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 FeatureNo matter what your business sells or what industry you belong to, it’s important to provide high-quality information to your site or blog visitors. For example, if you provide medical services, you may want to include useful information from the health department, such as news and updates on medical research, health and fitness tips, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it involves a huge amount of work and expertise. You have to do a lot of data gathering, 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 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 simpler way to keep your users up-to-date with your information.

It’s called RSS

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

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – A Basic Overview

  • RSS is short for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred to, Really Simple Syndication. It is also often called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content so that their site readers can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are often used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog posts, news, audio lists, etc., to which other users can then subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML document that includes full or summarized text along with metadata like date of publishing, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then keep up with any updates posted on these websites through a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate their information automatically.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats and read by different feedreaders. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom (also called AtomPub or APP feeds and RDF (Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure that feeds are compatible with different devices, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also allow you to combine several RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from multiple sites.

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

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful way of sharing content online. RSS Feeds provide online users with a simple and easy way to receive the latest information posted on different sites.

First, let’s look at syndication.

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

Syndication allows content agencies to deliver readers up-to-the-minute news items from all over the globe without actually having to hire additional news staff everywhere in the world …

Most content publishers rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources around the world.

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

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

Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content

(Online newspapers syndicate their content using feeds)

Most sites actually would like you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows information to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the original site that created and published the content being syndicated. This creates new ways to drive traffic back to their site.

Many digital publishers and leading online media publications will include an RSS feed section (look for links in their navigation section that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “times of india rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Leading online newspapers will contain a feed section

(Leading digital content agencies include a feed section. Image: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds list

(A site’s directory of different RSS feeds. Image: nytimes.com)

These RSS feed items give you access to content about different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, sports news, science news, etc.)

Feed sections can also include further subcategory feeds …

Feed sections can also contain subcategories.

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

Important

Note: A feed is only a URL. To use feeds, all you need to do is to copy the URLs and paste these into software that can translate the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Syndicating Content – Benefits

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

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(Using 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 there are benefits in getting other websites to syndicate YOUR content.

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

Get other websites to syndicate your feed ... it will help to increase your web traffic!

(Consider trying to get visitors to syndicate content using your feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress RSS Feed – Overview

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

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

1) If your theme has been configured to display the Meta widget on the sidebar or footer menu …

The feed will show the number of items you have specified in the WordPress Reading Settings section

(The feed will show 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 WP Reading Settings section that affects your feeds is whether to display your posts as full text, or a summary …

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

(WordPress Reading Settings – Show ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for each article in a feed)

Important Info

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content displays …

Post excerpts can affect how content in feeds will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed displays)

If you need help Post excerpts, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

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 to your clipboard and paste it into an application that translates feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s see how this works.

First, find a website or blog and look for a ’subscribe to feed’ icon or link using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for an RSS feed icon.

(Look for a ‘subscribe’ icon. Image source: 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 the feed content by pasting the URL of the feed into a feed reader …

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

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

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

Adding A Feed To Your WP Site

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

How To Add Feeds To Your Sidebar

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

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

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

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

First, find a site containing content that you would like to add to your site and copy the RSS feed …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed)

Next, go to your WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets and paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

WordPress RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

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

Load your website in your web browser. The content can now be seen on your 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 Posts

What if you want to add content from an RSS feed to a post instead of a sidebar?

You can do this using plugins. Search inside the Plugins admin section (Plugins > Add New) for RSS Aggregator, RSS feed to post, etc.

RSS plugins

(‘Add Plugins’ screen – RSS plugins)

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

Here are some plugins you can check out that you can use to curate and add content from RSS feeds to your posts:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico WP Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator - WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension allows you to add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer)

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

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed - WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin)

With the POWr RSS Feed plugin, you can automatically combine and display content from various RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust feed priority, use custom colors, borders, fonts, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any computer, phone, or tablet and supports text in every language.

The premium edition of POWr contains many 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 Plugin

(WP Pipes 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 features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter, export WordPress posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress provides versatile Atom/RSS syndication for WordPress 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 β€” 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 of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, LinkedIn, YouTube, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up very quickly, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Simply copy and paste in your feed URL, give the feed a name of your choosing (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 Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages Plugin For WordPress)

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types lets you display pages in your WordPress RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Tip

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress displays RSS feeds of your latest post comments in addition to making RSS feeds of your latest posts available.

You can access the comments in your feed by clicking on Comments RSS in the ‘Meta’ widget of your sidebar menu (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) …

Comments Feed

(Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed content viewed using Firefox

(Comments feed entries displayed using a Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed entries as seen on Google Chrome

(Comments feed entries seen on Google Chrome browser)

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

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

(Paste your comments feed URL into a feedreader 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 WP installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Individual Post RSS Feeds

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

The formula for making an RSS feed for single posts is shown below:

RSS Feed For Specific Post

(Specific Post RSS Feed)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Category RSS Feeds

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

WordPress allows you to create individual category feeds.

All you have to do is use the format below:

WP category feed format

(WordPress post categories RSS feed format)

Select and copy the category link address to your clipboard …

Copy the category URL ...

(Select and copy your category URL …)

And add “feed” to the end of it …

WordPress post categories RSS feed format

(Use this format for WP category RSS feed)

The RSS feed now only contains content posted for 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 – Publish Your Own Feeds Page

You can publish a feeds list that allows readers to subscribe only to content in the categories that interest them …

Set Up A Feeds List

(Create Your Own RSS Feeds Page)

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

RSS button

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

To learn more about adding tables to WordPress posts and pages, see this step-by-step tutorial:

RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows several RSS feed configurations without code editing skills. Here are some examples of custom feed formats you can use …

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

Here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed 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 – Includes the latest comments left on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing a single post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Includes the latest comments made on single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/06/07/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/07/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – RSS feed containing latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Feed displaying 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 more thing …

It’s a good idea to promote your feeds. Make sure you place a ’subscribe to RSS’ button image somewhere visible …

Encourage your visitors to syndicate your feeds!

(Remember to make your feeds visible your RSS feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that other sites will only want to syndicate your content if you provide your visitors with very 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 WordPress and RSS!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get online users to share your content with RSS feeds!)

Practical Tip

If you need great content ideasΒ subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

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

RSS – Additional Resources:

  • RSS Icons – Visit FeedIcons or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS images”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about the history and benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – Official WordPress documentation and reference. Go here for additional information about using WordPress feeds.

WordPress User's Guide To RSS

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

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 learn more about using WordPress for a business web site please click on links to visit our related posts section.

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