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 …

The Benefits Of Using WordPress RSSNo matter what product or service you sell or what industry your business is in, you need to provide high-quality information to your site visitors. For example, if you provide insurance services, it’s not a bad idea to publish the latest information from government departments, such as news or updates on statistical research, insurance advice, etc.

To create and publish this type of information, however, is really time-consuming. You have to do a lot of data sorting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, writing and editing content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually ensure that this information is kept 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 completely beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is an easier way to keep your users up-to-date with the latest information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your site visitors with great information

(RSS - One of the simplest ways to provide your site visitors with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS Made Simple

  • RSS, which, according to some stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • When a user subscribes to a website’s feed, they no longer have to manually check the source website for content updates. Instead, their browser will continually monitor the content and automatically keep subscribers updated.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog entries, news headlines, audio lists, etc., to which users can then subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML document that includes full or summarized text along with other metadata like date of publishing, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on sites that publish feeds and then view any updates posted on these websites using a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate their web content automatically.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats and read by different feed readers. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF (Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different devices, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine many RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from multiple sites.

In this comprehensive article, we will explain where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to display content from other websites and blogs on your site via RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful and legitimate method used to share content online. Feeds provide online users with an easy way to keep up with the latest information posted on different websites.

First, let’s look at content syndication.

Digital content publishing agencies use syndication to publish content from other news agencies all around the world.

Content syndication allows digital news agencies to deliver readers up-to-the-minute news headlines and stories from all over the globe without actually having to hire and send more news staff everywhere around the world …

Many online newspapers rely heavily on content syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies all around the world.

(Media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish content from news sources around the globe.)

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

Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content

(Online newspapers syndicate their content using news feeds)

Most websites actually want you to share their content. Syndicating content 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 can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Many online newspapers contain an RSS feed section (look for links in the navigation menu that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “huffington post rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most news reporting agencies and major sites will include an RSS feed section

(Many online newspapers and major content sites have an RSS feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS directory

(RSS Feeds. Source: nytimes.com)

gives readers access to information from different areas of the website (e.g. technology news, sports news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

An RSS feed list can also contain further feed subcategories …

Feed sections can also contain subcategory feeds.

(RSS Feed section. Image: latimes.com feeds)

Important

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.

The Benefits Of Using Feeds

Syndicating someone else’s content on your website has some obvious benefits. It helps someone else’s website and adds value to your site without you having to create the content …

Content Syndication - Benefits

(RSS Feeds - Benefits)

While adding an RSS feed from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, it’s worth keeping in mind that you also want other websites to use your content.

When other websites syndicate your content, you have the opportunity to get increased exposure online and drive more visitors …

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

(Get visitors to syndicate your feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress Feed – Overview

By default, WordPress automatically publishes a feed of your posts, allowing others to easily 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 on the sidebar or footer, just scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

WordPress Meta section - Entries RSS

(WordPress Meta widget – Accessing your RSS feed)

2) You can also find links and/or buttons on certain WordPress 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 clicking on on the Subscribe to RSS link …

Copy feed links to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

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

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

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

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

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

RSS feed items seen with a Firefox web browser

(Feed entries displayed on Firefox)

Note that your feed content will display differently depending on the browser you are using …

Feed items seen using Google Chrome

(RSS entries viewed with a Google Chrome web browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

You can specify how many items you want displayed in your RSS Feed page, by going to your Reading Settings section and typing the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WP Reading Settings - Syndication items setting

(Reading Settings – Syndication feed items field)

The feed section will show as many recent posts as you have specified section …

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

(Your feed will display the number of 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 Reading Settings section that affects your feeds is whether to display each article in a feed as full text, or just as a summary …

Reading Settings - 'For each article in a feed show' options

(Reading Settings – ’For each article in a feed show’ options)

Info

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content displays …

Post excerpts can affect how a feed will display

(Post excerpts affect how feeds appear)

We have written a detailed tutorial about Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, to view a feed’s content, you need to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into an application that reads and translates feeds into readable content.

Let’s show you how this works.

