Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

Learn about the benefits of using RSS and how to access, format and use WordPress RSS feeds to import and syndicate your content …

Understanding WordPress RSSNo matter what what industry you are a part of, it’s vitally important to provide high-quality information to your site users. For example, if you provide insurance services, you may want to publish information from government departments, such as news or updates on statistical research, insurance advice, etc.

The problem with providing this kind of information, however, is that it takes a great deal of time and expertise. You have to filter through, gather, and organize a lot of data, check your sources for accuracy, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then ensure that this information is continually 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 completely beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your users with great information

(RSS is the simplest way to provide your site readers with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What Is RSS?

  • RSS, which, according to some definitions is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to now as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be referred to as a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • After users subscribe to a website’s feed, they no longer have to physically visit and check the source website for updated content. Instead, their web browser will constantly monitor the content and keep feed subscribers up-to-date.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog entries, news, audios, etc., which any user can choose to subscribe to.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML (Extensible Markup Language) document that includes full or summarized text along with other metadata such as published date, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then browse any updates posted on these websites through a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate content automatically.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and read by different feed readers. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) feeds and RDF (RDF = Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure that feeds are compatible with different devices, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also allow you to combine different RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from various websites.

This guide explains 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 sites to your site via RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful and legitimate method used to share web content. RSS Feeds provide a simple way for web users to keep up with the latest information posted on different websites and blogs.

First, let’s look at content syndication.

Most digital publishers rely heavily on content syndication to publish news from content sources around the world.

Syndication allows most leading digital content publishing agencies to deliver readers the latest news items and content of general interest from around the planet without actually having to set up more staff everywhere around the world …

Media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy stories from news sources all around the planet.

(Most online newspapers rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy items from news sources all around the world.)

Syndication is used to share information legitimately with other sites. Digital content publishing agencies syndicate their news stories using news feeds

Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content

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

Most sites actually would like you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows valuable information to be shared, but it also drives visitors back to the original site responsible for creating and publishing the content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Major sites have an RSS 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”, “chicago tribune rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most leading online media publications include a feed section

(Most news publishers provide links to a feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds directory

(RSS feeds list. Image: New York Times)

Each of these feed items lets readers access content from different sections of the site (e.g. business news, sports news, editorials, etc.)

A feed list can also include subcategory feeds …

An RSS feed directory can also contain feed subcategories.

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

Info

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

Syndicating Content – Benefits

Syndicating someone else’s content on your website has some obvious benefits. It not only gives additional exposure online to someone else’s business, it also adds value to your site without you having to create that content …

Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else's Website And Yours!

(Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else’s Website And Yours!)

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

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

Consider trying to get users to syndicate your content ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Get other websites and blogs to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help increase your exposure online!)

About Your WordPress RSS

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

Depending on your WP theme, there are a number of ways to access your WordPress RSS feed:

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

You can access your WordPress RSS feed in the Meta section

(WordPress Meta widget)

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

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

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

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

3) On some websites and again, depending on the WordPress theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Follow, Share, or Links section …

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

(Look for an RSS button in a a Share, Links, or Subscribe slide-out, fixed, or floating toolbar)

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 website or blog has been installed in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

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

RSS entries viewed using a Firefox web browser

(Feed entries seen with Firefox)

Note that your feed items will display differently depending on which browser you use …

Feed items displayed using Google Chrome

(RSS feed entries displayed with Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

You can specify how many posts you want displayed in your Feeds page, by going to your Reading Settings section and entering the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WordPress Reading Settings - Syndication items field

(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

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

The feed will show the number of items you have specified in your Reading Settings section

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

(WordPress Reading Settings – Show ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for posts in a RSS feed)

Info

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

Post excerpts can affect how your feeds will display

(Post excerpts can affect how your feed content appears)

If you need help using Post excerpts in WordPress, see this step-by-step tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s take a look at how this works.

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

Look for a 'subscribe to feed' icon.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the feed URL to the clipboard)

If you want, you can check what the RSS feed contains by pasting the feed URL into an online feed reader …

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

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

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

Adding A Feed To WordPress Sites

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

How To Add RSS Feeds To Your Sidebar

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

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

Let's add an RSS feed to your sidebar

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

First, Go to a website or blog containing content that you would like to display on your site and copy its RSS feed to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard)

Next, paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

Widgets Area - RSS Widget

(Widgets Area – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

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

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Content Added To Sidebar)

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 Feeds To Posts

Can content from an RSS feed be added to a post instead of a sidebar? Yes, it can!

