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 …

Understanding The Benefits Of Using RSS Feeds In WordPressNo matter what product or service you sell or what industry your business is in, providing high-quality information on your site or blog is vitally important. For example, if you provide medical services, you may want to include information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness tips, etc.

The problem with providing this kind of information, however, is that it involves a huge amount of work and resources. You have to do a lot of data sorting, researching and organizing, checking the accuracy of your facts, content writing and editing (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 lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is an easier way to continually provide your users with up-to-date information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - The simplest way to provide your blog subscribers with up-to-date information

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – An Overview

  • RSS stands for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly known, Really Simple Syndication. It can also be referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • When users subscribe to a website’s feed, they no longer have to physically visit and check the source website for content updates. Instead, their browser will constantly monitor the site and keep subscribers updated.
  • RSS feeds are often used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog post items, news headlines, video lists, etc., to which users can then subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML (XML = Extensible Markup Language) document that includes either full or summarized text along with metadata like published date, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on sites that publish feeds and then browse updates posted on these sites using an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate web content.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and read by different feed aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF (RDF = Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure that feeds are compatible with different devices and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine many RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates from various sources.

In this article, we explain where your RSS feed is located, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to add someone else’s content to your site using their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful (and legitimate) method used to share web content. Feeds provide a way for online users to keep up with the latest information published on sites they are interested in.

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

Media publications rely on content syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies around the world.

Syndication allows most online newspapers to deliver readers the latest news items and stories of interest from all over the globe without actually having to employ more staff in every location in the world …

Global media publications rely on syndication to publish news and stories from news sources all around the planet.

(Media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy items from other news agencies all around the world.)

Syndication is used to share content legitimately. News reporting agencies syndicate their content using news feeds

News publishers syndicate content using feeds

(Content syndication is used by digital content publishers to share information with other publications)

Most websites actually want you to syndicate their information. Syndicating content not only allows information to be shared, but it can also drive visitors back to the original site that created and published the content being syndicated. This provides websites with new opportunities to generate significant web visitors.

Many news agencies and major sites provide links to an RSS feed section (look for links that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “courier rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most leading online media publications will include a feed section

(Many news reporting agencies and major content sites contain an RSS feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds directory

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

These RSS feed items allow readers to access information about different areas of the website (e.g. business news, travel news, jobs, etc.)

An RSS list can also include feed subcategories …

RSS Feed section.

(RSS Feed section. Image: latimes.com)

Important

Note: An RSS feed is just a URL. To use feeds, all you have to do is copy the URLs and paste these into a program that can process the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

The Benefits Of Using RSS Feeds

Adding someone else’s content to your website has some obvious benefits. It gives someone else’s site additional exposure online and helps your site by freeing you up from having to create this content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else’s Business And Yours!)

While adding RSS feeds 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 content, you have the opportunity to gain increased exposure online and drive more visitors …

Get visitors to syndicate your content ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Get other website owners to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

About Your WordPress RSS Feed

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

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

1) If your theme displays the Meta widget as part of your navigation menu …

The feed page will show as many recent items you have specified in the 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 the Reading Settings section that affects your RSS feed is whether to display posts as full text, or just a summary …

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

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

Tip

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content displays …

Post excerpts affect how your feed content will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed appears)

We have written a detailed tutorial on Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, to view the content of a feed, you need to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into a feedreader, i.e. an application that translates feeds into readable content.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and look for their RSS feed icon …

Look for an RSS feed icon.

(Look for an RSS feed icon. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(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 feed URL into a feed reader to view the feed content.

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

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

How To Add Feeds To WordPress Sites

In the example below, we’ll add content from other website’s RSS feeds to your WordPress site.

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Sidebar

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

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

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

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

copy the feed URL from a website that publishes content that you would like to display on your sidebar to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

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

Widgets Area - RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your browser. The content can now be seen on the sidebar (or wherever you have placed the RSS widget – e.g. footer) …

RSS Feed Added To WordPress Sidebar

(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 RSS Feeds To Your Posts

Can you add content from RSS feeds to WordPress posts? You sure can!

You can easily do this using WordPress plugins. Search inside your ’Add Plugins’ screen (Plugins > Add New) for RSS, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' search results - RSS plugins

(‘Add Plugins’ screen – RSS plugins)

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

Here are a few plugins that allow you to add RSS feeds to your site:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico WP Plugin)

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

You can manage all of your imported feeds and organize them according to categories.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator)

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

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

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

RSS Post Importer 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 Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed)

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

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display videos, images, and articles, adjust sizing and spacing of feeds, use custom borders, fonts, colors, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in any language.

The premium version contains a number of additional features.

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 lets you 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 LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter, export posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress WP Plugin

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a flexible Atom/RSS syndication plugin for WordPress.

As stated in the FeedWordPress site …

FeedWordPress is an open-source Atom/RSS aggregator for the WordPress blog publishing platform. You set up feeds that you choose, and FeedWordPress syndicates posts from those sources into your WordPress posts table, where they can be displayed by your WordPress templates like any other post β€” but with additional meta-data, so that your templates can properly attribute the post to the source it came from.

You can use this plugin to create aggregator site (sites that bring together content from multiple sources), or display all your online activity in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Just 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 Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages Plugin)

By default, WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed. Use a plugin like the RSS Includes Pages plugin to include pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Useful Info

Using RSS – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

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

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

Comments RSS

(Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed items seen on Firefox browser

(RSS comments feed content as seen on a Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed entries displayed using a Google Chrome browser

(Comments feed entries seen with Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste your URL of your comments feed into a feed reader to view the feed 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 installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Creating RSS Feeds For Single Items

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

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

Feed For Individual Post Item

(Individual Post Feed)

To create the above feed, copy the URI 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 your post address, WordPress will return the comments left on that post, not the content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Post Category Feeds

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

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

All you have to do is use the format shown below:

WordPress post categories RSS feed format

(Use this format for WordPress post categories RSS feed)

Copy the selected category URL to your clipboard …

Select and copy your category URL ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

Add “feed” to the end of it …

Use this format for WP post categories feed

(Use this format for WordPress post categories feed)

The RSS feed now only displays content specific to that particular category …

Category feed

(Category feed)

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 – Provide Your Own RSS Feeds List

You can create your own page of RSS feeds for subscribers that allows readers to subscribe to content in the categories that interest them, just like large authoritative sites …

Create A Feeds Page

(Set Up A Page Of RSS Feeds On Your Site)

Link an RSS icon to a category feed URL and then create a table or a list of your category feeds on a new page …

RSS button image

(RSS button image. Image: public-domain-photos.com)

If you need help with adding tables to WordPress posts and pages, go here:

RSS – Notes

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

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

Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

Below are the 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 that displays the latest comments posted on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed that contains a post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on single post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Feed containing the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/06/20/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/09/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Feed displaying the latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed displaying the latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to promote your feeds. Place a subscribe button in a visible location …

Encourage visitors to subscribe to your feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

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

Add great content to your site and get other sites to syndicate your content with WordPress and RSS!

(Easily add great content to your site and get visitors to subscribe to your content using WordPress and RSS!)

Tip

If you need help coming up with content ideasΒ subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

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

RSS – Resources:

  • RSS Feed Graphics – Visit online resource sites like Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS images”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS images and icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about the history and benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress.org/WordPress Feeds – Official WordPress documentation and information. Go here to learn more about RSS feeds in WordPress.

Understanding The WordPress RSS

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

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of problems 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 please click on links to visit our related posts section.

***

"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)

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