Because so many commenters have started their own blogs, I’m devoting an occasional post to advice for beginning bloggers. Please leave ideas for future posts in the comments.
A reader asks:
I am planning to start a blog to promote the book I am working on. Why do you allow “full” feeds instead of partial ones?
Answer: When you first set up your blog, you decide what readers will see if they get your content by email or RSS reader. With a partial feed, readers see only the first few lines of the post, and must surf to your actual site to read the rest.
(If you’ve never heard of an RSS feed or a blog reader, see the note at the end of the post.)
Many new webmasters choose partial feeds because they figure they don’t want to give everything away for free, so to speak. They think it’s better if readers will be forced to finish the post directly on their site, so they will benefit from the traffic. But there are a few reasons why I don’t recommend this.
- You blog because you have something to say, not to get traffic. As long as people are reading, you shouldn’t care where they do it.
- When I used the word “forced” earlier, I didn’t mean it. Allowing partial feeds doesn’t make people more likely to come to your site. They won’t click over unless the first few lines are compelling. Of course, even with full feeds readers might not finish the post, but you have a better chance. When I need to cut back on subscriptions, I only keep partial feeds that have top-notch content. Partial feeds mean you have to work harder to keep your subscribers.
- Subscribers are more valuable for traffic than casual readers. If readers come to your site, they may read one post and never return. But if they subscribe, you might entice them back at a later point (see #5). So keep them around by offering full feeds.
- Bloggers read blogs through RSS readers. And they want to read your whole post before linking to it and sending you some traffic.
- There are other ways to attract subscribers back to your site. You can link to older posts in the content of your article, encourage comments, set up a newsletter to send email to your subscribers, or include comment counts in your feed.
- You can set up a widget on your site to show many subscribers you have. Traffic is only one measure of influence.
Your subscribers are your most loyal readers. Don’t alienate them.
Note: You can get read any blog or online newspaper via email or through an RSS reader like Bloglines or Google Reader. RSS Readers allow you to personalize a webpage with your favorite sites. The RSS reader checks the websites for new content and reprints them for you automatically. You check your webpage as often as you like for new headlines, with no need to visit the blog’s homepage.
If you want to get future posts from A Mother in Israel via an RSS Reader, click here. You will be given a choice of popular RSS services to choose from. After you have it set up, you can subscribe to a blog by clicking on the orange RSS symbol that appears in your browser’s address bar.