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 And RSSNo matter what what industry you are in, you need to provide quality information to your site readers. For example, if your business provides medical services, it’s not a bad idea to publish information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness tips, etc.

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

Fortunately, there is a much simpler way to provide your site visitors with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your blog subscribers with the latest information

(RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your readers with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What Does RSS Stand For?

  • RSS is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly known, Really Simple Syndication. It it is also referred to as a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save readers time from having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • RSS feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog post items, news headlines, audios, etc., to which any user can choose to subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML document that includes either full or summarized text along with other metadata like published date, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on sites that publish feeds and then view updates posted on these sites using an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate their web content automatically.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats and read by different aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure that feeds are compatible with different machines, readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine several RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates sourced from a number of websites.

In this comprehensive article, we show you where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to display content from other sites on your site using RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful method used for sharing web content. Feeds provide online users with a simple way to receive the latest information published on different websites.

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

Global media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish content from news sources around the world.

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

Media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies around the world.

(Many online newspapers and many popular online media publications use content syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies around the planet.)

Syndication is used to share newsworthy content legitimately. News publishers syndicate their information using feeds

Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content

(Online newspapers syndicate stories using news feeds)

Most websites actually want you to syndicate their content. Syndicating content not only allows high-quality information to be shared, but it can also drive visitors back to the original site responsible for creating and publishing the content being syndicated. This provides websites with new opportunities to generate additional web traffic.

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

Major content sites contain an RSS feed section

(Most news reporting agencies and major content sites will contain an RSS feed section. Image: smh.com.au )

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

RSS Feeds

(RSS directory. Image: New York Times RSS)

Each of these feed items lets you access information from different areas of the site (e.g. business news, sports news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

Feed sections can also include further subcategory feeds …

A feed directory can also contain subcategory feeds.

(An RSS feed list can also include subcategories. Source: latimes.com feeds)

Important

Note: An RSS feed is only a URL. To use feeds, all you need to do is to copy the URLs and paste these into software that can process the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Using RSS Feeds – Benefits

Syndicating content from someone else’s website or blog on your website has some obvious benefits. It gives someone else’s site additional exposure online and adds value to your site without you having to create the content …

Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else's Website And Yours!

(Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else’s Website And Yours!)

While adding feeds from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, it’s worth keeping in mind that you also want other sites to syndicate your content.

When other websites and blogs syndicate your content, this gives your business the opportunity to gain increased exposure online and drive more visitors …

Get other sites to syndicate your content ... it will help to increase your exposure online!

(Consider trying to get visitors to syndicate your content … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress RSS – About

By default, WordPress automatically publishes a feed of your latest posts, allowing others to syndicate your content on their sites.

Depending on which theme you have installed, there are a number of ways to access your RSS feed:

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to display in a navigation menu, just scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

WordPress Meta widget

(WordPress Meta widget – Accessing your RSS feed)

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

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

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

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

3) On some sites and again, depending on the WP theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Social Share, Follow Us, or Link To Us toolbar …

Look for an RSS button in a a Links, Share, or Follow section

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

4) You can also view your WordPress 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 or blog has been installed in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed entries displayed on Firefox

(RSS entries viewed using a Firefox web browser)

Note that your feed items will display differently depending on which web browser you use …

Feed items viewed on Google Chrome

(Feed entries displayed with a Chrome browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

You can specify how many entries you would like to display in your RSS Feed page, by going to your Reading Settings section and entering the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WP Reading Settings - Syndication items setting

(Reading Settings – Syndication items)

The feed will show the number of items you have specified section …

Your feed will display the number of posts as you have specified in your Reading Settings section

(Your feed will display as many recent items you have specified in the Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

Reading Settings - Show 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for posts in a feed

(WP Reading Settings – Display ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for posts in your RSS feed)

Idea

Post Excerpts can also affect how the content in your feed appears …

Post excerpts can affect how a feed will appear

(Post excerpts affect how your feed content will appear)

We have written a detailed tutorial on WordPress Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, to view the content of a feed, you have to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into an application that translates feeds into readable content.

Let’s see how this works.

First, find a website whose feed you want to subscribe to and look for their RSS feed icon using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for a 'subscribe to feed' button.

(Look for an RSS feed icon. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed)

If you want, you can check the feed content by pasting the feed URL into a feed reader …

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

(Paste your URL of your feed into a feedreader to view the content. Source: Feedreader)

Like feed readers, WordPress has the ability to process RSS feeds and convert these into content that can be read by your visitors.

How To Add A Feed To Your WordPress Site

Let’s show you how to add content from another site to yours.

