Full vs Partial Content Syndication

Bloggers use 3rd party services like feedburner to syndicate their content to RSS (Really Simple Syndication) or Atom Feeds. These feeds can be easily read by software known as aggregators or feed readers ( a classical example is google reader). These feeds make it easier for the readers to be updated with the latest content of a website or a blog.

Partial or Full - Which one is better?

The content syndication can be partial as well as full. In partial content syndication, only a tiny excerpt of every post is syndicated. On the other hand, in the full content syndication, the whole content of every post is syndicated.

Bloggers have to choose between these two types of syndication. But which is one better?

Partial Syndication

1. Sneak Preview (Teaser) – A small excerpt acts as a teaser to the original post. So, a reader can easily make a decision to read the post or not based on his views on the teaser. This saves the user from the pain of reading a whole article which does not interest him.

2. Increase in Pageviews – Once a reader likes the excerpt, the next step he will take is to click on the link to the original article. As he has to visit the website to read the original article, the number of pageviews will increase.

3. Light Load – As the partial syndication is a fraction of the full article, it takes less time to load which is a highly desirable quality.

Full Syndication

1. Reducing Reader’s Time – As all the pieces of the content are in one place, it reduces reader’s time and makes it easy for readers to read through any aggregator without the need to visit the source website. Also, sometimes partial data can be really annoying to some readers.

2. More Subscriptions –  Users have a tendency to join rss feeds which have full syndication because by joining rss feed they get access to the full blog and the latest updates and they can easily read it through any news aggregator.

3.  Media & Design Problems – All the posts published on the blog are created keeping the blog design in mind. All the media and text are aligned according to the design of the website. The same content might have a totally different look when viewed from a news aggregator. Typical issues such as improper placement of images and text can totally ruin the user experience. Also, certain media types such as video or podcasts cannot be viewed in emails. So, though readers have signed up for the full posts, they still have to visit the website to watch the video and listen to the podcasts which can be irritating for some.

I have listed out the pros and cons of full and partial syndication. Now, it is the time to discuss.  Which type of syndication do you prefer and why? How is it better than the other form of syndication?

  • I like full syndication myself. It’s just easier on the reader. I guess it really comes down to how you monetize your site. If you need readers to actually come to your site, perhaps to click ads or whatever then you’d want partial but if you’re selling your own products or recommending affiliate products then full works just as well.

    • Josh,
      But the point is: if you are selling something of value, any type of feed will work for you. I agree it depends on what you are selling, if you want to monetize – full feeds might work.

      But which one is good for long term?

  • I still prefer the partial type, as reader can save time by just get a preview of the posts, if he/she has no interest, he can just move to others without spending time to read the full post

    • David,
      how is subscriber base growing? do you think by partial feeds, you are losing on traffic? or is it the other way around?

  • I prefer the Partial Syndication especially the Sneak Preview which I use one some of my blogs. Thanks for sharing this article!

    • Ali,
      are you using full feeds on other blogs? have you compared the subscriber growth rate of two types of feeds?

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  • Partial syndication is my preference mainly because I monetize my website and have “ad spaces” sold for advertisers. The idea is to drive my subscribers to my website so they can also “find” more information if they want and obviously see the ads of my sponsors. There are other reasons such as, interaction, obtaining comments, etc., so I use RSS only to spread the word out and get people to come and visit my website.

    • Great, by using partial feeds you encourage readers participate in the discussion and it also helps you in earning money.

  • I choose to use the full syndication so my readers have the option to read my content via rss reader.

  • I’m a full syndication person myself.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that most often when you offer the full article people leave the email and go to your real article anyways if they are really enjoying.

    Also, if you have great internal links then the email is convenient and easy for the reader and still gets them to go to your site. This is a win-win if you can write quality content and then link other pages/posts on your site within it.

    I can see the benefits of both though.


    Seth Waite

    • Seth,
      I agree with you on both the points – internal linking and quality content compel readers to take the initiative to read more and comment.

      I have seen my subscriber rate to increase due to full feeds and that is why I prefer full feeds.

  • You can also do guest blogging on blog related to your niche . I you post informative posts than readers will sure visit your blog and may subscribe you too .

  • Kim

    I’m here because I wasn’t sure about this subject. I notice a drop in my subscriptions with partial feed. I had full feed at first. But being inexperienced, I stopped offering it. I think that’s when my readers dropped. I wasn’t sure, so I never changed it back to full. Now, after reading your article I’m going to change it back to full for good. Thanks!