and displays that in your index page. With this plugin, you don’t have to use the < more > tag. Now I have full feeds since I’ve re-installed and re-activated the Excerpt Reloaded plugin.

Back to the topic at hand. I’ve done some research and found some interesting points from different blogs regarding this issue.

Some Pros and Cons of using Full or Partial feeds:
» Full feeds are the likely preference of those readers who are also bloggers or journalists. These are the readers who will link to your blog and providing them with full feeds makes it more likely they will read your post and consequently link to you.

» Full feeds allow your posts to be read off your site so there’s less taxing of your bandwidth and your posts can still be ready even if if there’s a temporary problem with your server.

» Partial feeds require people to come to your site meaning they see your ads, which theoretically means you make more money.

» Partial feeds protect you from content theft since scrapers are less likely to republish only a summary of your post.

» Most subscribers are annoyed when they have to click an extra link to read the full story.

» Regular readers, who visit your blog via RSS feeds, are very likely to stay away from the advertisements because of the “Adsense Blanket” effect.

» If you break a story or write something interesting and engaging, RSS subscribers would still come to your blog pages to read comments left by other readers or write one themselves. Partial feeds may not excite them enough.

» Not everyone lives in a 24×7 connected world. They like to connect to the internet, download interesting stuff and read them offline without shooting the ISP bill. Full feeds are an ideal choice here.

My Take:

These are all valid arguments for both full and partial feeds. Both have it’s advantages and disadvantages. I believe that some blogs would be better off with partial feeds than using full feeds and vice versa. Each blogger would have his/her own reasons for using a specific type of feed. My advice is, try using both partial and full feeds one at time on your blog, take note of the results and choose which one suits your blog better.

It would be nice if you can share your thoughts on this topic. What type of feeds do you use and your reason for choosing it. I’d also like to hear from those who are subscribed to my feeds. I would really appreciate it if you can share your opinions.

Web Resources: ProBlogger and Digital Inspiration.

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30 Comments

  • JP Habaradas, September 29, 2007 @ 4:15 AM Reply

    @Bull3t – Yes, full feeds are more convenient and user-friendly because readers don’t have to go to the site to read the rest of the post. If the post is interesting, they would go and visit the blog to leave a comment or read other comments. :)

  • Bull3t, September 29, 2007 @ 4:10 AM Reply

    I have used full feeds right from the word “go” on my blog, it makes it easier for readers to view the whole post from the feed. Also partial feeds and post excerpts are not my favourite of things, I have to say. Excerpts just don’t look very good in my opinion (and often don’t have the better part of the story, only the introduction).

  • JP Habaradas, August 16, 2007 @ 6:16 PM Reply

    @Michael – Thanks for sharing it with us. I’ll try to check it out later. :)

  • Michael, August 15, 2007 @ 10:38 AM Reply

    We’ve got a great write-up about this on our site as well, maybe even a heated debate. My take on it is that a full feed is much more pleasing to the user, and in the end it can only contribute to brand awareness and site loyalty. But dont take my word for it, we’ve got a bunch of opinions on the subject at AskTheAdmin.com

  • JP Habaradas, June 5, 2007 @ 4:58 AM Reply

    @Rob – Thanks for sharing this information with me and my readers. I'm sure this will be very useful for everyone who's using the Excerpt Reloaded plugin. :)

  • Rob, June 4, 2007 @ 4:23 PM Reply

    I found a bug in "The Excerpt Reloaded", which is mentioned in this article. I posted the fix along with an explanation of the problem here: http://robsnotebook.com/the-excerpt-reloaded

  • JP Habaradas, March 21, 2007 @ 5:26 AM Reply

    @KidBlogger – I'm not sure coz I haven't tried the Adsense Deluxe plugin. Let me know if it works or not. :)

  • KidBlogger, March 20, 2007 @ 3:27 PM Reply

    I was wondering… if I use adsense deluxe and place it inside my post, could I see it in my feeds?

  • JP Habaradas, March 20, 2007 @ 5:37 AM Reply

    @Kidblogger – Again, it's about personal preference. In your case, partial feeds works for you coz you want your readers to visit your blog for traffic and possible ad clicks.

