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 …

Overview Of WordPress RSSNo matter what your business provides or what industry you are in, providing quality information to your blog users is essential. For example, if your business provides insurance services, it’s not a bad idea to include useful information from government departments, such as news and updates on statistical research, insurance tips, etc.

The problem with creating this kind of information, however, is that it is really time-consuming. You have to do a ton of data sifting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, writing and editing 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 beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS is the simplest way to provide your subscribers with great information

(RSS is the easiest way to provide your readers with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Definition And Information

  • RSS stands for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred to, Really Simple Syndication. It is also often called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save users time from having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are also used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog entries, news headlines, audios, etc., to which other users can choose to subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an 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 websites and then browse any updates posted on these websites using a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate their web content automatically.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed readers. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different devices, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine many RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates sourced from many websites.

In this comprehensive guide, we will show you where your RSS feed is located, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to display someone else’s content on your site using their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful (and legitimate) way of sharing web content. Feeds provide a simple way for web users to stay up-to-date with the latest information published on different websites.

First, let’s take a look at how syndication is used.

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

Content syndication allows news reporting agencies and many highly-visited online publications to deliver readers up-to-the-minute newsworthy items and content of general interest from all around the globe without actually having to employ additional news writers in every place around the world …

Online newspapers and popular online media publications rely on content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources around the world.

(Many online newspapers rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy items from other news agencies all around the globe.)

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

Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing information

(Content syndication is used by news reporting agencies to share newsworthy content with other news publications)

Most websites actually want you to syndicate their content. Syndicating content not only allows information to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the site that originally published the content being syndicated. This creates new ways to drive traffic back to their site.

Most online newspapers and major content sites provide links to a 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”, “nz herald rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many content publishing agencies and leading online media publications have an RSS feed section

(Most online newspapers will have a feed section. Image Source: SMH )

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

RSS feeds list

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

These feeds let you access information from different sections of the site (e.g. technology news, arts news, editorials, etc.)

An RSS feed directory can also contain subcategories …

RSS Feed section.

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

Important

Note: An RSS feed is simply a URL. To use a feed, all that’s required is to copy the URL and paste it into an application that can process the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

RSS Feeds – Benefits

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

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Website And Yours!

(The Benefits Of Syndicating Content)

While adding RSS 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 sites syndicate content using your RSS feed, this gives you the opportunity to gain increased exposure online and drive more visitors …

Get other websites and blogs to syndicate your content ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

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

WordPress RSS Feed – About

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

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

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

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

(The feed will show as many recent posts as you have specified in the WordPress 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 RSS feed is whether to display articles as full text, or just as a summary …

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

(Reading Settings – Display ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for posts in your RSS feed)

Important Info

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts can affect how feeds display

(Post excerpts affect how a feed will appear)

To learn more about WordPress Post excerpts, refer to this tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and look for an RSS feed button …

Search for an RSS feed link.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

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

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

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

How To Add Feeds To Your WP Site

Let’s show you how to add content from another site to your site.

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is a part of, you could display on your site the latest news and updates from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry by simply importing their RSS feed. You can use RSS 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 RSS content to your sidebar …

Let's add an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, find a website containing content that you would like to add to your sidebar and copy its RSS feed URL …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy your feed URL)

Next, paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

Widgets Panel - RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

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

Load your site in your web browser. The content from the RSS feed will now appear on your sidebar …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Content Added To WordPress 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:

How To Add RSS Feed Content To WordPress Posts

Can content from an RSS feed be added to a post instead of your sidebar? It sure can!

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

'Add Plugins' section

(RSS plugins for WordPress)

Note: Most RSS plugins typically require configuration – visit the plugin sites for complete instructions, or contact us if you need help configuring plugins.

Here are some autoblogging plugins for WordPress that allow you to automatically create new with feeds and imported content:

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 of your imported feeds and arrange feeds according to categories and campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin)

WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive RSS feed importer and auto blogging WordPress plugin with a number of premium add-ons for extended functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post extension is a feature-filled importer that allows you to add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer

(RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress)

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

The plugin fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full content of each feed item as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress

(Powr RSS Feed)

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

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress

(WP Pipes)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress WordPress 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.

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator site (sites that combine content from various different sources), or display all of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin

(Autoblog – 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 your feed URL, give the feed a name of your choosing (for admin purposes) and select a blog that you want it to post to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

Idea

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

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

You can access the comments in your feed by clicking on Comments RSS in the ‘Meta’ section of your sidebar …

Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed entries viewed with Firefox

(Comments feed entries seen on Firefox browser)

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

RSS comments feed entries viewed on Google Chrome

(RSS comments feed items seen using a Google Chrome browser)

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

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

(Paste the feed URL into a feed reader to view the feed content. 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 has been installed in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using RSS Feeds For Specific Post Items

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

RSS Feed For Specific Post Item

(RSS Feed For Specific Post)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category Feeds

Some your site users may only be interested in syndicating content from a specific post category. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

If you publish content under several categories, WordPress allows you to offer users a separate feed for each different category.

Just use the format shown below:

Format for WP category RSS feed

(Use this format for WordPress post categories RSS feed)

Copy the selected category URL …

Select and copy your category link address ...

(Copy the selected category URL …)

And add the word “feed” to the end of it …

WP RSS feed format for post categories

(Use this format for WP category RSS feed)

The RSS feed now only includes content specific to this particular category …

Category-specific RSS 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 – Provide Your Own RSS Feeds List

You can set up your own RSS feeds page that allows readers to subscribe to content in the categories they are interested in …

Create Your Own Feeds List

(Set Up An RSS Feeds Directory)

You can also link an icon to category (or specific post) feeds and then create a table or a list of your feeds on a new page …

RSS button graphic

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

We have written a detailed tutorial on adding tables to WordPress posts and pages here:

RSS Feeds – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure various feed formats that do not require touching code. Here are some examples of custom feed types you can use …

Different Custom Feeds You Can Create With WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Custom Feeds)

Here are the different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown in the image above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – RSS feed that displays your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Contains the latest comments published on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed that includes a specific post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed for the latest comments made on single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/02/03/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/04/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays the latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Contains the latest entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to promote your RSS feed. Make sure you place your subscribe button in a visible location …

Remember to make your RSS feeds visible your feeds!

(Encourage your site users to subscribe to your RSS feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that online users will only syndicate your content if you provide great content. In other words, you need to provide high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

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

(Add content to your site and get online users to share your content using 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 🙂

RSS Resources:

  • Download RSS Feed Buttons – Visit sites like iconspedia.com/search/rss or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS logos”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about the history and benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex: RSS Feeds – Official WordPress documentation. Go here for additional information about WordPress RSS feeds.

The Benefits Of Using The WordPress RSS Feature

Congratulations! Now you know where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to add someone else’s content to your site via RSS feeds.

Hopefully, this post has given you a better understanding of issues that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To learn more about using WordPress for a business web site please click on links to visit our related posts section.

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"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)