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 product or service you sell or what industry your business is a part of, it’s vitally important to provide high-quality information on your site or blog. For example, if you provide insurance services, it’s a good idea to include information from government departments, such as news and updates on statistical research, insurance advice, etc.

The problem with creating this type of information, however, is that it is very time-consuming. You have to do a ton of information sorting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, writing and editing content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then make sure that this information is continually 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 well beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is a much simpler way to keep your site visitors up-to-date with your information.

It’s called RSS

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

(RSS - The easiest way to provide your blog subscribers with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS Made Simple

  • RSS, which, according to some experts is short for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save users time from having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog posts, news headlines, audio lists, etc., to which users can choose to subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML (XML = Extensible Markup Language) document that includes either full or summarized text along with metadata like date of publishing, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on sites that publish feeds and then browse updates posted on these sites using an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate content automatically.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feedreaders. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom 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, readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine several RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from different websites.

This guide explains 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 feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful and legitimate way to share content online. RSS Feeds provide online users with a way to receive the latest information posted on different sites.

First, let’s look at content syndication.

Online media publications rely on syndication to publish newsworthy content from content sources around the world.

Syndication allows most leading online newspapers to deliver readers the latest news headlines and interesting newsworthy content from all around the planet without having to hire and post more news reporting departments all around the world …

Global media publications use content syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources all around the world.

(Global media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from news sources all around the globe.)

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

News reporting agencies syndicate information using news feeds

(Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing information)

Most sites actually want you to syndicate their information. Syndicating content 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 provides websites with new opportunities to generate significant web traffic.

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

Major sites have a feed section

(Leading online newspapers include an RSS feed section. Image: SMH )

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

RSS directory

(RSS feeds directory. Image Source: NY Times RSS)

These feeds give readers access to content about different sections of the website (e.g. business news, entertainment news, health news, etc.)

Feed sections can also include further feed subdirectories …

RSS Feed section.

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

Important Info

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 translate the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

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

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(Using RSS Feeds Has Many Benefits!)

While adding a feed from another site is a great way to add content to your site that you don’t have to create, it’s worth keeping in mind that you also want other websites to use your content.

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

Try to get users to syndicate your feed ... it will help to increase your web traffic!

(Look for ways to get other websites and blogs to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress RSS Feed – About

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

Depending on which theme you have installed, there are a few ways to access your RSS feed:

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to display in your navigation menu, just scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Meta section

(Meta section – Accessing your RSS feed)

2) You can also find built-in links or buttons on certain WordPress themes that let your visitors copy your RSS feed.

In the screenshot below, for example, a visitor can copy the site’s RSS feed URL by clicking on on the Subscribe to RSS link …

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

(Copy feed URLs to your clipboard from “subscribe” buttons)

3) On many sites and again, depending on which theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Follow, Social Share, or Link To Us toolbar …

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

(Look for an RSS button in a a Social Share, Links, or Subscribe toolbar section)

4) You can also view your RSS feed by typing your site’s URL into a web browser and adding “/feed” after the URL, e.g.:

  • http://www.yourdomain.com/feed
  • http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/feed (if your site has been installed in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

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

RSS entries seen with Firefox

(RSS feed content as seen on Firefox web browser)

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

RSS feed items seen with Google Chrome

(RSS items seen using Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

WP Settings - Reading Settings - Syndication items field

(WP Reading Settings – Syndication feed items)

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

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

(The feed page will display the number of items you have specified in your WordPress 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 each article in a feed as full text, or as a summary …

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

(Settings – Reading Settings – ’For each article in a feed show’: ‘Full text’ or ‘Summary’)

Important

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts affect how your feeds display

(Post excerpts affect how your feed content appears)

We have written a detailed tutorial on using Post excerpts in WordPress here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, go to a website whose content you want to syndicate and search for a ’subscribe to feed’ link or button …

Look for an RSS feed button.

(Search for an RSS feed section. 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)

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

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

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

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

Adding A Feed To WordPress

In the example below, we are going to add content from other website’s RSS feeds to yours.

