I am an avid reader of blogs. I like to keep up with my favourite topics, like search engine optimisation, social media and internet marketing but also on my other interests like photogrpahy, wellness and lifestyle. So how do I keep up with all these blogs in a convenient way? I certainly don’t visit each blogger’s website every day!
Then how do I keep up with all the blogs I like?
No the way I do it is through RSS. RSS stands for really simple syndication and is a way to easily keep up with all your favourite blogs in one easy reader. I have written an article explaining RSS and RSS readers so you may want to have a look at that if you are unfamiliar with RSS and the convenience of it.
Most publishers / bloggers will enable RSS on their blogs and will make it easy for new readers to subscribe. This is important, because if you or I stumble on a blog we like we want an easy way to quickly subscribe and not forget about that particular blog.
How to subscribe to a feed?
Most bloggers will have a clear RSS button in their sidebar, like I have here at Escala Web Strategy, or have a link with “subscribe to RSS”.
Now, the next time I open my favourite RSS reader (which in my case is reeder for ipad and iphone) the most recent posts of this website will appear alongside all the other blogs that I follow. I go though all the blog posts each night and will read the whole articles of the headings that interest me.
Whole article versus excerpt in a feed
However, here is when an issue can occur. Although most publishers will have their whole articles in their RSS feed, some only allow the excerpts to be uploaded to the feed. This means that if I wanted to read the whole article I would need to click through to their website.
I am actually VERY unlikely do do this. It means that my reader will have to load the website in the browser which also means that I would have to need a good internet connection. It basically intereferes with the speed that I can normally read my articles. Also, I sometimes load my feeds when I’m online and then read them later when I’m offline. In that case I’m not even able to click through to the website.
Why would a publisher only upload the excerpts to their feed?
The main reason for publishers to only allowing excerpts in their feed is that most publishers want you to read the article on their website instead:
- It means that their website traffic is higher, so they can command higher fees for advertising,
- When people visit the website they may click on advertising which leads to profit for the publisher
- A website visitor may click on affiliate link which can lead to a commission for the publisher
So as you can see there are many benefits to people actually visiting your website.
So why do many publishers allow their whole article to be uploaded to the feed?
There are some major benefits to allowing whole articles in your feed:
- People are more likely to read your article
- People will not delete your feed in their reader (due to annoyance over excerpt only)
- People are reminded of your blog on a constant basis and may clickthrough when you have something special to offer.
- You will build a relationship with your readers as your readers will value the conveience of reading your posts through their RSS readers.
So what should you do?
If your main objective of your articles is to get people on your site than you can consider excerpts only, but if your interest is that as many as people as possible READ your articles, then whole articles are definitely the way to go.
I personally delete feeds that only give me excerpts of their articles. That means that I will probably forget about your blog and will never visit your site again.
So even though many RSS subscribers will read your articles without you knowing about it (you will see the amount of RSS subscribers you have if you use a service like feedburner, but cannot see how many actually actively read your blogs), they will remembered about your blog and website constantly. This means that they will still read your aricles, possibly link to them in their own blogs and every now and then visit the website. In my opnion this building of a long-term relationship with a reader is so much more important than a constant website visit. In the end allowing full article feeds will pay off big time.