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 what industry you are a part of, it’s vitally important to provide high-value information to your site or blog readers. For example, if your business provides travel-related services, it’s not a bad idea to provide users with the latest information from government and foreign travel departments, such as news or updates on travel warnings, tips from embassies, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, involves a huge amount of time and resources. You have to sort through, research, and organize a lot of information, check your facts, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then make sure that this information is continually up-to-date. As you can imagine, this is not only a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is completely beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is an easier way to keep your site readers up-to-date with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your site readers with great information

(RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your readers with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Definition

  • RSS, which, according to some experts is short for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It it is also referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save readers time from having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • Feeds are often used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog post items, news, videos, etc., which users can then subscribe to.
  • You can read an RSS feed using a software called a feed reader, or feed aggregator. Aggregators are used to access new content published on websites and syndicate this content to other online properties.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be read by different feed readers. 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 compatibility with different devices and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine several RSS feeds to receive news and updates from different sources.

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 add content from other sites to your site via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful way of sharing web content. Feeds provide a simple and easy way for web users to receive the latest information published on websites and blogs they are interested in.

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

Online media publications rely on syndication to publish stories from other news agencies all around the world.

Syndication allows most leading news reporting agencies to deliver readers interesting stories and the latest newsworthy content from around the globe without actually having to hire additional news reporting departments everywhere in the world …

Global media publications use content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources around the globe.

(Online newspapers use content syndication to publish newsworthy items from news sources all around the world.)

Syndication is used to share newsworthy content legitimately. Digital content publishers syndicate their newsworthy content using news feeds

Content syndication is used by news reporting agencies to share information with other publications

(Content syndication is used by global media publications to share information with other news publications)

Most sites actually would like you to share their content. Syndicating content not only allows great information to be shared, but it also drives visitors back to the site that originally created theoriginally created and published the content being syndicated. This provides websites with additional opportunities to generate significant web visitors.

Most leading online media publications provide links to a feed section (look for links in their navigation section that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “calgary herald rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Major sites include an RSS feed section

(Most online newspapers and leading online media publications include a feed section. Image: smh.com.au )

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

A site's list of feeds

(RSS directory. Image Source: nytimes.com RSS feeds)

These feed items let you access information from different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, entertainment news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

An RSS feed list can also include feed subcategories …

An RSS list can also include subcategories.

(RSS Feed section. Source: LA Times)

Info

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

RSS Feeds – Benefits

Adding content from someone else’s website on your site has some obvious benefits. It helps someone else’s business and adds value to your site without you having to create that 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 without having to create it, it’s worth keeping in mind that you also want other websites to syndicate your content.

When other websites and blogs syndicate your feed, you have the opportunity to gain more exposure online and drive more visitors …

Try to get other online users to syndicate your content ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Get other online users to syndicate your content … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress Feed – About

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

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

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to be displayed on your navigation menu, just scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

You can access your WordPress RSS feed from the Meta section

(Meta widget)

2) You can also find links and/or buttons on certain themes that let your visitors copy your RSS feed.

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

Copy feed URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe to RSS" buttons

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

3) On many sites and again, depending on your theme, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Share, Links, or Follow Us toolbar …

Look for an RSS button in a a Links, Social Share, or Subscribe toolbar

(Look for an RSS button in a a Links, Stay In Touch, or Share section)

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

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

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

Feed items displayed on Firefox browser

(Feed items as seen on Firefox browser)

Note that your feed content will display differently depending on the browser you use …

Feed items displayed on Google Chrome web browser

(RSS feed entries viewed on Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

Specify how many posts you would like to display in your Feeds page in the Reading Settings section. Type the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WP Reading Settings - Syndication feeds

(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings – Syndication items setting)

The feed section will display as many recent items you have specified section …

Your feed page will display the number of items you have specified in the WordPress Reading Settings section

(Your feed will display the number of items you have specified in the Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

WP Reading Settings - Display 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for each article in a RSS feed

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

Useful Information

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

Post excerpts can affect how a feed will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed appears)

We have created a detailed tutorial about WordPress Post excerpts here:

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 read and translate feeds into readable content.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, go to a website whose feed you want to syndicate and search for a ’subscribe to feed’ link or button …

Look for a 'subscribe to feed' button.

