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 …

WordPress RSS FeatureNo matter what product or service you provide or what industry your business belongs to, providing high-quality information on your site or blog is important. For example, if you provide medical services, you may want to provide users with the latest information from the health department, such as news and updates on medical research, health and fitness tips, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it involves a great deal of work and resources. You have to do a ton of information sorting, researching and organizing, checking sources for accuracy, writing and editing content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then make sure that this information is continually 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.

Thankfully, there is a much easier way to provide your site visitors with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is one of the easiest ways to provide your readers with great information

(RSS - One of the simplest ways to provide your subscribers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS Made Simple

  • RSS, which, according to some is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly known now as Really Simple Syndication. It is often referred to as a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save readers time from having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog post items, news headlines, audios, etc., which users can choose to subscribe to.
  • RSS feed content can be read using software programs called feedreaders, or feed aggregators. Aggregators can be used to access new content published on websites and distribute this content (and updates made to this content) to other sites.
  • 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 (RDF = Resource Description Framework) 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 applications also let you combine many RSS feeds to receive news and updates from various sources.

In this comprehensive article, we explain where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to add content from other websites to your site via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful way to share web content. Feeds provide online users with an easy way to keep up with the latest information published on sites and blogs they are interested in.

First, let’s look at content syndication.

Online media publications rely on content syndication to publish news and stories from news agencies all around the world.

Syndication allows most digital news agencies to deliver readers interesting stories and up-to-the-minute headlines from all over the globe without having to hire and set up additional staff and writers in every location around the world …

Online newspapers rely heavily on syndication to publish content from news sources all around the globe.

(Many news reporting agencies rely on content syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources all around the planet.)

Syndication is used to share information legitimately with other sites. Global media publications syndicate their stories using feeds

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

(Content syndication is used by news reporting agencies to share newsworthy content with other publications)

Most websites 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 site that published the original content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Most leading online media publications have a feed section (look for links in their navigation section that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “salt lake tribune rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most online newspapers and leading online media publications contain an RSS feed section

(Major content sites have an RSS feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS directory

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

gives you access to content from different sections of the site (e.g. business news, travel news, editorials, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain further subcategory feeds …

An RSS list can also include subcategories.

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

Info

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

Content Syndication – Benefits

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

Syndicating Content Has Many Benefits!

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

While adding an RSS 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 sites syndicate content using your feed, this gives your business the opportunity to get more exposure online and drive more web traffic …

Get visitors to syndicate content using your RSS feed ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Get visitors to syndicate your content … it will help increase your exposure online!)

Your WordPress RSS Feed

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

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

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to be displayed on your sidebar or footer menu, scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

WordPress Meta section

(Access your WordPress RSS feed in the Meta section)

2) You can also find links or buttons on certain WordPress themes that allow your visitors to copy your RSS feed.

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

Copy feed links to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

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

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

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

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 subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed entries seen on a Firefox web browser

(Feed entries as seen on Firefox)

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

RSS entries as seen on Google Chrome

(RSS feed items as seen using Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

You can specify how many items you would like to show in your RSS section, by going to your Reading Settings section and typing the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

Reading Settings - Syndication feeds

(WP Settings – Reading Settings – Syndication feed items)

The feed section will display as many recent posts as you have specified section …

Your feed page will show as many recent items you have specified in your Reading Settings section

(The feed 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 RSS feed is whether to display articles in the feed as full text, or just a summary …

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

(WP Reading Settings – Display ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for each article in a feed)

Info

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts affect how your feeds will display

(Post excerpts can affect how your feed content will display)

If you need help using Post excerpts in WordPress, see this tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, all that’s required to view a feed’s content 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 or blog and search for a ’subscribe to feed’ link using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for an RSS feed section.

(Search for an RSS feed button. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

If you want, you can check the feed content by pasting the feed URL into an online 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. Source: Feedreader.com)

Like feedreaders, WordPress has the ability to process RSS feeds and convert these into human-readable content.

