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 The WordPress RSS FeatureNo matter what service or product your business provides, providing quality information to your blog visitors is essential. For example, if you provide accounting or financial planning services, it’s a good idea to provide users with useful information from the taxation office, such as news or updates on tax rulings, small business tax tips, etc.

The problem with creating this type of information, however, is that it is very time-consuming. You have to do a lot of data sifting, researching and organizing, checking the accuracy of your sources, content writing and editing (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually make sure that this information is kept 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.

Fortunately, there is a much simpler way to keep your readers up-to-date with the latest information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is the easiest way to provide your subscribers with the latest information

(RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your blog subscribers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What Is It?

  • RSS is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly known, Really Simple Syndication. It is often referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content so that users can read it without having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • RSS feeds are also used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog post items, news, audios, etc., to which users can choose to subscribe.
  • RSS feed content can be viewed with software programs called RSS readers, or feed aggregators. Aggregators are used to find content on all kinds of topics and syndicate this content (and any updates made to the content) online.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and read by different aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) feeds and RDF 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 let you combine multiple RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from a number of different websites.

In this article, you are going to learn where your RSS feed is located, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to add content from other sites to your site using their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful way to share web content. RSS Feeds provide online users with a simple way to stay up-to-date with the latest information posted on different websites and blogs.

First, let’s look at content syndication.

Media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources around the world.

Syndication allows content agencies and many influential online publications to deliver readers interesting stories and the latest news headlines from all over the planet without having to send more reporting agencies to every place around the world …

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

(Online newspapers and highly-visited online media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from other news agencies all around the planet.)

Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing newsworthy content. Global media publications syndicate their information using feeds

Online newspapers syndicate stories using news feeds

(Content syndication is used by online newspapers to share newsworthy content with other news publications)

Most websites actually want you to syndicate their content. Content syndication not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the site that originally created theoriginally created and published the content being syndicated. This creates links that can drive traffic back to their site.

Major content sites contain an RSS feed section (look for links in their navigation section 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 publishers provide links to a feed section

(Many online newspapers and leading online media publications have a feed section. Image Source: SMH )

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section will bring up a list of different RSS feed sections of the site …

RSS feeds list

(A directory of different feeds. Source: nytimes.com)

These feeds give you access to content from different sections of the site (e.g. business news, arts news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

Feed sections can also include further feed subdirectories …

RSS Feed section.

(A feed list can also include subcategory feeds. Image Source: Los Angeles Times RSS)

Important Info

Note: An RSS feed is just a URL. All you need to do to use feeds is to copy the URLs and paste these into an application that can process the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Syndicating Content – Benefits

Syndicating someone else’s content on your website has some obvious benefits. It gives additional exposure online to someone else’s content and adds value to your site without you having to create that content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Website And Yours!

(Content Syndication Has Many 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 a great idea to try and get other sites to use your content.

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

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

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

WordPress RSS – Overview

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

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

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

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

(The feed page will display 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 the WordPress Reading Settings section that affects your feeds is whether to display each article in a feed as full text, or as a summary …

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

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

Info

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

Post excerpts affect how content in feeds will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how your feed content displays)

We have created a detailed tutorial about Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, to view the content of an RSDS feed, you have 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, find a website whose content you want to subscribe to and search for a ’subscribe to feed’ link or icon using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for an RSS feed section.

(Look for a ‘subscribe’ button or link. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the feed URL)

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

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

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

Like feed readers, WordPress has the ability to process RSS/XML feeds and convert these into content that can be read by your subscribers.

