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Blog Readers Are Lazy, Don’t Make Us Stretch

Blog readers are lazy. Don’t make us stretch.

Don’t make us click, a whole extra click, to get through to your site.

Don’t try and tease with an excerpt in the feed.  It’s too much of a stretch.

Please, pretty please… put the whole post in your feed.


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  1. Tweets that mention Blog Readers Are Lazy, Don’t Make Us Stretch | Confident Writing -- says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joanna Paterson, Todd Rutherford. Todd Rutherford said: RT @joannayoung Blog Readers Are Lazy, Don’t Make Us Stretch [...]

  2. Brad Shorr says:

    Hi Joanna, You’ve made the point well, and we have a cat, Pepsi, that looks just like the one in your photo. Partial feeds are annoying in the extreme. I could name hundreds of high traffic blogs that offer full feeds. What do they have in common? Great content.

  3. --Deb says:

    Amen to this!!

  4. Dawn Herring says:

    I prefer the full post as well. I’ve never liked having to click through to read the rest. But I do if it interests me past the first paragraph. Come visit my blog where my posts are posted in full. :)

  5. --Deb says:

    On further reflection, I suppose there is ONE time when I don’t mind excerpts in my feed-reader … when there are lots and lots (and lots) of photos. I subscribe to Pioneer Woman’s cooking and photography blogs and while her pictures are wonderful, it takes forever to scroll past her recipe posts, and I wouldn’t really mind if she only put excerpts and an enticing photo or two in the RSS feed. But … still! Full-feeds are better than excerpts any day!

  6. Diana says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I had to go look to make sure I had mine set for the full post. I did.

  7. CoffeeJitters (Judy Haley) says:

    I hear you. I have actually started unsubscribing from partial feeds. I barely have enough time to get through all these posts as is it is, it’s becoming a chore. I had to draw the line somewhere.

  8. Mandy Allen says:

    Sounds alot like me…can’t bear having to work hard to get to read what I think might be interesting, eventually! Ho hum…

    Enjoy the journey.


  9. Mokibobolink says:

    Thanks so much for this! I actually do make sure my entire post shows up in my feed and email updates, but have been told by other bloggers that I shouldn’t because I should be trying to entice people to my site. I don’t necessarily agree and it’s nice to see the other side of the coin.


  10. Lee says:

    I so agree with this. I want to read the post from my in box and then if I want to comment, I will click. If I have to click to finish reading, I usually just hit delete!

  11. Lillie Ammann says:

    I think there’s only one or two blogs I read that I’ll click over from partial feeds. Generally, I unsubscribe if I don’t get the entire post in my feed reader.

  12. Diana says:

    This is my second comment and is a reaction to all the comments that followed mine.

    I just realized that I may be the only person here who clicks over to websites from my reader because, although I like to sometimes read in reader, I also like to see your site and get that personal feel while I am reading. So now am I to understand that none of you go and look at my actual website, with my artwork (!) my photo, and the “me” I work hard to insert into my blog?

    Has the gist of information, humor, and even poetry become more important than the person providing it? We’re detaching the words from the speaker?

    Wow. We are desensitizing ourselves in a troubling way if we no longer need to (metaphorically) see the speaker’s mouth move or the color of their blog (which speaks to their mood and intent). I, for one, would miss seeing Joanna’s header and sidebars. They are sitting in for her and give me much more information than just the post text.

    Reader removes the author. Are authors (actual people) now a bother? Just the facts, ma’am?

  13. --Deb says:

    It’s true that I usually don’t click over to the actual blogs. I read the vast majority in my feed reader and only click to the site if (1) I want to comment, (2) I want to read it again and savor it later but meanwhile want to get through all the RSS feeds, or (3) yes, every now and again, just to remind myself what that person’s actual blog looks and feels like.

    It’s not a surprise in this busy world of ours that time is of the essence-I need to have a strong reason to take the extra time to go to a specific blog. I’m more than happy to do it, mind you, but I can enjoy the tone, voice, and personality of my favorite blog-authors in my feed reader just as well as I can on their sites. (In fact, if their site has a design I don’t particularly like, I enjoy them even more in my feed reader.) It’s just like real life-I like my friends to keep in touch and send the occasional email or phone call, but I don’t expect them to come by the house EVERY time I have something to say!