Adding Feeds To Your Site

Let’s show you how to add content from other sites to your WordPress site.

How To Add Feeds To Your Sidebar

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

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

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

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

First, Find a site containing content that you would like to add to your site and copy the RSS feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the feed URL to the clipboard)

Next, go to your Widgets area 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 site in your web browser. The content from the RSS feed will now appear in your sidebar …

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 Feed Content To WordPress Posts

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

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

RSS plugins

(‘Add Plugins’ section – WordPress RSS plugins)

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

Here are some auto blogging plugins that let you automatically create posts using RSS feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

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

You can manage all the feeds you import and arrange them according to categories and campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator – WordPress Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension allows you to add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into your WordPress posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin

(RSS Post Importer WP Plugin)

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

The plugin 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 Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed)

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

The plugin also lets you display videos, images, and article content, adjust feed priority, use custom colors, fonts, borders, and more. It is also mobile responsive and supports text in every language.

The premium version contains a number of additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, accept or reject posts, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress

(WP Pipes Plugin)

WP Pipes is a powerful data migration plugin that lets you 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, auto blogging, auto post to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, export your posts as 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 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.

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator sites, or display all your online activity in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev

(Autoblog 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 the feed a name (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 Plugin For WordPress

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

RSS Includes Pages modifies RSS feeds to include pages in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Important

Using WordPress RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress displays RSS feeds of the latest comments posted on your site in addition to displaying RSS feeds of your posts.

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

Comments RSS

(Comments RSS)

All the comments posted on your site by visitors can be seen in your Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed content as seen with a Firefox web browser

(Comments feed entries displayed on Firefox)

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

Comments feed items seen on Google Chrome

(Comments feed entries viewed with Google Chrome)

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

Paste your URL of your comments feed into a feed reader 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 site is located in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Displaying Feeds For Specific Post Items

Being able to access an RSS feed for individual post items 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 displaying an RSS feed for a single post item is shown below:

Individual Post Feed

(Individual Post RSS Feed)

To create the above feed, copy the URL 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 that post, not actual content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

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

WordPress allows you to create individual category feeds.

Just use the format below:

Format for WP category RSS feed

(RSS feed format for category)

Select and copy the category URL …

Copy your category URL ...

(Copy your category link address …)

Add “feed” to the end of it …

Format for WordPress category feed

(WP category feed format)

Your feed now only contains content published under that category …

Category-specific RSS feed

(Category-specific 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 – Set Up Your Own List Of Feeds On Your Site

You can provide a list of feeds that allows readers to subscribe only to content in the categories they are interested in, just like large websites …

Set Up Your Own Page Of RSS Feeds

(Set Up A Page Of Feeds On Your Site)

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

RSS image

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

We have created a detailed tutorial about adding tables to WordPress pages and posts here:

WordPress RSS – Notes

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

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

Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

For your convenience, here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Displays the latest comments published on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for specific posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed that displays the latest comments made on an individual post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/08/01/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/04/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: RSS feed displaying the 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 items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to promote your RSS feeds. Place your subscribe link in a visible location …

Remember to make your feeds visible your RSS feeds!

(Encourage your site users to subscribe to your feeds!)

Keep in mind that other sites will only want to syndicate your content if the information that you publish on your site is useful, educational, or highly entertaining. In other words, you need to provide high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add someone else's content and get others to share your content using RSS feeds!

(Add content from other sites and get other users to share your content with RSS feeds!)

Tip

If you need help coming up with 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:

  • RSS Icons – Visit a site like Feedicons or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss buttons”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization responsible for publishing RSS specifications, providing guidance to developers who create RSS applications and broadening the general public understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about the benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress documentation and reference. Visit this site for additional information about using RSS feeds in WordPress.

A Beginner's Guide To Understanding WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to display content from other websites and blogs on your site using their RSS feed.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you improve your business online. To read more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business website please click on links to visit other posts we have published on this site.

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