Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

Learn about the benefits of using RSS and how to access, format and use WordPress RSS feeds to import and syndicate your content …

WordPress RSS FeedNo matter what product or service you provide or what industry your business is in, providing high-quality information on your site or blog is vitally important. For example, if your business provides taxation services, it’s not a bad idea to include useful information from the taxation office, such as news and updates on tax rulings, small business tax tips, etc.

The problem with providing this kind of information, however, is that it involves a great deal of work and resources. You have to filter through, gather, and organize a lot of data, check your sources for accuracy, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually make sure that this information is up-to-date. As you can imagine, this not only involves a huge amount of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is an easier way to provide your site visitors with up-to-date information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - The easiest way to provide your site visitors with up-to-date information

(RSS is one of the easiest ways to provide your subscribers with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What Is RSS?

  • RSS, which, according to some definitions stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to now as Really Simple Syndication. It is also often referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content so that their users can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog post items, news, videos, etc., which other users can then subscribe to.
  • You can view the content of RSS feeds using software programs called feedreaders, or feed aggregators. Feed readers can be used to find content on all kinds of topics and syndicate this content online.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats and read by different feed readers. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom (also called AtomPub or APP feeds and RDF (Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different devices, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine multiple RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates sourced from a number of sites.

This guide shows you where your RSS feed is located, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to display someone else’s content on your site via RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful (and legitimate) method used for sharing web content. RSS Feeds provide online users with an easy way to stay up-to-date with the latest information posted on different websites and blogs.

First, let’s take a look at content syndication.

Global media publications rely on syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies all around the world.

Syndication allows most news reporting agencies to deliver readers the latest stories and news items from all over the globe without having to post additional writers to every location in the world …

Many news agencies use syndication to publish content from other news agencies all around the planet.

(Global media publications use syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies all around the globe.)

Syndication is used to share information legitimately with other sites. Global media publications syndicate content using feeds

Content syndication is used by global media publications to share newsworthy content with other news publications

(Content syndication is used by global media publications to share content with other news publications)

Most sites actually want you to share their content. Syndicating content not only allows information to be shared, but it also drives visitors back to the original site responsible for creating and publishing the content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Many online newspapers and leading online media publications provide links to a feed section (look for links in the navigation menu that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “star tribune rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most news publishers and leading online media publications will include an RSS feed section

(Major content sites provide links to an RSS feed section. Image: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds section brings up a directory of different RSS feed sections of the site …

RSS feeds section

(RSS directory. Image: nytimes.com)

These feeds let you source different areas of the site (e.g. technology news, arts news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain further feed subdirectories …

RSS Feed section.

(RSS Feed section. Image: latimes.com feeds)

Info

Note: An RSS feed is only a URL. To use the feed, all that’s required is to copy the URL and paste it into a program that can translate the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

Syndicating content from someone else’s website or blog on your website has some obvious benefits. It not only gives someone else’s business additional exposure online, it also helps you by freeing you up from having to create that content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Website And Yours!

(RSS Feeds Has Many Benefits!)

While adding RSS feeds from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, it’s a great idea to try and get other websites to use your content.

When other sites syndicate your content, this gives your business the opportunity to get more exposure online and drive more web traffic …

Try to get visitors to syndicate content using your feed ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Get users to syndicate your content … it will help increase your exposure online!)

About Your WordPress RSS

WordPress automatically publishes a feed of all your posts, allowing others to syndicate your content on their websites.

Depending on the theme you have installed, there are a few ways to access your RSS feed:

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to be displayed on the sidebar, you can scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Access your WordPress RSS feed in the Meta section

(Meta section – Entries RSS)

2) You can also find built-in links and/or buttons on certain themes that let your visitors copy your feed.

For example, in the screenshot below, a visitor can simply copy the RSS feed URL by clicking on on the Subscribe to RSS link …

Copy RSS URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe to RSS" buttons

(Copy RSS URLs to your clipboard from “subscribe to RSS” buttons)

3) On many sites and again, depending on your WordPress site’s theme, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Follow Us, Link To Us, or Social Share slide-out, floating, or fixed toolbar …

Look for an RSS button in a a Keep In Touch, Social Share, or Links toolbar

(Look for an RSS button in a a Follow, Social Share, or Links toolbar section)

4) You can also view your feed by simply typing your site’s URL into a web browser and adding “/feed” after the URL, e.g.:

  • http://www.yourdomain.com/feed
  • http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/feed (if your website has been installed in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Using any of the above methods will bring up a page containing your WordPress RSS feed …

Feed items seen using a Firefox browser

(RSS items displayed on Firefox)

Note that your feed page will display differently depending on which browser you are using …

RSS items seen using Google Chrome

(RSS feed content displayed using Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

To specify how many entries you would like to display in your Feeds page, go to your Reading Settings section and enter the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

Reading Settings - Syndication feed items field

(WP Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

The feed section will display as many recent items you have specified in the Reading Settings section …

Your feed will show as many recent items you have specified in your WP Reading Settings section

(The feed page will show as many recent items you have specified in the WP Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

Another setting in your Reading Settings section that affects your RSS feed is whether to display posts in your feed as full text, or just as a summary …

Reading Settings - Display 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for articles in a RSS feed

(Reading Settings – ’For each article in a feed show’: ‘Full text’ or ‘Summary’)

Tip

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content displays …

Post excerpts can affect how your feeds appear

(Post excerpts affect how a feed displays)

We have created a detailed tutorial on using WordPress Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, all you need to do to view a feed’s content is to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into an application that can translate feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, go to a website whose content you want to subscribe to and look for their RSS feed section …

Search for a 'subscribe to feed' link.

