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 And RSSNo matter what what industry you are in, providing high-quality information to your site readers is important. For example, if your business provides travel-related services, it’s not a bad idea to provide users with the latest information from government departments and foreign travel offices, such as news or updates on travel warnings, tips from consular offices, etc.

The problem with providing this kind of information, however, is that it takes a lot of time and resources. You have to filter through, research, and organize a ton of information, check your facts, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually ensure that this information is kept up-to-date. As you can imagine, this not only involves a huge amount of work but most of the information you are dealing with is well beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

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

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What Does RSS Mean?

  • RSS, which, according to some experts stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly known now as Really Simple Syndication. It it is also called a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • Once users subscribe to an RSS feed, they no longer have to manually check the source website for content updates. Instead, their web browser will continually monitor the feed and keep subscribers updated.
  • RSS feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog posts, news headlines, video lists, etc., to which any user can choose to subscribe.
  • RSS feeds can be read using software programs called RSS readers, or aggregators. Aggregators can be used to access new content published on websites and syndicate this content online.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be 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 that feeds are compatible with different machines, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine several RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from many sites.

This detailed article shows you where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to display someone else’s content on your site via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful and legitimate way of sharing content online. Feeds provide online users with a simple way to receive the latest information published on sites they are interested in.

First, let’s take a look at content syndication.

Media publications rely on content syndication to publish news from news sources all around the world.

Syndication allows most news reporting agencies to deliver readers interesting stories and the latest headlines from around the globe without having to hire more staff in every place around the world …

Global media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from news sources around the world.

(Most news reporting agencies rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from news sources all around the planet.)

Syndication is used to share content legitimately with other sites. News reporting agencies syndicate information using feeds

Online newspapers syndicate their content using news feeds

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

Most websites actually want 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 can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Many digital news publishing agencies and leading online media publications contain an RSS feed section (look for links in the navigation menu that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “nz herald rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many news reporting agencies have an RSS feed section

(Most online newspapers and major sites will include an RSS feed section. Image: Sydney Morning Herald )

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

RSS Feeds

(RSS feeds list. Image: nytimes.com RSS feeds)

These feed items give you access to different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, sports news, editorials, etc.)

An RSS directory can also contain feed subcategories …

RSS Feed section.

(RSS Feed section. Source: latimes.com)

Info

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

Content Syndication – Benefits

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

Syndicating Content Has Many Benefits!

(Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else’s Business And Yours!)

While adding feeds from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are benefits in getting other websites to syndicate your content.

When other websites and blogs syndicate your RSS feed, you have the opportunity to get more exposure online and drive more web traffic …

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

(Get users to syndicate content using your feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

About Your WordPress RSS Feed

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

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

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

Access your WordPress RSS feed from the Meta section

(WordPress Meta widget)

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

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

Copy feed links to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

3) On many sites and again, depending on the theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Link To Us, Keep In Touch, or Social Share toolbar section …

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

(Look for an RSS button in a a Social Share, Stay In Touch, or Links section)

4) You can also view your WordPress site’s feed by typing your site’s URL into a browser and adding “/feed” after the URL, e.g.:

  • http://www.yourdomain.com/feed
  • http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/feed (if your website is located in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed items seen on Firefox web browser

(Feed entries seen on a Firefox web browser)

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

Feed items displayed with a Chrome web browser

(RSS feed entries as seen on Chrome web browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

You can specify how many posts you would like to show in your RSS Feed page, by going to your Reading Settings section and typing the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WordPress Reading Settings - Syndication items

(Reading Settings – Number of syndication feed items)

The feed will display the number of items you have specified in the WP Reading Settings section …

Your feed will display as many recent posts as you have specified in the Reading Settings section

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

Another setting in your Reading Settings section that affects your feeds is whether to display articles as full text, or just a summary …

Settings - Reading Settings - Show 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for posts in your feed

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

Important Info

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts affect how your feed content will appear

(Post excerpts affect how feeds will display)

To learn more about using Post excerpts in WordPress, see this step-by-step tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s show you how this works.

First, find a website or blog and search for a ’subscribe to feed’ button or link …

Look for a 'subscribe to feed' button.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard)

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

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

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

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

Adding A Feed To WordPress

In the example below, we’ll add content from other website’s RSS feeds to yours.

