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 …

Using RSS In WordPressNo matter what what industry you belong to, you need to provide high-quality information on your site or blog. For example, if your business provides health-related services, it’s a good idea to provide users with the latest information from the health department, such as news and updates on medical research, health and fitness advice, etc.

The problem with creating this type of information, however, is that it requires an enormous amount of time and expertise. You have to do a lot of information sorting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, content writing and editing (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 completely beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

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

(RSS - One of the simplest ways to provide your users with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What You Need To Know About RSS

  • RSS is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly known, Really Simple Syndication. It it is also called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • After users subscribe to an RSS feed, they no longer have to physically check the source website for updated content. Instead, their web browser will constantly monitor the feed and keep feed subscribers automatically updated.
  • RSS feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog post items, news headlines, audios, etc., to which other users can choose to subscribe.
  • RSS feed content can be viewed with a software program called an RSS feed reader, or aggregator. Feed readers are used to access new content published on websites and syndicate this content to online properties.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be read by different feed readers. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF (RDF = Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different machines, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine several RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from various sites.

In this comprehensive article, we show you where your RSS feed is located, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to add someone else’s content to your site via RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful way of sharing web content. RSS Feeds provide a simple way for web users to stay up-to-date with the latest information posted on different sites.

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

Most online newspapers and popular online publications use content syndication to publish stories from news sources around the world.

Syndication allows most news reporting agencies and leading online media publications to deliver readers the latest news headlines and fresh stories from all around the globe without having to employ additional news writers all around the world …

Media publications use syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies around the world.

(Content agencies rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy stories from news sources all around the planet.)

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content. online media publications syndicate their newsworthy content using news feeds

Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content

(Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content)

Most websites actually want you to syndicate their information. 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 can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Most news reporting agencies and major online media publications include an RSS feed section (look for links in the navigation menu that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “nz herald rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most online newspapers and leading online media publications provide links to a feed section

(Major content sites will have a feed section. Image Source: SMH )

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section will bring up a directory of RSS feeds for different content topics on the site …

RSS feeds directory

(RSS feeds section. Image Source: nytimes.com)

These feeds give you access to different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, sports news, editorials, etc.)

A feed list can also include further subcategory feeds …

RSS Feed section.

(RSS Feed section. Image: Los Angeles Times RSS)

Important

Note: A feed is simply a URL. All you need to do to use RSS feeds is to copy the URLs and paste these into an application that can translate the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Syndicating Content – Benefits

Syndicating someone else’s content on your site has some obvious benefits. It helps someone else’s website and helps your site by freeing you up from having to create that content …

Using Feeds - Benefits

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

While adding an RSS feed 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 there are benefits in getting other sites to use your content.

When other websites and blogs syndicate your RSS feed, you have the opportunity to gain more exposure online and drive more web traffic …

Get other websites and blogs to syndicate content using your feed ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(It’s worth trying to get other online users to syndicate your content … it will help increase your exposure online!)

WordPress Feed – About

WordPress automatically publishes a feed of all your posts, allowing other online users to easily syndicate your content on their websites.

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

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to be displayed in a standard or custom menu, you can scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Meta section

(You can access your WordPress RSS feed from the Meta section)

2) You can also find links and buttons on certain WordPress themes that let your visitors copy your RSS feed.

In the screenshot below, for example, a visitor can simply copy the site’s RSS feed URL by right-clicking and copying 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 some websites and again, depending on the theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Share, Links, or Follow fixed, floating, or slide-out toolbar …

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

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

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

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

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

Feed entries as seen using a Firefox browser

(RSS items as seen using a Firefox web browser)

Note that your feed items will display differently depending on the browser you are using …

Feed items seen on Google Chrome

(RSS items as seen on a Google Chrome browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

To specify how many posts you would like to show in your RSS Feed 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 - Number of syndication feed items

(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings – Number of syndication feed items setting)

Your feed section will display as many recent items you have specified section …

Your feed page will display as many recent posts as you have specified in your WordPress Reading Settings section

(The 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

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

Reading Settings - 'For each article in a feed show': 'Full text' or 'Summary'

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

Useful Info

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

Post excerpts affect how feeds will appear

(Post excerpts affect how content in your feeds display)

To learn more about WordPress Post excerpts, see this step-by-step tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, all that’s required to view the content of a feed is to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into an application that reads and translates feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s show you how this works.

First, find a website or blog and look for their RSS feed icon using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for a 'subscribe to feed' icon.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

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

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

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

Adding RSS Feeds To WordPress

Let’s show you how to add content from other websites and blogs to your site.

