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 Overview On Using The WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product you provide or what industry your business is a part of, it’s important to provide quality information to your site readers. For example, if your business provides travel services, you may want to publish useful information from government and foreign travel-related departments, such as news or updates on travel warnings, advice from embassies, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it requires a great deal of effort and resources. You have to do a ton of data sorting, researching and organizing, checking sources for accuracy, writing and editing content (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 lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is a much easier way to provide your readers with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is the simplest way to provide your subscribers with the latest information

(RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your blog subscribers with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS Made Simple

  • RSS is short for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly known, Really Simple Syndication. It it is also called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • When a user subscribes to a website’s feed, they no longer have to manually visit and check the source website for updated content. Instead, their web browser constantly monitors the site and keeps feed subscribers automatically updated.
  • RSS feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog posts, news headlines, videos, etc., which users can choose to subscribe to.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML (Extensible Markup Language) document that includes full or summarized text along with metadata like date of publishing, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then browse any updates posted on these websites using a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate their content automatically.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats 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 that feeds are compatible with different machines, readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine several RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from many other sites.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explain where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to add someone else’s content to your site using RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful way of sharing content online. Feeds provide online users with a simple way to stay up-to-date with the latest information posted on different websites.

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

Global media and online newspapers rely heavily on syndication to publish stories from content sources all around the world.

Content syndication allows most leading online newspapers to deliver readers the latest news items and fresh content from all around the globe without actually having to employ and post more news reporting agencies all around the world …

Many news reporting agencies rely on syndication to publish news and stories from news sources all around the globe.

(Media publications rely on syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies around the globe.)

Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing newsworthy content. News reporting agencies syndicate their information using news feeds

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

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

Most websites actually want you to syndicate their content. Content syndication not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the site that originally created theoriginally created and published the content being syndicated. This creates new ways to drive traffic back to their site.

Many news agencies and major content sites have an RSS 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”, “nz herald rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most leading online media publications will have a feed section

(Many news reporting agencies provide links to an RSS feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section will bring up a list of different RSS feeds …

RSS directory

(RSS feeds directory. Image Source: NY Times)

These feeds give you access to information from different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, entertainment news, jobs, etc.)

An RSS feed directory can also contain feed subcategories …

Feed sections can also contain subcategories.

(Feed sections can also contain feed subcategories. Image Source: latimes.com)

Useful Information

Note: A feed is only a URL. All you need to do to use RSS feeds is to copy the URLs and paste these into a program that can process the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Syndicating Content – Benefits

Syndicating content from someone else’s website on your website has some obvious benefits. It not only helps someone else’s business, it also helps your site by freeing you up from having to create this content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Website And Yours!

(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 you also want other websites 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 …

It's worth trying to get visitors to syndicate your content ... it will help to increase your web traffic!

(Get other sites to syndicate your content … it will help increase your exposure online!)

WordPress RSS Feed – Overview

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

Depending on your theme, there are a number of ways to get your RSS feed:

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to display on your sidebar or footer menu, you can scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Access your WordPress RSS feed in the Meta section

(Meta widget – Entries RSS)

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

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

Copy RSS URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe to RSS" buttons

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

3) On some sites and again, depending on which theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Share, Follow Us, or Link To Us slide-out, floating, or fixed toolbar …

Look for an RSS button in a a Social Share, Link To Us, or Subscribe toolbar

(Look for an RSS button in a a Follow, Share, or Link To Us section)

4) You can also view your WordPress feed by simply 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 …

RSS feed items as seen using a Firefox browser

(RSS feed entries viewed on Firefox browser)

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

RSS entries seen using Google Chrome

(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 in the Reading Settings section. Select the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WordPress Reading Settings - Syndication feed items field

(Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

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

Your feed page will display the number of posts as you have specified in your Reading Settings section

(Your feed will display the number of items you have specified in the WP Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Important

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

Post excerpts can affect how your feed content will display

(Post excerpts affect how a feed will display)

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

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, all you have to do to view the content of a 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, go to a website whose feed you want to subscribe to and look for a ‘subscribe’ button or link using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for an RSS feed button.

