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.

A Basic Guide To Using The WordPress RSSNo matter what your business provides or what industry you are in, you need to provide quality information to your site or blog visitors. For example, if you provide accounting services, it’s not a bad idea to provide users with the latest information from the taxation office, such as news or updates on tax rulings, small business tax deductions, etc.

The problem with creating this kind of information, however, is that it is really time-consuming. You have to sort through, research, and organize a lot of data, check your sources for accuracy, write and edit content (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 huge amount of work but most of the information you are dealing with is well beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is a much easier way to keep your site visitors up-to-date with your information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - The easiest way to provide your users with up-to-date information

(RSS - The easiest way to provide your users with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Useful Information

  • RSS is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred, Really Simple Syndication. It is also often called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • When users subscribe to an RSS feed, they no longer have to manually check the source website for updated content. Instead, their browser will constantly monitor the site and automatically keep subscribers updated.
  • Feeds are often used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog entries, news, music playlists, etc., to which other users can then subscribe.
  • You can view an RSS feed with a program called a feed reader, or aggregator. Feed readers can be used to access new content published on websites and distribute this content (and updates made to the content) to other online properties.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed 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 and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine many RSS feeds to receive news and updates from many different sources.

In this detailed guide, you are going to learn where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to display content from other sites on your site using RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful and legitimate method used for sharing web content. RSS Feeds provide an easy way for online users to receive the latest information published on different websites.

First, let’s look at syndication.

Most online newspapers rely on syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources all around the world.

Syndication allows leading content publishing agencies to deliver readers up-to-the-minute news headlines and newsworthy stories from all around the globe without having to employ and set up more news staff and reporters in every location in the world …

Many digital news publishing agencies rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies all around the world.

(Media publications use syndication to publish news and stories from news sources around the world.)

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

Content syndication is used by online newspapers to share information with other publications

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

Most sites actually want you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows great information to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the original site responsible for creating and publishing the content being syndicated. This creates links that can drive traffic back to their site.

Many digital news publishers and major content sites have a feed section (look for menu 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.) …

Most online newspapers and major sites will have a feed section

(Most online newspapers and major content sites have an RSS feed section. Image: Sydney Morning Herald )

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

RSS feeds list

(RSS feeds section. Source: nytimes.com)

These RSS feed items let readers source information about different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, sports news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

Feed sections can also include further feed subdirectories …

RSS Feed section.

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

Useful Info

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

The Benefits Of Using Feeds

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

Syndicating Content - Benefits

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

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 websites to use YOUR content.

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

It's worth trying to get other online users to syndicate content using your RSS feed ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Consider trying to get other website owners to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help to increase your traffic!)

WordPress Feed – About

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

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

WordPress Meta widget

(Access your WordPress RSS feed in the Entries RSS menu)

2) You can also find built-in links and/or buttons on certain WordPress themes that allow your visitors to copy your RSS feed.

For example, in the screenshot below, a visitor can copy the site’s RSS feed URL by right-clicking and copying on the Subscribe to RSS link …

Copy RSS links to your clipboard from "subscribe to RSS" buttons

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

3) On many sites and again, depending on which theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Social Share, Links, or Keep In Touch section …

Look for an RSS button in a a Links, Social Share, or Stay In Touch toolbar

(Look for an RSS button in a a Social Share, Links, or Follow toolbar section)

4) You can also view your feed by simply typing your site’s URL into a web browser and adding “/feed” after the URL, e.g.:

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

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

RSS entries viewed with a Firefox web browser

(Feed items displayed using a Firefox web browser)

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

Feed entries displayed with a Google Chrome browser

(RSS feed items as seen on a Chrome web browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

WordPress Reading Settings - Syndication items

(WP Reading Settings – Syndication items setting)

Your feed will show the number of posts as you have specified in the WP Reading Settings section …

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

The other setting in your Reading Settings section that affects your feeds is whether to display posts in the feed as full text, or as a summary …

WP Reading Settings - Show 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for each article in your RSS feed

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

Info

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

Post excerpts can affect how your feed content appears

(Post excerpts affect how feeds display)

For a detailed tutorial about using excerpts in WordPress Posts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s show you how this works.

