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 Beginner's Guide To Using WordPress RSSNo matter what your business sells or what industry you are in, providing high-value information to your site readers is essential. For example, if you provide travel services, it’s a good idea to include useful information from government and foreign travel departments, such as news or updates on travel warnings, tips from consulates, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, requires an enormous amount of work and resources. You have to sift through, research, and organize a lot of information, check your facts, write and edit content (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 beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is a much simpler way to keep your site readers up-to-date with the latest information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your site visitors with up-to-date information

(RSS - The simplest way to provide your blog subscribers with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What Does RSS Mean?

  • RSS, which, according to some stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly known now as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be called a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • When users subscribe to an RSS feed, they no longer have to physically visit and check the website for updated content. Instead, their web browser will constantly monitor the content and keep subscribers up-to-date.
  • RSS feeds are often used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog posts, news, audios, etc., to which other users can choose to subscribe.
  • You can read an RSS feed with software-based tools called feed readers, or aggregators. Aggregators are used to access content on all different kinds of topics and syndicate this content online.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats and read by different feed readers. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different machines, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine several RSS feeds to receive news and updates from multiple sources.

In this comprehensive guide, we will show you where your RSS feed is located, 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 their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful method used for sharing web content. RSS Feeds provide a way for online users to stay up-to-date with the latest information posted on different sites.

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

Online newspapers and many popular media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish content from news agencies around the world.

Syndication allows online newspapers to deliver readers the most recent news items and interesting stories from all over the globe without actually having to hire more staff in every location around the world …

Global media publications rely on content syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies around the globe.

(Most digital content agencies use syndication to publish newsworthy items from news sources around the globe.)

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

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

(News reporting agencies syndicate their content using news feeds)

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

Major content sites contain an RSS feed section (look for links in the navigation menu that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, 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.) …

Leading digital content publishing agencies contain a feed section

(Leading news reporting agencies contain an RSS feed section. Image: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds directory

(RSS directory. Source: New York Times RSS)

These feed items give you access to content from different areas of the website (e.g. business news, arts news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain further subcategory feeds …

An RSS directory can also contain subcategories.

(RSS Feed section. Source: LA Times)

Info

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

Using Feeds – Benefits

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

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Website And Yours!

(Content Syndication - Benefits)

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 worth keeping in mind that there are benefits in getting other sites to use your content.

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

Get other websites and blogs to syndicate your content ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Look for ways to get users to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help to increase your exposure online!)

WordPress Feed – About

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

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

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

WordPress Meta section - Entries RSS

(WordPress Meta section – Accessing your RSS feed)

2) You can also find links and buttons on certain themes that let your visitors copy your RSS feed.

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

Copy feed URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe to RSS" buttons

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

3) On many sites and again, depending on your theme, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Link To Us, Follow Us, or Share slide-out, floating, or fixed toolbar …

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

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

4) You can also view your 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 WP installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

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

RSS feed items viewed with Firefox

(RSS items displayed using Firefox)

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

RSS feed content viewed with Google Chrome

(Feed items displayed on Google Chrome web browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

Specify how many items you want to show in your Feeds section in the Reading Settings section. Select the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

Reading Settings - Syndication feed items setting

(WP Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

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

The feed will show the number of posts as you have specified in the Reading Settings section

(The feed will display as many recent items you have specified in your 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 each article in a feed as full text, or just a summary …

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

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

Idea

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

Post excerpts affect how your feeds will appear

(Post excerpts affect how your feed content displays)

To learn more about Post excerpts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, to view a feed’s content, you need to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into a feedreader, i.e. an application that can translate feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s see how this works.

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

Look for a 'subscribe' link or button.

(Search for a ’subscribe to feed’ link or icon. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

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

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

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

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

Adding A Feed To Your WP Site

In the example below, we are going to add content from another website’s RSS feeds to your WordPress site.

Adding Feeds To Your Sidebar

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

Let’s add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar …

Add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar

(Add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

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

Copy your feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

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

Widgets Area - RSS Widget

(Widgets Panel – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Load your site in your web browser. The content from the RSS feed will now display on your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been added – e.g. custom menu, footer, etc) …

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 Feed Content To Your WordPress Posts

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

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

'Add Plugins' search results - RSS plugins for WordPress

(RSS plugins for WordPress)

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

Here are some auto blogging plugins for WordPress that allow you to create posts with RSS feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico WP Plugin

(WPeMatico – WordPress Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator - WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension is a feature-filled importer that lets you add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer

(RSS Post Importer)

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

The plugin fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full content of each feed item as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed)

POWr RSS Feed combines and displays content from a number of different sources using RSS feeds.

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

The premium version contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes – WordPress Plugin)

WP Pipes is a powerful data migration plugin that lets you create 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 podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to a new level.

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication for WordPress site-generated content.

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 sites, or display all of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, LinkedIn, Flickr, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog WordPress 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, give it a name of your choosing (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 Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

The RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types plugin lets you display pages in your WordPress RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Important Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

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

You can access these comments by clicking on Comments RSS in your ‘Meta’ widget (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) …

WordPress Comments Feed

(Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed items as seen with Firefox

(Comments feed entries as seen using Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed content seen on Google Chrome

(RSS comments feed content seen using Google Chrome)

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Specific Item Feeds

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

The formula for creating an RSS feed for individual post items is shown below:

Single Post RSS Feed

(Individual Post Feed)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Displaying Post Category RSS Feeds

Some your site visitors may only be interested in syndicating content from specific categories. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

WordPress allows you to create individual category feeds.

Just use the format below:

WordPress post categories RSS feed format

(Feed format for category)

Copy the category link address to your clipboard …

Copy your category link address ...

(Copy the category link address …)

And append “feed” to the end of it …

WP category feed format

(WP RSS feed format for post categories)

The RSS feed will now only include content posted under that particular category …

Category feed page

(Category-specific 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 – Set Up Your Own Directory Of RSS Feeds

You can publish a feeds directory that allows your readers to subscribe to content in the categories they are interested in …

Set Up Your Own RSS Feeds Directory

(Set Up A List Of Feeds)

Link an icon like the one shown below to a feed URL and then create a table or a list of your feeds on a separate page …

RSS button image

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

For a detailed tutorial on inserting tables into WordPress, go here:

WordPress RSS – Notes

Feeds can be customized 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 several RSS feed configurations that do not require messing with code. Here are some examples of custom feed types you can use and how to structure these feeds …

Different Feed Types You Can Create With WordPress RSS

(Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

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 entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed that contains the latest comments posted on your website
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing individual posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on an individual post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/11/18/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/02/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays the latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: RSS feed that displays the latest post entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to promote your feeds. Place a ’subscribe to RSS’ links somewhere visible …

Promote your RSS feeds!

(Encourage visitors to subscribe to your feeds!)

Keep in mind that other website owners will only want to syndicate your content if you publish great content that educates, engages, and entertains. In other words, provide high-quality information that will add great value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

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

(Add great content from other sites and get others to subscribe to your content with RSS feeds!)

Tip

If you need help coming up with content ideas subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

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

Additional RSS Resources:

  • RSS Graphics – Visit a site like FeedIcons or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss images”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS images and icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about using RSS.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress software documentation and reference. Go here for more information about WordPress feeds.

WordPress RSS For Beginners

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 websites and blogs on your site using their RSS feed.

Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of issues that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you improve your business online. To read more about using WordPress for a business website or blog please see other posts on this site.

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