Posts tagged rss

Glass half-full

Full posts or excerpts? That is the question…

Glass half-full

Half-way or the whole thing?

I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking and reading on the topic of displaying full posts or excerpts on a blogs landing page as well as its RSS feed. And I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t a consensus of which approach to take. It seems like “it depends” is the way most people see it and I tend to agree. For the Resort Marketing blog, I’ve decided that I was the content to be freely distributed and easily browsed and scrolled through, so I’ve chosen to display full posts on both the landing page as well as in the Resort Marketing RSS feed. I do use a nifty WordPress plugin called RSS Footer which allows me to easily add links to the bottom of each post in the Resort Marketing blog feed which will link directly to my blog and posts like this:

Full posts or excerpts? That is the question… is a post from: The Resort Marketing Blogwritten by Eric Hoffman.

This all said, I do think there are circumstances in which excerpts makes sense as well. If your blog is a publishing center, which you have to drive traffic to, then it definitely makes sense to post strategically crafted excerpts that will drive click-throughs to your blog. If you do the same thing on your blog’s homepage that will certainly allow for more content to be displayed on the landing page. This is very important for blogs that have frequent posts and multiple authors, because if they didn’t post excerpts, content would make for a tremendously long scroll, as well as the inability to find content readily on repeat visits, great examples of this are Huffington Post and Mashable.

There is one other factor that I don’t know that people are currently paying enough attention to, and that is that more and more blog readers are looking to read via mobile devices. This means that first off, you should ensure that your blog will display well on mobile devices, and secondly that if those people are reading the RSS feed on a mobile device, they probably want to read the full post and not have to click through to the full posts. This is similar to the situation of giving people the option to subscribe to your blog via email, but then only providing the excerpts to email subscribers, I would doubt that you will find many subscribers will remain for long, and unless you have the geekiest blog in existence, there will always be people that will want to use email to subscribe over other methods and if you’re not looking out for them, you’ll lose them.

So, to sum up, my answer to my question in the title of this post is the lame, “It depends.” What to you think, is there a clear cut best practice for blogging and full posts or excerpts?

Photo credit: Flickr user Dawn Huczek
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10 Tips for Configuring a Blog

WordPress LogoI’ve had my blog on a self-hosted installation for about a year now and I really like it. Particularly at a time when I hear that had an issue that caused them to go offline for over an hour, which means that there were over 10 million blogs that were inaccessible for around an hour on this past Thursday evening.

  1. Pick a theme that is clean and fits your content. There are a lot of pretty or tricked out themes to choose from, remember that it’s your content that people will be looking for so choose accordingly.
  2. Think of a category and tagging scheme that (once again) is appropriate for the content that you are posting.
  3. If your theme doesn’t have it’s own SEO support built in, add a plugin like HeadSpace2 or  Greg’s High Performance SEO.
  4. On the SEO topic, make sure you have a site map plugin, like Google XML Sitmaps and have submitted and had your site verified with Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools and Yahoo!’s Site Explorer although Bing will very soon be providing search results for Yahoo!
  5. Setup Feedburner for readers who want to subscribe to your blog either via RSS or email, this also is a way to track how and where your RSS content is consumed. There are plugins to help setup the RSS part and even to display your feed stats in your blog’s dashboard (Feed Stats for WordPress).
  6. I also recently began using a plugin that puts a line of text in the footer of your blog’s RSS feed, which will allow readers who are reading your post in an RSS reader or even inserted in someone else’s post to know where the content originated at.
  7. Be sure to license the ideas and content that you publish on your blog with a Creative Commons license.
  8. Do your mobile readers a favor and add a plugin like the WPtouch iPhone Theme to allow your iPhone, Android and other smartphone users a mobile optimized browsing experience.
  9. If you’re like me and reference your own posts, it’s good to install the No Self Pings plugin to avoid getting a ‘pingback’ each time you link to one of your own posts.
  10. Keep your WordPress software install as up to date as possible in order to keep up with the most recent security patches and also consider installing security plugins like Secure WordPress and WP Security Scan
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