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 …

A Basic Overview On Using The WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product your business provides, providing high-quality information to your blog users is vitally important. For example, if you provide accounting or financial planning services, it’s a good idea to provide users with the latest information from the taxation office, such as news and updates on tax rulings, small business tax deductions, etc.

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

Fortunately, there is a much simpler way to keep your users up-to-date with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your site visitors with the latest information

(RSS - The easiest way to provide your users with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What Does It Mean?

  • RSS is short for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred, Really Simple Syndication. It can also be called a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save users time from having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • RSS feeds are also used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog post items, news, music playlists, etc., to which users can choose to subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML document that includes either full or summarized text along with other metadata such as published date, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then keep up with any updates posted on these sites through a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate information automatically.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be read by different feedreaders. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different devices and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine multiple RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from a number of sites.

This article explains where to find your WordPress RSS feed, 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 feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful and legitimate way to share content online. RSS Feeds provide a simple way for web users to keep up with the latest information published on websites they are interested in.

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

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

Syndication allows leading news reporting agencies to deliver readers the latest news items from around the globe without actually having to hire and post additional news writers everywhere in the world …

Most online newspapers and popular online media publications use syndication to publish stories from news sources all around the globe.

(Content agencies rely on syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies around the globe.)

Syndication is used to share newsworthy content legitimately. Global media publications syndicate information using feeds

News reporting agencies syndicate their newsworthy content using feeds

(Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content)

Most sites actually would like you to syndicate their content. Content syndication not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the original site responsible for creating and publishing the content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Many news reporting agencies have 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”, “nz herald rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many news reporting agencies and leading online media publications provide links to a feed section

(Most leading online media publications will have a feed section. Image Source: Sydney Morning Herald RSS )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds link will bring up a list of different RSS feed sections …

A website's list of RSS feeds

(RSS directory. Image Source: NY Times)

These feed items allow readers to access information from different sections of the site (e.g. business news, arts news, editorials, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain further subcategory feeds …

Feed sections can also include subcategories.

(Feed sections can also contain feed subcategories. Source: latimes.com feeds)

Important

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

Syndicating Content – Benefits

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

Syndicating Content Has Many Benefits!

(Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else’s Website 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 worth keeping in mind that you also want other websites to use your content.

When other websites and blogs syndicate your content, this gives you the opportunity to gain more exposure online and drive new web traffic …

Get users to syndicate your content ... it will help to increase traffic!

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

About Your WordPress RSS

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

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

1) If your theme has been configured to display the Meta widget in your navigation menu …

The feed will show the number of posts as you have specified in your Reading Settings section

(Your feed page will show as many recent posts as you have specified in the 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 RSS feed is whether to display each article as full text, or just a summary …

WordPress Settings - Reading Settings - Display 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for posts in your feed

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

Info

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

Post excerpts affect how content in feeds appear

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed will display)

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

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, go to a website whose content you want to syndicate and look for a ‘subscribe’ link …

Look for an RSS feed section.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

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

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

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

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

How To Add RSS Feeds To Your Site

Let’s show you how to add content from other website or blog’s RSS feeds to your site.

How To Add Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is in, 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 importing content from their RSS feed. You can use RSS feeds to display a range of information on your WordPress site such as news, social media comments, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

Let’s add RSS content to the WordPress sidebar …

Let's add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar

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

First, Find a website or blog that publishes content that you would like to add to your site and copy the RSS feed URL …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the feed URL to the clipboard)

Next, go to your WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets and paste the feed into an RSS widget …

Widgets Section - RSS Widget

(Widgets Panel – RSS Widget)

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

Load your website in your web browser. The content will now show in the sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been added – e.g. footer, custom menu, etc) …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Content Added To Sidebar Menu)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

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

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

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

How To Add Feed Content To Your Posts

Can content from RSS feeds be added to a post instead of the sidebar? It sure can!

You can easily do this using plugins. Search inside the Plugins section (Plugins > Add New) for RSS feed, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' search results

(’Add Plugins’ search results)

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

Here are a number of autoblogging plugins that allow you to create new with RSS feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico WP Plugin

(WPeMatico)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension lets you import RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer

(RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin)

The RSS Post Importer plugin allows you to import, curate, syndicate, merge and display full text feeds on your WordPress website or blog.

RSS Post Importer will fetch an RSS feed and publish the full content of each item in your feed as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin)

POWr RSS lets you combine and display content from various RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust sizing and spacing of feeds, use custom fonts, colors, borders, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any phone, computer, or tablet and supports text in any language.

The premium plugin version contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress

(WP Pipes – WordPress Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress provides simple and 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.

You can use this plugin to create aggregator site (sites that combine content from many different sources), or bring together all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, Flickr, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog WP Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Includes Pages Plugin)

The RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types plugin modifies your RSS feeds to include pages in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Useful Info

Using WordPress RSS – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress makes available RSS feeds of comments posted on your site in addition to giving online users access to feeds of your posts.

To view these, go to the ‘Meta’ section on your sidebar (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) and click on Comments RSS

Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed entries displayed on a Firefox browser

(Comments feed items seen on Firefox)

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

Comments feed items viewed on a Google Chrome web browser

(RSS comments feed content displayed on Google Chrome)

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

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

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

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 – Displaying RSS Feeds For Individual Post Items

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 accessing an RSS feed for individual posts is shown below:

Individual Post RSS Feed

(Specific Post Feed)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post 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 your post, not actual post content itself.

Tip #3 – Post Category 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.

WordPress allows you to create category feeds.

All you need to do is use the format below:

Feed format for post categories

(RSS feed format for category)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Copy your category URL ...

(Copy the selected category link address …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

WP category RSS feed format

(Feed format for category)

Your RSS feed now only includes content posted for that category …

Category-specific RSS feed

(Category-specific 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 RSS Feeds For Your Subscribers

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

Set Up A Directory Of Feeds For Your Subscribers

(Create Your Own RSS Feeds Directory)

You can link a button to your category (or single post) feed URLs and then create a table or a list of all feeds on a separate page …

RSS image

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

We have written a detailed tutorial about inserting tables into WordPress content here:

RSS Feeds – Notes

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

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

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

For your convenience, here are the different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown 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 containing the latest comments left on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed that includes individual posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed that contains the latest comments made on individual posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/11/08/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Feed containing the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/01/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: RSS feed that displays the latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: RSS feed that displays latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to let your visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feed. Place a ’subscribe to RSS’ button image somewhere visible …

Encourage your site users to subscribe to your RSS feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

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

Add someone else's content and get other sites to share your content with RSS feeds!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get other users to subscribe to your content with RSS feeds!)

Tip

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

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

RSS Resources:

  • Download RSS Images – Visit an online resource site like FeedIcons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss logo download”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org – Official WordPress documentation and reference. Go here to learn more about feeds in WordPress.

A Basic Guide To Using The WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to display content from other sites on your site using their RSS feed.

Hopefully, now you have 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 please see our related posts section.

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