Adding Feeds To Your Site

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

Adding An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is a part of, you can add to your site the latest content from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry by simply adding content from their 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 from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar …

Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Let’s add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area)

copy the RSS feed from a website that publishes content that you would like to display on your site …

Copy your feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy your feed URL to your clipboard)

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 adding content to sidebars using widgets, go here:

Refresh your web browser. The content should now display on your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been added – e.g. footer) …

RSS Feed Content Added To WP Sidebar Menu

(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 A Feed To Your WordPress Posts

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

You can easily do this using WordPress plugins. Just search on the WordPress plugin directory for RSS feed, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' section - WordPress RSS plugins

(RSS plugins)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico - WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico – WordPress Plugin)

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

You can manage all the feeds you import and arrange them according to categories and campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension is an advanced importer that lets you import RSS feeds directly into posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress)

The RSS Post Importer plugin allows you to syndicate, curate, import, merge and display full-text feeds (RSS, Atom, etc.) on your WordPress blog.

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full content of every item in your feed as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed WP Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed – WordPress Plugin)

With the POWr RSS Feed plugin, you can automatically combine and display content from a number of different RSS feeds.

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

The premium plugin edition contains a number of 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 - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress WP Plugin

(FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication for WordPress-generated 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 — 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 bring together all your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog WP Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, with no coding required and no complicated instructions. Simply copy and paste in the URL of your feed, give it a name of your choosing (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 Plugin

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

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

For more details, go here:

Tip

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to displaying RSS feeds of your posts, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of comments posted on your site.

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

Comments Feed

(Comments RSS)

All the comments posted on your site by visitors and users can be seen in the Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed entries seen using a Firefox browser

(RSS comments feed entries seen on Firefox)

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

Comments feed items as seen on Google Chrome

(Comments feed entries as seen on a Google Chrome web browser)

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

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

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Using Single Item Feeds

Being able to access an RSS feed for a single post can be useful. For example, you may want to add feeds from specific items to RSS directories, 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 is shown below:

Single Post Feed

(Specific Post RSS Feed)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

Some your site users may only be interested in syndicating content from one or two categories. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

WordPress allows you to create category feeds.

Just use the format shown below:

WordPress RSS feed format for category

(WP post categories feed format)

Copy the category link address to your clipboard …

Select and copy your category link address ...

(Copy the selected category URL …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

WordPress post categories feed format

(WordPress category feed format)

Your RSS feed now only includes content published in that category …

Category-specific feed

(Category RSS feed page)

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

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

Post Category feed format

(Post Category feed format. Source: WordPress Codex)

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

WordPress post category feed format

(WordPress post category feed format)

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

Posts > Categories menu

(Posts > Categories menu)

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

Post Category ID

(Post Category ID)

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

Post category feed format with domain name and ID

(Post category feed format with domain name and ID)

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

Paste the feed into your browser

(Paste the feed into your browser)

This will display the feed for that specific category …

RSS feed of a specific post category

(RSS feed of a specific post category)

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

Post category feed format

(Post category feed format)

Here is the feed format again …

Post category feed

(Post category feed)

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

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

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

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

Post category feed content

(Post category feed content)

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

Tip #4 – Create A Page Of RSS Feeds For Your Site Visitors

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

Publish Your Own Directory Of Feeds For Your Subscribers

(Create Your Own List Of Feeds On Your Site)

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

RSS button graphic

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

To learn more about inserting tables into WordPress pages and posts, go here:

RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows various RSS feed configurations without editing code. For example, here are some of the kinds of custom feeds you can display on your site and how to create your feeds …

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – contains your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed displaying the latest comments left on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing individual posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on specific post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed displaying the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/01/15/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/03/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays latest post entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays 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 feed. Make sure you place a ’subscribe to RSS’ button in a visible location …

Remember to promote your feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Also, keep in mind that other sites will only subscribe to your content if you provide your visitors with high-quality content that can add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

Easily add someone else's content and get other users to syndicate your content using WordPress and RSS!

(Add content from other sites and get visitors to syndicate your content online with WordPress and RSS!)

Practical 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:

  • RSS Feed Icons – Visit online resource sites like Iconspedia or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS images”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about RSS.
  • WordPress Codex – Official WordPress documentation and reference repository. Go here to learn more about WordPress RSS.

WordPress User's Guide To RSS

Congratulations! Now you know how 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 using RSS feeds.

Hopefully, now you 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 website please see our related posts section.

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