Do not clutter your RSS feed
Apparently there is an ongoing trend around the blogosphere to add footers to RSS feeds with extra information. This extra information might include ads, feed flares (the “Add to Delicious”Â or “Email this”Â links), related posts, referral links and so on.
Darren Rowse published an interesting article questioning whether that extra pack of information can detract from the user experience, especially when the extras are longer than the posts themselves!
I agree with the fact that RSS subscribers must be treated differently from website visitors. As Darren points out those readers are loyal and probably aware of the different features on your blog (they might have already read all the related posts, for instace).
Adding a couple of extras or some advertising to the RSS feed is fine, just make sure that you are not overdoing it or adding information that will not provide value for the subscriber.
11 Responses to “Do not clutter your RSS feed”
3-4 feed flares max. 🙂
I have to stick my related posts in the post body (no plugin support at wordpress.com) so my readers are stuck with them.
I would argue that the RSS subscribers are not necessarily the most loyal readers. I regularly skip over feeds in my reader because it is so easy.
In contrast, actually visiting a site through the URL bar is much more demanding and shows a care about the site.
Darren’s post, interestingly, reminded me to go add some flares! But nothing too much. Just ’email this’ and ‘# comments’ since I am hoping to increase the number of clickthroughs from my RSS.
Engtech, I agree with 3 feed flares max.
Kevin, you are right about being able to skip through feeds even if you are subscriber, but usually I run through them quickly even if I am not interested, and I end up getting the extras anyway 🙂
I’m finding that I agree with Darren. I want the feeds I read to have as little between me and the content as possible. I only have so many minutes in the day to read feed posts, so I don’t want anything extraneous to get in the way.
I don’t understand how adding a few flares (Reminds me TGIF’s) at the bottom of a RSS feed is distracting… It’s at the bottom of the content, so how does it get in the way?
Jen, there are some people using like 6+ feed flares. Imagine you open that feed once in a while and you find lots of posts there. When you read through those posts you will need to skip through all those flares several times, which might be annoying if you are not interested in emailing the post, digging it or adding it to delicious at all.
I use 4 feed flares and I don’t think it clutters up anything. I’m also going to start using Feedvertising to see how that is, and hopefully it doesn’t clutter anything either, but we’ll see. As far as RSS readers being the most loyal, I think it depends. As bloggers ourselves, we most likely have a lot more feeds that we subscribe to, so when you log on in the morning and you see over 200 or 300 new posts (I use Netvibes,) you tend to skip over them more easily. I think a regular reader wouldn’t have so many, and would therefore be more interested in each one. What do you think?
egon, I still think that RSS subscribers are more loyal, unless you talk about readers that are not familiar with RSS and just bookmark your site to visit it every day.
I also skip through my feeds once in a while, but I read all the headlines, meaning that I keep in touch with those blogs.
A further consideration. I’m thinking that this year is when mobile RSS finally takes off, with some networks introducing ‘all-you-can-eat’ data deals. Flares can affect formatting (badly) on mobiles and take up precious screen estate.
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Yes I agree if we put ads in our rss feed it will make our feeds readers boring. But , I many bloggers want to get profit from their feeds, by feeds monetizing. So I think it is depent from each bloggers. I put ads in my feeds but I never get money from it.
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