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:
Â» 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.
Â» 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.
Â» Partial feeds require people to come to your site meaning they see your ads, which theoretically means you make more money.
Â» Partial feeds protect you from content theft since scrapers are less likely to republish only a summary of your post.
Â» Most subscribers are annoyed when they have to click an extra link to read the full story.
Â» Regular readers, who visit your blog via RSS feeds, are very likely to stay away from the advertisements because of the “Adsense Blanket” effect.
Â» 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.
Â» 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.
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.