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.

WordPress And RSSNo matter what what industry you belong to, providing quality information on your site or blog is important. For example, if you provide accounting services, it’s not a bad idea to provide users with information from the taxation office, such as news and updates on tax rulings, small business tax tips, etc.

The problem with creating this kind of information, however, is that it is really time-consuming. You have to sift through, gather, and organize a ton 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 kept 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 entirely beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is an easier way to keep your users up-to-date with your information.

It’s called RSS

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

(RSS is the easiest way to provide your site visitors with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS Made Simple

  • RSS, which, according to some definitions is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It is also often called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content so that users can read it without having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • Feeds are often used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog entries, news headlines, audio playlists, etc., to which other users can then subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML (XML = Extensible Markup Language) document that includes either full or summarized text along with metadata such as published date, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites or blogs that publish feeds and then view updates posted on these sites through an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate their web content automatically.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and read by different aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure that feeds are compatible with different machines and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine several RSS feeds to display news and updates from various sources.

This guide explains where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to display content from other websites and blogs on your site using RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

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

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

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

Syndication allows leading news reporting agencies to deliver readers global stories and the latest news headlines from all around the globe without having to employ and set up additional content writers in every location around the world …

News reporting agencies rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy items from other news agencies all around the world.

(Many news reporting agencies rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies around the planet.)

Syndication is used to share content legitimately with other sites. online media publications syndicate their stories using feeds

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

(News reporting agencies syndicate content using news feeds)

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

Leading news reporting agencies contain 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”, “star tribune rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Leading news publishing agencies contain an RSS feed section

(Most leading online media publications will contain a feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

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

A site's list of different feeds

(RSS directory. Image Source: NY Times RSS)

gives readers access to information from different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, arts news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain further subcategories …

Feed sections can also contain feed subcategories.

(Feed sections can also contain subcategories. Image Source: LA Times RSS)

Info

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

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

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

Syndicating Content 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 that you don’t have to create, it’s a great idea to try and get other sites to use your content.

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

Try to get visitors to syndicate your feed ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Get visitors to syndicate content using your RSS feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

Your WordPress RSS

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

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

1) If your theme displays the Meta widget in a navigation menu …

The feed will display as many recent items you have specified in the WP Reading Settings section

(Your feed page will show as many recent items you have specified in the WordPress 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 posts in your feed as full text, or a summary …

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

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

Important

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

Post excerpts affect how your feeds display

(Post excerpts affect how feeds appear)

To learn more about Post excerpts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, to view a feed’s content, you have to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into an application that translates 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 their RSS feed icon …

Search for an RSS feed link.

(Look for an RSS feed button. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard)

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

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

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

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

How To Add Feeds To WordPress

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

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business operates in, you can easily display on your site the latest news and updates from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by importing their feed. You can easily 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 navigation menu …

Add an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

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

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

Widgets Section - RSS Widget

(WP 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 the sidebar …

RSS Feed Added To Sidebar Menu

(RSS Feed Content Added To Sidebar)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

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

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

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

How To Add Content From RSS Feeds To WordPress Posts

What if you want to add content from RSS feeds to posts instead of the sidebar?

You can do this using WordPress plugins. Just search on the WordPress plugin repository for RSS Post, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' search results - WordPress RSS plugins

(‘Add Plugins’ screen – WordPress RSS plugins)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico - WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and autoblogging WordPress plugin with extended functionality with a number of premium extensions (add-ons).

For example, the Feed to Post add-on for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin lets you import RSS feeds directly into WP 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 lets you curate, syndicate, import, merge and display full text feeds on your WordPress website or blog.

The plugin fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full article content of every item in the feed as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed - WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

The premium edition of this plugin contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin)

The WP Pipes plugin for WordPress 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 functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook, export WordPress posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress)

FeedWordPress is a flexible Atom/RSS syndication plugin for WordPress 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 bring together content from many different sources), or bring together all of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev WP Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up very quickly, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in the URL of your feed, give your feed a name (for admin purposes) and select a blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Includes Pages Plugin For WordPress)

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

For more details, go here:

Important Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress displays RSS feeds of your latest post comments in addition to displaying RSS feeds of your latest posts.

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

WordPress Comments RSS

(Comments RSS)

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

Comments feed entries seen with a Firefox browser

(Comments feed entries seen using Firefox)

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

Comments feed entries viewed on a Google Chrome web browser

(RSS comments feed content displayed on Google Chrome browser)

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

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

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

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 installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using RSS Feeds For Specific Post Items

Being able to select an RSS feed for single post items 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 creating an RSS feed for single post items is shown below:

RSS Feed For Specific Post

(Feed For Single Post Item)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category Feeds

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

If your site displays content published under different categories, WordPress allows you to provide a separate RSS feed for each different category.

Just use the format below:

WordPress post categories feed format

(WordPress category RSS feed format)

Copy the category link address to your clipboard …

Copy the category URL to your clipboard ...

(Copy the category link address to your clipboard …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

WP category feed format

(Format for WP category feed)

Your RSS feed will now only include content posted under this category …

Category feed page

(Category-specific 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 – Publish Your Own Page Of RSS Feeds For Your Visitors

You can set up a list of RSS feeds on your site that allows your readers to subscribe to content in specific categories, just like large websites …

Set Up A List Of RSS Feeds

(Create Your Own Feeds Page)

You can link an icon to category feeds and then create a table or a list of your category feeds on a separate page …

RSS graphic

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

If you need help with creating tables in WordPress posts and pages, see this step-by-step tutorial:

RSS Feeds – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure various feed formats without messing with code. Here are some examples of feed formats you can use …

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Feed Types You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – contains your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed that includes the latest comments posted on your website
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for single post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on a single post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/02/29/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Feed displaying the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/01/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains latest post entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed containing latest entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

It’s a good idea to promote your RSS feeds. Make sure you place a subscribe buttons somewhere visible …

Promote your feeds!

(Encourage visitors to subscribe to your feeds!)

Keep in mind that online users will only want to syndicate your content if your content is useful, educational, or highly entertaining. In other words, provide high-quality information that will add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Easily add great content to your site and get others to share your content using WordPress and RSS!

(Add someone else’s content and get other users to subscribe to your content with 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 feed 🙂

RSS Resources:

  • RSS Buttons – Visit www.feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS images”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS images and icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information and resources about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about the benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress software documentation and information. Go here to learn more about using WordPress RSS.

Using RSS In WordPress

Congratulations! Now you know 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 RSS.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you grow your business online. To learn more about using WordPress please click on links to visit other great content we have published on this site.

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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)