Adding An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are in, you can easily add to your site the latest content 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 such as news, social media 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 your sidebar)

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

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

Next, paste the feed into an RSS widget …

Widgets Section - RSS Widget

(Widgets Section – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Load your site in your browser. The content will now appear on your 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:

How To Add RSS Feeds To WordPress Posts

Can you add content from RSS feeds to WordPress posts? Yes, you can!

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

'Add Plugins' search results - WordPress RSS plugins

(WordPress RSS plugins)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico - WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico WP Plugin)

WPeMatico is an autoblogging plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from multiple RSS/Atom feeds.

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin)

WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive RSS feed importer and auto blogging WordPress plugin that offers a number of premium add-ons for extended functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on allows you to add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into your 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)

The RSS Post Importer plugin can be used to curate, syndicate, import, merge and display full-text feeds (RSS, Atom, etc.) on your WordPress website or blog.

The plugin will fetch an RSS feed and publish the full article content of each feed item as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed - WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed – WordPress Plugin)

POWr RSS combines and displays content from various sources using RSS feeds.

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

The premium plugin edition contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes WP Plugin

(WP Pipes)

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

This plugin provides loads of powerful features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter, export WordPress posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to a new level.

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress)

FeedWordPress provides versatile Atom/RSS syndication options 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 sites, or bring together all of your online activity in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog Plugin

(Autoblog Plugin For WordPress)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, with no coding required and no complicated instructions. Simply copy and paste in the URL of your feed, give it a name of your choosing (for admin purposes) and select the blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Includes Pages Plugin)

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types modifies the default WordPress RSS feed to include pages in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Important Info

Using RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

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

You can view this feed by clicking on Comments RSS in your ‘Meta’ widget (note: your theme may not be configured to display this widget) …

WordPress Comments RSS

(Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed items seen on Firefox

(Comments feed items displayed using a Firefox browser)

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

Comments feed items seen with Google Chrome

(Comments feed items seen with Google Chrome)

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Individual Post RSS Feeds

Being able to create an RSS feed for single 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 creating an RSS feed for individual post items is shown below:

Feed For Single Post Item

(RSS Feed For Single Post)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category RSS Feeds

Some your site visitors may only want to subscribe to content from specific categories. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

If your website or blog publishes content under multiple categories, WordPress allows you to easily offer visitors a separate feed for each post category.

Just use the format shown below:

Use this format for WordPress post categories RSS feed

(Format for WP post categories feed)

Copy the category link address …

Copy your category URL ...

(Copy your category link address …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

WP category RSS feed format

(Feed format for post categories)

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

Category 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 – Publish Your Own Feeds Page

You can set up your own feeds list that allows readers to subscribe only to content in the categories that interest them, just like large authoritative sites …

Set Up Your Own Page Of RSS Feeds

(Set Up A List Of RSS Feeds On Your Site)

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

RSS button image

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

If you need help with creating tables in WordPress pages and posts, go here:

RSS – Additional Notes

You can customize your feeds 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 a number of feed types that do not require editing code. Here are some examples of feeds you can create …

WordPress RSS - Feed Types

(Different Feed Types You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

Below are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed in the table above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Includes the latest comments left on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for individual items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed for the latest comments made on a specific post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/04/14/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – RSS feed that includes latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/12/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays the latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Includes latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to let your visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feeds. Make sure you place your subscribe buttons somewhere visible …

Remember to promote your RSS feeds!

(Encourage your visitors to syndicate your feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that online users will only syndicate your content if you provide your visitors with high-quality content that will add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Easily add great content to your site and get online users to share your content using RSS!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get online users to subscribe to your content with WordPress and RSS!)

Practical 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 🙂

RSS Resources:

  • Download RSS Feed Buttons – Visit Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss logos”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about the history and benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org/Feeds – Official WordPress documentation. Visit this site for more information about using WordPress RSS feeds.

WordPress RSS Feature Overview

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

Hopefully, this post has given you a better understanding of problems that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you improve your business online. To learn more about using WordPress for a business web site please click on links to visit our related posts section.

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