How To Add Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

Let's add an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar area)

copy the RSS feed URL from a website containing content that you would like to add to your site to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed)

Next, paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

RSS Widget

(Widgets Section – RSS Widget)

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

Load your site in your web browser. The content from the RSS feed can now be seen in the sidebar …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Added To WordPress 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:

Adding Feed Content To Your WordPress Posts

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

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

'Add Plugins' search results - RSS plugins for WordPress

(‘Add Plugins’ search results – RSS plugins)

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

Here are a few plugins you can check out that you can use to curate and add content from RSS feeds to your pages:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico WordPress Plugin)

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

You can manage all the feeds you import and organize them into categories.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and auto blogging plugin for WordPress with extended functionality with a number of premium add-ons.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on allows you to autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress)

RSS Post Importer can be used to curate, import, syndicate, merge and display full text feeds on your WordPress site.

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed WP Plugin)

With the POWr RSS Feed plugin, you can combine and display content from various content using RSS feeds.

This plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust the priority of different feeds, use custom fonts, backgrounds, colors, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any computer, phone, or tablet and supports text in all languages.

The premium plugin version contains many additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, manually accept or reject posts, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes WordPress Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress is a flexible syndication plugin for WordPress site content.

As stated in the FeedWordPress site …

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 bring together all your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin

(Autoblog WP Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

(RSS Includes Pages WP Plugin)

RSS Includes Pages lets you display pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to giving online users access to RSS feeds of your latest posts, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of comments posted on your site.

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

WordPress Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

Comments feed entries displayed with Firefox

(RSS comments feed entries seen using Firefox)

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

Comments feed items viewed using Google Chrome

(Comments feed entries as seen on Google Chrome web browser)

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

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

(Paste the URL of your comments feed into a feedreader to view the content. Source: 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 website or blog has been installed in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Accessing RSS Feeds For Single Items

Being able to display an RSS feed for a single post item 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 using an RSS feed for specific post items is shown below:

Individual Post RSS Feed

(Single Post Feed)

To create the above feed, copy the web address of your post, and append “/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 the post URI, WordPress will return the comments left on that post, not the post content itself.

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

Some your site users may only be interested in subscribing to content from specific categories. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

With WordPress, you can create separate category feeds.

All you have to do is use the format shown below:

Feed format for post categories

(WordPress category feed format)

Select and copy the category link address to your clipboard …

Select and copy your category URL ...

(Copy your category URL …)

Now, append the word “feed” to the end of it …

WordPress category RSS feed format

(Feed format for post categories)

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

Category-specific feed

(Category-specific RSS feed page)

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 List Of Feeds

You can publish a directory of RSS feeds that allows your readers to subscribe only to specific content …

Set Up Your Own List Of Feeds On Your Site

(Publish Your Own List Of RSS Feeds)

You can link a button like the one shown below to the URL of your feed and then create a table or a list of your feeds on a separate page …

RSS icon

(RSS button graphic. Image: public-domain-photos.com)

We have written a detailed tutorial about creating tables in WordPress posts and pages here:

RSS Feeds – Notes

You can customize your feeds in a number of ways, such as adding images to feeds, ads, etc. Some of these customizations require editing code.

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

WordPress RSS - Feed Types

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – displays your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed displaying the latest comments left on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that contains the latest comments made on individual items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/01/16/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – RSS feed displaying the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/04/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed that displays latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains the latest items 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 …

It’s a good idea to let your visitors know that they can subscribe to your feed. Place your subscribe link or button somewhere visible …

Encourage your site users to subscribe to your RSS feeds!

(Encourage your visitors to syndicate your feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that online users will only want to subscribe to your content if you publish great information. In other words, focus on providing your visitors with high-quality information that will add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

Easily add content to your site and get visitors to subscribe to your content with WordPress and RSS!

(Add someone else’s content and get other sites to syndicate your content with RSS!)

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:

  • Download RSS Feed Icons – Visit www.iconspedia.com/search/rss or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS logos”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable Free RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization responsible for publishing RSS specifications, guiding developers who create RSS applications and furthering the understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about the benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation and reference repository. Go here for more information about using WordPress RSS.

A Basic Guide To 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 add content from other sites to your site using RSS feeds.

Hopefully, this post has given you a better understanding of issues that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To read more about using WordPress please click on links to visit other great articles and tutorials on this site.

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