Torontoist.com, a very good Toronto-centric blogging site (part of the Gothamist network) has moved from a full RSS feed to a partial feed over the past few years, and from a partial feed to a tiny-imaged, short-excerpt RSS feed as of Christmas this year. I hate this, and did my part as a good and loyal reader to inform the editors of my displeasure. They said that they understood and it wasn’t under their control and thank you for reading. Nice, professional, I bear them no ill-will, but it doesn’t really solve my problem.
BlogTo.com, their close competitor, offers a full feed of many of their articles, full-sized photos, and excerpts feature articles after 2 or 3 paragraphs. Enough to get me reading, and deciding whether or not I’m enjoying the piece. Big enough pictures to make me notice. In short, it is well designed.
I don’t mean to bring this up to slam Torontoist, it’s a great site and I enjoy reading it, but I subscribe to a few hundred websites, about 600 new articles a day appear in my RSS feed, and I try to read and enjoy appreciate anything that looks interesting. And so when going through my RSS feed, the image to the right depicts a BlogTo article in my feed (top), followed by a Torontoist article in my feed (bottom).
Which one of those articles, as displayed, makes you want to keep reading? Which one of those articles would have you clicking over to the main site, which would then get the attendant ad-traffic, viewership, etc.?
Both sites have been very good to me and I hesitate to openly criticize one, but I think this is what parents call a “teachable moment.” If you are running a website, ask yourself if you’ve got a full or partial RSS feed, and how your site is displayed, and whether it’s inviting and open and promotes your message, promotes What You’re Trying To Communicate, or if it… doesn’t.
And if you don’t know? Find out!