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.

Your WordPress RSSNo matter what product or service you sell or what industry your business is in, it’s important to provide high-value information on your site or blog. For example, if you provide medical services, it’s a good idea to publish the latest information from the health department, such as news and updates on medical research, health and fitness tips, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, is very time-consuming. You have to do a lot of information sorting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, writing and editing content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually make sure that this information is kept up-to-date. As you can imagine, this not only involves a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is a simpler way to continually provide your readers with up-to-date information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is one of the easiest ways to provide your site visitors with up-to-date information

(RSS - The simplest way to provide your site visitors with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Information

  • RSS, which, according to some stands for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly referred to now as Really Simple Syndication. It is often referred to as a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • When a user subscribes to an RSS feed, they no longer have to physically visit and check the source website for content updates. Instead, their web browser constantly monitors the content and keeps feed subscribers automatically updated.
  • RSS feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog post items, news, audios, etc., which any user can choose to subscribe to.
  • You can view RSS feeds using software programs called feed readers, or aggregators. Aggregators can be used to find new content published on websites and syndicate this content (and any updates made to the content) to various online properties.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats and read by different feedreaders. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom (also called AtomPub or APP feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different machines and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine many RSS feeds to receive news and updates from different sources.

This article shows you where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to display content from other websites on your site using RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful way to share content online. Feeds provide a simple and easy way for online users to keep up with the latest information posted on different websites.

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

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

Syndication allows most news reporting agencies and leading media publications to deliver readers the latest news from all around the planet without having to employ and send additional news staff everywhere around the world …

Online newspapers use content syndication to publish newsworthy items from other news agencies around the globe.

(Most online newspapers and leading online media publications use content syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies around the planet.)

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

News publishers syndicate information using feeds

(Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing information)

Most sites actually want you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the site that published the original content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Most leading online media publications contain 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”, “telegraph rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Major content sites include a feed section

(Many online newspapers and major sites contain a feed section. Image Source: SMH RSS )

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

RSS feeds list

(RSS feeds section. Source: New York Times RSS)

These feeds let readers source different areas of the site (e.g. business news, arts news, editorials, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain subcategories …

RSS Feed section.

(An RSS directory can also contain subcategory feeds. Image Source: latimes.com)

Useful Info

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

Content Syndication – Benefits

Syndicating someone else’s content on your website has some obvious benefits. It not only gives additional exposure online to someone else’s content, it also adds value to your site without you having to create that content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

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

While adding a feed from another site is a great way to add content to your site that you don’t have to create, it’s a great idea to try and get other sites to use your content.

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

It's a good idea to get other online users to syndicate your RSS feed ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Consider trying to get other websites and blogs to syndicate your content … it will help to increase traffic!)

WordPress RSS – About

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

Depending on your WordPress site’s theme, there are a number of ways to access the WordPress RSS feed:

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

WordPress Meta section - Accessing your RSS feed

(WordPress Meta widget)

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

In the screenshot below, for example, a visitor can copy the site’s 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 links to your clipboard from “subscribe” buttons)

3) On many sites and again, depending on the WordPress theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Follow, Links, or Social Share toolbar …

Look for an RSS button in a a Share, Follow, or Links floating, fixed, or slide-out toolbar

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

4) You can also view your RSS feed by 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 WordPress installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Using any of the above methods will bring up a page containing your site’s feed …

Feed items viewed on Firefox web browser

(Feed entries as seen on Firefox)

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

RSS feed content viewed on Chrome web browser

(RSS content seen using Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

Reading Settings - Syndication feed items

(WP Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

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

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

(The feed page will show as many recent posts as you have specified in your Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

WP Settings - Reading Settings - 'For each article in a feed show' options

(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings – ’For each article in a feed show’ options)

Important

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts affect how content in your feeds will appear

(Post excerpts affect how a feed will appear)

We have created a detailed tutorial on Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s show you how this works.

First, find a website whose feed you want to syndicate and look for a ’subscribe to feed’ button using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for an RSS feed link.

(Look for a ‘subscribe’ icon. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy your feed URL)

If you want, you can check what the RSS feed contains by pasting the URL of the feed into an online feedreader …

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

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

Like feed readers, WordPress also has the ability to process RSS/XML feeds.

Adding Feeds To Your WP Site

Let’s show you how to add content from another website’s RSS feeds to yours.

