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 Beginner's Guide To Using WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product your business sells, it’s vitally important to provide high-value information on your site or blog that educates, informs, or improves engagement with your readers. For example, if your business provides medical services, it’s a good idea to provide users with information from the health department, such as news and updates on medical research, health and fitness tips, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, requires a huge amount of time and resources. You have to sort 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 continually ensure that this information is 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 the latest information.

It’s called RSS

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

(RSS - The simplest way to provide your blog subscribers with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS Made Simple

  • RSS, which, according to some stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It it is also referred to as a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content so that subscribers can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog posts, news, videos, etc., which other users can choose to subscribe to.
  • You can view the content of RSS feeds with software programs called RSS readers, or feed aggregators. Feed readers are used to access content on all kinds of topics and distribute this content online.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be read by different feedreaders. 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 machines, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine multiple RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from multiple websites.

This article shows 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 via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful and legitimate method used for sharing web content. RSS Feeds provide a way for online users to stay up-to-date with the latest information posted on sites and blogs they are interested in.

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

Global media and news reporting agencies rely on content syndication to publish news from content sources around the world.

Syndication allows leading online newspapers to deliver readers global stories and the most recent news from all around the planet without actually having to set up more content writers in every location in the world …

Digital content agencies and many popular online media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies around the planet.

(Online newspapers rely on content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies around the globe.)

Syndication is used to share information legitimately with other sites. News reporting agencies syndicate stories using feeds

Content syndication is used by global media publications to share content with other news publications

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

Most websites actually would like you to share their information. Content syndication not only allows information to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the original site responsible for publishing the content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Leading news reporting agencies include a feed section (look for links in the navigation menu that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “belfast telegraph rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most leading online media publications will contain a feed section

(Major content sites will have a feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds section brings up a list of RSS feeds for different content areas of the site …

A directory of feeds

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

gives readers access to content from different areas of the website (e.g. technology news, arts news, editorials, etc.)

Feed sections can also include further subcategories …

Feed sections can also include feed subcategories.

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

Important Info

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

Using RSS Feeds – Benefits

Syndicating content from someone else’s website or blog on your site 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 that content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(Syndicating Content Has Many Benefits!)

While adding a 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 sites to use your content.

When other websites and blogs syndicate your feed, this gives your business the opportunity to gain increased exposure online and drive more web traffic …

Get other online users to syndicate your feed ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Get other websites and blogs to syndicate your feed … it will help increase your exposure online!)

About Your WordPress RSS

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

Depending on your WordPress site’s theme, there are a number of ways to access your RSS feed:

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

Access your WordPress RSS feed in the Entries RSS menu

(Meta widget)

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

In the screenshot below, for example, a visitor can copy the feed URL by right-clicking and copying on the Subscribe to RSS link …

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

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

3) On some sites and again, depending on the theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Link To Us, Share, or Follow slide-out, floating, or fixed toolbar …

Look for an RSS button in a a Link To Us, Follow, or Social Share fixed, floating, or slide-out toolbar

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

4) You can also view your WordPress 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 site has been installed in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed entries as seen with Firefox

(RSS content displayed on Firefox)

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

Feed items viewed using Google Chrome

(RSS items as seen using a Chrome web browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

You can specify how many entries you would like displayed in your RSS Feed section in the Reading Settings section. Type the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

Reading Settings - Number of syndication feed items setting

(Reading Settings – Syndication feed items setting)

The feed section will show the number of items 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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Important

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts can affect how a feed appears

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed displays)

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

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, 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 for humans.

Let’s show you how this works.

First, go to a website whose feed you want to subscribe to and look for a ‘subscribe’ button or link using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for an RSS feed button.

(Search for an RSS feed link. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

If you want, you can check what the feed contains 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 your URL of your feed into a feedreader to view the content. Image Source: Feedreader)

Like feedreaders, WordPress has the ability to process RSS feeds and convert these into content that is readable by humans.

How To Add Feeds To WordPress

In the example below, we’ll add content from other websites and blogs to yours.

Adding A Feed To Your WordPress Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is a part of, you can easily display on your site the latest content 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 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 …

Let's add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

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

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

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the feed URL)

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

Widgets Section - RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

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

Load your website in your web browser. The content will now display in your sidebar …

RSS Feed Added To Sidebar

(RSS Feed Content Added To Sidebar Menu)

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 Feed Content To Posts

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

You can do this using plugins. Just search inside your Plugins section for RSS Post, 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 complete instructions, or contact us if you need assistance with plugin configuration.

The plugins 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 Plugin

(WPeMatico)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed - WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin)

With POWr RSS, you can automatically combine and display content from multiple content using RSS feeds.

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

The premium version of this plugin contains a number of 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

(WP Pipes Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides simple and flexible Atom/RSS syndication options 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 — 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 bring together all your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev – WordPress Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, with no coding required and no complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in the URL of your feed, name your feed (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 WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages Plugin)

By default, WordPress only posts 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:

Important

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to giving online users access to feeds of your posts, WordPress also displays RSS feeds of comments posted on your site.

To view this feed, locate the ‘Meta’ section on your sidebar menu (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) and click on Comments RSS

Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed items as seen with a Firefox web browser

(Comments feed items as seen on Firefox browser)

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

RSS comments feed entries as seen with a Google Chrome browser

(RSS comments feed content as seen on a Google Chrome browser)

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Specific Item Feeds

Being able to create an RSS feed for a single post item 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 displaying an RSS feed for single posts is shown below:

Feed For Specific Post

(Individual Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

Some your site users may only be interested in subscribing to content from one or two post categories. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

If your site displays content published under multiple categories, you can offer subscribers a separate RSS feed for each different category.

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

Use this format for WP category RSS feed

(Format for WordPress post categories RSS feed)

Select and copy the category URL …

Copy the category link address to your clipboard ...

(Copy the category URL …)

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

WordPress RSS feed format for category

(WP RSS feed format for post categories)

Your category feed now only displays content posted for that category …

Category RSS feed page

(Category-specific feed page)

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 – Create A Feeds Directory

You can publish your own page of RSS feeds that allows your readers to subscribe only to specific content …

Provide Your Own Directory Of RSS Feeds

(Create Your Own List Of RSS Feeds)

All you need to do is link a button to your category feeds and then create a table or a list of your individual feeds on a separate page …

RSS image

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

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

WordPress RSS – Notes

You can customize your feeds in various different ways, such as adding videos and images to feeds, ads, etc. Some of these feed customizations require code editing skills.

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

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – RSS feed that includes your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Displays the latest comments published on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing an individual post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that contains the latest comments made on an individual post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/10/28/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/06/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Includes the latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

It’s a good idea to promote your feed. Make sure you place your ’subscribe to RSS’ link or button in a visible location …

Remember to promote your feeds!

(Remember to promote your RSS feeds!)

Keep in mind that other website owners will only want to subscribe to your content if you publish great content that educates, engages, and entertains. In other words, you need to provide high-quality information that will add value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Add great content from other sites and get other users to share your content online using RSS feeds!

(Add content from other sites and get online users to share your content using RSS!)

Useful Tip

If you need great content ideas subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

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

Additional Resources:

  • RSS Buttons – Visit Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss logo download”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about the history and benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress Codex – Official WordPress documentation and reference repository. Visit this site for additional information about feeds in WordPress.

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 add content from other websites and blogs to your site via RSS.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of problems that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you improve your business online. To learn more about using WordPress for a business website please see other great articles and tutorials we have published on this site.

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