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.

WordPress RSS Feature OverviewNo matter what what industry you are in, it’s important to provide high-value information on your site or blog that better educates, informs, or improves engagement with your visitors. For example, if your business provides medical services, you may want to publish useful information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness advice, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it is very time-consuming. You have to do a ton of information sorting, researching and organizing, checking the accuracy of your facts, content writing and editing (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 beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS - One of the simplest ways to provide your site readers with the latest information

(RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your subscribers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Definition

  • RSS, which, according to some experts is short for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly known now as Really Simple Syndication. It is also often referred to as a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • When users subscribe to an RSS feed, they no longer have to manually check the website for content updates. Instead, their web browser will continually monitor the feed and automatically keep subscribers up-to-date.
  • Feeds are also used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog posts, news, audios, etc., which any user can then subscribe to.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML (Extensible Markup Language) document that includes either full or summarized text along with other metadata such as published date, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on sites that publish feeds and then view any updates posted on these websites using an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate their information automatically.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be read by different feed aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom (also called AtomPub or APP 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 and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine several RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates from various sources.

In this comprehensive article, we explain where your RSS feed is located, 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.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful method used to share web content. RSS Feeds provide web users with a way to stay up-to-date with the latest information published on different sites.

First, let’s look at syndication.

Global media and news reporting agencies rely on content syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources all around the world.

Content syndication allows most news reporting agencies to deliver readers stories and news from around the planet without actually having to hire more reporting agencies in every location in the world …

Media publications use syndication to publish newsworthy items from news sources all around the globe.

(Digital publishing agencies rely on syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies all around the globe.)

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

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

(Content syndication is used by digital news agencies to share newsworthy content with other news publications)

Most sites actually would like you to syndicate their content. Content syndication not only allows information to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the original site responsible for publishing the content being syndicated. This creates links that can drive traffic back to their site.

Most online newspapers and major content sites will include a 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”, “daily telegraph rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Major sites will have a feed section

(Most news reporting agencies and major sites include an RSS feed section. Image: Sydney Morning Herald RSS )

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section brings up a directory of RSS feeds for different content topics on the site …

A site's directory of different feeds

(A site’s list of different feeds. Image: NY Times)

Each of these RSS feed items allows readers to access content about different sections of the website (e.g. business news, sports news, editorials, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain further feed subdirectories …

Feed sections can also contain subcategories.

(RSS Feed section. Source: LA Times)

Important

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

Content Syndication – Benefits

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

RSS Feeds Has Many Benefits!

(Syndicating Content 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 use your content.

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

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

(Look for ways to get users to syndicate your content … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

Overview Of The WordPress RSS Feed

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

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

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

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

(Your feed page will display as many recent posts as you have specified in your 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 feeds is whether to display articles as full text, or as a summary …

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

(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings – Display ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for each article in your feed)

Tip

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

Post excerpts affect how your feed content appears

(Post excerpts affect how feeds will appear)

To learn more about Post excerpts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, all that’s required 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 reads and translates feeds into readable content.

Let’s see how this works.

First, find a website whose feed you want to subscribe to and search for their RSS feed button …

Search for a 'subscribe to feed' icon or link.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy your feed URL)

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

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

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

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

How To Add Feeds To Your Site

Let’s show you how to add content sourced from another website or blog to yours.

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

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

Let’s add RSS content to the WordPress sidebar …

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

(Add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar)

copy the RSS feed from a site that publishes content that you want to display on your site …

Copy the URL of your feed 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 an RSS widget …

Widgets Panel - RSS Widget

(Widgets Section – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Load your website in your web browser. The content from the RSS feed should appear on your sidebar …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Content Added To Sidebar Menu)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

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

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

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

Adding Feeds To Your WordPress Posts

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

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

RSS plugins

(’Add Plugins’ search results)

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

Here are a few auto blogging tools that allow you to create new using feeds and imported content:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico - WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

WPeMatico is an auto blogging plugin that lets you publish posts automatically from multiple RSS/Atom feeds.

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator)

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

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 WP Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

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

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the entire content of each feed item as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin)

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

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display videos, images, and article content, adjust feed size and spacing, use custom backgrounds, colors, fonts, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any phone, tablet, or computer and supports text in every language.

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

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes WordPress Plugin)

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

This plugin provides features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, export 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 For WordPress)

FeedWordPress provides versatile syndication options for WordPress-generated content.

As stated in the FeedWordPress website …

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

You can use this FeedWordPress to create aggregator site (sites that display posts from many different sources), or display all of your online activity in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog by WPMUDev)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin

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

You can install a plugin like RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types if you would like to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed in addition to posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here:

Tip

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to giving online users access to feeds of your latest posts, WordPress also displays RSS feeds of comments posted on your site.

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

Comments RSS

(Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed content displayed with a Firefox web browser

(Comments feed items displayed on Firefox browser)

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

Comments feed items seen using Google Chrome

(Comments feed entries seen on Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste the URL of your comments feed into a feed reader to view the content. Image 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 – Accessing RSS Feeds For Single Post Items

Being able to access an RSS feed for single posts 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 making an RSS feed for specific post items is shown below:

Specific Post Feed

(RSS Feed For Individual Post Item)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

Note: By default, if you only add “/feed” to the end of a post address, WordPress will return the comments made on that post, not the content of the post 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 your entire site’s feed.

If your website contains content published under several categories, you can easily create a separate RSS feed for each of these categories.

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

WP category feed format

(Feed format for category)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Select and copy your category URL ...

(Copy your category URL …)

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

Feed format for category

(Use this format for WordPress post categories feed)

Your feed will now only include content posted in this category …

Category RSS feed page

(Category feed page)

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

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

Post Category feed format

(Post Category feed format. Source: WordPress Codex)

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

WordPress post category feed format

(WordPress post category feed format)

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

Posts > Categories menu

(Posts > Categories menu)

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

Post Category ID

(Post Category ID)

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

Post category feed format with domain name and ID

(Post category feed format with domain name and ID)

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

Paste the feed into your browser

(Paste the feed into your browser)

This will display the feed for that specific category …

RSS feed of a specific post category

(RSS feed of a specific post category)

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

Post category feed format

(Post category feed format)

Here is the feed format again …

Post category feed

(Post category feed)

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

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

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

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

Post category feed content

(Post category feed content)

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

Tip #4 – Publish A Page Of RSS Feeds For Your Visitors

You can publish a feeds list that allows your readers to subscribe to specific content …

Set Up A Feeds Directory

(Provide A List Of Feeds)

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

RSS button graphic

(RSS button image. Image: 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, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

WordPress RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows various feed configurations that do not require editing code. Here are some examples of custom feeds you can use and how to structure the feeds …

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(WordPress RSS – Custom Feeds)

Below are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown in the image above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Feed that displays your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Contains the latest comments left on your website
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed that contains individual items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on a specific post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/03/11/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – RSS feed containing latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/10/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes the latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed that includes latest post entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to promote your feeds. Place your subscribe buttons in a visible location …

Remember to make your feeds visible your RSS feeds!

(Encourage your visitors to subscribe to your feeds!)

Keep in mind that other website owners will only syndicate your content if you provide your subscribers with high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Easily add content from other sites and get online users to syndicate your content with WordPress and RSS!

(Add someone else’s content and get other users to share your content online with RSS feeds!)

Useful 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 🙂

RSS – Additional Resources:

  • RSS Feed Buttons – Visit a site like Feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS icon”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about the benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress Codex: Feeds – WordPress software documentation and reference. Visit this site to learn more about using WordPress and RSS.

WordPress RSS Feature

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

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of problems that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To read more about using WordPress please see our related posts section.

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"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