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 service or product you sell, providing high-quality information to your site visitors is essential. For example, if your business provides travel services, it’s not a bad idea to provide users with information from government and foreign travel departments, such as news and updates on travel warnings, tips from embassies, etc.

To create and publish this type of information, however, takes a huge amount of time and expertise. 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 make sure that this information is 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 beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS is the simplest way to provide your subscribers with up-to-date information

(RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your blog subscribers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What Does It Mean?

  • RSS, which, according to some experts stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to now as Really Simple Syndication. It is also often called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • When users subscribe to an RSS feed, they no longer have to physically check the source website for updated content. Instead, their web browser constantly monitors the content and keeps feed subscribers automatically updated.
  • RSS feeds are also used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog post items, news headlines, audios, etc., which any user can then subscribe to.
  • RSS feed content can be viewed with a software called an RSS feed reader, or feed aggregator. Aggregators can be used to find new content published on websites and distribute this content to other online properties.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and read by different aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom (also called AtomPub or APP feeds and RDF (Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different devices, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine several RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from many sites.

This detailed guide explains where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to display content from other websites and blogs on your site via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful way of sharing content online. Feeds provide web users with a simple way to keep up with the latest information published on different sites.

First, let’s look at syndication.

News reporting agencies rely heavily on content syndication to publish news from other news agencies all around the world.

Syndication allows most news publishers and leading online media publications to deliver readers stories from around the globe without actually having to post additional reporting agencies to every location in the world …

Global media publications use content syndication to publish newsworthy items from other news agencies all around the planet.

(Most content publishers rely on syndication to publish newsworthy items from news sources all around the world.)

Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content with other sites. online media publications syndicate stories using feeds

Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content

(Online newspapers syndicate their newsworthy content using feeds)

Most websites actually would like you to syndicate their information. Content syndication not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it also drives 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 news reporting agencies and major online media publications will have a feed section (look for links in their navigation menu that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “courier mail rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most online newspapers and major sites provide links to an RSS feed section

(Major sites provide links to a feed section. Image Source: SMH RSS )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds link will bring up a list of different RSS feed sections of the site …

RSS feeds section

(A site’s list of different feeds. Image: nytimes.com)

These RSS feeds give readers access to content from different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, entertainment news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

An RSS list can also include subcategory feeds …

RSS Feed section.

(An RSS feed list can also include subcategories. Image Source: latimes.com)

Info

Note: A feed is just a URL. All you have to do to use the feed is copy the URL and paste it into software that can process the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Using Feeds

Syndicating content from someone else’s website on your website has some obvious benefits. It not only helps someone else’s site, it also adds value to your site without you having to create the content …

Using Feeds

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

While adding an RSS feed 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 you also want other sites to use YOUR content.

When other websites and blogs syndicate your content, you have the opportunity to gain increased exposure online and drive new visitors …

Look for ways to get visitors to syndicate your RSS feed ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

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

WordPress Feed – Overview

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

Depending on your WordPress site’s theme, there are a few ways to get the WordPress RSS feed:

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to be displayed on your sidebar or footer, just scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Meta widget

(Meta section)

2) You can also find links and buttons on certain WordPress themes that allow your visitors to copy your feed.

In the screenshot below, for example, a visitor can copy the 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 URLs to your clipboard from “subscribe” buttons)

3) On many websites and again, depending on your WordPress site’s theme, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Subscribe, Links, or Share toolbar section …

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

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

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

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

RSS feed items seen with Firefox

(RSS feed items displayed with Firefox)

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

Feed items displayed with Google Chrome

(RSS content seen with Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

WordPress Reading Settings - Number of syndication feed items field

(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings – Number of syndication feed items field)

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

The feed page will display as many recent posts as you have specified in your WordPress Reading Settings section

(The feed page will show as many recent items you have specified in the Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

Another setting in the Reading Settings section that affects your RSS feed is whether to display posts in your feed as full text, or as a summary …

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

(Reading Settings – Display ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for posts in your RSS feed)

Idea

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

Post excerpts can affect how content in feeds will appear

(Post excerpts affect how your feed content displays)

We have written a detailed tutorial on Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, to view the content of an RSDS feed, you need to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into an application that can read and translate feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s show you how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and look for their RSS feed button using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for an RSS feed icon.

