Yesterday one of our commentators mentioned he wouldn’t visit our blog if we continued to shorten our feed. The truth is, we don’t shorten our feed, we shorten the post. There are steps we can take to shorten the post and leave our feed intact, but I haven’t been able to get it to work properly with this particular blog. We like to shorten our posts because they make the front page look tidy, but not at the expense of our readers. So what do we do?
The Benefits of Shortening Your Feed
The argument over whether or not to shorten feeds is ongoing in the blogosphere. Many bloggers like a shortened feed because scrapers and content thieves can’t carry the whole post. Plus page views and revenue are up among many bloggers who have a shorter feed.
Why Many Bloggers Don’t Shorten their Feeds
The problem is, many blog readers don’t want to have to click to read more. If they can’t read the whole post in their feed readers, they move on. I personally don’t get this. I feel if content is good, people will click..how much trouble can it be? But, as usual, I’m in the minority.
Should Network Bloggers Shorten Posts?
Most network bloggers use short feeds because they get more pageviews when readers click through to read the entire post. Since many are paid a base plus traffic bonuses, it’s in their best interest to get their readers to come to the blog rather than read feeds. Moreover, I’m of the opinion that people who visit the blog will be more likely to participate in the conversation and you’re better able to build up your community.
Because network bloggers are paid a set fee by someone else instead of their own blogs’ revenue, I feel they have to do what they can to bring in traffic. Especially since it’s their livelihood. The problem is, your readers want full feeds. So what do you do?
First of all, the decision to publish a full or partial feed is ultimately up to the network. About.com only publishes partial feeds and they have very good traffic. Other networks keep a full feed. When you hit the “more” feature to cut your post, you’re cutting the feed too. Try this…take one week and post only full posts/full feeds. Take another week and “more” your posts. Is there a difference in traffic? If so, is it a big difference? Do people complain? As a network blogger you have to do what brings your blog the most traffic, and the higher paycheck without alienating too many readers.
Keep in Mind…
There are a bunch of people who absolutely refuse to visit a blog offering a shortened feed. It doesn’t matter if your blog is great and your content is the best ever. It’s a matte of principal for them. They want to stay on their feed reader and never stray. Decide what is most important to you and your blog. To “more” your posts, making them prettier and bringing in more traffic, or to leave them whole and cater to everyone – even though it might mean scrapers will steal your content and you’ll have less traffic.
Let’s put it to a discussion here. Why do you use a full or shortened feed…and does it make a difference when you visit a blog? I’d also love to hear from those who run blog networks – what is best for the network blogger?