For years, bloggers have debated over whether their feeds should be configured to be full or partial feeds. There are pros and cons to both types of feeds, and only you can decide which is right for your blog based on your blogging goals and your audience's preferences. First, let's take a look at the difference between full and partial feeds. Then we'll weight the pros and cons and identify which type of feed is best depending on common blogging goals.
A full feed includes all of your blog post content. For example, when you configure your blog's feed to be a full feed, the entire content of your blog posts is visible to subscribers through their email or feed readers, depending on the way they subscribed to receive it. In other words, they can read all of the new content published on your blog without ever visiting it.
A partial feed includes only a portion of your blog post content. For example, when you configure your blog's feed to be a partial feed, your blog posts are truncated and only a small portion of the beginning of each post is visible through a subscriber's email or feed reader. To read the entire post, they have to click on a link and visit your blog.
The Pros and Cons of Full and Partial Feeds
Full Feeds: Some bloggers dislike full feeds because they believe full feeds reduce blog traffic. If subscribers don't have to click through to read the complete post on your blog, that means visits from your loyal subscribers will go down. Since full feeds can reduce blog page views and visits, there are fewer people who can publish comments on your post, and that means conversation and community could decrease on your blog. Furthermore, fewer visits can also mean fewer people reading your complete posts, enjoying them, and sharing them with their own audiences, which leads to decreased exposure for your blog.
Partial Feeds: Many bloggers dislike partial feeds because subscribers often complain about partial feeds. They want the convenience of reading all of your blog content in their email or feed readers where they're already spending time. However, if your blog post titles and introductory content are interesting, people will click through to your blog to read the rest. That can lead to increased page views from subscribers.
Which Type of Feed Should You Use?
Consider Your Goals: This is a decision that depends entirely on your blogging goals. If your main goal is to write for fun and ensure subscribers aren't frustrated, then a full feed is a good choice. However, if your main blogging goals include increasing comments, community, and page views to develop a successful blog and make money, then a partial feed is the way to go. More page views enable you to sell ad space at higher rates and make more money from impression-based and pay-per-click ads.
Consider Your Audience: Keep in mind, you can change your feed setup at anytime, so you're not locked into your decision to provide a full or partial feed. Also, be sure to ask your readers which type of feed they prefer. If your most loyal readers are going to defect if you switch to a partial feed, then you might want to reconsider. A successful blog comes from your amazing content and the amazing community of readers who develop around that blog. Don't risk losing visitors so you can get more page views from a partial feed.