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

Search for an RSS feed icon.

(Search for a ’subscribe to feed’ link or button. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the feed URL)

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

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

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

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

Adding Feeds To Your Site

In the example below, we are going to add content from other websites to yours.

Adding An RSS Feed To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

Let’s add content sourced from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar area …

Let's add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area

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

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

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the feed URL)

Next, paste the feed into an RSS widget …

WP RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

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

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Added To Sidebar)

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 Content From RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Posts

Can content from RSS feeds be added to a post? Yes, it can!

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

'Add Plugins' screen

(‘Add Plugins’ screen – RSS plugins for WordPress)

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

The plugins listed below are useful if you would like to add feed content to posts, or “autoblog” (An auto blog is a blog with content that is automatically gathered and compiled from RSS feeds):

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico)

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

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

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 plugin for WordPress that offers a number of premium add-ons for additional functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin allows you to autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into WP posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin

(RSS Post Importer)

The RSS Post Importer plugin can be used to syndicate, curate, import, merge and display full-text RSS feeds on your WordPress blog.

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed - WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed)

POWr RSS combines and displays content from multiple RSS feeds.

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

The premium edition of this plugin contains many additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, accept or reject posts in your feed, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress

(WP Pipes)

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 features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook, export WordPress posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to a new level.

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

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

You can use this FeedWordPress to create aggregator sites, or bring together all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, YouTube, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev 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 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

RSS Includes Pages Plugin

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

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types modifies your RSS feeds to include pages in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Useful Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

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

You can view your comments feed by clicking on Comments RSS in the ‘Meta’ widget area of your sidebar …

WordPress Comments RSS

(WordPress 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 as seen with Firefox

(Comments feed items displayed on Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed entries as seen using a Google Chrome web browser

(RSS comments feed content viewed on Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste your feed URL into a feedreader to view the feed content. Image: 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 WordPress installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Accessing Specific Item Feeds

Being able to access an RSS feed for single 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 using an RSS feed for specific posts is shown below:

Feed For Specific Post

(RSS Feed For Single Post)

To create the above feed, copy the URI of your post, and add “/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 your post, WordPress will return the comments associated with your post, not actual post content itself.

Tip #3 – Post Category RSS Feeds

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

With WordPress, you can easily create category feeds.

Just use the format shown below:

WP post categories RSS feed format

(WordPress post categories feed format)

Copy the selected category link address to your clipboard …

Copy the category link address to your clipboard ...

(Copy the category link address …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

Feed format for post categories

(WP post categories feed format)

Your category RSS feed will now only contain content posted in this category …

Category feed page

(Category 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 – Set Up A Directory Of Feeds

You can create a page of feeds on your site that allows readers to subscribe to content in specific categories, just like the larger websites do …

Provide Your Own List Of Feeds

(Publish A List Of Feeds)

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

RSS button

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

If you need help with creating tables in WordPress content, go here:

RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure different feed types that do not require messing with code. For example, the table below lists some of the kinds of feeds you can use on your site and how to create your feeds …

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

For your convenience, here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – displays your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Displays the latest comments published on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing specific post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that displays the latest comments made on specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed that displays latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/05/09/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/08/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Feed containing the latest post entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Includes latest posts 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 button or link somewhere visible …

Remember to promote your RSS feeds!

(Remember to promote your RSS feeds!)

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

Add someone else's content and get others to share your content with RSS feeds!

(Easily add great content from other sites and get other sites to subscribe to your content with RSS!)

Useful Tip

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

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed 🙂

Additional RSS Resources:

  • RSS Buttons – Visit online resource sites like www.iconspedia.com/search/rss or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss images”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS graphics.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about the benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress software documentation. Visit this site for more information about WordPress RSS feeds.

A Basic Guide To Understanding WordPress RSS Feeds

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 sites on your site via their RSS feed.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To learn more about using WordPress for a business website or blog please see our related posts section.

***

"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum