Full vs. Partial RSS Feeds

In this day and age, it’s critical to have an RSS or email feed to share your site updates with your audience. However, choosing the feed settings can be a challenge for many reasons. There are many arguments for and against offering RSS subscribers a full feed of your website updates. Here are some things to take into consideration when choosing your settings.

Loss of Readership

When readers receive a partial feed via an email or RSS feed, they are shown only a few lines of the article and need to follow a link to read the article in its entirety. Businesses may assume that those readers will click over to read the rest of the article on their websites; however, many readers find this inconvenient and may instead stop paying attention to these articles altogether. This means that the result is the exact opposite of what the business is hoping for – less traffic to their website, less word of mouth, and fewer contacts who may become brand loyal. If you’re concerned about building readership, community or goodwill organically, a full feed may be the way to go.

Ad Revenue

For businesses and blogs that rely on ad revenue from pageviews as a significant portion of their budget, the choice to use a full versus partial feed can be a tricky one. If you offer a full feed, it is unlikely that as many readers will click over to your website without an excellent call to action to do so. Without clicking to your site, your traffic – and any resultant ad revenue – will decrease as well. The revenue from ads needs to be weighed against the potential loss of readers that may occur from using a potential feeds.

Product Sales

If your site is designed to sell a specific product, you most likely want your readers to click over to your site to browse your inventory and make purchases. Offering a partial feed can help encourage readers to click onto your site and start the sales conversion process. In this instance, you may want to consider utilizing a partial feed in order to pull people to your site. The potential loss of readership in this instance may in fact be worth it.

Ease of Use

If you’re concerned about making your site and content user-friendly, a full feed is the best option to offer. If you’re offering free content as a loss leader to build trust between your readers and yourself, making your content easily accessible is a great step towards that. A full feed will best serve your needs if this is your primary goal. Also, full feeds are more conducive to reading on-the-go via email or smart phone.

Careful consideration is needed when choosing which feed settings is correct for your brand. Think about your needs as well as the needs of your readers when making the decision.


  1. Stacie

    I stopped using full feeds over a year ago because my fiance’s ex wife was stalking my site. I blocked her IP and then switched to partial feed so she wouldn’t be able to subscribe and read what was going on. I didn’t notice any complaints from anyone and told people why I had to do it.

  2. Alex@LateEnough

    I appreciated Stacie’s reasoning but in general, I dislike partial feeds. Your title and first few lines better be kick butt. It’s funny though because FB and twitter are basically teaser posts but it’s expected so it doesn’t bother me.

  3. Jamie

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and asking friends their thoughts on the sneak peek and time of day to receive the email. I can’t figure out how to change to full feed on WP but I’m working on it! Thanks for the info!

    • Admin

      You should find it under Settings–>Reading in your WP dash.

  4. Leigh Ann

    I dislike partial feeds as well. There are a select few that I will click over no matter what, otherwise, those first few lines had better really draw me in.


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