Today I asked Trevor Cook if he will consider offering a full-text RSS feed for Corporate Engagement, and he asked back:
What’s the benefit of full-text? I’ve read a few people saying that they just make it harder to use an aggregator. People really just want a headline and an excerpt and then they can go to the site if they want to read it?
There’s also an exchange of opinions on this topic over at Allan Jenkins’s Desirable Roasted Coffee.
Here’s my 2 cents on this matter:
- For me the benefit of getting full-text feeds is that I can read more postings in less time without leaving my aggregator.
- Different people want different things. I want to read your full postings (read: I value your ideas) without having to make extra effort.
- Most aggregators offer the feature of showing only headlines, or headlines and an excerpt. If you have a full-text RSS feed, any reader can choose to see only the headlines, or only headlines and excerpts in the aggregator. It doesn’t work the other way around.
- “Click to read more” is interrupting the flow of reading/scanning the postings. I’ll have to go outside my aggregator, read your posting, then come back.
- Clicking in order to read the whole post might work as long as you’re reading just a couple of feeds. When you read hundreds of feeds (I do), extra clicks do have a price — in time and attention.
- Not everybody who’s reading your feed has a broadband connection. If one has dial-up, having to open a new page means more waiting time.
- What’s in it for you? Why is important to have people coming to your blog, instead of reading it in an aggregator?
- If it’s about knowing the number of readers and other web analytics, you can always use Feedburner.
- If it’s about selling things, I would rather read short reminders in your feed, now and then (hey, I have a great report/ book/ whatever, check it out!) than have to go every single time to your blog in order to read your postings. (Dear Feedburner, here’s an opportunity: allow people to insert personal –not only AdSense or Amazon– text-based ads in their feeds.)
- If I hate excerpts-only RSS feeds, and you still make me click to read your postings, do you really think I’m going to look around to see what you want to sell, or I’ll just read the text you refused to show me in the first place?
- Please don’t get me wrong: it’s your feed, and you’re the one controlling what you want to share. If you want to offer an excerpts-only feed, to use it as a way of attracting people to your weblog or selling something — it’s your decision to make, and I’ll respect it. But I think that you’re actually losing readers and their goodwill by doing so.
- C’mon, you might lose me as a reader! This should be enough to make you change your mind, and start offering a full-text feed this very moment :)
- The “I’m asking” part from the title should read as “please, please, pretty please!” :)
- Thanks to Trevor for allowing me to use his e-mail as a starting point for this posting.