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 Your WordPress RSSNo matter what your business sells or what industry you are in, it’s vitally important to provide high-quality information on your site or blog. For example, if your business provides accounting services, it’s not a bad idea to include information from the taxation office, such as news or updates on tax rulings, small business tax deductions, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it is really time-consuming. You have to do a lot of information gathering, researching and organizing, checking the accuracy of your sources, content writing and editing (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 is not only a huge amount of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is a simpler way to regularly provide your site readers with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is the simplest way to provide your users with up-to-date information

(RSS is the easiest way to provide your subscribers with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS Made Simple

  • RSS, which, according to some stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It is also often called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • Once users subscribe to an RSS feed, they no longer have to physically check the website for content updates. Instead, their web browser will constantly monitor the content and keep feed subscribers automatically updated.
  • RSS feeds are often used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog entries, news, video lists, etc., to which other users can then subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML (XML = Extensible Markup Language) document that includes full or summarized text along with metadata such as published date, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then browse updates posted on these sites using a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate content.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be read by different aggregators. 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 and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also allow you to combine several RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from different websites.

This guide shows you where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to display someone else’s content on your site via RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful and legitimate method used to share web content. RSS Feeds provide web users with a way to stay up-to-date with the latest information published on sites they are interested in.

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

News reporting agencies rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from other news agencies all around the world.

Syndication allows news publishing agencies and influential online media publications to deliver readers the latest news headlines and all kinds of interesting newsworthy content from all around the globe without having to employ and set up additional staff in every location around the world …

Global media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies all around the planet.

(Digital agencies use syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies around the planet.)

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing newsworthy content with other sites. online media publications syndicate newsworthy content using feeds

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

(Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing information)

Most websites actually would like you to syndicate their information. Syndicating content not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the original site that published the content being syndicated. This provides websites with new opportunities to generate additional web traffic.

Many online newspapers and major sites contain an RSS feed section (look for navigation links that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “times of india rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many online newspapers and major sites contain an RSS feed section

(Leading news publishers have a feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds link brings up a directory of different RSS feeds …

RSS Feeds

(RSS feeds list. Image: New York Times RSS)

Each of these feeds lets readers access content from different areas of the website (e.g. technology news, travel news, health news, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain subcategory feeds …

A feed directory can also include subcategories.

(Feed sections can also contain subcategories. Source: LA Times)

Important

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

RSS Feeds – Benefits

Adding someone else’s content to your site has some obvious benefits. It gives someone else’s business additional exposure online and helps your site by freeing you up from having to create this content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(The Benefits Of Content Syndication)

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

When other websites syndicate content using your RSS feed, this gives your business the opportunity to gain more exposure online and drive more web traffic …

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

(Look for ways to get visitors to syndicate your feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

About Your WordPress RSS Feed

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

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

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

Meta section - Entries RSS

(WordPress Meta section – Accessing your RSS feed)

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

For example, in the screenshot below, a visitor can simply copy the site’s RSS feed URL by right-clicking and copying on the Subscribe to RSS link …

Copy RSS links to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

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

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

(Look for an RSS button in a a Subscribe, Share, or Links toolbar section)

4) You can also view your WordPress RSS feed by typing your site’s URL into a browser and adding “/feed” after the URL, e.g.:

  • http://www.yourdomain.com/feed
  • http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/feed (if your WordPress site installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed items seen using a Firefox browser

(Feed entries displayed on Firefox)

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

Feed items displayed with a Chrome web browser

(Feed entries seen using a Chrome web browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

To specify how many items you want displayed in your Feeds section, go to your Reading Settings section and enter the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WordPress Reading Settings - Number of syndication feed items

(WP Settings – Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

The feed section will show the number of posts as you have specified section …

Your feed will display the number of items you have specified in the Reading Settings section

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

The other setting in your WP Reading Settings section that affects your RSS feed is whether to display articles in the feed as full text, or a summary …

Reading Settings - Show 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for each article in your feed

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

Tip

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

Post excerpts can affect how your feed content will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how content in feeds will appear)

For a detailed step-by-step tutorial about using excerpts in WordPress Posts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, all you have to do to view a feed’s content is to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into an application that can translate feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s show you how this works.

