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 Guide To Using WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product you provide or what industry your business is in, it’s vitally important to provide high-quality information on your site or blog that educates, informs, or improves engagement with your readers. For example, if your business provides insurance-related services, you may want to publish the latest information from government departments, such as news or updates on statistical findings, insurance tips, etc.

To create and publish this type of information, however, requires a great deal of work and expertise. You have to sort through, research, and organize a lot of information, check your facts, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually ensure that this information is up-to-date. As you can imagine, this is not only a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is completely beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS - The simplest way to provide your readers with the latest information

(RSS - The simplest way to provide your readers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Information

  • RSS, which, according to some is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly known as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content so that their site readers can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • RSS feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog post items, news headlines, videos, etc., to which other users can choose to subscribe.
  • RSS feed content can be read using software programs called RSS readers, or aggregators. Aggregators are used to access new content published on websites and distribute this content (and any updates made to this content) to various online properties.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed readers. 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 devices, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine many RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates sourced from different sites.

This guide explains how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to display content from other sites on your site via RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful (and legitimate) way of sharing content online. Feeds provide online users with a simple way to stay up-to-date with the latest information posted on websites they are interested in.

First, let’s look at syndication.

Most news agencies and many highly-visited online publications use syndication to publish stories from news agencies all around the world.

Content syndication allows most digital agencies to deliver readers the latest news headlines and fresh newsworthy stories from all over the globe without actually having to post more news reporting agencies all around the world …

Global media publications rely on syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies around the world.

(Online newspapers use content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources around the planet.)

Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content with other sites. Global media publications syndicate their newsworthy content using news feeds

Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content

(Online newspapers syndicate their news stories using feeds)

Most websites actually would like you to share their content. Syndicating content not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it also drives visitors back to the original site that created and published the content being syndicated. This creates links that can drive traffic back to their site.

Most online newspapers and major content sites include an RSS feed section (look for links in their 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.) …

Most news publishing agencies and major content sites will include a feed section

(Many online newspapers and major content sites have a feed section. Image: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds directory

(RSS feeds list. Source: nytimes.com RSS feeds)

gives readers access to different areas of the site (e.g. technology news, entertainment news, jobs, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain feed subcategories …

An RSS directory can also contain feed subdirectories.

(RSS Feed section. Image: latimes.com feeds)

Info

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

Using RSS Feeds

Adding content from someone else’s website on your website has some obvious benefits. It helps someone else’s website and adds value to your site without you having to create the content …

The Benefits Of Content Syndication

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

While adding RSS feeds 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 feed, this gives you the opportunity to get more exposure online and drive more visitors …

Consider trying to get visitors to syndicate your feed ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Look for ways to get other website owners to syndicate your content … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

Overview Of The WordPress Feed

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

Depending on the theme you have installed, there are a few ways to access the WordPress RSS feed:

1) If your theme has been configured to display the Meta widget on your sidebar …

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Idea

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content displays …

Post excerpts affect how your feed content will display

(Post excerpts affect how feeds appear)

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

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, to view the content of a feed, you need to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into 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 feed you want to syndicate and look for an RSS feed section …

Search for a 'subscribe' link or button.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard)

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

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

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

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

Adding Feeds To WordPress

In the example below, we’ll add content sourced from another website or blog to your WordPress site.

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business operates in, you could easily add to your site the latest news from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by adding content from their feed. You can use RSS feeds to 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 content sourced from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation menu …

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

(Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, Go to a website or blog that publishes content that you want to add to your sidebar and copy its RSS feed URL …

Copy the feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, go to your Widgets area and paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

Widgets Screen - RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Refresh your browser. The content will now show on the sidebar …

RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

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

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

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

How To Add Feed Content To WordPress Posts

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

You can easily do this using plugins. Search inside the Plugins screen for RSS, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' search results

(‘Add Plugins’ screen – RSS plugins for WordPress)

Note: Most RSS plugins typically require configuration – visit the plugin sites for configuration instructions, or contact us for help with plugin configuration.

Here are a few autoblogging plugins that allow you to create posts with RSS feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on is an advanced importer that lets you import RSS feeds directly into your WordPress posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

The RSS Post Importer plugin can be used to syndicate, import, curate, merge and display full-text RSS feeds on your WordPress website or blog.

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed)

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

The POWr RSS plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust sizing and spacing of feeds, use custom colors, fonts, backgrounds, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design 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

(WP Pipes)

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

This plugin provides features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, 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 - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress WP Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication 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.

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator site (sites that bring together posts from various different sources), or bring together all your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev

(Autoblog by WPMUDev – WordPress Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, with no coding required and no complicated instructions. Simply copy and paste in the URL of your feed, 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

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types – WordPress Plugin)

Install RSS Includes Pages to include pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here:

Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

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

To inspect these comments, locate the ‘Meta’ widget on your sidebar (note: your theme may not be configured to display this widget) and click on Comments RSS

Comments RSS

(Comments Feed)

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

Comments feed entries displayed with a Firefox web browser

(Comments feed entries displayed using a Firefox web browser)

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

RSS comments feed content seen with a Google Chrome web browser

(Comments feed items seen with a Google Chrome web browser)

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

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

(Paste your feed URL into a feedreader to view the feed content. 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 subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Specific Item Feeds

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

The formula for making an RSS feed for a specific post is shown below:

RSS Feed For Specific Post

(Single Post RSS 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 Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

Some your site visitors may only be interested in subscribing to content about certain categories. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

WordPress allows you to create individual category feeds.

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

WordPress category RSS feed format

(Format for WP post categories feed)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Copy the category URL ...

(Copy the category link address …)

Add “feed” to the end of it …

WP category RSS feed format

(Use this format for WordPress category feed)

Your feed will now only display content posted under this category …

Category RSS feed page

(Category-specific RSS feed)

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 A Page Of RSS Feeds

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

Set Up Your Own Page Of Feeds

(Set Up An RSS Feeds Page)

All you need to do is link an image to category (or single post) feed URLs and then create a table or a list of all your feeds on a new page …

RSS button image

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

If you need help with adding tables to WordPress pages and posts, go here:

RSS Feeds – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows various feed configurations without code editing skills. Here are some examples of custom feed types you can display …

WordPress RSS - Custom Feeds

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – RSS feed that includes 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 website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed for single post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed that displays the latest comments made on a specific post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/03/07/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – RSS feed displaying the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/06/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains latest post entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed that displays the latest post entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to promote your RSS feed. Make sure you place a subscribe button in a visible location …

Remember to make your feeds visible your feeds!

(Promote your RSS feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that other sites will only subscribe to your content if you provide your visitors with very high-quality information that can add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

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

(Easily add great content to your site and get others to subscribe to your content with RSS!)

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 🙂

RSS Resources:

  • Download RSS Graphics – Visit www.iconspedia.com/search/rss or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss logos”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS graphics.
  • 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 information repository. Go here for additional information about using RSS feeds in WordPress.

WordPress RSS For Beginners

Congratulations! Now you know where your RSS feed is located, 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, 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 the benefits of using WordPress for a business website or blog please click on links to visit our related posts section.

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