Full vs. Partial RSS Feeds & E-Mail Updates – That is the Question

by Joanna Pineda Posted on July 7, 2008

There is a raging debate in the office re: full vs. partial RSS feeds and e-mail updates.
The question is which option drives more traffic to the Web site?

This blog publishes partial RSS feeds and e-mail updates. You get the title and the first 60+ words and a link to the full article. The thinking is that you would get the gist of the article, then click through to read the rest of the article. While viewing the full article on the site, you might be enticed to click on past postings, the favorites on the right, or perhaps the related projects at the bottom.

Sounds logical right? But wait, there are many some views:

According to Rick Klau, VP of Publishing Services at FeedBurner, there appears to be no
significant difference in click through rates between full and partial RSS feeds.


Jonathan Christopher of Monday by Noon, defends partial feeds because of the scraper sites that publish full articles on their sites and possible negative penalty that search engines associate with duplicate content.  Klau agrees with Christopher on the issue of scraper sites. http://mondaybynoon.com/2006/09/04/partial-versus-full-rss-feeds/

I personally like the truncated posts because I subscribe to many RSS feeds. This helps keep my Google Reader inbox more manageable. If the articles are written well, I get the sense of the post from the first paragraph; if I’m interested, I click through.  For the sites that send me a full feed, I still only read the first paragraph and keep reading, only if the topic really interests me. As far as I’m concerned, full and partial feeds make no difference.

How about you?  Do you prefer full or partial feeds and e-mail updates?  If the feedback is more towards full articles in RSS and e-mails, then I will definitely consider changing our set-up.  Please send me your comments!

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