(Look for an RSS feed link. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard

(Copy your feed URL to your clipboard)

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

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

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

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

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Site

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

Adding Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is a part of, you could easily add to your site the latest news from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry by simply adding their feed. You can use RSS 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 …

Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Let’s add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar)

copy the RSS feed URL from a website that publishes content that you want to add to your site to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

WordPress RSS Widget

(Widgets Screen – RSS Widget)

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

Load your website in your web browser. The content will now show in the sidebar …

RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

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

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

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

Adding A Feed To WordPress Posts

What if you want to add content from an RSS feed to a post instead of the sidebar?

You can do this using WordPress plugins. Search inside your ’Add Plugins’ section for RSS Aggregator, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' screen - RSS plugins for WordPress

(’Add Plugins’ search results)

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

Here are a number of autoblogging plugins that allow you to automatically add new with RSS feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin

(WPeMatico)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on is an advanced importer that allows you to autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into your WP posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer WP Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

The premium version of this plugin contains a number of additional features.

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 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, auto blogging, auto post to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, export posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a flexible syndication plugin for WordPress.

As stated in the FeedWordPress site …

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

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator site (sites that bring together posts from various different sources), or bring together all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, LinkedIn, Flickr, or other online services, 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 very quickly, with no coding required and no complicated instructions. Simply copy and paste in your feed URL, name your feed (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 WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

The RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types plugin modifies RSS feeds to include pages in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Important Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

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

To view these comments, locate the ‘Meta’ section on your sidebar menu (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) and click on Comments RSS

WordPress Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed items as seen on Firefox

(Comments feed items viewed on Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed entries as seen using a Google Chrome browser

(Comments feed entries as seen on a Google Chrome web browser)

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

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

(Paste the URL of your comments feed into a feedreader to view the content. Image Source: http://feedreader.com/online)

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 site has been installed in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Feeds For Single Post Items

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

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(RSS Feed For Individual Post)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Using Category RSS Feeds

Some your site visitors may only be interested in subscribing to content from one or two categories. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

WordPress allows you to create category feeds.

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

WP post categories RSS feed format

(RSS feed format for category)

Copy the category URL …

Copy the selected category link address ...

(Copy your category link address …)

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

WP RSS feed format for category

(WP category RSS feed format)

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

Category-specific RSS feed

(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 An RSS Feeds Directory

You can publish a page of RSS feeds for subscribers that allows readers to subscribe to content in specific categories, just like the larger websites do …

Set Up An RSS Feeds Directory

(Set Up Your Own RSS Feeds Page)

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

RSS icon

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

We have written a detailed tutorial about creating tables in WordPress posts and pages here:

RSS Feeds – Additional Notes

You can customize RSS in various different ways, such as adding videos to feeds, ads, etc. Some of these feed customizations require editing code.

WordPress allows a number of feed configurations without code editing skills. Below are examples of some of the kinds of feed types you can use and how to structure the feeds …

Different Custom Feeds You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed that includes the latest comments left on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed containing individual post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that displays the latest comments made on single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed displaying the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/04/02/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/03/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed containing latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes the latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Contains the latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to let visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feed. Place a ’subscribe to RSS’ button in a visible location …

Promote your feeds!

(Encourage your site users to syndicate your feeds!)

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

Easily add someone else's content and get others to syndicate your content using RSS!

(Add content from other sites and get others to syndicate your content with RSS!)

Tip

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

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

Additional RSS Resources:

  • RSS Feed Images – Visit sites like Iconspedia or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS icon”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization with three primary duties: publishing RSS specifications, guiding developers who create RSS applications and furthering the understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org/RSS Feeds – WordPress documentation and reference. Go here for additional information about using WordPress feeds.

WordPress RSS Feature

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 someone else’s content on your site via RSS feeds.

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

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