Adding Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

Let’s add content sourced from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area …

Let's add an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, Go to a site containing content that you want to display on your site and copy its feed URL 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 …

Widgets Panel - RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

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

Load your site in your web browser. The content can now be seen 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:

How To Add Feed Content To Posts

Can you add content from RSS feeds to WordPress posts? Yes, you can!

You can easily do this using plugins. Search inside the Plugins screen for RSS Post, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' section - RSS plugins

(‘Add Plugins’ screen – WordPress RSS plugins)

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

The plugins listed below can be used to feed content to posts, or “autoblog” (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 easy to use autoblogging plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from specific RSS/Atom feeds.

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on allows you to import RSS feeds directly into your posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin)

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

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full 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 – WordPress Plugin)

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

This plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust feed spacing and size, use custom colors, borders, fonts, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any tablet, phone, or computer and supports text in all languages.

The premium version of POWr 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

(WP Pipes WordPress Plugin)

WP Pipes is a powerful data migration plugin that allows you to 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, autoblogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook, export posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides simple and flexible syndication for WordPress site content.

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 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 FeedWordPress to create aggregator site (sites that bring together posts from different sources), or display all of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, YouTube, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev – WordPress Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up very quickly, with no coding required and no complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in the URL of your feed, give your 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 – WordPress Plugin)

Install a plugin like RSS Includes Pages to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed in addition to posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here:

Important

Using RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

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

You can see these by clicking on Comments RSS in your ‘Meta’ section …

WordPress Comments Feed

(Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed entries seen using Firefox

(RSS comments feed entries viewed on Firefox)

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

Comments feed items seen on a Google Chrome web browser

(RSS comments feed content as seen using Google Chrome)

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

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

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

Note: If the Meta section is not displaying on your theme, you can view the Comments RSS section of your site by opening up a browser and typing in the following URL:

  • http://www.yourdomain.com/comments/feed
  • http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/comments/feed (if your website is located in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Individual Item Feeds

Being able to select 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 using an RSS feed for a specific post item is shown below:

RSS Feed For Specific Post Item

(Individual Post RSS Feed)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Displaying Category Feeds

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

With WordPress, you can create category feeds.

All you have to do is use the format below:

WordPress category feed format

(Feed format for category)

Copy the selected category URL …

Select and copy your category link address ...

(Copy the category link address to your clipboard …)

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

WordPress category RSS feed format

(RSS feed format for category)

Your RSS feed will now only include content specific to that particular category …

Category feed page

(Category feed page)

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 – Set Up Your Own Directory Of Feeds For Your Visitors

You can provide your own RSS feeds list that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in the categories that interest them, just like the larger online publishers do …

Set Up Your Own Feeds Directory

(Publish Your Own Directory Of RSS Feeds For Visitors)

All you need to do is link a button icon like the one shown below to your category (or single post) feed URLs and then create a table or a list of your feeds on a separate page …

RSS image

(RSS graphic. Image Source: public-domain-photos.com)

For a detailed step-by-step tutorial on adding tables to WordPress posts, go here:

RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure several feed types that do not require messing with code. Below are examples of some of the kinds of custom feed types you can display …

Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(Different Custom Feeds You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Includes the latest comments left on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed containing a specific post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed that contains the latest comments made on an individual post
  • 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/2012/01/27/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/07/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains the latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: RSS feed containing the latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to promote your feed. Make sure you place a subscribe link or button in a visible location …

Promote your feeds!

(Promote your RSS feeds!)

Keep in mind that online users will only want to syndicate your content if you provide your subscribers with high-quality content that can add value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Add great content to your site and get other users to share your content using RSS!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get other sites to subscribe to your content using RSS feeds!)

Practical 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 RSS feed πŸ™‚

Additional RSS Resources:

  • RSS Feed Buttons – Visit an online resource site like Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS logos”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable Free RSS images and icons.
  • 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 helping the general public to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation and reference. Go here for additional information about feeds in WordPress.

WordPress RSS Feature

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

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of issues that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To read more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business web site please click on links to visit our related posts section.

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