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 Basic Overview On Using The WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product your business provides, providing high-value information on your site or blog is important. For example, if your business provides travel-related services, it’s a good idea to include information from government and foreign travel-related departments, such as news and updates on travel warnings, tips from consular offices, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, is really time-consuming. You have to do a lot of data sifting, researching and organizing, checking sources for accuracy, writing and editing content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then make sure that this information is continually up-to-date. As you can imagine, this is not only a huge amount of work but most of the information you are dealing with is entirely beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is an easier way to provide your site visitors with up-to-date information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your readers with great information

(RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your site readers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What Is It?

  • RSS is short for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred to, Really Simple Syndication. It is often called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content so that subscribers can read it without having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • Feeds are also used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog entries, news headlines, audio lists, etc., which any user can then subscribe to.
  • RSS feeds can be viewed using programs called RSS readers, or aggregators. Aggregators can be used to access new content published on websites and distribute this content to other online properties.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) feeds and RDF (Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different machines, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also allow you to combine different RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from many different sites.

This detailed guide explains where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to display content from other sites on your site using RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful way of sharing web content. Feeds provide online users with an easy way to receive the latest information posted on different websites.

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

Media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from content sources all around the world.

Content syndication allows most leading news reporting agencies to deliver readers the latest stories and headlines from all over the planet without actually having to employ additional news reporters and content writers in every place around the world …

Media publications rely on content syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources all around the planet.

(Most news reporting agencies and popular media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies around the world.)

Syndication is used to share content legitimately with other sites. Digital news publishers syndicate their information using news feeds

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

(Online newspapers syndicate content using feeds)

Most websites actually want you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows valuable information to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the site that originally created theoriginally created and published the content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Most news reporting agencies and major content sites include an RSS feed section (look for links that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “nz herald rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many news reporting agencies have an RSS feed section

(Many news reporting agencies and major online media publications contain a feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds list

(A website’s list of different feeds. Image: nytimes.com)

Each of these RSS feeds lets readers access information from different sections of the site (e.g. technology news, travel news, editorials, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain further subcategories …

RSS Feed section.

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

Important Info

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

Syndicating Content – Benefits

Syndicating content from someone else’s site on your website 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 this content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Website And Yours!

(Content Syndication Has Many Benefits!)

While adding RSS feeds 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 websites to use YOUR content.

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

Get other websites and blogs to syndicate your feed ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Get users to syndicate your content … it will help to increase your traffic!)

WordPress Feed – Overview

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

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

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

Access your WordPress RSS feed in the Entries RSS menu

(WordPress Meta widget – Accessing your RSS feed)

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

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

Copy RSS URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

3) On some websites and again, depending on which theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Link To Us, Social Share, or Stay In Touch toolbar …

Look for an RSS button in a a Social Share, Link To Us, or Keep In Touch section

(Look for an RSS button in a a Share, Links, or Keep In Touch toolbar)

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

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

Using any of the above methods will bring up a page containing your site’s feed …

Feed items as seen with a Firefox web browser

(RSS content viewed with a Firefox browser)

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

Feed items displayed on Chrome web browser

(RSS entries as seen with Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

You can specify how many items you would like to show in your RSS page, by going to your Reading Settings section and typing the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WordPress Reading Settings - Syndication items field

(WP Settings – Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

Your feed page will display the number of posts as you have specified in your WP Reading Settings section …

The feed will display the number of items you have specified in the WP Reading Settings section

(Your feed page will show as many recent items you have specified in your Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

(WordPress Reading Settings – Display ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for each article in your RSS feed)

Tip

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts affect how feeds display

(Post excerpts affect how content in your feeds will display)

We have written a detailed tutorial on WordPress Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, all that’s required to view the content of a feed is to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into a feedreader, i.e. an application that can translate feeds into readable content.

Let’s see how this works.

First, find a website or blog and search for a ‘subscribe’ button using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for a 'subscribe to feed' icon.

(Search for a ’subscribe to feed’ link. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

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

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

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

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

How To Add RSS Feeds To Your WP Site

In the example below, we are going to add content from other websites or blogs to your site.

