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 …

The Ultimate Guide To Understanding WordPress RSSNo matter what your business provides or what industry you are a part of, it’s vitally important to provide high-quality information to your site readers. For example, if you provide travel-related services, it’s a good idea to provide users with information from government departments and foreign travel offices, such as news and updates on travel warnings, tips from consular offices, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, involves an enormous amount of effort and expertise. You have to filter through, gather, and organize a lot 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 not only involves a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is entirely beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is a simpler way to keep your site visitors up-to-date with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - The easiest way to provide your blog subscribers with great information

(RSS is the easiest way to provide your blog subscribers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Definition

  • RSS, which, according to some experts is short for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content to save users time from having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • RSS feeds are also used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog entries, news headlines, audios, etc., to which any user can choose to subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML (Extensible Markup Language) document that includes full or summarized text along with other metadata such as date of publishing, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then keep up with any updates posted on these sites through an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate web content automatically.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and read by different aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different machines and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine different RSS feeds to receive news and updates from multiple sources.

In this in-depth guide, we will show you where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to display content from other sites on your site using RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful and legitimate method used for sharing content online. RSS Feeds provide an easy way for online users to receive the latest information published on sites and blogs they are interested in.

First, let’s take a look at how syndication is used.

News reporting agencies and global online publications use content syndication to publish newsworthy content from news agencies around the world.

Syndication allows most news reporting agencies and many influential online media publications to deliver readers up-to-the-minute newsworthy items and stories of general interest from all around the globe without actually having to hire more writers everywhere around the world …

Media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies all around the globe.

(Media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish content from news sources all around the globe.)

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

Online newspapers syndicate information using news feeds

(Content syndication is used by global media publications to share information with other news publications)

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

Most digital content publishing agencies and leading online media publications include an RSS feed section (look for links that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “belfast telegraph rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Major sites provide links to an RSS feed section

(Major sites include an RSS feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds list

(RSS feeds section. Image: nytimes.com)

These feeds give readers access to content from different areas of the website (e.g. technology news, sports news, science news, etc.)

A feed list can also include further subcategory feeds …

RSS Feed section.

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

Important Info

Note: An RSS feed is only a URL. All that’s required to use a feed is to copy the URL and paste it into software that can translate the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

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

Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else's Website And Yours!

(The Benefits Of Syndicating Content)

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 websites to use YOUR content.

When other sites syndicate your feed, you have the opportunity to gain more exposure online and drive more web traffic …

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

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

WordPress RSS Feed – About

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

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

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

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

(The feed will display as many recent items you have specified in the WordPress 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 feeds is whether to display articles as full text, or a summary …

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

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

Useful Info

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

Post excerpts can affect how a feed will display

(Post excerpts affect how your feed content displays)

If you need help using excerpts in WordPress Posts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, go to a website whose feed you want to syndicate and look for an RSS feed link using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for a 'subscribe to feed' link.

(Look for a ‘subscribe’ link. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the feed URL)

If you want, you can check the feed content by pasting the URL of the feed into a feedreader …

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

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

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

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WP Site

In the example below, we are going to add content from other websites and blogs to your WordPress site.

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is in, you can add to your site the latest news from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by importing their feed. You can easily display a range of information on your WordPress site such as news, social media comments, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

Let’s add RSS content to the WordPress sidebar area …

Let's add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Let’s add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation menu)

copy the feed URL from a website containing content that you want to display on your site …

Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard

(Copy the feed URL to the clipboard)

Next, paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

Widgets Area - RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

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

Load your website in your web browser. The content 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 WordPress Posts

Can content from RSS feeds be added to a post? It sure can!

You can do this using WordPress plugins. Just search on WordPress.org plugin directory for RSS, RSS feed to post, etc.

RSS plugins for WordPress

(’Add Plugins’ screen)

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

Here are a number of autoblogging plugins that let you create posts with RSS feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico - WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension allows you to autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer)

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

The plugin will fetch an RSS feed and publish the full content of every item in the feed as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin)

POWr RSS allows you to automatically combine content from various RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust feed priority, use custom backgrounds, fonts, colors, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in all languages.

The premium edition of POWr contains many additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, manually accept or reject posts in your feed, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes

(WP Pipes Plugin)

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

This plugin provides loads of powerful functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, 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 Plugin For WordPress

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a versatile syndication plugin 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.

