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 …

Your WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product you sell, providing quality information on your site or blog is important. For example, if your business provides travel-related services, it’s not a bad idea to provide users with information from government departments and foreign travel offices, such as news and updates on travel warnings, tips from embassies, etc.

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

Fortunately, there is a much easier way to keep your readers up-to-date with the latest information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - The simplest way to provide your site readers with the latest information

(RSS - One of the simplest ways to provide your blog subscribers with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Definition

  • RSS, which, according to some definitions stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly known now as Really Simple Syndication. It it is also called a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content so that their site readers can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • RSS feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog post items, news, video playlists, etc., which any user can then subscribe to.
  • RSS feed content can be read using a software-based tool called a feedreader, or feed aggregator. Aggregators can be used to access content on all different kinds of topics and distribute this content (and updates made to the content) online.
  • 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 compatibility with different devices and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also allow you to combine many RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates from different sources.

This guide 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 using RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful and legitimate way to share content online. Feeds provide web users with an easy way to receive the latest information published on sites they are interested in.

First, let’s look at syndication.

News publishing agencies and many popular online media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish news from news sources around the world.

Content syndication allows online newspapers to deliver readers global stories and the most recent news headlines from all over the globe without actually having to hire and post more news staff everywhere around the world …

Many news reporting agencies rely on syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources around the globe.

(News reporting agencies and influential online media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from news sources around the globe.)

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

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

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

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

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

Major content sites include an RSS feed section

(Most news reporting agencies and major content sites provide links to an RSS feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds link brings up a list of different RSS feeds of the site …

RSS feeds list

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

These RSS feeds give you access to information from different areas of the website (e.g. technology news, travel news, science news, etc.)

A feed list can also include further subcategories …

Feed sections can also include feed subdirectories.

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

Useful Info

Note: A feed is only 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 code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

Adding content from someone else’s website or blog on your site 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 the content …

The Benefits Of Content Syndication

(Using RSS Feeds 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 sites syndicate your RSS feed, you have the opportunity to gain more exposure online and drive more web traffic …

Look for ways to get users to syndicate your content ... it will help to increase your exposure online!

(Consider trying to get users to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help to increase your exposure online!)

WordPress RSS – About

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

Depending on which 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 on the sidebar, you can scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Meta section - Accessing your RSS feed

(WordPress Meta section – Accessing your RSS feed)

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

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

Copy RSS links to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

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

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

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

4) You can also view your RSS feed by simply 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 website has been installed in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

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

RSS feed content displayed using Firefox

(RSS items displayed with a Firefox web browser)

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

Feed entries viewed on Chrome web browser

(Feed entries seen with Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

You can specify how many items you want to show in your Feeds section 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 items setting

(WP Reading Settings – Number of syndication feed items field)

Your feed will show as many recent items you have specified in the WordPress Reading Settings section …

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

(The feed page will show the number of posts as you have specified in your 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 …

Reading Settings - Show 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for each article in a feed

(Settings – Reading Settings – Show ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for articles in a feed)

Important Info

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

Post excerpts can affect how feeds will display

(Post excerpts can affect how your feed content displays)

If you need help Post excerpts, refer to this tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s show you how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and search for their RSS feed link …

Search for an RSS feed icon.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed to your 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 feed URL into a feedreader to view the feed content. Source: Feedreader.com)

Like feed readers, WordPress also has the ability to process XML/RSS feeds and convert these into human-readable content.

How To Add An RSS Feed To WordPress

In the example below, we’ll add content from other websites to your WordPress site.

Adding An RSS Feed To Your WordPress Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is in, you could add to 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 use feeds to display a range of information on your WordPress site such as news, Facebook comments, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

Let's add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area

(Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar)

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

Copy your feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, paste the feed into an RSS widget …

WP 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 can now be seen on the sidebar …

RSS Widget

(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 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 inside your ’Add Plugins’ section for RSS feed, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' search results

(’Add Plugins’ screen)

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

Here are a number of WordPress plugins that allow you to curate and add content from RSS feeds to your pages and posts:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico – WordPress Plugin)

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

You can manage all of your imported feeds and arrange feeds according to categories.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin)

The RSS Post Importer plugin can be used to syndicate, curate, import, merge and display full-text feeds (RSS, Atom, etc.) on your WordPress site.

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full article content of every item in the feed as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed - WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed)

POWr RSS lets you automatically combine and display content from various RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display videos, images, and article content, adjust feed priority, use custom backgrounds, fonts, colors, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in every language.

The premium edition of this plugin contains many 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 For WordPress

(WP Pipes Plugin)

The WP Pipes plugin is a powerful data migration plugin that allows you to create 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, auto blogging, auto post to Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook, export WordPress posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress is a simple and flexible Atom/RSS syndication plugin for WordPress-generated content.

As stated in the FeedWordPress website …

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.

You can use this plugin to create aggregator site (sites that combine posts from many different sources), or bring together all your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev

(Autoblog)

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 - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages WordPress Plugin)

You can use a plugin like RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types to include pages in your 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 – Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress makes available RSS feeds of comments posted on your site in addition to making RSS feeds of your posts available to online users.

To view this, go to the ‘Meta’ widget on your sidebar menu (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 and users can be seen in your Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed content seen using Firefox

(RSS comments feed items as seen on a Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed entries displayed using Google Chrome

(Comments feed items displayed using Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste your URL of your comments feed into a feed reader to view the 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 site has been installed in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Feeds For Single Post Items

Being able to display an RSS feed for individual posts can be useful. For example, you may want to add feeds from specific items to RSS aggregator sites, 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 single post item is shown below:

Feed For Specific Post

(Specific Post RSS Feed)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category Feeds

Some your site visitors may only want to subscribe to content about specific categories. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

If your site contains content published under many categories, you can easily provide a separate RSS feed for each post category.

All you need to do is use the format below:

Format for WordPress category feed

(Use this format for WordPress category RSS feed)

Copy the selected category link address …

Copy the category URL ...

(Select and copy your category URL …)

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

WordPress category feed format

(Use this format for WP post categories feed)

The RSS feed now only contains content posted for that particular category …

Category-specific RSS feed

(Category RSS 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 – Provide An RSS Feeds List

You can set up your own page of feeds on your site that allows readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories, just like large authoritative sites …

Set Up Your Own RSS Feeds Directory

(Publish A List Of Feeds For Your Subscribers)

All you need to do is link an image to each feed URL and then create a table or a list of all your category feeds on a separate page …

RSS icon

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

For a detailed step-by-step tutorial on creating tables in WordPress pages and posts, go here:

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

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

Here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – contains your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed that includes the latest comments posted on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed that contains a single post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that contains the latest comments made on an individual post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/07/03/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/06/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes latest post entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays latest entries 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 let visitors know that they can subscribe to your feed. Place a ’subscribe to RSS’ button in a visible location …

Promote your RSS feeds!

(Promote your RSS feeds!)

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

Add content to your site and get other sites to subscribe to your content with WordPress and RSS!

(Easily add great content to your site and get other users to share your content online with WordPress and RSS!)

Tip

If you need help coming up with content ideas subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

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

RSS Resources:

  • RSS Feed Images – Visit Iconspedia or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss logo”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download 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 helping the public gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about the benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation site. Go here for more information about RSS feeds in WordPress.

WordPress User's Guide To RSS

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 via RSS feeds.

Hopefully, now you 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 please click on links to visit other great content on this site.

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