  14. Alina Popescu
    Twitter: alina_popescu

    Oh, Joanna, I so completely agree with you! Blog readers are extremely lazy and if they take the time to read your blog in their feed, you should let them. A small excerpt might not do the trick. But the full post might get them to click and stop by to comment :)

    Speaking of laziness, it’s one of the reasons I believe facebook like buttons are a must. Share buttons are ok, but there’s nothing like the Like to please a lazy blog reader :)

  15. Lillie Ammann says:

    Obviously, those of us who prefer to read in our feed readers go to the site the first time to decide to subscribe, and we also click over when we want to make a comment (as those of us who read this post in a reader clicked over to participate in this conversation). Deb gave a great analogy that we can keep up with friends by e-mail, phone, and social media and don’t have to see them in person or visit their homes every time we want to make contact. I could not follow the 100+ blogs I read (or at least read the headline and opening paragraph to decide whether or not to read the rest) if I had to go to each individual site. Someone who follows only a few blogs - or who has nothing to do but read blogs all day :-) - can visit each blog. People who want to keep up with a lot of blogs and who have work, family, and lives apart from reading blogs can’t visit every blog every day.

  16. Walker
    Twitter: walkerthornton

    I hadn’t thought to see what mine gives the subscriber,will have to go look. I try to go to the blog as I want to give bloggers a ‘count’ for that day, but sometimes it’s impossible to do.

    I love the way your photo illustrates the point, I wrote about that on my blog this week. Perfect!

  17. Evelyn says:

    This is great! Great comments. I don’t even use readers. I subscribe via email. If I like you enough, that’s what I want!

    If my blog isn’t feeding in its entirety, it’s no fault of mine as mine was set up by the original maker of a group of blogs, and I have no idea how to change it! :)

    Uh, case in point, I’m here because I signed up for your blog via email — ’cause I like you enough, you made it available and I like it that way! :)

  18. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Brad we’re on the same wavelength again :-) There’s something about partial feeds that really drives me nuts - I think there’s an element of arrogance about it. My work is more important than your time. Er, no actually, it’s not. (PS Pepsi sounds lovely!)

    -Deb just so! Good point about the photographic exception though.

    Dawn I never get past the first paragraph. But I will follow your invitation :-)

  19. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Judy I don’t subscribe to any partial feeds. It’s partly the time, but mainly the irritation I have with those who do it.

    Mandy but why should someone else make things harder for us?!

    Moki the risk is that by following the partial feed advice you will drive away readers who might otherwise follow, and recommend your work to others. If your work is engaging, people will still click through to comment.

  20. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Lee yep, me too :-)

    Lillie I don’t follow any partial feeds any more, it makes me too irritable. I know it’s petty, but it’s my blog reader so I guess I get to choose…

  21. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Diana thanks for coming back and commenting again. You ask some really interesting questions. I have to say, I read everything in a reader. It’s quick, and it allows me to follow a lot of people I wouldn’t otherwise have time to connect with. If the content is something that connects with me, that is when I will click through to your site and see ‘you’. The other point I’d make (in my / our defence) - the reason I follow you in the first place is because of you, the author the artist the person, the person I got to know in other places, then through your site, your work, your art. That informs my choice and my decision to follow you (and try to help promote your work). Does that make sense?

  22. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    -Deb yes, that’s very much how it is for me too. good point about it sometimes being better in the reader than in a site with poor or aggravating design!

    Alina I know just what you mean about lazy like buttons, and often think of myself and others as being rather cat like when we stretch out our paws to show our approval ;-)

    Lillie yes, precisely so. I think you’re right about the site being key in the original decision to connect and follow, but you don’t need to visit all the time to maintain the connection, and there just wouldn’t be time to do so

  23. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Walker I guess I think I’m giving someone my reading attention, and that too should count :-)

    Evelyn I’m glad you like me enough! Thanks for making me smile :-)

  24. Karen Swim
    Twitter: karenswim

    Joanna, thank you! I get annoyed with partial feeds or feeds that show only a headline so agree with you. I think some may not realize they’re only showing partial or that it annoys readers. I know that some “experts” advise “forcing” readers to click through and new bloggers may follow the advice…without realizing the impact to readers. I also look forward to the day that I can post a comment right from my feed reader, that one click saved will be a huge time boost!

