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Six Reasons Why You Need a Full Feed RSS

Though RSS readers have been around for quite a while, I never saw the point to using them. After all, it’s just as easy to visit a web site, right?

Now, after using an RSS reader for two weeks, I’ve come around.

Mind you, I usually don’t keep the RSS reader open all the time. I just don’t need the distraction from work. But, I can check it between jobs to see if I’m missing out on anything. Right now, I have 40 sites and blogs in my feed. (I’ve been too busy to add any more recently.) The latest headlines? Bingo! The latest blog entries? Bingo! It saves a bundle of time browsing different sites to see if they’ve added anything.

What I find disappointing is the number of news sites that don’t offer RSS feeds. Two that I frequent don’t offer RSS feeds at all. A third news site, which I rarely visit, offers only the latest headlines. They don’t even provide a summary for what the article is about. Lame!

RSS is almost a necessity these days. While Jon offered his “6 Reasons Why I Prefer Visiting Your Site to Using a Feed Reader,” I’m going to offer you 6 Reasons Why You Need a Full Feed RSS.

1) Convenience

It is more convenient for your readers. You’re giving them the option of reading your content through your website or blog or through their favorite news reader.

2) Memory

By offering a full feed RSS, you’ll stay in the memories of your readers that prefer using news readers over visiting a website, or those that do both. You’re providing them convenience, and they’re going to be more likely to remember your site. I can tell you that when it comes time to weed out sites in my news reader, those without full RSS feeds are going to be the first to go. And, that reduces the odds that I’ll remember to visit their websites or blogs too. Out of sight, out of mind…

3) Less Annoying

I hate it when ads for news programs say something like “Important food recall–is the food in your refrigerator safe? Watch at 11:00 p.m.” What, am I not supposed to eat until after I watch the news? If there’s something I shouldn’t be eating, I want to know now, at my convenience! Teaser feed RSS is becoming the 21st century version of that annoyance. “Important food recall–is the food in your refrigerator safe? Click to read more!” I don’t want to click to read more. I don’t want to launch my browser to read the full article. Just tell me now!

4) More Readers

By offering your potential readers more than one way to read your content, you can attract more readers to your blog. Those sites without RSS, what are the odds of me visiting them again? Slim, especially if someone else offers similar information but also offers an RSS feed.

5) More Comments

I’ll read a post in my news reader. If I want to comment, I’ll click it to pull up the blog in a web browser so that I can comment. If I don’t want to leave a comment, then I won’t visit the site. But, if you have a partial RSS feed, the odds are that I’m not going to visit your blog to read the whole entry, which also means I won’t be leaving a comment either.

6) Keeps You On Your Toes

If you want to be the leader in your niche, you need to have fresh content, and nothing provides encouragement to having fresh content than a full feed RSS. To keep in front of your readers, you need to have fresh content frequently. On the other hand, if you have a tendency not to post frequently, offering a full feed RSS will increase the odds of staying in front of your readers. For example, if you don’t post for a couple weeks, what are the odds of your readers still visiting your site daily? How long before most of them realize you’ve posted something? With an RSS reader, they’ll see right away when you have something new. So, whether you post frequently or infrequently, offering a full feed RSS can be advantageous to you.

A news reader is better than bookmarking sites. With bookmarks, you still have to visit the sites. With a news reader, you’ll get almost instant notification when something new has gone up on one of your favorite sites or blogs. Plus, you are in control of the content you want to read. You can group blogs or sites however you would like, in whatever way makes most sense to you.

And, that’s the kind of convenience you ought to be offering to your readers!

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Comment by Sam
2007-10-27 11:26:39

I have over 300 feeds I track in Google Reader. Actually visiting sites, just to see if they’ve been updated, would be impossible, on that scale. I can’t fathom how you managed until two weeks ago without reading feeds! And you’re right: Partial feeds are annoying. Title-only feeds are enough to make me unsubscribe, even if I appreciate the content, itself.

Comment by david
2007-10-27 19:02:24

Those are some nice reasons for me to value RSS more now.

Comment by Beth
2007-10-28 00:03:11

I read (all right, skim, actually) ~100 posts a day in my Google reader, and I’m able to comment on more blogs by subscribing to feeds. I’m a believer.

Comment by Erina Hart
2007-10-28 15:52:40

I’d be willing to give a feed reader another try; however, I feel like the reader would offer too much clutter. I’m worried I’d miss an important post.

I did sign up for a reader just to help someone out. I don’t use the reader anymore though. I missed the blog layouts.

Thanks for the information on partial feeds. Until this post, I had never heard of them.

Comment by Joanne
2007-10-28 23:18:02

Erina, that’s why I organize my feeds into separate categories, it helps with the processing.

Like, I have a category for “people I see” (lols!), a first string, second string, and third string. It helps for skimming and I often move around blogs between categories as I realize which ones I like to visit/read more often. I also have a “temp category” for blogs that I first subscribe to b/c I didn’t have time then to give it a proper read (but didn’t want to lose the link!).

Comment by Joanne
2007-10-28 23:22:46

Dan, definitely with you on full feeds.

I think there are only 2 (maybe 3) partial feeds that I’ve kept in my reader and actually visit/comment. Since I usually keep up with commenting, I do end up visiting the actual sites of the blogs I read…feed-reading just helps me do that MUCH more efficiently.

Glad you finally joined in on it!

Comment by Chanya
2007-10-29 11:02:33

I agree wholeheartedly. By simply relying on my slew of IE bookmarks I was missing out on a lot of new content. RSS readers are great. Which one do you use? I really like Bloglines.

Comment by dcr
2007-10-29 11:13:17

I use NewsFire.

2007-11-05 07:25:33

[...] has also written a great article discussing full versus partial RSS feeds. dcr Blogs has written Six Reasons Why You Need A Full RSS Feed. If you don’t believe me about using a full RSS feed, check out these [...]

2007-11-05 17:03:51

[...] Dan at dcrblogs.com [...]

2008-02-09 21:51:23

[...] October I wrote this post: “Six Reasons Why You Need a Full Feed RSS.” It is one of my most popular articles. If you don’t have a feed on your blog, read [...]

2008-02-10 00:46:10


Yeah. Like the #1 comment. I have more than 300+ feed subscription. In many case, I also click on the title and visit the post.

I also use feed reader to search words to find out the stuff I am interested. For example, I search fashion jewelry on those blog from my competitions. I also use Google alert to do so as well.

I will add #7 reasons to show full feed.

You can show why you are more on top of your competition and let the readers know why you are better than your competitors.

2008-09-01 07:52:42

Thanks, I will definitely try to switch to full feeds

Comment by Danny Brown
2008-12-03 21:27:50

I think RSS feeds are great for news feeds, as you say, but I have to admit that for blogs I prefer email subscriptions. I find that I can miss really good blog posts with RSS feeds, but with an email into my Inbox I can read it at leisure.

RSS feeds are definitely underrated, though.

2009-04-30 11:56:17

[...] has also written a great article discussing full versus partial RSS feeds. dcr Blogs has written Six Reasons Why You Need A Full RSS Feed. If you don’t believe me about using a full RSS feed, check out these [...]

Comment by Dani
2011-12-13 16:45:16

I have a bunch of feeds on my igoogle page, but I never visit that page.

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