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 Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product you provide or what industry your business belongs to, providing high-quality information on your site or blog is essential. For example, if you provide accounting or financial planning services, it’s a good idea to include useful information from the taxation office, such as news or updates on tax rulings, small business tax deductions, etc.

The problem with providing this kind of information, however, is that it takes a huge amount of work and resources. You have to sift through, gather, and organize a lot of information, check your facts, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then ensure that this information is continually kept 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 a simpler way to regularly provide your site visitors with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is one of the easiest ways to provide your subscribers with up-to-date information

(RSS - The simplest way to provide your users with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What Is RSS?

  • RSS, which, according to some experts is short for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly known as Really Simple Syndication. It is also often called a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • After a user subscribes to a website’s feed, they no longer have to physically visit and check the source website for content updates. Instead, their web browser will continually monitor the feed and keep subscribers updated.
  • RSS feeds are also used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog post items, news headlines, audio lists, etc., to which 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 other metadata such as published date, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then view any updates posted on these sites using a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate content.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) feeds and 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, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine several RSS feeds to display news and updates from various sources.

This in-depth guide explains where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to display someone else’s content on your site via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful way to share web content. Feeds provide online users with a simple way to receive the latest information posted on sites they are interested in.

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

Media publications rely on content syndication to publish newsworthy content from content sources all around the world.

Syndication allows many online newspapers and influential online media publications to deliver readers up-to-date newsworthy items and content of general interest from all over the planet without having to employ and send more news staff everywhere around the world …

Most news reporting agencies and many leading online media publications rely on syndication to publish stories from other news agencies around the globe.

(Media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources around the world.)

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content. online media publications syndicate newsworthy content using feeds

Digital news publishers syndicate their stories using news feeds

(Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing newsworthy content)

Most websites actually want you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the original site that published the content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Leading online newspapers contain a feed section (look for links in their navigation menu that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “daily telegraph rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Leading digital news publishing agencies contain an RSS feed section

(Most online newspapers and major sites provide links to a feed section. Image: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds section will bring up a directory of different RSS feeds …

RSS feeds directory

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

Each of these feed items allows readers to access content from different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, travel news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain further subcategories …

Feed sections can also include subcategories.

(RSS Feed section. Image: latimes.com)

Info

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

RSS Feeds – Benefits

Syndicating content from someone else’s site on your website has some obvious benefits. It not only gives someone else’s site additional exposure online, it also adds value to your site without you having to create this content …

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

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

While adding feeds from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, it’s worth keeping in mind that you also want other sites to use YOUR content.

When other sites syndicate your feed, you have the opportunity to get increased exposure online and drive more web traffic …

Try to get other website owners to syndicate content using your RSS feed ... it will help to increase traffic!

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

About Your WordPress RSS

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

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

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

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

Another setting in your WP Reading Settings section that affects your feeds is whether to display your posts as full text, or a summary …

WP Settings - Reading Settings - Display 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for posts in a feed

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

Idea

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

Post excerpts affect how your feed content will appear

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

To learn more about Post excerpts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, find a website or blog and search for a ‘subscribe’ button …

Look for a 'subscribe' icon or link.

(Search for an RSS feed link. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the feed URL)

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

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

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

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

Adding A Feed To Your Site

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

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Sidebar

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

Let’s add content sourced from an RSS feed to your sidebar …

Let's add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar

(Add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation menu)

copy the RSS feed from a website or blog that publishes content that you want to add to your site …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed)

Next, go to your Widgets screen and paste the feed into an RSS widget …

Widgets Section - RSS Widget

(Widgets Panel – RSS Widget)

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

Load your website in your browser. The content will now appear on the sidebar (or wherever you have added the RSS widget – e.g. custom menu, footer, etc) …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Content Added To WP 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 RSS Feeds To WordPress Posts

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

You can easily do this using plugins. Just search inside the Plugins admin section for RSS, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' screen - WordPress RSS plugins

(RSS plugins)

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

Here are a few WordPress plugins that let you add RSS feeds to your pages and posts:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico WP Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress)

WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive RSS feed importer and autoblogging WordPress plugin with additional functionality with premium add-ons.

For example, the Feed to Post extension for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin is a feature-rich importer that lets you import RSS feeds directly into your posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress)

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

The plugin also lets you display videos, images, and article content, adjust feed priority, use custom colors, backgrounds, fonts, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any computer, tablet, or phone 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 Plugin For WordPress

(WP Pipes)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress WP Plugin

(FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides simple and flexible Atom/RSS syndication 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 FeedWordPress to create aggregator site (sites that bring together content from many different sources), or bring together all of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog - 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. Simply copy and paste in the URL of your feed, 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

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Includes Pages)

The RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types plugin modifies RSS feeds to include pages and not just posts.

For more details, go here:

Tip

Using RSS – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress displays RSS feeds of comments posted on your site in addition to displaying feeds of your posts.

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

Comments Feed

(Comments RSS)

All the comments posted on your site by visitors and users will appear in your Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed entries displayed with Firefox

(Comments feed items as seen on a Firefox browser)

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

Comments feed items viewed with a Google Chrome web browser

(RSS comments feed entries seen with a Google Chrome web browser)

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

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

(Paste your URL of your comments feed into a feed reader 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 WP site installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Feeds For Specific Items

Being able to use an RSS feed for single posts can be useful. For example, you may want to add feeds from specific posts to RSS directories, or you may have created a valuable resource that other online users will want to syndicate.

The formula for accessing an RSS feed for single posts is shown below:

Specific Post Feed

(Feed For Specific Post Item)

To create the above feed, copy the post URI, 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 – Displaying Post Category Feeds

Some your site users may only want to subscribe to content from a specific category. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

If your site displays content published under many categories, WordPress allows you to easily create a separate feed for each of these categories.

All you need to do is use the format below:

Feed format for post categories

(Format for WordPress post categories feed)

Copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Copy the category URL to your clipboard ...

(Copy your category URL …)

Append the word “feed” to the end of it …

WordPress post categories RSS feed format

(WP post categories RSS feed format)

The RSS feed will now only contain content posted under that category …

Category-specific RSS feed

(Category-specific RSS feed page)

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 A Feeds List

You can provide your own RSS feeds directory that allows readers to subscribe only to content in the categories they are interested in …

Provide A Directory Of Feeds On Your Site

(Set Up Your Own List Of RSS Feeds)

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

RSS button

(RSS button. Source: public-domain-photos.com)

We have created a detailed tutorial about inserting tables into WordPress here:

RSS Feeds – Notes

RSS feeds can be customized in several ways, such as adding videos and images to feeds, ads, etc. Some of these feed customizations require editing code.

WordPress allows various feed configurations that do not require touching code. Below are examples of some of the kinds of custom feeds you can use …

Different Custom Feeds You Can Create With WordPress RSS

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Feed that contains your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed containing the latest comments posted on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing a post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on an individual post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/07/09/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/09/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains the latest posts 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 last thing …

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

Promote your RSS feeds!

(Promote your RSS feeds!)

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

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

(Add great content from other sites and get visitors to share your content online with RSS feeds!)

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 – Additional Resources:

  • RSS Feed Graphics – Visit Feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS logo”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS graphics.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex: RSS Feeds – WordPress software documentation and reference site. Visit this site for more information 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 sites on your site using their RSS feed.

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 the benefits of using WordPress for a business web site please see other great articles and tutorials on this site.

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"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now

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