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

Let’s add RSS content to the WordPress sidebar navigation area …

Let's add an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar)

copy the feed URL from a website or blog that publishes content that you would like to add to your sidebar …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy your feed URL)

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

Widgets Area - RSS Widget

(Widgets Panel – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Refresh your web browser. The content from the RSS feed should display in the sidebar …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Added To WP Sidebar)

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 Content From RSS Feeds To Posts

What if you want to add content from RSS feeds to WordPress posts instead of your sidebar?

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

RSS plugins

(WordPress RSS plugins)

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

Here are a number of WordPress plugins that you can use to curate and add content from RSS feeds to your pages:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

You can manage all of your imported feeds and arrange feeds according to campaigns.

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 a number of premium add-ons for additional functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on is a feature-filled importer that lets you import RSS feeds directly into your WordPress posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer WP Plugin)

The RSS Post Importer plugin allows you to import, syndicate, curate, merge and display full text feeds (RSS, Atom, etc.) on your WordPress blog.

RSS Post Importer will fetch an RSS feed and publish the entire 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 – WordPress Plugin)

With POWr RSS, you can automatically combine and display content from multiple sources using RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust feed spacing and size, use custom fonts, borders, colors, and more. It is also mobile responsive and supports text in any language.

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

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin

(WP Pipes WP Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress provides versatile Atom/RSS syndication options for WordPress.

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 — 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, Facebook, YouTube, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog

(Autoblog by WPMUDev – WordPress 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 the URL of your feed, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select the blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin)

Install RSS Includes Pages to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed and not just posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here:

Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

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

You can access this by clicking on Comments RSS in your ‘Meta’ widget area …

WordPress Comments RSS

(Comments RSS)

Comments posted on your site by visitors will appear in the Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed entries seen on Firefox

(RSS comments feed content as seen 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 seen on Google Chrome

(Comments feed items as seen using a Google Chrome web browser)

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

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

(Paste your comments feed URL into a feedreader to view the feed 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 website is located in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using RSS Feeds For Specific Post Items

Being able to display an RSS feed for individual posts 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 accessing an RSS feed for an individual post item is shown below:

Specific Post Feed

(RSS Feed For Single Post Item)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category RSS Feeds

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

If your website contains content published under various categories, WordPress allows you to easily create a separate RSS feed for each category.

Just use the format below:

WordPress category RSS feed format

(WP category RSS feed format)

Copy the selected category URL …

Copy the category URL ...

(Copy the selected category link address …)

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

RSS feed format for post categories

(Format for WP category feed)

The feed now only includes content assigned to this particular category …

Category RSS feed

(Category RSS feed page)

The WordPress Codex 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 An RSS Feeds List

You can create your own RSS feeds list that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories …

Create Your Own Directory Of Feeds On Your Site

(Set Up A List Of RSS Feeds)

All you need to do is link an RSS icon to each category feed and then create a table or a list of all individual feeds on a new page …

RSS button

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

To learn more about adding tables to WordPress, see this step-by-step tutorial:

RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows different feed configurations without touching code. Here are some examples of feed types you can create …

Different Feed Formats You Can Create With WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

Below are the different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – contains your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed containing the latest comments published on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed that contains specific posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on an individual post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/02/28/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/09/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed that includes latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Feed displaying the latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Includes latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to let visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feeds. Make sure you place your subscribe button or link in a visible location …

Remember to make your feeds visible your feeds!

(Encourage your site users to syndicate your RSS feeds!)

Keep in mind that other sites will only subscribe to your content if you provide your visitors with high-quality information that will add value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Add great content to your site and get online users to syndicate your content with RSS!

(Add someone else’s content and get others to syndicate your content using RSS!)

Tip

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

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our feed 🙂

Additional RSS Resources:

  • Download RSS Icons – Visit sites like iconspedia.com/search/rss or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss icon”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization responsible for publishing RSS specifications, providing guidance to developers who create RSS applications and helping to further the understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about the history and benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org – Official WordPress documentation site. Visit this site for additional information about RSS feeds in WordPress.

WordPress User's Guide To 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 someone else’s content on your site using RSS.

Hopefully, this post has given you a better understanding of problems that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To read more about using WordPress for a business website or blog please click on links to visit other great articles and tutorials we have published on this site.

Get Thrive Leads for WordPress

***

"Learning WordPress has been a huge stumbling block for me. I've been looking for something that covers absolutely everything but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Thank you so much ... you have just provided me with what I have been looking for! Truly appreciated!" - Tanya