(Search for a ‘subscribe’ icon or link. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed)

If you want, you can check the feed content by pasting the URL of the feed into an online feed reader …

Paste the feed URL into a feed reader to view the content.

(Paste the URL of your feed into a feedreader to view the feed content. Image Source: http://feedreader.com/online)

Like feedreaders, WordPress has the ability to process RSS feeds.

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your Site

In the example below, we are going to add content from other websites to yours.

Adding Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is a part of, you could display on your site the latest content from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry by simply adding content from their feed. You can use RSS feeds to display a range of information on your WordPress site like news, social media updates, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

Let’s add content sourced from an RSS feed to your sidebar …

Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar)

copy the feed URL from a website that publishes content that you want to add to your site …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, log into your wordPress Dashboard and go to Appearance > Widget paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

Widgets Section - RSS Widget

(Widgets Section – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Refresh your browser. The content will now display on the sidebar (or wherever you have added the RSS widget) …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Added To WP Sidebar Menu)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

You can add your WordPress RSS feed to Google and Bing’s search consoles. This will help them index your content faster.

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

Adding your site’s RSS feed to search consoles is simple, fast, easy, and requires no technical skills. For a step-by-step tutorial, go here:

How To Add A Feed To Your WordPress Posts

Can content from RSS feeds be added to WordPress posts? Yes, it can!

You can do this using plugins. Search inside the Plugins admin section for RSS, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' screen

(‘Add Plugins’ search results – WordPress RSS plugins)

Note: These plugins typically require configuration – visit the plugin sites for full instructions, or contact us if you need help with plugin configuration.

Here are some WordPress plugins that allow you to add RSS feeds to your posts and pages:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

WPeMatico is an auto blogging plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from RSS/Atom feeds that you select.

You can manage all of your imported feeds and arrange them into campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and autoblogging plugin for WordPress that offers extended functionality with premium add-ons.

For example, the Feed to Post extension is an advanced, feature-filled importer that lets you import RSS feeds directly into your WordPress posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Post Importer)

RSS Post Importer can be used to syndicate, curate, import, merge and display full text feeds (RSS, Atom, etc.) on your WordPress blog.

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full article content of each feed item as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed - WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress)

The POWr RSS Feed plugin allows you to combine content from multiple RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS plugin also lets you display videos, images, and articles, adjust sizing and spacing of feeds, use custom borders, colors, fonts, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on all computers, phones, and tablets and supports text in all languages.

The premium version contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress

(WP Pipes Plugin)

The WP Pipes plugin for WordPress is a powerful data migration plugin that lets you curate content from RSS feeds, Google News, and many other sources.

This plugin provides loads of powerful features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter, export posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to new levels.

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress is a simple and flexible Atom/RSS syndication plugin for WordPress.

As stated in the FeedWordPress website …

FeedWordPress is an open-source Atom/RSS aggregator for the WordPress blog publishing platform. You set up feeds that you choose, and FeedWordPress syndicates posts from those sources into your WordPress posts table, where they can be displayed by your WordPress templates like any other post β€” but with additional meta-data, so that your templates can properly attribute the post to the source it came from.

You can use this plugin to create aggregator sites, or display all of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, YouTube, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog - WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev WP Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in your feed URL, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select a blog that you want it to post to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Includes Pages Plugin)

Use a plugin like RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types if you want to include pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here:

Important Info

Using WordPress RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress makes available RSS feeds of your latest post comments in addition to making RSS feeds of your posts available to online users.

To inspect these comments, go to the ‘Meta’ section on your sidebar (note: your theme may not be configured to display this widget) and click on Comments RSS

WordPress Comments RSS

(Comments RSS)

Comments posted on your site by visitors and users can be seen in the Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed entries seen on a Firefox browser

(Comments feed entries as seen using a Firefox web browser)

Like post entries, your comments feed content will display differently depending on which browser you use …

Comments feed items as seen using a Google Chrome web browser

(Comments feed items displayed using Google Chrome)

Again, you can check what the comments RSS feed contains by pasting the URL of the feed into a feed reader …

Paste the URL of your comments feed into a feedreader to view the feed content.

