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 …

Understanding The WordPress RSSNo matter what product or service your business provides, you need to provide high-quality information on your site or blog that better educates, informs, or improves engagement with your readers. For example, if you provide accounting services, you may want to publish useful information from the taxation office, such as news and updates on tax rulings, small business tax deductions, etc.

To create and publish this type of information, however, is really time-consuming. You have to do a ton of data 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 well beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is an easier way to keep your site visitors up-to-date with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your site readers with great information

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Information

  • RSS stands for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred, 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 subscribers can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are often used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog post items, news headlines, audio lists, etc., which any user can choose to subscribe to.
  • You can read an RSS feed with web-based, desktop-based, and even mobile-based programs called feed readers, or aggregators. Feed readers can be used to find content on all different kinds of topics and distribute this content to various online properties.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and read by different feedreaders. 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 tools also allow you to combine multiple RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from various sites.

This detailed guide shows you where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to add someone else’s content to your site using their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

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

First, let’s look at syndication.

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

Content syndication allows news reporting agencies to deliver readers stories on all kinds of topics from around the planet without actually having to post more reporters everywhere around the world …

Media publications rely on syndication to publish content from other news agencies around the planet.

(Media publications rely on syndication to publish newsworthy items from other news agencies all around the world.)

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing information. Digital news agencies syndicate newsworthy content using feeds

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

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

Most sites actually want you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows information to be shared, but it can also send 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 will include an RSS 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”, “daily telegraph rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many news agencies and major sites contain an RSS feed section

(Major content sites contain an RSS feed section. Source: SMH RSS )

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section will bring up a list of different RSS feeds of the site …

RSS feeds section

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

These feed items give you access to information from different sections of the site (e.g. business news, travel news, jobs, etc.)

An RSS list can also contain subcategories …

Feed sections can also contain feed subcategories.

(Feed sections can also include subcategory feeds. Source: latimes.com feeds)

Important

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

Syndicating Content – Benefits

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

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

(Syndicating Content - Benefits)

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 worth keeping in mind that there are benefits in getting other sites to use your content.

When other sites syndicate content using your feed, this gives you the opportunity to gain more exposure online and drive new visitors …

Get users to syndicate your feed ... it will help to increase your exposure online!

(Get other websites to syndicate your content … it will help to increase your traffic!)

Your WordPress RSS

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

Depending on your WP theme, there are a few ways to access your WordPress RSS feed:

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

Meta section - Entries RSS

(WordPress Meta section)

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

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

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

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

3) On some websites and again, depending on the theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Links, Share, or Follow Us toolbar section …

Look for an RSS button in a a Link To Us, Stay In Touch, or Social Share fixed, slide-out, or floating toolbar

(Look for an RSS button in a a Follow, Links, or Share 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 or blog has been installed in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed items seen with Firefox

(Feed entries seen using a Firefox web browser)

Note that your feed content will display differently depending on the browser you use …

Feed entries as seen using a Google Chrome web browser

(RSS feed entries as seen using a 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 section, go to your Reading Settings section and select the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WordPress Settings - Reading Settings - Number of syndication feed items

(Settings – Reading Settings – Number of syndication feed items field)

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

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Info

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content displays …

Post excerpts affect how a feed displays

(Post excerpts affect how feeds will appear)

For a detailed tutorial about Post excerpts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, all you need to do to view the content of a feed is to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into a feedreader, i.e. an application that can translate feeds into readable content.

Let’s see how this works.

First, go to a website whose feed you want to subscribe to and look for a ’subscribe to feed’ link or icon …

Look for a 'subscribe' icon.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

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

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

Like feedreaders, WordPress also has the ability to process RSS feeds and convert these into readable content for humans.

Adding An RSS Feed To Your Site

Let’s show you how to add content from other websites to yours.

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are part of, you could add to your site the latest content from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry by simply importing their RSS feed. You can easily 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 RSS content to your sidebar …

Let's add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar area

(Let’s add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar area)

First, Find a website or blog containing content that you want to add to your site and copy its feed URL …

Copy your feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

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

WP RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Refresh your web browser. The content from the RSS feed can now be seen in your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been added – e.g. custom menu, footer, etc) …

RSS Feed Added To Sidebar

(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:

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Posts

Can content from RSS feeds be added to WordPress posts? It sure can!

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

'Add Plugins' search results - RSS plugins

(’Add Plugins’ section)

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

Here are some WordPress plugins that let you add RSS feeds to your pages:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico – WordPress Plugin)

WPeMatico is an easy to use plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from specific RSS/Atom feeds.

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator)

WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive 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 is an advanced importer that allows you to import RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress

(Powr RSS Feed)

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

The plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust feed size and spacing, use custom fonts, colors, backgrounds, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in any language.

The premium version 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 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 many other sources.

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress provides flexible Atom/RSS syndication for WordPress site-generated 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 — 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 site (sites that bring together content from various different sources), 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

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin For WordPress

(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 it a name of your choosing (for admin purposes) and select a blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

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

For more details, go here:

Idea

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to displaying RSS feeds of your posts, WordPress also displays RSS feeds of comments posted on your site.

To access this, go to 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 RSS)

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

RSS comments feed entries viewed using a Firefox browser

(Comments feed entries viewed with a Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed items viewed with a Google Chrome browser

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

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

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

(Paste the feed URL into a feed reader 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 WordPress site installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Displaying Feeds For Specific Posts

Being able to use an RSS feed for a single post item can be useful. For example, you may want to add feeds from specific posts to RSS aggregator sites, or you may have created a valuable resource that other online users will want to syndicate.

The formula for displaying an RSS feed for a single post item is shown below:

RSS Feed For Individual Post Item

(Specific Post RSS Feed)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

Note: By default, if you only add “/feed” to the end of the URI of your post, WordPress will return the comments left on your post, not actual content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Displaying Post Category RSS Feeds

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

If your website or blog publishes content under various categories, you can offer users a separate feed for each post category.

Just use the format shown below:

WP category feed format

(Feed format for category)

Copy the category link address to your clipboard …

Copy your category link address ...

(Copy the selected category link address to your clipboard …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

Feed format for category

(RSS feed format for category)

The RSS feed will now only contain content specific to that particular category …

Category-specific RSS feed page

(Category-specific 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 – Create Your Own RSS Feeds List

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

Provide A Feeds Page

(Set Up Your Own Feeds Directory)

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

RSS button image

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

If you need help with inserting tables into WordPress, go here:

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows various feed configurations without messing with code. For example, the table below lists some of the kinds of custom feed types you can display …

WordPress RSS - Feed Types

(Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – contains your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed displaying the latest comments left on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed that displays single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on a post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/06/12/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/03/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays latest post entries 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 feeds. Place your subscribe buttons somewhere visible …

Encourage your site users to subscribe to your feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

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

Add content from other sites and get others to share your content using WordPress and RSS!

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

Practical 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 RSS feed 🙂

Additional Resources:

  • Feed Icons – Visit iconspedia.com/search/rss or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss icon”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS images and icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization responsible for publishing the RSS specification, 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.
  • WordPress Codex: WordPress Feeds – Official WordPress documentation and information site. Go here for more information about feeds in WordPress.

Understanding The Benefits Of Using WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know where 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 websites and blogs on your site using their RSS feed.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To read more about the benefits of using the WordPress CMS software please click on links to visit other posts on this site.

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"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)