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

Let’s add content sourced from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area …

Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar

(Let’s add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, Go to a site that publishes content that you want to display on your sidebar and copy the RSS feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the feed URL)

Next, paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

To learn more about adding content to sidebars using widgets, go here:

Refresh your browser. The content can now be seen on your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been placed – e.g. footer) …

RSS Feed Added To Sidebar Menu

(RSS Widget)

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 Content From RSS Feeds To Posts

Can you add content from an RSS feed to a post instead of the sidebar? You sure can!

You can easily do this using plugins. Just search on WordPress.org plugin repository for RSS, RSS feed to post, etc.

RSS plugins for WordPress

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

Note: These plugins typically require configuration – visit the plugin sites for complete instructions, or contact us if you need assistance configuring plugins.

The plugins listed below are useful for adding feed content to posts, or “auto blog” (An auto blog is a blog with content that is automatically gathered and compiled from RSS feeds):

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

You can manage all the feeds you import and arrange them according to categories and campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator - WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator – WordPress Plugin)

WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive RSS feed importer and autoblogging plugin for WordPress with extended functionality with premium add-ons.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin allows you to autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into your WP posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WP Plugin

(RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin)

RSS Post Importer allows you to import, curate, syndicate, merge and display full-text RSS feeds on your WordPress site.

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed – WordPress Plugin)

POWr RSS Feed combines and displays content from various RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust sizing and spacing of feeds, use custom fonts, borders, colors, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in any language.

The premium version of this plugin contains a number of additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, accept or reject posts in your feed, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes

(WP Pipes Plugin)

WP Pipes is a powerful data migration plugin that allows you to curate content from RSS feeds, Google News, and many other sources.

This plugin provides loads of functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter, export WordPress posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication 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.

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator sites, or display all of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, Flickr, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog Plugin

(Autoblog WP Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin)

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types lets you display pages in your WordPress RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

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Using RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to displaying RSS feeds of your posts, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of the latest comments posted on your site.

To inspect these, locate the ‘Meta’ widget area on your sidebar (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) and click on Comments RSS

Comments RSS

(WordPress Comments Feed)

All the comments posted on your site by visitors and users display in your Comments RSS page …

Comments feed entries viewed using a Firefox web browser

(RSS comments feed content displayed on Firefox web browser)

Like post entries, your comments feed items will display differently depending on the web browser you are using …

Comments feed items as seen using a Google Chrome browser

(RSS comments feed entries as seen using a Google Chrome web browser)

Again, you can check the feed content by pasting the URL of the feed into an online feedreader …

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

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

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 WP installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Single Item RSS Feeds

Being able to access an RSS feed for a specific post can be useful. For example, you may want to add feeds from specific posts 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 individual post items is shown below:

Feed For Specific Post

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category Feeds

Some your site visitors may only be interested in syndicating content from one or two post categories. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

If your site displays content published under several categories, you can provide a separate feed for each post category.

Just use the format below:

WordPress RSS feed format for category

(WordPress post categories RSS feed format)

Copy the selected category URL to your clipboard …

Copy the category URL to your clipboard ...

(Copy the selected category URL …)

Append the word “feed” to the end of it …

Feed format for category

(Use this format for WordPress post categories feed)

The feed will now only contain content posted in this particular category …

Category feed

(Category-specific RSS 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 – Create A Feeds List

You can create a page of RSS feeds for your subscribers that allows your readers to subscribe to content in the categories they are interested in, just like large online publishers …

Create Your Own Directory Of RSS Feeds For Visitors

(Publish Your Own Feeds Page)

You can link an image to a feed URL and then create a table or a list of all feeds on a separate page …

RSS image

(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 creating tables in WordPress content, go here:

RSS – Additional Notes

You can customize RSS in several ways, such as adding images and videos to feeds, ads, etc. Some of these customizations require code editing skills.

WordPress allows a number of RSS feed configurations without code editing skills. Below are examples of some of the kinds of feeds you can use …

Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Feed Formats)

For your convenience, here are the different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Feed that contains your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Contains the latest comments published on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed for single posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on specific posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/06/21/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – RSS feed displaying the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/05/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed displaying the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Contains latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to promote your feed. Place a subscribe button or link somewhere visible …

Encourage your visitors to subscribe to your RSS feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Keep in mind that other website owners will only want to syndicate your content if you provide useful content. In other words, focus on providing your subscribers with high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Add someone else's content and get others to share your content online using RSS!

(Add great content from other sites and get visitors to syndicate your content with RSS feeds!)

Practical Tip

If you need great content ideasΒ subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

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

RSS – Resources:

  • RSS Feed Images – Visit an online resource site like FeedIcons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss icon”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS images and icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org – Official WordPress documentation and reference. Go here to learn more about WordPress RSS feeds.

A Beginner's Guide To Understanding WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to display content from other sites on your site via RSS.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you expand your business online. To read more about using the WP CMS platform please see other great content on this site.

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