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 …

[adrotate group=”6″]

The Benefits Of Using The WordPress RSS FeatureNo matter what your business provides or what industry you belong to, providing high-quality information on your site or blog is essential. For example, if your business provides medical services, it’s not a bad idea to include information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness advice, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, is very time-consuming. You have to do a ton of information sifting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, writing and editing content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then ensure that this information is continually up-to-date. As you can imagine, this is not only a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is well beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is an easier way to regularly provide your site visitors with expert, up-to-date information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is the simplest way to provide your readers with up-to-date information

(RSS is the simplest way to provide your site visitors with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What You Need To Know

  • RSS is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred, Really Simple Syndication. It is also often called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • When a user subscribes to a website’s feed, they no longer have to manually visit and check the website for updated content. Instead, their browser will continually monitor the content and automatically keep subscribers updated.
  • Feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog posts, news headlines, video lists, etc., to which users can choose to subscribe.
  • RSS feeds can be read with a software program called a feed reader, or feed aggregator. Feed readers are used to access content on all different kinds of topics and distribute this content to other sites.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be read by different feed readers. 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 that feeds are compatible with different machines, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also allow you to combine many RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from many other sites.

In this article, you are going to learn where to find your WordPress RSS feed, 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 and legitimate way to share web content. Feeds provide a simple and easy way for web users to keep up with the latest information published on sites they are interested in.

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

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

Syndication allows leading online newspapers to deliver readers stories on all kinds of topics and up-to-the-minute news from all around the planet without having to post additional reporters to every location around the world …

Global media publications use content syndication to publish newsworthy items from news sources around the planet.

(Global media publications use content syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies around the globe.)

Syndication is used to share newsworthy content legitimately. Global media publications syndicate content using feeds

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content

(Digital news publishers syndicate information using feeds)

Most sites actually want you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows information to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the original site responsible for creating and publishing the content being syndicated. This provides websites with new opportunities to generate significant web traffic.

Most online newspapers and major content sites have an RSS 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”, “times of india rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many news reporting agencies and major content sites have an RSS feed section

(Most leading online media publications will have a feed section. Image: SMH )

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

A site's list of different RSS feeds

(RSS Feeds. Image: nytimes.com RSS feeds)

Each of these feeds lets you access different areas of the site (e.g. technology news, arts news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

An RSS directory can also contain feed subcategories …

Feed sections can also contain subcategories.

(A feed directory can also contain feed subcategories. Source: LA Times RSS)

Important

Note: An RSS feed is just a URL. All that’s required to use the feed is copy the URL and paste it into an application that can translate the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Syndicating Content – Benefits

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

Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else’s Website 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 syndicate your content.

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

Try to get users to syndicate content using your feed ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Look for ways to get other websites to syndicate your content … it will help to increase your web traffic!)

WordPress Feed

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

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

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

Meta widget

(Meta widget – Entries RSS)

2) You can also find links 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 site’s RSS feed URL by right-clicking and copying on the Subscribe to RSS link …

Copy RSS links to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

3) On many websites and again, depending on your WordPress site’s theme, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Share, Links, or Follow Us toolbar …

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

(Look for an RSS button in a a Follow, Link To Us, or Share toolbar 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 is located in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed entries viewed using Firefox

(Feed items seen using a Firefox web browser)

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

Feed items displayed on Google Chrome browser

(Feed entries seen on Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

You can specify how many entries you would like displayed in your Feeds section, by going to your Reading Settings section and selecting the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WP Reading Settings - Syndication feed items field

(Settings – Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

Your feed page will show as many recent items you have specified section …

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

(The feed will show as many recent items you have specified in the WP 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 as full text, or as a summary …

WordPress Reading Settings - Show 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for articles in your feed

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

Important Info

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts can affect how content in feeds will display

(Post excerpts affect how content in your feeds will appear)

If you need help Post excerpts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s see how this works.

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

Search for a 'subscribe to feed' icon.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

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

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

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

Like feed readers, WordPress also has the ability to process XML/RSS feeds and convert these into readable content for humans.

How To Add An RSS Feed To WordPress Sites

Let’s show you how to add content from other sites to yours.

How To Add A Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business operates in, you could easily display on your site the latest news from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by importing their RSS feed. You can use feeds to display a range of information on your WordPress site such as news, social media updates, 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 …

Add an RSS feed to your sidebar

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

copy the feed URL from a website containing content that you want to display on your site to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

Widgets Section - RSS Widget

(Widgets Panel – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Load your site in your web browser. The content from the RSS feed should now display in 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 An RSS Feed To Your WordPress Posts

What if you want to add content from RSS feeds to a post instead of the sidebar?

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

'Add Plugins' section - RSS plugins

(’Add Plugins’ section)

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

Here are a number of WordPress plugins that you can use to curate and add content from RSS feeds to your pages:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico WP Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

You can manage all the feeds you import and arrange feeds into campaigns and categories.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin is an advanced importer that lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into your WordPress posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin

(RSS Post Importer WP Plugin)

The RSS Post Importer plugin lets you import, syndicate, curate, merge and display full text feeds on your WordPress blog.

