RSS: Full Content or Summaries?

Full content or summaries? Nearly every blogger has asked his or her self that question at some point. Which is better? There’s no answer to that. The correct question would be “which is better for you?”

Full Content

  • A lot of users prefer full content feeds because they can stay in their feed reader and avoid visiting actual websites. Some people even refuse to subscribe to summarized feeds.
  • Full feeds make it easier for people to scrape your content. What’s feed scraping? It’s when someone republishes the full content of your posts on their website (automatically) without your permission and proceeds to make money off advertisements on the site.


  • If you use summarized feeds, you force your readers to hop over to your blog to read the full content. This means the users will see your cool layout, they may post comments, and they could even net you some ad revenue.
  • Summarized feeds are smaller, loading quicker and putting less strain on your web server.

I only offer summarized feeds (I can hear the boo-ing already…), though you can offer either or both types of feeds. Personally, I, as a feed subscriber, don’t care which feed-type is available on a site. I use the MyNT RSS reader, so I read feeds a bit differently than most people.

In the end, it’s up to you (just ignore the complaints from your loud summary-hating readers :D ). Offer a summary feed, a full feed, or both.

  • Chris Lodge

    The feed of yours I’m reading is full…..

    I hate partial feeds and I always unsubscribe from them-what’s the point in being subscribed to something you can’t read? I invariably then forget to re-visit the blog and they lose another reader….

    Partial feeds are bad, mmkay?

  • Matt

    I just switched to full feeds a couple of days ago. :D

    I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and I finally decided to go with full feeds.

  • Robert Irizarry

    The full vs. summary feed argument reminds me of another point of contention – full posts vs. summary posts on the main page. SEO reasons aside for partial posts, how different is this from providing partial RSS feeds? In either case, the full post is a click away. Meanwhile, I don’t often hear folks stating that they will stop going to a site that displays partial posts…

  • Stephen Cronin

    Personally, I prefer summary feeds. I skim through a bucket load of entries and I find the summary feed better for this. I’m not reading them, I seeing whether I am going to spend any time reading them (if I do, I don’t mind opening the site in a new tab).

    I used to only offer a summary feed on my site, but since I released the DualFeeds plugin for WordPress, I figured I better offer both full post and summary feeds. :)

  • Matt

    I switched to full feeds because the people who complain about not having summaries are less loud…

    I may start using DualFeeds sometime, when I get around to it.