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 …

Understanding The WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product you provide or what industry your business is in, you need to provide quality information on your site or blog. For example, if your business provides accounting or financial planning services, you may want to provide users with information from the taxation office, such as news and updates on tax rulings, small business tax deductions, etc.

To create and publish this type of information, however, requires a huge amount of time and resources. You have to do a ton of information sorting, researching and organizing, checking sources for accuracy, content writing and editing (or hire someone to do this for you), and then ensure that this information is continually 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 a much simpler way to continually provide your site readers with up-to-date information.

It’s called RSS

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

(RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your users with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What Does RSS Stand For?

  • RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred, Really Simple Syndication. It is also often called a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save users time from having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • RSS feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog post items, news, music playlists, etc., to which any user can then subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML (Extensible Markup Language) document that includes full or summarized text along with metadata like published date, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then browse updates posted on these sites through an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate their content.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different 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 compatibility with different devices and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine many RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from many sites.

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

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful method used for sharing content online. RSS Feeds provide web users with a simple and easy way to keep up with the latest information published on sites they are interested in.

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

Most content publishing agencies rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from news agencies all around the world.

Syndication allows many online newspapers and many influential media publications to deliver readers stories from all around the planet without actually having to set up additional news staff all around the world …

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

(Many digital content agencies and many popular media publications use syndication to publish stories from news sources all around the globe.)

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

Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content

(Content syndication is used by news reporting agencies to share information with other publications)

Most sites actually want you to share their information. Content syndication not only allows high-quality information to be shared, but it also drives visitors back to the original site that published the content being syndicated. This provides websites with additional opportunities to generate significant web visitors.

Many news reporting agencies and major content sites have an RSS feed section (look for links 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 news reporting agencies and leading online media publications have a feed section

(Most digital news agencies and major content sites have an RSS feed section. Source: Sydney Morning Herald )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds section brings up a directory of different RSS feed sections …

RSS Feeds

(RSS directory. Source: nytimes.com)

These RSS feeds give you access to information from different areas of the website (e.g. business news, travel news, health news, etc.)

A feed directory can also contain further subcategories …

Feed sections can also include subcategories.

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

Info

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

Syndicating Content – Benefits

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

The Benefits Of Content Syndication

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

While adding feeds from another site is a great way to add content to your site that you don’t have to create, it’s a great idea to try and get other sites to use YOUR content.

When other websites and blogs syndicate your content, this gives you the opportunity to gain increased exposure online and drive more web traffic …

It's a good idea to get users to syndicate your content ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Get visitors to syndicate content using your RSS feed … it will help increase your exposure online!)

WordPress RSS Feed – Overview

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

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

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

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

(Your feed page will show the number of posts as you have specified in the WP 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 RSS feed is whether to display posts in the feed as full text, or as a summary …

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

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

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

Post excerpts affect how feeds will display

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed will appear)

To learn more about WordPress Post excerpts, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, find a website or blog and look for an RSS feed link using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for an RSS feed link.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy your feed URL to your clipboard)

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

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

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

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

Adding RSS Feeds To WordPress

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

Adding A Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are in, you can add to your site the latest news 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 the WordPress sidebar …

Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

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

copy the RSS feed URL from a website or blog that publishes content that you would like to display on your sidebar …

Copy the feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed)

Next, go to your Widgets screen and paste the feed into an RSS widget …

RSS Widget

(Widgets Screen – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Refresh your browser. The content from the RSS feed can now be seen in your sidebar …

RSS Feed Content Added To Sidebar Menu

(RSS Feed Content Added To WordPress Sidebar)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

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

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

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

How To Add Feeds To Your Posts

Can you add content from an RSS feed to posts instead of a sidebar? Yes, you can!

You can do this using WordPress plugins. Search inside the Plugins admin screen for RSS Aggregator, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' screen

(’Add Plugins’ section)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico - WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

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

You can manage all of your imported feeds and organize them according to campaigns and categories.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator - WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on is an advanced, feature-rich importer that lets you import RSS feeds directly into your posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WP Plugin

(RSS Post Importer – WordPress 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 item in your feed as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin)

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

The POWr RSS plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust feed size and spacing, use custom colors, fonts, backgrounds, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on all tablets, phones, and computers and supports text in every language.

The premium version of this plugin contains many 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 Plugin For WordPress

(WP Pipes Plugin)

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

This plugin provides functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook, export WordPress posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible Atom/RSS syndication options 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 — 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 sites, or display all your online activity in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog

(Autoblog)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up very quickly, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in your feed URL, give your feed a name (for admin purposes) and select the blog that you want it to post to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin

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

By default, WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed. Use RSS Includes Pages if you would like to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed and not just posts.

For more details, go here:

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WordPress RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress displays RSS feeds of your post comments in addition to giving online users access to feeds of your posts.

To see the comments in your feed, go to the ‘Meta’ section on your sidebar (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) and click on Comments RSS

Comments Feed

(Comments Feed)

Comments posted on your site by visitors will appear in your Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed content viewed on Firefox

(Comments feed items viewed using Firefox)

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

Comments feed entries seen on Google Chrome browser

(Comments feed items viewed on a Google Chrome web 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: 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 WP site installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Displaying RSS Feeds For Specific Post Items

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

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

Single Post Feed

(Specific Post RSS Feed)

To create the above feed, copy the post URL, 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 your post URL, WordPress will return the comments made on that post, not the post content itself.

Tip #3 – Category RSS Feeds

Some your site visitors may only be interested in syndicating content from one or two post categories. 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 shown below:

WordPress category feed format

(RSS feed format for post categories)

Copy the selected category link address to your clipboard …

Copy the selected category link address ...

(Copy your category link address …)

Add “feed” to the end of it …

Feed format for category

(WP category RSS feed format)

The feed will now only contain content published in that particular category …

Category RSS feed page

(Category-specific RSS 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 – Create An RSS Feeds Page

You can publish a feeds page that allows readers to subscribe only to content in the categories they are interested in, just like the larger authoritative sites do …

Create Your Own Page Of RSS Feeds On Your Site

(Set Up A Feeds Directory)

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

RSS graphic

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

For a detailed step-by-step tutorial on creating tables in WordPress posts and pages, go here:

RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure different feed types without code editing skills. Here are some examples of feed types you can create …

WordPress RSS - Feed Types

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Feed that includes your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed that contains the latest comments published on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed that includes single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that includes the latest comments made on single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/08/13/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/08/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – RSS feed containing latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains latest post entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: RSS feed displaying the latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to promote your feed. Make sure you place a subscribe buttons somewhere visible …

Remember to promote your RSS feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

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

Add someone else's content and get visitors to share your content online with WordPress and RSS!

(Add content from other sites and get others to syndicate your content using WordPress and 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 🙂

Resources:

  • RSS Images – Visit an online resource site like Feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss logo”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization with three primary duties: publishing the RSS specification, providing guidance to developers who create RSS applications and broadening general public understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about the history and benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress software documentation and information. Visit this site for more information about feeds in WordPress.

A Practical Guide To WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to add content from other websites and blogs to your site using their RSS feed.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of problems that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To read more about using WordPress please see other posts we have published on this site.

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