(Paste your URL of your comments feed into a feed reader to view the content. Image Source: Feedreader.com)

Note: If the Meta section is not displaying on your theme, you can view the Comments RSS section of your site by opening up a browser and typing in the following URL:

  • http://www.yourdomain.com/comments/feed
  • http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/comments/feed (if your WordPress installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Feeds For Individual Posts

Being able to create an RSS feed for an individual post can be useful. For example, you may want to add feeds from specific items to RSS directories, or you may have created a valuable resource that other online users will want to syndicate.

The formula for creating an RSS feed for specific posts is shown below:

Individual Post RSS Feed

(Feed For Individual Post)

To create the above feed, copy the URI of your post, and add “/feed/?withoutcomments=1” to the end.

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

Note: By default, if you only append “/feed” to the end of a post, WordPress will return the comments associated with your post, not the content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Displaying Post Category RSS Feeds

Some your site users may only want to syndicate content from specific categories. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

With WordPress, you can easily create individual category feeds.

Just use the format shown below:

Use this format for WordPress category feed

(RSS feed format for post categories)

Select and copy the category link address …

Copy the selected category URL ...

(Copy the selected category link address …)

Add “feed” to the end of it …

WP category RSS feed format

(WordPress RSS feed format for post categories)

The feed will now only include content specific to this particular category …

Category RSS feed page

(Category feed)

The WordPress CodexΒ also provides different ways to create feeds not just for post categories, but also feeds for tags, authors, search, etc.

For this example, let’s create a feed for a specific post category using the format shown below:

Post Category feed format

(Post Category feed format. Source: WordPress Codex)

Here is the feed format WordPress recommends using. In this example, the post category ID is ’42’. We’ll need to replace the post category ID and the domain name …

WordPress post category feed format

(WordPress post category feed format)

To find the post category ID, go to Posts > Categories …

Posts > Categories menu

(Posts > Categories menu)

Locate the post category you want and hover your mouse over the title to reveal its unique ID …

Post Category ID

(Post Category ID)

In our example, the post category ID is ’29’ and the post category feed format we need to use for this specific category with our domain name looks like this …

Post category feed format with domain name and ID

(Post category feed format with domain name and ID)

Copy and paste the feed into your browser and hit enter …

Paste the feed into your browser

(Paste the feed into your browser)

This will display the feed for that specific category …

RSS feed of a specific post category

(RSS feed of a specific post category)

Note that in this example, WordPress automatically converted the feed format we pasted into the browser into the category feed we had used in the previous section of this tutorial …

Post category feed format

(Post category feed format)

Here is the feed format again …

Post category feed

(Post category feed)

In this case, the simplest way to create additional feeds for specific categories is to simply change the post category slug …

Change the post category slug to create a new category specific feed

(Change the post category slug to create a new category specific feed)

Paste the edited feed into your web browser and hit enter to display the content for that specific category’s feed …

Post category feed content

(Post category feed content)

Now that you have a method for creating feeds for specific post categories (or tags, authors, etc.), you can even create a directory or list of individual feeds for visitors.

Tip #4 – Provide A Directory Of Feeds

You can provide an RSS feeds page that allows readers to subscribe only to specific content …

Set Up Your Own List Of Feeds

(Publish Your Own Page Of Feeds)

You can also link an image to each feed and then create a table or a list of your feeds on a new page …

RSS graphic

(RSS graphic. Image: http://www.public-domain-photos.com/free-cliparts/computer/other/rss_button_roman_bertle_01-2522.htm)

If you need help with adding tables to WordPress content, see this step-by-step tutorial:

RSS – Notes

Feeds can be customized in a number of ways, such as adding videos to feeds, ads, etc. Some of these customizations require code editing skills.

WordPress allows a number of RSS feed configurations that do not require editing code. Here are some examples of custom feed types you can create …

WordPress RSS - Feed Types

(WordPress RSS – Feed Formats)

Here are the different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed in the image above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – RSS feed that displays your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed that contains the latest comments published on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed that includes a specific post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed containing the latest comments made on specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed containing latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/11/11/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/05/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Includes latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

It’s a good idea to promote your RSS feeds. Make sure you place a ’subscribe to RSS’ button image somewhere visible …

Remember to make your RSS feeds visible your RSS feeds!

(Encourage your site users to subscribe to your feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that other website owners will only syndicate your content if you publish great information that informs, engages, and entertains. In other words, you need to provide high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Easily add content to your site and get others to syndicate your content using RSS!

(Add content from other sites and get others to syndicate your content online with RSS!)

Useful Tip

If you need help coming up with content ideasΒ subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our feed πŸ™‚

Additional Resources:

  • Download RSS Icons – Visit an online resource site like Iconspedia or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss icon”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable Free RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization with three primary duties: publishing the RSS specification, guiding developers who create RSS applications and furthering the understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about the benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress Codex: RSS Feeds – WordPress software documentation and information. Go here for more information about using WordPress RSS feeds.

Understanding WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know where your RSS feed is located, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to add content from other websites and blogs to your site using their RSS feed.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of problems that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you expand your business online. To read more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business web site please click on links to visit our related posts section.

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"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group