First, find a website or blog and search for an RSS feed icon …

Search for an RSS feed section.

(Search for a ’subscribe to feed’ link. Image source: 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 the feed content by pasting the feed URL into an online feed reader …

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

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

Like feed readers, WordPress also has the ability to process XML/RSS feeds and convert these into human-readable content.

How To Add An RSS Feed To WordPress Sites

In the example below, we’ll add RSS content from another website or blog to yours.

How To Add Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar

(Add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, Find a website or blog that publishes content that you want to display on your sidebar and copy its feed URL …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

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

RSS Widget

(Widgets Section – RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your browser. The content from the RSS feed can now be seen in 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:

Adding RSS Feed Content To Posts

What if you want to add content from RSS feeds to a post instead of the sidebar?

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

'Add Plugins' section - RSS plugins

(‘Add Plugins’ section – RSS plugins)

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

The plugins below are useful for adding feed content to posts, or “auto blog” (An autoblog is a blog with content that is automatically gathered and compiled from RSS feeds):

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico – WordPress Plugin)

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

You can manage all the feeds you import and arrange feeds into categories.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator - WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress)

WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive RSS feed importer and autoblogging WordPress plugin that offers additional functionality with a number of premium extensions (add-ons).

For example, the Feed to Post extension is an advanced importer that lets you add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Post Importer WP Plugin)

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

The plugin fetches an RSS feed and publishes the entire content of each item in the feed as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed - WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed WP Plugin)

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

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

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

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 many other sources.

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

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication options 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 — 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 display posts from many different sources), or display all of your online activity in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up very quickly, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in the URL of your feed, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select the blog 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 WP Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

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

For more details, go here:

Important

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

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

To inspect these, go to the ‘Meta’ widget 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 will appear in your Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed items seen on a Firefox web browser

(Comments feed items displayed on Firefox)

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

Comments feed items seen on a Google Chrome web browser

(RSS comments feed entries seen using a Google Chrome browser)

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

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

(Paste your URL of your comments feed into a feed reader 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 WP site installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Feeds For Single Post Items

Being able to create an RSS feed for a specific post 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 a specific post item is shown below:

Specific Post Feed

(RSS Feed For Single Post Item)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

Note: By default, if you only append “/feed” to the end of the post address, WordPress will return the comments for that post, not the content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Using Post Category Feeds

Some your site users may only be interested in subscribing to content about specific topics. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

With WordPress, you can easily create individual category feeds.

All you have to do is use the format below:

WP RSS feed format for category

(Use this format for WP category feed)

Copy the category URL …

Copy your category URL ...

(Copy the selected category link address …)

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

Format for WordPress post categories RSS feed

(WP category RSS feed format)

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

Category RSS feed

(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 – Publish An RSS Feeds Directory

You can provide your own directory of RSS feeds for visitors that allows readers to subscribe only to specific categories, just like large websites …

Provide A Feeds List

(Set Up An RSS Feeds Directory)

Link an icon to each feed URL and then create a table or a list of all category feeds on a new page …

RSS button image

(RSS image. Source: public-domain-photos.com)

We have created a detailed tutorial on inserting tables into WordPress posts and pages here:

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure several feed types without editing code. Here are some examples of feeds you can create …

Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – displays your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed that includes the latest comments left on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed containing an individual post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on a single post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/11/30/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – RSS feed that displays the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/08/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Contains the latest posts 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. Make sure you place your subscribe links somewhere visible …

Promote your feeds!

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

Finally, keep in mind that other website owners will only syndicate your content if you provide great content. In other words, provide high-quality information that will add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add someone else's content and get others to share your content online with WordPress and RSS!

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

Useful 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:

  • RSS Buttons – Visit an online resource site like www.iconspedia.com/search/rss or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss buttons”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS graphics.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization responsible for publishing the RSS specification, guiding developers who create RSS applications and helping to further the understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org/Feeds – WordPress documentation and information. Visit this site for additional information about WordPress and RSS.

A Beginner's Guide To Using WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to display content from other websites on your site via their RSS feed.

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

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