(Look for an RSS feed icon. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

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

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

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

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

Adding A Feed To WordPress Sites

Let’s show you how to add RSS content from another website to yours.

Adding An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is in, you could display on your site the latest content from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by adding their RSS 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 …

Let's add an RSS feed to your sidebar

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

First, Go to a website that publishes content that you want to display on your sidebar and copy its RSS feed to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy your feed URL)

Next, paste the feed into an RSS widget …

RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your browser. The content will now display on the sidebar …

RSS Feed Added To Sidebar Menu

(RSS Widget)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

You can add your WordPress RSS feed to Google and Bing’s search consoles. This will help them index your content faster.

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

Adding your site’s RSS feed to search consoles is simple, fast, easy, and requires no technical skills. For a step-by-step tutorial, go here:

Adding A Feed To Posts

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

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

WordPress RSS plugins

(RSS plugins)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico)

WPeMatico is an easy to use plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from specific RSS/Atom feeds.

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator - WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WP Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

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

RSS Post Importer will fetch an RSS feed and publish the entire content of each feed item as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

The premium edition of this plugin contains a number of additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, manually accept or reject posts, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

The WP Pipes plugin for WordPress is a powerful data migration plugin that lets you curate content from RSS feeds, Google News, and other sources.

This plugin provides functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook, export your posts as 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 WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a simple and flexible syndication plugin for WordPress site 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 β€” but with additional meta-data, so that your templates can properly attribute the post to the source it came from.

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator sites, or display all of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, Flickr, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog 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 it a name of your choosing (for admin purposes) and select the blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

(RSS Includes Pages WordPress Plugin)

Install RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed and not just posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here:

Useful Information

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to making RSS feeds of your latest posts available to online users, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of your post comments.

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

WordPress Comments RSS

(Comments RSS)

Comments posted on your site by visitors and users display in your Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed content seen on Firefox web browser

(Comments feed entries seen with a Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed entries as seen on Google Chrome browser

(Comments feed items displayed using a Google Chrome web browser)

Again, you can check what the comments feed contains 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 feed content.

(Paste the comments feed URL into a feedreader to view the feed content. Image 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 website is located in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Displaying Individual Post Feeds

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

The formula for using an RSS feed for a specific post is shown below:

Feed For Single Post

(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 Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Using Category Feeds

Some your site users may only want to syndicate content from one or two post categories. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

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

Just use the format below:

Feed format for category

(Use this format for WordPress category RSS feed)

Select and copy the category link address …

Copy the category URL ...

(Copy the category URL to your clipboard …)

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

Use this format for WordPress post categories feed

(WP post categories feed format)

The category feed will now only include content posted for this category …

Category feed

(Category-specific RSS 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 Page

You can create your own feeds list that allows readers to subscribe to specific categories, just like large authoritative sites …

Create Your Own Page Of RSS Feeds For Your Visitors

(Provide Your Own RSS Feeds Page)

All you need to do is link an icon 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 graphic

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

If you need help with inserting tables into WordPress content, go here:

RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure a number of different feed formats without code editing skills. Here are some examples of feed formats you can display …

WordPress RSS - Custom Feeds

(Different Custom Feeds You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – RSS feed that displays your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed that displays the latest comments left on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for an individual post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed that includes the latest comments made on a post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed that contains the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/04/18/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/10/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/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: Contains the latest entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to let your visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feed. Make sure you place a subscribe links in a visible location …

Remember to promote your feeds!

(Encourage visitors to syndicate your feeds!)

Keep in mind that other website owners will only syndicate your content if you provide great information. In other words, provide high-quality information that will add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add great content from other sites and get other users to share your content with WordPress and RSS!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get other sites to subscribe to your content using 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 feed πŸ™‚

RSS Resources:

  • RSS Graphics – Visit sites like Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS icon”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable Free RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization responsible for publishing the RSS specification, providing guidance to developers who create RSS applications and broadening general public understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation and information repository. Visit this site for additional information about WordPress RSS feeds.

Using RSS In WordPress

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 add someone else’s content to your site using RSS feeds.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of problems that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To read more about using WordPress for a business web site please click on links to visit our related posts section.

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