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

Look for a 'subscribe' button.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

If you want, you can check the feed content by pasting the feed URL into a feedreader …

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

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

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

How To Add RSS Feeds To Your WP Site

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

Adding An RSS Feed To Your WordPress Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are part of, you could add to your site the latest content from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry by simply importing content from their feed. You can use RSS feeds to 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 navigation menu …

Let's add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar

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

First, find a website or blog that publishes content that you would like to display on your site and copy the RSS feed URL …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the feed URL)

Next, go to Appearance > Widgets and paste the feed into an RSS widget …

WP RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

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

RSS Feed Content Added To WP Sidebar Menu

(RSS Feed Content Added To Sidebar Menu)

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 RSS Feed Content To Your Posts

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

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

'Add Plugins' section

(’Add Plugins’ screen)

Note: These plugins typically require configuration – visit the plugin sites for complete instructions, or contact us for help with plugin configuration.

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 easy to use plugin that lets you publish posts automatically from RSS/Atom feeds that you specify.

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

The RSS Post Importer plugin lets you syndicate, import, 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 your feed as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed – WordPress Plugin)

The POWr RSS Feed plugin lets you automatically combine and display content from multiple content using RSS feeds.

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

The premium plugin version contains many additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, manually accept or reject posts, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes WP Plugin

(WP Pipes – WordPress Plugin)

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

This plugin provides loads of features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter, export WordPress posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to new levels.

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a simple and 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 — 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 content from many different sources), or bring together all of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin

(Autoblog Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages)

The RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types plugin modifies the default WordPress RSS feed to include pages and not just posts.

For more details, go here:

Useful Information

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to displaying RSS feeds of your latest posts, WordPress also displays RSS feeds of your post comments.

To view this feed, go to the ‘Meta’ widget on your sidebar (note: your theme may not be configured to display this widget) and click on Comments RSS

Comments RSS

(WordPress Comments RSS)

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

Comments feed entries as seen using Firefox

(RSS comments feed entries as seen with a Firefox browser)

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

RSS comments feed content as seen with a Google Chrome browser

(RSS comments feed items viewed using Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste the URL of your comments feed into a feed reader to view the content. Image: 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 WordPress site installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Specific Post RSS Feeds

Being able to select an RSS feed for individual post items 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 accessing an RSS feed for individual posts is shown below:

Feed For Single Post

(RSS Feed For Individual Post Item)

To create the above feed, copy the post address, and add “/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 the post URL, WordPress will return the comments for that post, not the content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

Some your site visitors may only want to subscribe to content from a particular category. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

With WordPress, you can create separate category feeds.

All you have to do is use the format below:

WordPress post categories feed format

(WordPress category RSS feed format)

Select and copy the category URL …

Select and copy your category URL ...

(Copy the category link address to your clipboard …)

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

WP post categories feed format

(WP RSS feed format for category)

Your RSS feed will now only include content posted under that particular category …

Category RSS feed page

(Category 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 – Provide Your Own Page Of Feeds

You can create an RSS feeds directory that allows your readers to subscribe to content in specific categories …

Create Your Own Feeds Page

(Create A List Of Feeds)

You can link an icon like the one shown below to a feed and then create a table or a list of all your category feeds on a new page …

RSS icon

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

To learn more about adding tables to WordPress content, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure various feed types that do not require touching code. For example, here are some of the kinds of feeds you can use …

Different Custom Feeds You Can Create With WordPress RSS

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

Below are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown in the diagram above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Contains the latest comments posted on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for a specific post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on individual posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Feed containing the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/11/26/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/06/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Includes latest post 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 let visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feed. Make sure you place a ’subscribe to RSS’ button image somewhere visible …

Promote your RSS feeds!

(Remember to promote your feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that other sites will only syndicate your content if you provide useful content. In other words, provide high-quality information that will add value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

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

(Add someone else’s content and get others to share your content with 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 🙂

RSS – Additional Resources:

  • Feed Icons – Visit iconspedia.com/search/rss or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS logos”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS images and icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about the history and benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org/RSS Feeds – WordPress documentation repository. Go here to learn more about feeds in WordPress.

The Benefits Of Using The WordPress RSS Feature

Congratulations! Now you know where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to display content from other websites on your site via their RSS feed.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To read more about using WordPress for a business website or blog please click on links to visit other great articles and tutorials on this site.

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