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 RSS FeatureNo matter what product or service your business provides, it’s important to provide quality information on your site or blog that better educates, informs, and engages your visitors. For example, if your business provides insurance-related services, it’s not a bad idea to publish useful information from government departments, such as news and updates on statistical research, insurance advice, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it is very time-consuming. You have to do a lot of information gathering, researching and organizing, fact-checking, content writing and editing (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually make sure that this information is 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 continually provide your site visitors with up-to-date information.

It’s called RSS

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

(RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your site visitors with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What You Need To Know

  • RSS, which, according to some experts stands for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • After users subscribe to a website’s feed, they no longer have to physically visit and check the source website for content updates. Instead, their browser constantly monitors the site and keeps subscribers up-to-date.
  • RSS feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog post items, news headlines, audios, etc., which other users can choose to subscribe to.
  • You can view RSS feeds with a web-based, desktop-based, and even mobile-based software program called a feedreader, or aggregator. Feed readers are used to find new content published on websites and syndicate this content to various online properties.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats and read by different feed readers. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom (also called AtomPub or APP feeds and RDF (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, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine several RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates from different sources.

This article explains where to find your WordPress RSS feed, 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 RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful (and legitimate) method used for sharing web content. Feeds provide web users with a way to stay up-to-date with the latest information posted on different sites.

First, let’s take a look at the concept of syndication.

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

Content syndication allows online newspapers to deliver readers the latest headlines from all over the globe without having to post additional news staff everywhere around the world …

Most news reporting agencies use syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies around the globe.

(Media publications use content syndication to publish newsworthy items from news sources all around the planet.)

Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing newsworthy content. News reporting agencies syndicate content using feeds

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

(Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content)

Most websites actually would like you to syndicate their information. Content syndication not only allows information to be shared, but it also drives visitors back to the original site responsible for publishing the content being syndicated. This creates links that can drive traffic back to their site.

Major sites provide links to an RSS feed section (look for navigation links that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “salt lake tribune rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many digital publishers and leading online media publications contain an RSS feed section

(Many digital content publishers and major online media publications contain a feed section. Image: Sydney Morning Herald )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds section brings up a directory of different RSS feeds of the site …

A site's directory of feeds

(RSS Feeds. Source: nytimes.com)

gives readers access to information from different areas of the website (e.g. business news, sports news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

Feed sections can also include feed subdirectories …

RSS Feed section.

(RSS Feed section. Image: latimes.com)

Info

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

RSS Feeds – Benefits

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

Using RSS Feeds

(RSS Feeds - Benefits)

While adding an RSS feed 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 syndicate YOUR content.

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

It's worth trying to get visitors to syndicate your RSS feed ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Try to get visitors to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help to increase traffic!)

WordPress Feed – About

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

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

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to be displayed in a standard or custom menu, scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Meta widget

(Access your WordPress RSS feed in the Entries RSS menu)

2) You can also find links and buttons on certain themes that allow your visitors to copy your RSS feed.

For example, in the screenshot below, 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” buttons)

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

Look for an RSS button in a a Follow, Social Share, or Link To Us section

(Look for an RSS button in a a Link To Us, Follow Us, or Share toolbar section)

4) You can also view your 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 site is located in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

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

RSS feed items viewed with Firefox

(RSS entries seen on a Firefox browser)

Note that your feed items will display differently depending on which web browser you are using …

Feed entries displayed with Google Chrome

(Feed items displayed on a Chrome browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

To specify how many posts you want displayed in your Feeds section, go to your Reading Settings section and select the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WP Reading Settings - Syndication feed items

(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings – Number of syndication feed items setting)

The feed will show as many recent posts as you have specified section …

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

(Reading Settings – ’For each article in a feed show’ options)

Info

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

Post excerpts can affect how content in your feeds will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed displays)

We have written a detailed tutorial about Post excerpts 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 and paste it into a feedreader, i.e. an application that translates feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s show you how this works.

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

Search for an RSS feed button.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy your feed URL)

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

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

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

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

Adding RSS Feeds To WordPress

In the example below, we are going to add content from other sites to yours.

How To Add Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar

(Let’s add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, Go to a website containing content that you want to add to your site and copy its feed URL …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, log into your wordPress Dashboard and go to Appearance > Widget paste the feed into an RSS widget …

Widgets Screen - RSS Widget

(Widgets Area – RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your browser. The content from the RSS feed will now display on your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been added) …

RSS Feed Content Added To WordPress 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 Your WordPress Posts

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

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

RSS plugins

(RSS plugins for WordPress)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin allows you to add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Post Importer WP Plugin)

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

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full content of each item in the feed 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 the POWr RSS Feed plugin, you can combine and display content from a number of different content using RSS feeds.

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

The premium version 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

(WP Pipes WP Plugin)

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 loads of powerful functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter, export posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress)

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 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 sites, or display all of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin

(Autoblog Plugin For WordPress)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin For WordPress)

By default, WordPress only posts posts in your RSS feed. You can use a plugin like RSS Includes Pages to include pages in your RSS feed and not just posts.

For more details, go here:

Important

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to making RSS feeds of your posts available, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of comments posted on your site.

To access this feed, locate the ‘Meta’ section on your sidebar (note: your theme may not be configured to display this widget) and click on Comments RSS

WordPress Comments RSS

(Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed items as seen with a Firefox browser

(RSS comments feed items seen with a Firefox web browser)

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

RSS comments feed items viewed using a Google Chrome browser

(Comments feed entries as seen with Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste the 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 website or blog has been installed in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Accessing RSS Feeds For Specific Items

Being able to display an RSS feed for an individual post item 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 making an RSS feed for an individual post item is shown below:

Specific Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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 append “/feed” to the end of the web address of your post, WordPress will return the comments for your post, not actual content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Post Category Feeds

Some your site users may only be interested in syndicating content from specific categories. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

If your site displays content published under many categories, you can easily offer subscribers a separate feed for each post category.

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

WP post categories feed format

(Use this format for WordPress category feed)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Select and copy your category link address ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

Add “feed” to the end of it …

WP post categories RSS feed format

(RSS feed format for post categories)

The RSS feed will now only include content posted in this category …

Category feed

(Category-specific 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 Directory

You can publish your own feeds directory that allows readers to subscribe to content in specific categories …

Provide Your Own RSS Feeds Page

(Provide A Feeds Directory)

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

RSS button image

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

To learn more about creating tables in WordPress pages and posts, see this tutorial:

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure a number of feed types that do not require touching code. For example, here are some of the kinds of custom feed types you can create …

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

For your convenience, here are the different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown 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 – Feed that contains the latest comments published on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed that contains 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 a single post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/08/14/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/05/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Feed that contains the latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Includes the latest post entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to let your site visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feeds. Place a ’subscribe to RSS’ button or link in a visible location …

Encourage your site users to subscribe to your feeds!

(Remember to make your RSS feeds visible your RSS feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that other website owners will only subscribe to your content if you provide useful information. In other words, provide high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Add great content to your site and get others to syndicate your content with WordPress and RSS!

(Easily add content from other sites and get others to syndicate your content using WordPress and RSS!)

Useful Tip

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

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our feed πŸ™‚

Additional Resources:

  • RSS Buttons – Visit FeedIcons or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss icon”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization with three primary duties: publishing RSS specifications, guiding developers who create RSS applications and helping the general public to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about the benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress software documentation. Visit this site for additional information about using RSS feeds in WordPress.

WordPress RSS Feature

Congratulations! Now you know how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to display someone else’s content on your site via their RSS feed.

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

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