    We'll have to wait and see if Adsense would allow that in the near future. :)

  • KidBlogger, March 19, 2007 @ 9:01 PM Reply

    If you ask me, I'm on partial because when you got full feeds there is a lot of chances that readers won't visit your blog anymore because you're using full feeds.. They'll just use their feed readers to read, so no traffic for you and your ads:)

    I hope adsense would allow us to put ads on feeds….

  • JP Habaradas, March 18, 2007 @ 7:40 PM Reply

    @cyberpunk – I haven't tried Google Reader yet. I think I'll give it a try later.

    For this topic, it all goes down to personal preference. For some the extra click might be annoying but for some it's not. Some prefer partial feeds coz they use the feeds to notify them of new posts and then go visit the blog personally. Others like full feeds coz after they download the feeds, they read it offline.

  • cyberpunk, March 18, 2007 @ 7:23 AM Reply

    as a user of google reader, i prefer full feeds too. it's more convenient, faster, and without the stuffs that slow down loading (banners, ads, flash thingies in the orig site). and really, it is annoying having to make that extra click and open another tab just to see the whole content. if the content excites me enough, then that's the time i will open the orig site and see the comments and add my own.

  • JP Habaradas, March 18, 2007 @ 6:46 AM Reply

    @deuts – I see. Well, it really is the way to go if you are on dial-up internet connection. Same as using an email client to download mails, read and reply offline and go back online to send them. Very practical :)

  • deuts, March 18, 2007 @ 12:36 AM Reply

    I actually fit on the last argument. I use feeddemon as my feed reader. I would love to download the feeds in my office computer and read it afterwards when I'm out to the client (during breaks only, of course!LOL). That's why I changed my feed to full-feed.

  • JP Habaradas, March 16, 2007 @ 1:38 PM Reply

    @Lutchi – You're welcome! Take care too and thanks for dropping by. :)

    @trench – True! I'm totally converted to publishing full feeds. Readers come first. Yeah, most bloggers are Adsense blind. Hehe..That's one good way of helping out other bloggers. :D

    Btw, did you receive my reply about the MyBlogLog thing?

  • trench, March 16, 2007 @ 9:45 AM Reply

    Full feeds are the way to go. My site is adsense powered, but some people just dont care for ads. So be it. All the old-school readers still come anyway. You know to support. I know even if I don't post a comment, each site I visit I'm sure to check out one of their ads to support them. ;)

  • Lutchi, March 16, 2007 @ 1:09 AM Reply

    Halo jaypee, thanks for dropping by and comments…I love free coupons and I always save money even .50 cents help "hahaha". Anyway, you take care and I will back later to read your post.

  • JP Habaradas, March 15, 2007 @ 2:36 PM Reply

    @ade – What annoyances are those? If you don't mind me asking. :)

    @ash – You're publishing partial feeds for your WordPress.com blog and full feeds for your Naruto blog. :)

    @iskoo – Yeah, pati mga spammers and scrapers high-tech and minsan mas marami pa silang alam kaysa sa mga bloggers regarding SEO and stuff. Hehe :D

  • iskoo, March 15, 2007 @ 1:43 PM Reply

    nagulat ako nung may nagsabi sa akin na may other site daw ako, tapos binigay yung link sa akin, yun pala parang ni-re-republish nya yung gawa ko. ngayon ko lang naintintihan na pwede pala yung through full rss feeds.

  • mr nice ash, March 15, 2007 @ 9:14 AM Reply

    nobody is interested with my feeds so I don't know. hehehe…

  • ade, March 15, 2007 @ 8:20 AM Reply

    I used to be for partial feeds, but recent annoyances with partial feeds in my reader made me change my feeds into the full kind.

  • JP Habaradas, March 15, 2007 @ 7:35 AM Reply

    @benj – With your vote, that makes it 3-0. You don't need the plugin to have full feeds unless you're using the < more > tag.

    @christian – I wasn't fully aware of what feeds were when I started using WordPress back in 2002.