The plugin fetches an RSS feed and publishes 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)

POWr RSS combines and displays content from a number of different RSS feeds.

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

The premium edition of POWr contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin

(WP Pipes WordPress 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 loads of powerful features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook, export your posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to new levels.

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible 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 site (sites that display posts from various different sources), or display all of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Facebook, Flickr, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev – WordPress 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 the URL of your feed, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select a blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages WordPress Plugin)

The RSS Includes Pages plugin modifies RSS feeds to include pages in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Tip

Using WordPress RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress makes available RSS feeds of the latest comments posted on your site in addition to displaying RSS feeds of your posts.

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

WordPress Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

Comments feed entries as seen on Firefox

(Comments feed entries displayed using Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed items as seen on Google Chrome

(Comments feed entries viewed on a Google Chrome browser)

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

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

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Using Individual Post RSS Feeds

Being able to use an RSS feed for a specific 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 specific post items is shown below:

Individual Post RSS Feed

(Individual Post Feed)

To create the above feed, copy the post address, and append “/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 the post URI, WordPress will return the comments left on that post, not the post content itself.

Tip #3 – Using Post Category RSS Feeds

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

If your website displays content published under several categories, you can provide a separate RSS feed for each of your categories.

Just use the format below:

WP RSS feed format for post categories

(WP category RSS feed format)

Copy the category URL …

Copy your category link address ...

(Copy your category link address …)

Now, add the word “feed” to the end of it …

Use this format for WP post categories feed

(Format for WP post categories feed)

The RSS feed now only displays content published in this category …

Category-specific feed

(Category RSS feed)

The WordPress Codex also provides different ways to create feeds not just for post categories, but also feeds for tags, authors, search, etc.

For this example, let’s create a feed for a specific post category using the format shown below:

Post Category feed format

(Post Category feed format. Source: WordPress Codex)

Here is the feed format WordPress recommends using. In this example, the post category ID is ’42’. We’ll need to replace the post category ID and the domain name …

WordPress post category feed format

(WordPress post category feed format)

To find the post category ID, go to Posts > Categories …

Posts > Categories menu

(Posts > Categories menu)

Locate the post category you want and hover your mouse over the title to reveal its unique ID …

Post Category ID

(Post Category ID)

In our example, the post category ID is ’29’ and the post category feed format we need to use for this specific category with our domain name looks like this …

Post category feed format with domain name and ID

(Post category feed format with domain name and ID)

Copy and paste the feed into your browser and hit enter …

Paste the feed into your browser

(Paste the feed into your browser)

This will display the feed for that specific category …

RSS feed of a specific post category

(RSS feed of a specific post category)

Note that in this example, WordPress automatically converted the feed format we pasted into the browser into the category feed we had used in the previous section of this tutorial …

Post category feed format

(Post category feed format)

Here is the feed format again …

Post category feed

(Post category feed)

In this case, the simplest way to create additional feeds for specific categories is to simply change the post category slug …

Change the post category slug to create a new category specific feed

(Change the post category slug to create a new category specific feed)

Paste the edited feed into your web browser and hit enter to display the content for that specific category’s feed …

Post category feed content

(Post category feed content)

Now that you have a method for creating feeds for specific post categories (or tags, authors, etc.), you can even create a directory or list of individual feeds for visitors.

Tip #4 – Publish An RSS Feeds List

You can provide your own RSS feeds page that allows your readers to subscribe to content in specific categories …

Publish An RSS Feeds List

(Create A Feeds List)

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

RSS button

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

For a detailed tutorial about inserting tables into WordPress posts, go here:

RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure different feed formats that do not require code editing skills. Here are some examples of feed formats you can create …

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

For your convenience, here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown in the image above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed that contains the latest comments published on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing an individual post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Includes the latest comments made on specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed that includes latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/07/27/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – RSS feed that displays latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/12/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed displaying the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Feed displaying latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: RSS feed displaying latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to let your site visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feeds. Make sure you place your ’subscribe to RSS’ links somewhere visible …

Promote your feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

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

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

(Add someone else’s content and get other sites to subscribe to 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 RSS feed 🙂

RSS Resources:

  • Download RSS Feed Buttons – Visit iconspedia.com/search/rss or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss buttons”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization with three primary duties: publishing RSS specifications, guiding developers who create RSS applications and helping to further the understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about the benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation. Visit this site for more information about using WordPress RSS.

WordPress RSS Feature Overview

Congratulations! Now you know how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to add content from other websites to your site via their RSS feed.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of problems that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you expand your business online. To learn more about using WordPress for a business website please see other great content we have published on this site.

[adrotate group=”6″]

***

[adrotate group=”3″]