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 WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product your business provides, providing high-value information to your blog users is essential. For example, if you provide insurance services, it’s not a bad idea to publish useful information from government departments, such as news and updates on statistical findings, insurance advice, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, is really time-consuming. You have to do a ton of data sifting, researching and organizing, checking sources for accuracy, content writing and editing (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually make sure that this information is up-to-date. As you can imagine, this not only involves a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is completely beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your subscribers with up-to-date information

(RSS - One of the simplest ways to provide your users with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

Some Basic Information About RSS

  • RSS is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred to, Really Simple Syndication. It can also be called a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • When a user subscribes to a website’s feed, they no longer have to physically check the source website for updated content. Instead, their browser will constantly monitor the content and keep feed subscribers updated.
  • Feeds are also used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog posts, news, audio lists, etc., which any user can then subscribe to.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML document that includes either full or summarized text along with other metadata like date of publishing, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on sites or blogs that publish feeds and then view any updates posted on these websites through an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate their information.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed readers. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF (Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure that feeds are compatible with different devices, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also allow you to combine multiple RSS feeds to receive news and updates from various sources.

This article shows you 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 using RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful way to share content online. RSS Feeds provide web users with a simple way to receive the latest information posted on different websites.

First, let’s look at content syndication.

Global media and news publishing agencies rely heavily on syndication to publish content from news agencies around the world.

Content syndication allows most online newspapers to deliver readers stories from around the globe without actually having to employ and set up more reporters and writers everywhere around the world …

Digital content agencies rely on content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources around the world.

(Most news reporting agencies and influential online media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources around the world.)

Syndication is used to share newsworthy content legitimately with other sites. Content agencies syndicate content using news feeds

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing newsworthy content

(Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing newsworthy content)

Most sites actually want you to syndicate their information. Syndicating content not only allows information to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the site that originally published the content being syndicated. This provides websites with new opportunities to generate significant web visitors.

Most news agencies and leading online media publications will contain a feed section (look for links in their navigation section that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “huffington post rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most leading online media publications will contain an RSS feed section

(Most leading online media publications will contain an RSS feed section. Image: smh.com.au )

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

RSS directory

(A directory of different RSS feeds. Image Source: NY Times RSS)

These feed items allow you to source content from different areas of the site (e.g. business news, entertainment news, jobs, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain further feed subcategories …

RSS Feed section.

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

Important

Note: An RSS feed is only a URL. To use RSS feeds, all you have to do 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.

The Benefits Of Using RSS Feeds

Syndicating content from someone else’s website on your website has some obvious benefits. It helps someone else’s business and helps you by freeing you up from having to create this content …

RSS Feeds - Benefits

(Using RSS Feeds Has Many Benefits!)

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

When other websites and blogs syndicate your feed, this gives your business the opportunity to get increased exposure online and drive more visitors …

Try to get other online users to syndicate content using your feed ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Get users to syndicate your content … it will help to increase your web traffic!)

Your WordPress RSS

By default, WordPress automatically publishes a feed of your posts, allowing others to syndicate your content on their sites.

Depending on the WordPress theme you have installed, there are a number of ways to get your WordPress RSS feed:

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

Meta widget

(Meta section)

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

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

Copy feed URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

3) On many websites and again, depending on your theme, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Subscribe, Links, or Social Share toolbar section …

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

(Look for an RSS button in a a Follow Us, Social Share, or Links toolbar section)

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 site is located in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

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

RSS feed content as seen using Firefox

(Feed items as seen using Firefox)

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

Feed entries viewed with Google Chrome

(Feed items viewed on Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

Reading Settings - Syndication feed items setting

(Reading Settings – Syndication feed items setting)

The feed will display as many recent items you have specified in the Reading Settings section …

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Idea

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

Post excerpts can affect how your feed content will display

(Post excerpts affect how a feed displays)

We have written a detailed tutorial about using Post excerpts in WordPress here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s see how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and search for an RSS feed link using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for an RSS feed button.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

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

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

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

Adding Feeds To Your WP Site

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

How To Add Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is in, you could display on your site the latest news 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 the WordPress sidebar …

Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar area

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

copy the feed URL from a website containing content that you would like to add to your sidebar to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the feed URL)

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

WordPress RSS Widget

(Widgets Section – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Refresh your browser. The content should appear 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:

Adding Feeds To Posts

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

You can easily do this using WordPress plugins. Just search inside your ’Add Plugins’ screen for RSS Post, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' search results

(’Add Plugins’ search results)

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

The plugins listed below can be used to 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

(WPeMatico – WordPress Plugin)

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

You can manage all of your imported feeds and organize them into categories and campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator - WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator – WordPress Plugin)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and autoblogging WordPress plugin that offers extended functionality with a number of premium add-ons.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into your WP posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer WordPress Plugin)

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

The plugin will fetch an RSS feed and publish the full article 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 – WordPress Plugin)

With POWr RSS Feed, you can combine and display content from a number of different RSS feeds.

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

The premium version contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin

(WP Pipes)

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

This plugin provides loads of powerful functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, export posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

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 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 FeedWordPress to create aggregator site (sites that combine content from various different sources), or bring together all of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog Plugin

(Autoblog Plugin For WordPress)

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 your feed URL, 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

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

(RSS Includes Pages WordPress Plugin)

Use RSS Includes Pages to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed and not just posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here:

Important Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to giving online users access to RSS feeds of your posts, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of your latest post comments.

You can see these by clicking on Comments RSS in the ‘Meta’ widget of your sidebar menu (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) …

Comments RSS

(Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed entries viewed on a Firefox browser

(Comments feed items as seen with Firefox)

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

Comments feed items displayed with Google Chrome

(RSS comments feed entries viewed with Google Chrome)

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

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

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

Note: If the Meta section is not displaying on your theme, you can view the Comments RSS section of your site by opening up a browser and typing in the following URL:

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

Tip #2 – Accessing Feeds For Individual Items

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

Individual Post Feed

(Individual Post Feed)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Displaying Category RSS Feeds

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

If your website displays content published under multiple categories, you can offer visitors a separate feed for each of these categories.

Just use the format below:

Format for WordPress category feed

(Feed format for post categories)

Copy the category URL …

Copy your category URL ...

(Copy the selected category URL to your clipboard …)

And add the word “feed” to the end of it …

WP RSS feed format for category

(WP category feed format)

The RSS feed will now only display content specific to this category …

Category-specific feed page

(Category-specific feed)

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 – Publish An RSS Feeds List

You can publish your own directory of feeds for subscribers that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories, just like large online publishers …

Publish Your Own Feeds Page

(Publish Your Own Feeds Page)

You can link an RSS graphic to the URL of your feed and then create a table or a list of all your individual feeds on a separate page …

RSS button image

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

We have written a detailed tutorial about creating tables in WordPress here:

RSS – Additional Notes

You can customize feeds in various 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 code editing skills. Here are some examples of custom feeds you can display …

WordPress RSS - Custom Feeds

(Different Feed Types You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

Below are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown in the image above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – contains your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed containing the latest comments left on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed for an individual post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that displays the latest comments made on a single post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/03/19/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/11/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Feed containing the latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Contains latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

It’s a good idea to promote your feeds. Make sure you place your ’subscribe to RSS’ link or button in a visible location …

Remember to make your feeds visible your RSS feeds!

(Remember to make your RSS feeds visible your RSS feeds!)

Also, keep in mind that other website owners will only want to syndicate your content if your content is useful, informative, or highly entertaining. In other words, focus on providing your subscribers with high-quality information that will add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add content from other sites and get others to syndicate your content with RSS!

(Add someone else’s content and get other users to share your content with RSS!)

Tip

If you need great content ideasΒ subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

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

Resources:

  • RSS Feed Buttons – Visit online resource sites like feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss logo”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation and reference repository. Go here for additional information about WordPress feeds.

WordPress RSS Feature

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 content from other sites on your site via RSS.

Hopefully, this post has given you 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 the benefits of using WordPress for a business website please see other posts on this site.

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