Allow Subscriptions - Yes/No?

I've noticed that a few of the ongoing serials listed on Web Fiction don't have feed subscription options.

It got me to thinking - do you allow people to subscribe to an RSS/Atom feed from your blog? Partial or full? What's the reasoning behind whatever it is you do?

Me? Full feed from posts, run through FeedBurner to make them a little prettier and easier to move. I LOVE my feed reader and hate having to remember to go back to a site to check for updates - I'm likely to just forget it.

I have RSS feed, but it's actually connected to my blog not the actual story because i can't figure out how , I have twitter, and e-mail subscriptions. They all work pretty well.

Ahhh, yes yours was one of the ones I noticed, actually. I was hoping to subscribe to the story, but couldn't find any such thing *sniff* :-)

Hi nomesque,

I do offer an RSS feed (several, actually), but they include only excerpts of the full text of each installment. Yes, I do prefer full feeds myself, but don't generally mind clicking through. I decided to go with partial feeds because it bugs me just a little too much to see my work driving ad revenues for other people's websites. I know, I'm punishing the wrong people, and all that -- and I may even be depriving myself of additional readers. But, from the times it has happened in the past, I know it really does bug me, so partial it is. Of smaller concern is that most of my readers don't comment -- having them actually come by the site to read the story at least makes it easy for me to find out how many people are reading, which does help motivate me to write. So, all around, I have nothing but selfish (and maybe short-sighted) reasons to use partial feeds, but I'm going to keep doing so. :-)


Hi Sora,

The main site has a blog and it has an RSS feed, so it would appear it can be done. I tried a few URLs on your site using the pattern, but none of them worked, so it looks like something you have to enable. Probably worth asking their support people how to go about doing it.


Hey Chris,

Yup, I get that point of view :-)

On the point of people making illegit use of a full feed - using services like feedburner, it's possible to put some info on the end of each post regarding copyright, or where the post originated.

Not trying to change your mind, more making sure that others have the info ;-)

This is a great topic. I could use a tutorial on RSS feeds in general. I have a feed link on my site. Last month I had over 1,500 feed hits (as far as I can tell). I posted 4 chapters that month, so there are probably 300 readers or so, I'm estimating, who read my story using RSS. I have another 300-400 readers who actually come to the site every week. So it looks like I'm split about 50/50 between the two.

I really don't know anything about RSS and how it works. I clicked the RSS on one site and it put a button at the top of my browser, and when I click on it, a dropdown menu opens and I can click the entry I want to read and it actually takes me to their site. When I click other sites they simply add a spot in my bookmarks menu and when I scroll over it there it shows me the sites new chapters, and again, when I click on them it takes me to the site. I don't have a reader or feedburner (or I don't know how to use it).

Like Chris, I would to make the most of my visitors and try to build up some add revenue. It's my understanding that RSS feeds don't display the ads. It's too late for me to 'cut people off' with partial chapters, but I would like to here about what others are doing, how RSS actually works, ways people are harnessing those readers...

What can be read on the RSS? If there were a text link in the actually body of the post, would that be seen by RSS readers? Would graphic links work at the end of each chapter? Any ideas?

Cory, FeedBurner is (now) a Google service - you can add Adsense ads to your feed. I've been playing with it a bit - check out my test feed if you wat to see how it can look. You can see how graphics come through, too.

I used to use Google Reader as my feed reader. I found it easier than clicking on lots of bookmarks. The only reason I moved to Bloglines is that I often use a little Asus Eee... and Google Reader didn't adjust well on the little screen.

Sorry, should've been another link in there - FeedBurner.

Hi Cory,

RSS feeds are basically a standardized format for detailing site updates. Because they are standardized, computers can read them, and most browsers today allow you to use them as a sort of "live" bookmark folder or something along those lines. Instead of you having to go to the website to check for updates, you tell your computer to check it for you, and it puts up a flag when something new is available. Services like Google Reader and Bloglines are websites where you can add and monitor all of your RSS feeds in one place -- and have them presented sort of like a mailbox with new content delivered regularly.

Software that monitors an RSS feed generally will "hit" it every so often to check for updates. With Safari, it's every 30 minutes. With Google Reader, I think it's about every 6 hours. So, the hit count on your RSS feed is not really a measure of anything useful -- the interesting statistic is how many "subscribers" you have, and that's a little harder to figure out.

Most readers do accept basic HTML in the body of each RSS article, so links and bolding and images generally load. Tables and frames and other more complicated stuff generally won't.

Hope that helps.


Shameless self promotion here, but I wrote an article about this. Offering Full-Text RSS feed. I go into the reasons that I decided to offer a full text rss feed instead of a partial. In summary, I'm just trying to give readers what they want. I also give a couple tips on how to monitor your feed usage to protect your copyright.

As a post script to the article, I believe that my subscription rates have increased faster than when I was only offering partial. My subscription rates were stagnating when it was only partial.

Hi Chris,

I'll check into it. The RSS Feed that was posted was linked to the blog on the website that went up when the posts were available. I might have to get something specific . I'll definitely look into it though, especially if people are interested in it.

Thanks everyone! It is really helpful for me to understand exactly what is going on. I'm always trying to find the best way to deliver content.

I currently offer full feeds via RSS as well as email subscription.

Dustin--thanks for the link to your post. I think I'll be using Copyscape.

"It bugs me just a little too much to see my work driving ad revenues for other people's websites."

When I started my feed, I didn't even think about this. Also Chris makes a good point about how subscribers who get full text don't comment. I feel like I'm too far into the serial now to just change it on my readers, but if I had to do it over again, my RSS feed would send excerpts instead and ask people to visit the site for the remaining text.

<i>Vexations</i> isn't quite in a format that I can readily provide a feed to the story itself -- although, perhaps I should just so that people can hook directly into individual chapters.

I think that with standard serial fiction partial post feeds are a good idea since they alert feedsters to the availability and drives them to the website to read the entire thing. Plus, if they're on the site they can see the rest of the community comments and be part of the experience.

i'm with the partial feed argument myself, even though i curse the stories i'm following when i only get the first few lines. chris...

however, i have to confess that i click away merrily and have no idea how to go back and monitor progress when it comes to RSS... on someone else's site, i go to the relevant button and a new folder automatically appears in MSOutlook. an unread mail appears when there's an update.

on my site, i used a blogger widget (or some such thing) and it inserted the feed buttons for me. i subscribe to the comments and i know that works. i don't know if i want to know how to check number of subscribed readers to the story tho... if one day i wanted to know how, could someone tell me? just so i know.

i don't know if i want to know how to check number of subscribed readers to the story tho... if one day i wanted to know how, could someone tell me? just so i know.

Use Feedburner.

It's easy and they also have articles detailing how to use their service.

I only give the page title and the chapter name (two different things). I need the page views, frankly.

thanks dustin :) i have heard the name all too frequently, but why should i bother using it when the links seem to work my way? haha. now i know :D

yes, meilin - you're another :)