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 …

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WordPress RSS FeatureNo matter what service or product you sell or what industry your business is a part of, providing quality information to your site users is vitally important. For example, if your business provides medical services, you may want to include useful information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness advice, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, is really time-consuming. You have to filter through, gather, and organize a ton of data, check your facts, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then make sure that this information is continually 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.

Fortunately, there is a simpler way to keep your site visitors up-to-date with the latest information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - The easiest way to provide your site visitors with great information

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What Is It?

  • RSS is short for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly known, Really Simple Syndication. It it is also called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save readers time from 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, audios, etc., which users can then subscribe to.
  • RSS feeds can be viewed with a software-based program called an RSS feed reader, or aggregator. Aggregators are used to access content on all different kinds of topics and syndicate this content (and any updates made to this content) online.
  • 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 (Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different devices, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine many RSS feeds to display news and updates from various sources.

In this comprehensive article, we show you how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to display someone else’s content on your site via RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful method used to share content online. RSS Feeds provide web users with an easy way to keep up with the latest information posted on websites they are interested in.

First, let’s look at syndication.

Global media and digital publishing agencies use syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies all around the world.

Content syndication allows content agencies and highly-visited online publications to deliver readers up-to-the-minute news and newsworthy content from around the globe without actually having to hire additional news writers everywhere around the world …

Global media publications use content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources around the globe.

(News reporting agencies and highly-visited online media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy items from news sources around the globe.)

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

Online newspapers syndicate content using news feeds

(News reporting agencies syndicate their news stories using news feeds)

Most websites actually want you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows valuable information to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the site that originally published the content being syndicated. This creates links that can drive traffic back to their site.

Major sites include a feed section (look for navigation links that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “miami herald rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most online newspapers and major online media publications include a feed section

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

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section brings up a directory of different RSS feed sections of the site …

RSS feeds directory

(RSS feeds list. Source: NY Times RSS)

These feeds let readers source different sections of the site (e.g. business news, travel news, editorials, etc.)

An RSS list can also include subcategories …

An RSS feed directory can also include feed subdirectories.

(A feed list can also include feed subcategories. Image Source: latimes.com feeds)

Useful Information

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

Using RSS Feeds – Benefits

Adding content from someone else’s website or blog on your site has some obvious benefits. It gives someone else’s business additional exposure online and adds value to your site without you having to create that content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Website And Yours!

(Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else’s Business 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 a great idea to try and get other sites to syndicate YOUR content.

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

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

(Get other website owners to syndicate your feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress RSS Feed – About

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

Depending on your WordPress site’s theme, there are a number of ways to get the WordPress RSS feed:

1) If your theme has been configured to display the Meta widget in a standard or custom menu …

Your feed will show 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 your WordPress Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

Reading Settings - Display 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for each article in a feed

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

Tip

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content displays …

Post excerpts affect how a feed will display

(Post excerpts affect how a feed will display)

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

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, to view the content of an RSDS feed, you need to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into an application that translates feeds into readable content.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, find a website or blog and search for a ’subscribe to feed’ icon or link using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for a 'subscribe' button.

(Search for a ’subscribe to feed’ link or button. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy your feed URL to the clipboard)

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

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

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

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

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your Site

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

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are part of, you could display on your site the latest updates from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by adding content from their feed. You can use 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 the WordPress sidebar …

Let's add an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

copy the RSS feed from a website that publishes content that you would like to display on your site to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

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

WP RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Refresh your browser. The content will now appear in your sidebar (or wherever you have placed the RSS widget) …

RSS Feed Content Added To WordPress Sidebar Menu

(RSS Feed Content Added To Sidebar Menu)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

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

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

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

Adding Content From RSS Feeds To Posts

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

You can easily do this using plugins. Search on WordPress.org plugin repository for RSS Post, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' search results - WordPress RSS plugins

(RSS plugins for WordPress)

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

The plugins below can be used to feed content to posts, or “auto blog” (An auto blog is a blog with content that is automatically gathered and compiled from RSS feeds):

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico)

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

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

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 plugin for WordPress with premium add-ons for additional functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin allows you to import RSS feeds directly into your WP posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer)

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

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes 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 Plugin)

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

This plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust the priority of different feeds, use custom fonts, colors, borders, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in all languages.

The premium version of this plugin contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes WP Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

The WP Pipes plugin for WordPress 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 functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook, export your posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress provides simple and 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.

You can use this plugin to create aggregator site (sites that bring together posts from many different sources), or bring together all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, LinkedIn, Flickr, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev WP Plugin

(Autoblog – WordPress 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 your feed URL, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select the blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

By default, WordPress only posts posts in your RSS feed. Install the RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types plugin to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress displays RSS feeds of your post comments in addition to making RSS feeds of your posts available.

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

Comments Feed

(Comments RSS)

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

Comments feed entries viewed with a Firefox web browser

(Comments feed entries displayed on Firefox)

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

Comments feed items seen with a Google Chrome web browser

(Comments feed entries as seen using Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste the feed URL into a feedreader to view the feed content. Image: 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 or blog is located in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Specific Post Item Feeds

Being able to select an RSS feed for individual post items 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 an individual post item is shown below:

Feed For Individual Post

(Individual Post Feed)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Using Post Category RSS Feeds

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

If your website contains content published under multiple categories, WordPress allows you to easily provide a separate RSS feed for each different category.

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

WordPress category RSS feed format

(WP post categories feed format)

Select and copy the category URL …

Copy the category URL ...

(Copy the category link address to your clipboard …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

Format for WP post categories feed

(Use this format for WordPress post categories RSS feed)

The RSS feed now only displays content published in that particular category …

Category RSS feed

(Category 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 – Provide Your Own List Of RSS Feeds For Your Subscribers

You can provide a directory of RSS feeds on your site that allows readers to subscribe to specific categories …

Provide Your Own List Of Feeds For Your Site Visitors

(Set Up A Page Of RSS Feeds)

Link an RSS button graphic to category feed URLs and then create a table or a list of all your feeds on a separate page …

RSS icon

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

If you need help with inserting tables into WordPress posts and pages, refer to this tutorial:

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows various feed configurations without touching code. Here are some examples of feeds you can display …

WordPress RSS - Custom Feeds

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

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 – Contains the latest comments posted on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on single post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/02/01/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/09/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/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: Contains the latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to let users know that they can subscribe to your feed. Make sure you place a subscribe links in a visible location …

Promote your feeds!

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

Also, keep in mind that other website owners will only subscribe to 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 will add value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Add great content to your site and get other sites to share your content with RSS feeds!

(Easily add great content to your site and get visitors to syndicate your content with RSS!)

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 feed 🙂

Additional RSS Resources:

  • Download RSS Feed Buttons – Visit a site like feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss logo download”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS graphics.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about the benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation and reference repository. Visit this site for additional information about using feeds in WordPress.

Using WordPress RSS Feeds For Beginners

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

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of issues that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you expand your business online. To read more about using WordPress for a business website or blog please see our related posts section.

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