RSS: Excerpts or full posts?

3 May 08 , ,

Well I’ve really been delving into the topic of RSS recently, and my research has led me to wonder whether it’s better to publish excerpts or full posts in an RSS feed (if you’re confused already read my intro: What is RSS?.

First I considered it from my perspective as a blog publisher and web designer. I spend a lot of time and effort designing my blog, formatting and styling my posts, etc., I want readers to visit my site rather than just read the text in a generic-looking feed reader. An argument for excerpts-only.

Then I considered it from the perspective of someone who subscribes to several feeds using NetNewsWire. I noticed that most of the ones I subscribe to broadcast full-post feeds, but I end up visiting the website anyway. I’m lucky in that, because I’m reading sites about design, most of them are beautifully done. So I’d rather read an article on this website:

Blog post on subtraction.com

A blog post on-site at sutraction.com, with its stunning grid layout and carefully considered typography.

than in NetNewsWire:

A blog post from subtraction.com in NewNewWire

The same post, as displayed in the RSS reader NetNewsWire.

Having the full post available though, allows me to scan it and decide whether it’s worth my time.

I also did a bit of research on the topic, and a problogger.com survery found that 75% of bloggers offer full posts in their feed, and their debate on the topic came out clearly in favor of full posts.

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