You can do this using plugins. Search inside the Plugins admin screen for RSS Aggregator, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' screen - RSS plugins

(‘Add Plugins’ screen – RSS plugins)

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

The plugins listed below are useful for adding 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 – WordPress Plugin)

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

You can manage all of your imported feeds and organize feeds according to categories.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension lets you add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin)

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

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full content of every item in your feed as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed WP Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed WP Plugin)

With POWr RSS, you can combine and display content from multiple content using RSS feeds.

This plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust feed priority, use custom fonts, colors, backgrounds, and more. It is also mobile responsive and supports text in any language.

The premium plugin edition contains a number of 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 Plugin For WordPress

(WP Pipes WP Plugin)

The WP Pipes plugin is a powerful data migration plugin that lets you create 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 Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter, export your posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a simple and flexible Atom/RSS syndication plugin for WordPress.

As stated in the FeedWordPress website …

FeedWordPress is an open-source Atom/RSS aggregator for the WordPress blog publishing platform. You set up feeds that you choose, and FeedWordPress syndicates posts from those sources into your WordPress posts table, where they can be displayed by your WordPress templates like any other post — but with additional meta-data, so that your templates can properly attribute the post to the source it came from.

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator sites, or bring together all your online activity in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin)

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 your feed URL, give the feed a name (for admin purposes) and select a blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types WP Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

Important Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

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

To inspect this, locate the ‘Meta’ widget area on your sidebar menu (note: your theme may not be configured to display this widget) and click on Comments RSS

Comments Feed

(Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed content displayed on Firefox web browser

(Comments feed entries seen with a Firefox web browser)

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

RSS comments feed items viewed using Google Chrome

(Comments feed items viewed on a Google Chrome browser)

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

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

(Paste the comments 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 has been installed in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Individual Post RSS 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 aggregator sites, or you may have created a valuable resource that other online users will want to syndicate.

The formula for displaying an RSS feed for an individual post item is shown below:

Feed For Specific Post

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category RSS Feeds

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

If you publish content under multiple categories, WordPress allows you to easily offer subscribers a separate RSS feed for each of these categories.

Just use the format shown below:

Format for WP post categories feed

(WordPress post categories feed format)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Copy your category link address ...

(Select and copy your category URL …)

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

Use this format for WordPress post categories RSS feed

(WP category RSS feed format)

The feed now only contains content assigned to this particular category …

Category RSS feed page

(Category-specific 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 Directory Of Feeds For Subscribers

You can create your own list of RSS feeds for visitors that allows readers to subscribe to content in specific categories, just like the larger websites do …

Set Up A Page Of Feeds

(Provide A List Of Feeds For Subscribers)

All you need to do is link an image like the one shown below to category feeds and then create a table or a list of all feeds on a new page …

RSS button image

(RSS button. Image: public-domain-photos.com)

If you need help with creating tables in WordPress content, go here:

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure various feed formats without touching code. Below are examples of some of the kinds of feeds you can display …

WordPress RSS - Feed Types

(Different Custom Feeds You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

Here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown in the table above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – RSS feed that includes your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed displaying the latest comments posted on your website
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for individual items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on a post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/11/06/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/03/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes the latest post entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays the latest post entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

It’s a good idea to promote your feeds. Place your ’subscribe to RSS’ buttons in a visible location …

Remember to make your feeds visible your RSS feeds!

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

Keep in mind that other website owners will only want to syndicate your content if you provide useful information. In other words, you must provide high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add great content to your site and get others to share your content using RSS feeds!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get other sites to syndicate your content using WordPress and 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 feed 🙂

Resources:

  • RSS Icons – Visit Iconspedia or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss icon”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable Free RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress documentation repository. Visit this site for more information about using WordPress feeds.

Overview Of WordPress RSS

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 someone else’s content to your site using RSS.

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 please click on links to visit our related posts section.

***

"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now