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 RSSNo matter what your business sells or what industry you are in, it’s important to provide quality information on your site or blog that better educates, informs, or improves engagement with your visitors. For example, if you provide travel-related services, you may want to include useful information from government and foreign travel departments, such as news or updates on travel warnings, tips from embassies, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it is really time-consuming. You have to do a ton of data sifting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, writing and editing 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 beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

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

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What Does RSS Stand For?

  • RSS is short for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly known, Really Simple Syndication. It it is also referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content to save readers time from having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • RSS feeds are typically used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog posts, news, video playlists, etc., which any user can choose to subscribe to.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML (XML = Extensible Markup Language) document that includes either full or summarized text along with metadata like published date, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then view updates posted on these websites through an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate content.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feedreaders. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF (RDF = Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different machines and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine many RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from various other websites.

This article explains where your RSS feed is located, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to add someone else’s content to your site via RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful way of sharing content online. Feeds provide a simple way for online users to receive the latest information posted on different sites.

First, let’s look at content syndication.

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

Content syndication allows digital publishing agencies to deliver readers the latest stories and news from all around the planet without having to set up additional content writers in every location in the world …

Many news reporting agencies rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy items from other news agencies around the planet.

(News reporting agencies use content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from news sources around the world.)

Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing information. online media publications syndicate newsworthy content using feeds

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing information

(Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content)

Most sites actually would like you to share their content. Content syndication not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the original site responsible for creating and publishing the content being syndicated. This provides websites with new opportunities to generate significant web visitors.

Most leading online media publications will include an RSS feed section (look for links in their navigation menu that say “RSS” 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.) …

Major content sites provide links to an RSS feed section

(Major content sites will include a feed section. Image Source: SMH RSS )

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

A list of RSS feeds

(RSS feeds list. Image: nytimes.com)

These RSS feeds let you access different areas of the site (e.g. business news, sports news, jobs, etc.)

Feed sections can also include further subcategory feeds …

RSS Feed section.

(An RSS feed directory can also contain subcategories. Image: LA Times RSS)

Important Info

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

The Benefits Of Using Feeds

Adding content from someone else’s website on your site has some obvious benefits. It helps someone else’s content and adds value to your site without you having to create that content …

The Benefits Of Content Syndication

(Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else’s Business And Yours!)

While adding RSS feeds 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 syndicate your content, this gives you the opportunity to gain more exposure online and drive new visitors …

Get visitors to syndicate your content ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Get users to syndicate your content … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress Feed – Overview

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

Depending on your theme, there are a few ways to get your RSS feed:

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to display on the sidebar or footer, you can scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Access your WordPress RSS feed from the Meta section

(WordPress Meta section – Accessing your RSS feed)

2) You can also find built-in links and buttons on certain WordPress themes that let your visitors copy your 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 feed links to your clipboard from “subscribe” 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, Share, or Follow section …

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

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

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

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

RSS feed entries seen using Firefox

(Feed items viewed on Firefox web browser)

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

Feed items viewed with Google Chrome

(Feed items viewed on Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

To specify how many items you want to display in your RSS Feed section, go to your Reading Settings section and enter the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

Reading Settings - Syndication items setting

(WP Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

The feed section will show the number of posts as you have specified section …

Your feed page will show the number of items you have specified in the Reading Settings section

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

Reading Settings - Show 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for posts in a RSS feed

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

Idea

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

Post excerpts can affect how a feed will display

(Post excerpts affect how your feed content displays)

To learn more about Post excerpts, see this tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, to view a feed’s content, you need to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into an application that reads and translates feeds into readable content.

Let’s show you how this works.

First, go to a website whose content you want to subscribe to and look for their RSS feed link using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for an RSS feed button.

(Search for a ‘subscribe’ icon. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard)

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

Paste your 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.com)

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

How To Add Feeds To Your Site

Let’s show you how to add content from other websites to your WordPress site.

