An Open Letter to Stingy Bloggers

Dear Stingy Bloggers,

You know who you are. The ones who don't allow photos or your full post to be read in an RSS reader, because you want people to have to open your blog to see the full thing.

Here's a newsflash: that's the whole point of a blog reader.

"In computing, a feed aggregator, also known as a feed reader, news reader or simply as an aggregator, is client software or a Web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and vlogs in a single location for easy viewing. "
We users, who like your blog so much that we actually subscribe to it, arguably constitute your most loyal followers. Now, why would you limit your loyal readers and force them to visit your site day after day to see your full content, hmm? It seems almost like backward thinking, wouldn't it? You are forcing your loyal reader to view your blog for your content in order to boost your own site hits (or worse, to boost your ad revenue!).

Consider the following:

"For the first three years I was a blogger, I remained a blogroll purist.... The
RSS reader entirely changed the paradigm of blogging by reducing the attention
cost I paid for each blog. Currently, I have 130 feeds yet every blog--indeed
every post--gets my attention every single day. In economic terms, the cost per
post in processing time has dropped considerably, allowing me to spend more of
my attention on a greater number of blogs."
Notes on Blogging: The RSS Reader as a Blog Tool

The author continues:
"When I started in 2003, I coveted a spot on other people's blogrolls. Now I realize the prime real estate is in a person's RSS reader. ... The blogroll is hierarchical and labor intensive. Unless the blogroll is very short, most bloggers will not click through to every site every day."
By taking away the graphic content and/or feeding only the first few lines, you are taking away from your readers the lion's share of your content and draw. And that is the entire point of a blog, is it not? You may not be selling a product, but you are selling your BLOG, your words, your ideas, and you need to treat that as a product, if you want to continue building a readership base.

In addition, if your blog is meant to feature the work of other artists (as often happens in the art/craft world), it is also counter-productive to force readers to open your site for the content. Think about it, you are forcing the artist to rely FIRST on your pull as a blogger, and only secondly on their talent/contribution. That isn't helping your features, its hurting them. And, if you're not providing your full force as a blogger to your loyal reader, then you aren't building any force or trust in yourself as a blogger, thus further reducing your chances of people continuing to follow your feed.

This article, "To Full-Text RSS Feed or Excerpt RSS Feed. That is the Question." has a great set of questions to consider before deciding to perform the old snip-snip on your blog feeds.

Ask yourself this…

1. Is that really how you want to treat your loyal readers?
The number one goal for bloggers... is to gain the trust of as large an audience as possible.

2. Does your monetization strategy depend completely on viewers visiting your site?
If onsite advertising (i.e. AdSense, Banner Ads, etc…) is your main method of monetization then you may want to use the excerpt feed method. But know this. It takes a lot of traffic to make a living that way.

3. Does your site have enough “authority” to draw people’s interest on headlines alone?
The other luxury these major players enjoy, that most of us don’t yet, is that they are already authorities in their fields.

The few cases I have seen where the excerpt-style feeds are both useful and successful are from news sites and blogs that post so much content in one day that shortened bits are needed. A fabulous example of this is Craft Gossip, a site that aggregates tons of craft tips from across the web and posts multiple times a day. Craft Gossip feeds a short headline, one image, and the beginning snippet of the post. This is great, because not only do I get an idea of what the post is about, but I get to actually see what they are blogging about. I find myself clicking to read more at least once a day, and I "star" and "share" even more often (in my Google reader).

I personally am up to 89 blog subscriptions in my Google reader, and I admit to having deleted some that don't post enough content in their feeds. Maybe they have the most interesting posts on the net, but I don't know it, because they're not sharing it. So, interest lost, off they go.

So, dear sweet blogger, remember. We want to read your posts. We really do. And you want your posts to be read. So don't blog-block us. Let the made-in-heaven relationship of writer and reader be. Stop being stingy with your damned feeds!!

Your BFF,

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  1. oh my gosh that is so true!

  2. Dear Yo,
    While I didn't actually have your blog in mind, glad I could have been of service :giggle
    Love the new pics of G!

  3. Vintage Gal MarialenaAugust 19, 2008 at 6:42 PM

    oh my garsh....i'm so new to blogging i don't even know what a feed is yet! so be gentle and forgive me if I'm offending with my virgin blog mistakes! lol


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