It's time to stop truncating RSS content

A common technique when it comes is to truncate feed content so that only the first paragraph or so shows up in the feed, forcing a reader to click through to the host site for the full content. A simple ask: stop it.

There was a time circa 2005 or so when users reading via RSS was a pretty mainstream thing to do. With so much traffic coming in through an unmonitored back door, it made sense to drive people to the main to up time-on-site and advertising dollars.

But that was 2005. Nowadays, the vast majority of the world is linking in through Facebook and Twitter, or maybe Google at best. RSS has fallen out of broad use, and the only ones left on it are weirdos like you and me. Weirdos who are all using ad blockers anyway.

Ironically, truncating content probably results in less engagement. If other RSS users are anything like me, they’ll read content as long as they don’t have to leave their feed, but will rarely click through if it’s truncated. Personally, I even go as far as to remove all but the most interesting feeds that do truncation.

All my blogs, newsletters, and projects have Atom feeds. They’re all published with full, unredacted content to be as reader-friendly as possible, and it’s fine. I might be sacrificing a few click-throughs, but probably only from people who’d be invisible to Google Analytics anyway. C’mon everyone – it’s 2021 – time to follow suit.

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It's time to stop truncating RSS content

Published
September 8, 2021

Find me on Twitter at @brandur.

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