You can use this FeedWordPress to create aggregator site (sites that combine and display posts from various different sources), or bring together all of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, YouTube, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev - WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin For WordPress)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up very quickly, with no coding required and no 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 WordPress Plugin

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

Use RSS Includes Pages if you want to include pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here:

Important Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to making RSS feeds of your posts available, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of comments posted on your site.

To see your comments feed, go to 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

(WordPress Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed content viewed using a Firefox web browser

(RSS comments feed entries as seen on a Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed items viewed using Google Chrome

(Comments feed items displayed with a Google Chrome browser)

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

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

(Paste the comments feed URL into a feed reader 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 WordPress installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Creating RSS Feeds For Specific Post Items

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

The formula for using an RSS feed for individual posts is shown below:

Specific Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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 your post URL, WordPress will return the comments for that post, not actual post content itself.

Tip #3 – Displaying Post Category Feeds

Some your site visitors may only want to subscribe to content from a particular post category. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

If your website or blog displays content published under many categories, you can easily create a separate RSS feed for each of your categories.

All you need to do is use the format below:

Format for WordPress post categories feed

(WP post categories RSS feed format)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Copy your category link address ...

(Copy your category link address …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

RSS feed format for post categories

(Use this format for WP category RSS feed)

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

Category-specific RSS feed page

(Category-specific RSS feed)

The WordPress Codex also provides different ways to create feeds not just for post categories, but also feeds for tags, authors, search, etc.

For this example, let’s create a feed for a specific post category using the format shown below:

Post Category feed format

(Post Category feed format. Source: WordPress Codex)

Here is the feed format WordPress recommends using. In this example, the post category ID is ’42’. We’ll need to replace the post category ID and the domain name …

WordPress post category feed format

(WordPress post category feed format)

To find the post category ID, go to Posts > Categories …

Posts > Categories menu

(Posts > Categories menu)

Locate the post category you want and hover your mouse over the title to reveal its unique ID …

Post Category ID

(Post Category ID)

In our example, the post category ID is ’29’ and the post category feed format we need to use for this specific category with our domain name looks like this …

Post category feed format with domain name and ID

(Post category feed format with domain name and ID)

Copy and paste the feed into your browser and hit enter …

Paste the feed into your browser

(Paste the feed into your browser)

This will display the feed for that specific category …

RSS feed of a specific post category

(RSS feed of a specific post category)

Note that in this example, WordPress automatically converted the feed format we pasted into the browser into the category feed we had used in the previous section of this tutorial …

Post category feed format

(Post category feed format)

Here is the feed format again …

Post category feed

(Post category feed)

In this case, the simplest way to create additional feeds for specific categories is to simply change the post category slug …

Change the post category slug to create a new category specific feed

(Change the post category slug to create a new category specific feed)

Paste the edited feed into your web browser and hit enter to display the content for that specific category’s feed …

Post category feed content

(Post category feed content)

Now that you have a method for creating feeds for specific post categories (or tags, authors, etc.), you can even create a directory or list of individual feeds for visitors.

Tip #4 – Create An RSS Feeds Page

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

Set Up A Directory Of RSS Feeds

(Provide Your Own List Of Feeds For Your Subscribers)

Link an RSS button image like the one shown below to category feed URLs and then create a table or a list of all feeds on a new page …

RSS graphic

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

If you need help with inserting tables into WordPress pages and posts, go here:

WordPress RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows different RSS feed configurations without messing with code. Below are examples of some of the kinds of custom feeds you can create …

Different Custom Feeds You Can Create With WordPress RSS

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Feed that 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
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for an individual post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on specific post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/01/08/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/08/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed displaying the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays the 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 RSS feed. Make sure you place your ’subscribe to RSS’ button somewhere visible …

Encourage your visitors to subscribe to your feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Keep in mind that online users will only want to syndicate your content if you provide your subscribers with high-quality content that will add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Easily add someone else's content and get online users to syndicate your content with RSS feeds!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get other sites to syndicate your content with RSS!)

Practical Tip

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

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed 🙂

RSS Resources:

  • Download RSS Buttons – Visit www.feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS logo download”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex: WordPress Feeds – Official WordPress documentation site. Visit this site to learn more about using feeds in WordPress.

Understanding Your WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to add someone else’s content to your site via RSS feeds.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of problems that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To read more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business web site please click on links to visit our related posts section.

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