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is in, you can add to your site the latest news and updates from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by adding their RSS feed. You can use feeds to display a range of information on your WordPress site like news, social media comments, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

Add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar area

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

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

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy your feed URL to your clipboard)

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

Widgets Panel - RSS Widget

(Widgets Screen – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Load your site in your browser. The content from the RSS feed will now display in the sidebar …

RSS Feed Content Added To WordPress Sidebar

(RSS Feed Content Added To WP 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 A Feed To WordPress Posts

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

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

WordPress RSS plugins

(’Add Plugins’ screen)

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

The plugins listed 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 Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator - WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator – WordPress Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on lets you import RSS feeds directly into your WordPress posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer)

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

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed WP Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed WordPress Plugin)

The POWr RSS Feed plugin combines and displays content from multiple content using RSS feeds.

This plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust feed size and spacing, use custom borders, colors, fonts, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in all languages.

The premium version 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)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a flexible Atom/RSS syndication plugin for WordPress.

As stated in the FeedWordPress site …

FeedWordPress is an open-source Atom/RSS aggregator for the WordPress blog publishing platform. You set up feeds that you choose, and FeedWordPress syndicates posts from those sources into your WordPress posts table, where they can be displayed by your WordPress templates like any other post — but with additional meta-data, so that your templates can properly attribute the post to the source it came from.

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator sites, or bring together all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Facebook, Flickr, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin

(Autoblog – WordPress Plugin)

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

(RSS Includes Pages WordPress Plugin)

By default, WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed. Use the RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types plugin if you want to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed and not just posts.

For more details, go here:

Important

WordPress RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to giving online users access to feeds of your latest posts, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of your post comments.

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

WordPress Comments Feed

(Comments RSS)

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

Comments feed entries seen using a Firefox browser

(Comments feed items viewed on Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed items displayed with Google Chrome

(RSS comments feed entries seen on Google Chrome)

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Specific Item RSS Feeds

Being able to use an RSS feed for single 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 is shown below:

RSS Feed For Single Post Item

(Specific Post Feed)

To create the above feed, copy the post URI, 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 a post address, WordPress will return the comments left on your post, not the post content itself.

Tip #3 – Displaying Category Feeds

Some your site visitors may only want to syndicate content about specific topics. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

WordPress allows you to create category feeds.

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

Feed format for category

(RSS feed format for category)

Copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Copy the category link address ...

(Select and copy your category URL …)

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

Feed format for category

(Feed format for post categories)

The RSS feed will now only contain content posted under that particular category …

Category-specific feed

(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 – Create Your Own Directory Of RSS Feeds For Subscribers

You can publish a feeds list that allows readers to subscribe to content in specific categories, just like large authoritative sites …

Set Up Your Own Feeds List

(Set Up A Feeds Page)

Link an RSS button image like the one shown below to category feed URLs and then create a table or a list of all your feeds on a separate page …

RSS button

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

To learn more about inserting tables into WordPress, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

RSS – Additional Notes

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

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

WordPress RSS - Feed Types

(WordPress RSS – Feed Formats)

For your convenience, here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – contains your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Includes the latest comments published on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed for individual items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on a single post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed displaying latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/03/05/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/06/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: RSS feed containing the latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed displaying the latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

It’s a good idea to let your site visitors know that they can subscribe to your feeds. Place your ’subscribe to RSS’ link or button somewhere visible …

Promote your feeds!

(Encourage your site users to syndicate your feeds!)

Keep in mind that online users will only want to subscribe to your content if you provide your visitors with high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Easily add great content from other sites and get other users to subscribe to your content using RSS!

(Add content from other sites and get others to subscribe to your content online using RSS feeds!)

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 feed 🙂

Additional RSS Resources:

  • Feed Images – Visit online resource sites like FeedIcons or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss icon”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS images and icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about RSS.
  • WordPress.org – Official WordPress documentation. Go here for additional information about using WordPress RSS feeds.

Understanding The Benefits Of Using WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to display content from other websites and blogs on your site via their RSS feed.

Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of issues 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 for a business website please click on links to visit our related posts section.

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"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group