  25. Liz Tucker says:

    I guess we all just get lazier and lazier, and an extra click just feels like too much effort!

  26. Diana says:

    Joanna, I hear what you’re saying, but imagine what it feels like for me, growing up with all face-to-face interactions. It feels impersonal to hear so many people say “Don’t make me work for it” and “My time is worth more than your info”. Listen to how that sounds.

    I waited at a library counter all my young life to checkout a few delicious bits of reading material — and there was a limit on what I could check out!

    Young people now have no idea what it was like have to scrounge for inspiration and knowledge. Now you can suck it through a straw 24/7 in one bottomless Big Gulp! (For those of you in the UK, Big Gulp is a gigantic cup of soda pop here in the U.S. — excuse me if you already knew that.)

    I appreciate your support Joanna, all this time, and I do hope you don’t take this as a rant. But I have a reaction to the world saying “Feed me!” with such entitlement. Most young people don’t know (and a lot of older people must have forgotten) what it’s like not to have FREE access to other people’s thoughts, writings and art at your fingertips. It’s a gift. And I don’t hear any gratitude.

  27. Karen Swim
    Twitter: karenswim

    Joanna, I’d like to add that while you couched this in a very soft, humorous way, usability is a key feature of site design. We are not supposed to make our visitors work hard to access our content. If you’re running a locked, subscriber only site, then of course there is a price for admission. Like others have noted I subscribe to hundreds of blogs for my pleasure, business and part of my clients’ businesses, feed readers are a saving grace. It should also be noted that the partial feeds are not limited to readers but also email. If you’re subscribing by email or reader you have already committed to the site why shouldn’t you be able to access the information easily from your choice of reading platform?

    Finally, it’s not just a matter of readers being lucky to have your content or them being “lazy.” The blog writer is fortunate to be able to publish and luckier still to have people interested enough to read their material, so it does seem arrogant and counter productive to make your readers work to read what you want them to see.

  28. Lillie Ammann says:

    After all my comments about how I hate partial feeds, I realized that e-mail subscribers get partial feeds of my blogs. :-( I have looked and looked in Feedburner to find a way to say I want full feeds but can’t find it. Anybody know what I need to do? Thanks!

  29. Karen Swim
    Twitter: karenswim

    Lillie - I remember having this issue and I took care of it with a plugin but now you can check your dashboard to make sure it is set to full feed, if so, next step check your feed address to make sure it’s RSS2 or RSS 2.0 at the end. If it does not change your feed address and add RSS 2 to the end so it will look like this:

  30. Lillie Ammann says:

    Thanks, Karen. Feedburner didn’t have the 2 at the end of the URL, so I’ve added it. Now we’ll have to wait until Friday to see if it works because that’s when I post again. I appreciate the help!

  31. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Karen that would be a time boost indeed - but I’m not sure I would use it… I do like ‘visiting’ to share comments. But perhaps that practice too would fade if we had the opportunity to do otherwise…?

    Liz guess so ;-)

    Diana I don’t take your words as a rant at all, and I do understand where you’re coming from. However, I think this is just the way that things are. We can all find our own preferred ways of reading (and writing and sharing and commenting) to suit us, but the demand of our readers for ease and simplicity is not going to go away.

    Lillie glad that Karen was able to offer a solution to the partial email feed - fingers crossed it works.

  32. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    When looking around for a possible solution to Lillie’s email feed problem, I found this cartoon.

    I thought you might all enjoy it.

  33. Rachel says:

    I totally agree on this. Was just thinking about it. Just wonder why they do that? Oh well.

  34. Ricardo Bueno says:

    I totally agree with you 1,000%!!

  35. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Rachel the logic is: the teaser will make them come and visit my blog. In reality it doesn’t work. Really why people stick with it? I don’t know either ;-)

    Ricardo :-)