(Look for a ‘subscribe’ button or link. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

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

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

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

How To Add A Feed To Your WordPress Site

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

Adding A Feed To Your WordPress Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is in, you can display on your site the latest updates 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 such as news, Facebook updates, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

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

Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation menu

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

First, Find a site that publishes content that you want to display on your sidebar and copy the RSS feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard)

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

WordPress RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your web browser. The content will now appear on 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 Feed Content To Your WordPress Posts

Can you add content from an RSS feed to a post? You sure can!

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

'Add Plugins' screen

(RSS plugins)

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

Here are a few autoblogging tools that allow you to automatically create new with RSS feeds and imported content:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress)

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

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 WP Plugin)

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

The plugin will fetch an RSS feed and publish the entire content of each item in your feed as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed)

POWr RSS Feed allows you to automatically combine content from multiple content using RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust feed priority, use custom fonts, borders, colors, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on all computers, tablets, and phones and supports text in any language.

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

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes – WordPress Plugin)

The WP Pipes plugin 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 functionality 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 Plugin

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication for WordPress site-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.

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator site (sites that bring together posts from different sources), or display all your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

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

By default, WordPress only posts posts in your RSS feed. Use a plugin like RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types if you want to include pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Tip

Using WordPress RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – 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 post comments.

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

WordPress Comments RSS

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

Comments feed entries as seen on a Firefox web browser

(Comments feed entries viewed using Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed items as seen on Google Chrome

(RSS comments feed entries as seen on Google Chrome browser)

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

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

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

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 installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Displaying Specific Item Feeds

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

The formula for creating an RSS feed for single post items is shown below:

Specific Post Feed

(Feed For Specific Post)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Displaying Category RSS Feeds

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

If you publish content under several categories, WordPress allows you to easily create a separate feed for each of your categories.

Just use the format shown below:

Feed format for category

(Feed format for category)

Copy the selected category link address to your clipboard …

Copy the category link address ...

(Copy the category link address …)

And add “feed” to the end of it …

Format for WP category RSS feed

(WP category feed format)

Your feed will now only display content published under this particular category …

Category 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 – Create Your Own RSS Feeds Directory

You can create your own feeds page that allows readers to subscribe to content in specific categories, just like large websites …

Set Up A Page Of Feeds

(Create Your Own Directory Of RSS Feeds)

All you need to do is link an RSS graphic like the one shown below to your category (or specific post) feeds and then create a table or a list of your category feeds on a separate page …

RSS graphic

(RSS button image. Source: public-domain-photos.com)

To learn more about inserting tables into WordPress content, refer to this tutorial:

WordPress RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows several RSS feed configurations without code editing skills. 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 different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown in the diagram 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 – Feed that includes the latest comments posted on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing an individual post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed for the latest comments made on a single post
  • 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/2012/03/31/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/10/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Feed containing the latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Contains the latest items 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 let visitors know that they can subscribe to your feeds. Place your ’subscribe to RSS’ button image in a visible location …

Encourage visitors to subscribe to your RSS feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that other sites will only want to syndicate your content if you provide great information that educates, engages, and entertains. In other words, focus on providing your subscribers with high-quality information that can add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add content from other sites and get others to syndicate your content online with WordPress and RSS!

(Add content to your site and get other sites to syndicate your content using RSS feeds!)

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 🙂

Additional Resources:

  • Download RSS Icons – Visit Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS icon”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable Free RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about the benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex: WordPress Feeds – WordPress software documentation site. Go here for additional information about using RSS feeds in WordPress.

A Beginner's Guide To Using WordPress RSS

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

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of problems that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To read more about using WordPress for a business website please click on links to visit other posts we have published on this site.

***

"Learning WordPress has been a huge stumbling block for me. I've been looking for something that covers absolutely everything but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Thank you so much ... you have just provided me with what I have been looking for! Truly appreciated!" - Tanya