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Full or partial RSS feeds

The jury is still out on whether or not RSS feeds should contain complete articles or just excerpts of the article. Here are the arguments from each camp.

Full posts in RSS feeds

The main benefits of publishing full posts in RSS feeds is that it is more convenient for readers. The reader does not have to leave their aggregator to read the rest of the post, convenient if they are on the move with a laptop and no net connection.

A major drawback to publishing full posts is that it makes it very easy for other unscrupulous webmasters to steal your content. Content theft may become a major factor in turning publisher off of full post feeds, especially with the availability of software that farms such feeds.

Summary posts in RSS feeds

Publishing a summary of the article in your RSS feed reduces the bandwidth needed compared to publishing the full article. If you are using your own server to serve your RSS feed the bandwidth costs will hit you hard as most RSS readers request the file multiple times a day, unlike a webpage.

Publishing a summary encourages the reader to click through to the page where the full article resides, this is essential if your site depends on advertising revenue. Of course you could put ads in your RSS feed if you decide to go the full post route.

Choice based on circumstances

Depending on your particular circumstances you are going to have to decide whether or not full posts are more relevant to your audience. If you go for summaries then you need to make sure that the summary contains enough information so the reader can decide if the full post will be of interest to them.

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