    I guess it depends on personal preference and your purpose of subscribing to feeds. There are some people who like partial feeds coz they're subscribed to so many feeds and it's easier to scan through all the feeds.

    @Jonathan – I agree with what you said. I used to be concerned with content theft but then I realized that readers come first.

    Thanks for the additional information you're shared with us and thanks for dropping by! :D

    @bluepanjeet – Yeah, full feeds is more convenient for readers especially if they only have a dial-up internet connection. All they have to do is download the feeds and they can read it while they're offline.

    Regarding the downside that you're talking about, most readers would still visit your blog to see other people's comments and even leave their own comments.

    Once you're blog is online and open to the public, I'm sure you'll have readers and for sure, I'll be one of them. :)

  • bluepanjeet, March 15, 2007 @ 2:07 AM Reply

    I just signed up for a feedburner a while ago, and I think full feeds are more "reader-friendly" since it will save them time from hopping from one blog to another.

    the only downside is, if you have other features in your blog aside from your posts, (I'm speaking for myself here) they won't be able to see your updates unless you make an entry about it, and the readers can read it from your feed. anyhow I think if you really have loyal readers and they love your stuff, they wouldn't mind of going back and forth to your site. I believe, in the same vein as what jhay and jaypee said, its the love for the readers that you're doing everything you could to spice up and upgrade your blog.

    I for one is investing so much effort in constructing my new site, just so that the readers would somehow benefit from my crap, even though I'm not sure If I'll have some (readers) in the coming days haha!

    Keep Well Everyone and God Bless!

  • Jonathan Bailey, March 15, 2007 @ 1:12 AM Reply

    My advice is simple, don't let content theft be a factor when determining whether to use partial or long feeds, there's no reason to. With tools such as Dapper on the market, people who want to get at your content can.

    Feeds are already becoming a somewhat obsolete scraping tool as more are relying on Technorati and Google Blog search feeds, which pull from the actual permalink, and new software makes it easier than ever to extract text from HTML.

    Figure out what role you want your feed to play in your site and then determine if short or long feeds are best for you, it's that simple.

    Thank you for the interesting post!

  • benj, March 15, 2007 @ 12:31 AM Reply

    Ay naka fulltext naman pala ako. hehe

    Jaypee, could you weigh in on my Wealth Tool Box post? It's the weirdest thing ever.

  • christian, March 14, 2007 @ 11:29 PM Reply

    I've been publishing full feeds since I migrated to WP. And I still like publishing full feeds after reading this entry.

    What I don't really like with partial feeds is that I still have to go to the website just to read the full post.

  • benj, March 14, 2007 @ 10:59 PM Reply

    Add one more vote for the Full Feeds – but as the voice of hypocrisy here, I don't have the plugin yet. hehe

  • JP Habaradas, March 14, 2007 @ 8:44 PM Reply

    @jhay – Same goes for me. I used to be worried about scrapers but I believe my readers are more important than they are so I have to cater to my readers needs. Funny thing is, I had scrapers when I had partial feeds and none since I switched back to full feeds. (knock on wood) Hehe :D

    @Joni – I think that's true for most bloggers who subcribe to other blog feeds. I've downloaded that plugin but I haven't installed it yet. I plan to install it if I'll use the < more > tag again in the future. I'm sure you have subscribed readers out there. :)

  • Joni, March 14, 2007 @ 6:04 PM Reply

    Me too, I go for full feeds, because I, personally, also want to get full feeds from the blogs I'm subscribed to. :)

    Since the WP 2.1+ default feed is the partial kind, I use the <a href="http://cavemonkey50.com/code/full-feed/&quot; rel="nofollow">Full Text Feed</a> plugin to provide full feeds to my subscribed readers (if I actually have one! hahahaha!).

  • jhay, March 14, 2007 @ 3:50 PM Reply

    You know where I stand. I'm for full feeds to benefit my readers, (whom I love so much) content scrapers well I just think that they are amongst my die-hard fans, they love me so much they read, swallow and regurgitate everything I write. ;)

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