Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

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

A Basic Guide To WordPress RSSNo matter what your business provides or what industry you belong to, providing high-value information on your site or blog is vitally important. For example, if your business provides travel services, it’s a good idea to provide users with information from government departments and foreign travel offices, such as news or updates on travel warnings, advice from embassies, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it is very time-consuming. 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 make sure that this information is continually kept up-to-date. As you can imagine, this not only involves a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is completely beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS - The simplest way to provide your site visitors with up-to-date information

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What You Need To Know About RSS

  • RSS, which, according to some is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly known as Really Simple Syndication. It is often called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content so that their users can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • RSS feeds are often used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog posts, news headlines, video lists, etc., which any user can choose to subscribe to.
  • RSS feed content can be viewed with software programs called feedreaders, or aggregators. Feed readers can be used to access new content published on websites and distribute this content to many online properties.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and read by different feed aggregators. 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 compatibility with different machines, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine many RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from a number of websites.

In this article, we show you where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to add content from other websites and blogs to your site using RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful (and legitimate) method used to share web content. Feeds provide web users with a way to keep up with the latest information posted on websites and blogs they are interested in.

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

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

Content syndication allows many online newspapers and leading media publications to deliver readers up-to-the-minute news headlines and all kinds of newsworthy stories from all over the globe without having to employ more news staff and news writers in every place around the world …

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

(Content agencies rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy items from news sources all around the world.)

Syndication is used to share content legitimately with other sites. Global media publications syndicate news stories using news feeds

Syndication is a legitimate method 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 syndicate their information. Content syndication 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 creates new ways to drive traffic back to their site.

Many digital news agencies and major content sites will have a feed section (look for menu links that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “salt lake tribune rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most digital publishing agencies and major sites will have a feed section

(Major content sites include an RSS feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds directory

(RSS directory. Image Source: NY Times RSS)

Each of these RSS feeds lets you access different areas of the site (e.g. technology news, arts news, health news, etc.)

A feed directory can also contain further feed subdirectories …

RSS Feed section.

(An RSS list can also include subcategory feeds. Source: latimes.com)

Useful Information

Note: An RSS feed is only a URL. To use the feed, all you need to do is copy the URL and paste it into a program that can translate the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

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

Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else’s Website 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 you also want other websites to use your content.

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

It's worth trying to get other websites to syndicate your RSS feed ... it will help to increase your exposure online!

(It’s worth trying to get visitors to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

Your WordPress RSS Feed

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

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

1) If your theme has been configured to display the Meta widget in a standard or custom menu …

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Useful Information

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

Post excerpts affect how feeds will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how your feed content will appear)

To learn more about using WordPress Post excerpts, see this tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, all that’s required to view the content of an RSS feed is to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into an application that can read and translate feeds into readable content.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, find a website whose feed you want to syndicate and search for their RSS feed icon using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for an RSS feed button.

(Look for an RSS feed section. Image source: http://www.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)

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

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

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

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

How To Add RSS Feeds To WordPress

In the example below, we’ll add content sourced from another website or blog to yours.

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Sidebar

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

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area

(Add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, find a website or blog that publishes content that you want to add to your sidebar and copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy your feed URL to your clipboard)

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

WordPress RSS Widget

(Widgets Area – RSS Widget)

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

Load your website in your web browser. The content from the RSS feed should now appear on your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been placed – e.g. custom menu) …

RSS Feed Added To WP Sidebar Menu

(RSS Widget)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

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

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

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

Adding Feed Content To Your Posts

Can you add content from RSS feeds to posts instead of a sidebar? You sure can!

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

'Add Plugins' section

(’Add Plugins’ screen)

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

Here are a number of plugins you can check out that allow you to add RSS feeds to your posts and pages:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and auto blogging WordPress plugin with additional functionality with a number of premium add-ons.

For example, the Feed to Post extension lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress)

RSS Post Importer can be used to import, syndicate, curate, merge and display full text feeds on your WordPress blog.

The plugin 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 WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed)

POWr RSS Feed combines and displays content from various RSS feeds.

This plugin also lets you display videos, images, and articles, adjust sizing and spacing of feeds, use custom fonts, colors, backgrounds, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any tablet, computer, or phone and supports text in any language.

The premium plugin edition contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes WP Plugin

(WP Pipes WordPress Plugin)

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

This plugin provides loads of powerful features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, export WordPress posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress)

FeedWordPress is a 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 β€” but with additional meta-data, so that your templates can properly attribute the post to the source it came from.

You can use this plugin to create aggregator sites, or bring together all your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog WP Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages – WordPress Plugin)

By default, WordPress only posts posts in your RSS feed. Use a plugin like the RSS Includes Pages plugin to include pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Tip

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

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

To see 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

Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments Feed)

Comments posted on your site by visitors and users display in the Comments RSS page …

Comments feed entries displayed on Firefox

(Comments feed entries as seen with a Firefox browser)

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

RSS comments feed content displayed using a Google Chrome browser

(Comments feed entries viewed using a Google Chrome web browser)

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

Paste your comments feed URL into a feed reader to view the feed 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 website or blog is located in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Displaying RSS Feeds For Single Posts

Being able to display an RSS feed for a specific post item 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 an individual post is shown below:

Individual Post Feed

(Feed For Specific Post Item)

To create the above feed, copy the URI of your post, and add “/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 the post URI, WordPress will return the comments for your post, not actual post content itself.

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

Some your site users may only be interested in subscribing to content about specific topics. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

WordPress allows you to create separate category feeds.

All you need to do is use the format below:

WP post categories RSS feed format

(Feed format for post categories)

Select and copy the category link address to your clipboard …

Copy your category link address ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

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

Format for WP post categories RSS feed

(WordPress RSS feed format for category)

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

Category RSS feed page

(Category RSS feed)

The WordPress CodexΒ 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 An RSS Feeds Page

You can publish your own RSS feeds directory that allows readers to subscribe to specific content …

Set Up A Page Of RSS Feeds

(Create Your Own RSS Feeds List)

You can also link a button icon to category (or specific post) feed URLs and then create a table or a list of all feeds on a new page …

RSS image

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

To learn more about adding tables to WordPress pages and posts, go here:

RSS – Notes

You can customize RSS in various different ways, such as adding videos and 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 custom feeds you can create …

Different Custom Feeds You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Custom Feeds)

Here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown 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 – RSS feed that contains the latest comments published on your website
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed that displays specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed containing the latest comments made on single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/09/04/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/12/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: RSS feed displaying the latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays the latest 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 RSS feeds. Make sure you place a ’subscribe to RSS’ button or link somewhere visible …

Encourage your site users to subscribe to your feeds!

(Encourage your visitors to syndicate your feeds!)

Keep in mind that other sites will only want to syndicate your content if you publish great content. In other words, focus on providing your visitors with high-quality information that will add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add content to your site and get online users to share your content with RSS feeds!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get other users to share your content online using WordPress and RSS!)

Tip

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

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our feed πŸ™‚

Additional Resources:

  • Download RSS Feed Icons – Visit Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS logo”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable Free RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about the history and benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress documentation and reference repository. Go here for more information about using RSS feeds in WordPress.

Understanding WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to add content from other sites to your site via RSS.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To learn more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business web site please click on links to visit other great articles and tutorials on this site.

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