Adding Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business operates in, you could 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 RSS feed. You can easily display a range of information on your WordPress site like news, Facebook comments, 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 the WordPress sidebar

(Add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar)

copy the RSS feed from a site containing content that you want to add to your sidebar …

Copy your feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard)

Next, go to Appearance > Widgets and paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

Widgets Area - RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Load your site in your browser. The content can now be seen on the sidebar (or wherever you have placed the RSS widget – e.g. footer) …

RSS Widget

(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:

How To Add RSS Feed Content To Posts

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

You can easily do this using WordPress plugins. Search on the WordPress plugin repository for RSS Aggregator, RSS feed to post, etc.

RSS plugins

(RSS plugins)

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

Here are a few auto blogging tools that allow you to automatically add posts with feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

You can manage all the feeds you import and arrange them into campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator – WordPress Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on lets you import 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 lets you curate, syndicate, import, merge and display full text RSS feeds on your WordPress blog.

The plugin will fetch an RSS feed and publish the full content of each item in your feed as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

The premium plugin edition contains many additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, manually accept or reject posts in your feed, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes – WordPress 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, auto blogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook, export WordPress posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress)

FeedWordPress provides versatile syndication options 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.

FeedWordPress can be used 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 WP Plugin

(Autoblog Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up very quickly, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Simply 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

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types WP Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages WordPress Plugin)

The RSS Includes Pages plugin modifies your default WordPress RSS feed to include pages in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Useful Info

Using WordPress RSS – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to displaying feeds of your posts, WordPress also displays RSS feeds of comments posted on your site.

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

WordPress Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments Feed)

All the comments posted on your site by visitors can be seen in your Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed content viewed using Firefox

(RSS comments feed entries displayed with Firefox)

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

Comments feed entries seen using Google Chrome

(RSS comments feed entries as seen using Google Chrome)

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

Paste the comments feed URL into a feedreader to view the feed content.

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

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

Tip #2 – Accessing Individual Post RSS Feeds

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

Individual Post RSS Feed

(RSS Feed For Individual Post Item)

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 RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category RSS Feeds

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

If your website or blog contains content published under various categories, WordPress allows you to provide a separate feed for each category.

Just use the format below:

Feed format for post categories

(Feed format for post categories)

Select and copy the category link address to your clipboard …

Copy your category URL ...

(Copy your category URL …)

Add “feed” to the end of it …

Format for WordPress post categories RSS feed

(WordPress category RSS feed format)

The feed will now only contain content posted for that category …

Category-specific feed

(Category RSS 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 – Publish An RSS Feeds List

You can set up your own feeds page that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in the categories they are interested in, just like large online publishers …

Set Up An RSS Feeds List

(Provide Your Own RSS Feeds List)

You can link an RSS button to category (or single post) feeds and then create a table or a list of your individual feeds on a new page …

RSS image

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

If you need help with inserting tables into WordPress pages and posts, refer to this tutorial:

RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows several feed configurations without code editing skills. Here are some examples of feeds you can use …

WordPress RSS - Custom Feeds

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Feed that contains your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed that displays the latest comments left on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed for single posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that includes the latest comments made on a post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/01/03/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/03/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – RSS feed displaying latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: RSS feed containing latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed displaying 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 your users know that they can subscribe to your RSS feed. Make sure you place a ’subscribe to RSS’ button or link somewhere visible …

Encourage visitors to subscribe to your RSS feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that online users will only subscribe to your content if you publish useful content. In other words, you must provide high-quality information that can add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

Easily add great content from other sites and get online users to subscribe to your content with RSS feeds!

(Add great content to your site and get other sites to syndicate your content with WordPress and RSS!)

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 🙂

Resources:

  • RSS Feed Icons – Visit an online resource site like Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS buttons”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization responsible for 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 using RSS.
  • WordPress.org – Official WordPress documentation and information. Visit this site for additional information about using feeds in WordPress.

Your WordPress RSS

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

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of problems that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To read more about the benefits of using the WordPress platform please see our related posts section.

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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)