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 Feature OverviewNo matter what your business provides or what industry you are in, providing high-value information to your blog visitors is essential. For example, if you provide insurance-related services, it’s not a bad idea to provide users with useful information from government departments, such as news and updates on statistical research, insurance tips, etc.

To create and publish this type of information, however, involves an enormous amount of work and resources. You have to sort through, gather, and organize a ton of data, check your sources for accuracy, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually make sure that this information is kept 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 simpler way to regularly provide your site readers with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - The simplest way to provide your site readers with up-to-date information

(RSS - The simplest way to provide your blog subscribers with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What You Need To Know

  • RSS, which, according to some definitions is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be referred to as a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content so that their site readers can read it without having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • RSS feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog entries, news, videos, etc., to which any user can then subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML document that includes full or summarized text along with metadata like date of publishing, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and blogs that publish feeds and then view updates posted on these websites through a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate information.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be read by different feed aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF 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 tools also allow you to combine several RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from many other websites.

In this detailed article, we will show you where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to add content from other websites and blogs to your site via RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful (and legitimate) method used to share content online. RSS Feeds provide a way for web users to receive the latest information posted on different sites.

First, let’s look at how syndication is used.

News reporting agencies and many leading online media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish stories from content sources around the world.

Syndication allows digital publishing agencies to deliver readers stories and headlines from around the globe without actually having to send more content writers to every location around the world …

Media publications use content syndication to publish stories from news sources around the globe.

(Many digital agencies and many leading media publications use syndication to publish content from news sources all around the globe.)

Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content. Content publishing agencies syndicate content using feeds

News agencies syndicate news stories using news feeds

(Online newspapers syndicate information using feeds)

Most sites actually want you to syndicate their information. Content syndication not only allows information to be shared, but it also drives visitors back to the original site that published the content being syndicated. This provides websites with additional opportunities to generate significant web visitors.

Many digital news publishers and major content 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”, “huffington post rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many news reporting agencies and major online media publications will have an RSS feed section

(Major content sites include an RSS feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds section will bring up a list of different RSS feeds …

RSS feeds list

(A website’s directory of RSS feeds. Image Source: nytimes.com RSS feeds)

These feeds give you access to content from different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, sports news, editorials, etc.)

An RSS feed list can also include further feed subdirectories …

A feed list can also contain subcategories.

(Feed sections can also include feed subdirectories. Source: Los Angeles Times)

Important Info

Note: An RSS feed is simply a URL. All you need to do to use 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 someone else’s content to your website has some obvious benefits. It not only gives someone else’s website additional exposure online, it also helps you by freeing you up from having to create that content …

Content Syndication Has Many Benefits!

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

While adding a feed from another site is a great way to add content to your site that you don’t have to create, it’s a great idea to try and get other sites to syndicate YOUR content.

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

Get users to syndicate your feed ... it will help to increase your web traffic!

(Get visitors to syndicate content using your feed … it will help increase your exposure online!)

About Your WordPress RSS

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

Depending on the WP theme you have installed, there are a number of ways to access your RSS feed:

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

Meta widget - Entries RSS

(Meta section – Entries RSS)

2) You can also find links and/or buttons on certain themes that allow your visitors to 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 feed URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

3) On many websites and again, depending on the WP theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Share, Follow Us, or Links section …

Look for an RSS button in a a Share, Links, or Follow floating, fixed, or slide-out toolbar

(Look for an RSS button in a a Follow, Social Share, or Links toolbar)

4) You can also view your WordPress site’s 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 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 feed …

RSS entries viewed on Firefox web browser

(Feed entries displayed with Firefox)

Note that your feed items will display differently depending on which browser you use …

Feed entries viewed on a Google Chrome browser

(Feed entries as seen with Google Chrome)

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 type in the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WP Reading Settings - Syndication feeds

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

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

Your feed will show as many recent posts as you have specified in the Reading Settings section

(Your feed will display as many recent items you have specified in the 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 feeds is whether to display each article as full text, or 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 a RSS feed)

Tip

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

Post excerpts affect how a feed displays

(Post excerpts affect how a feed will display)

If you need help Post excerpts, see this step-by-step tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, to view a feed’s content, you have to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into an application that can read and translate feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s see how this works.

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

Look for an RSS feed section.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard

(Copy the feed URL to the clipboard)

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

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

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

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

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Site

In the example below, we’ll add content sourced from another website to yours.

Adding Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area

(Let’s add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area)

First, Find a website or blog that publishes content that you want to add to your site and copy its RSS feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the feed URL)

Next, paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

RSS Widget

(WP RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your web browser. The content from the RSS feed can now be seen in your sidebar (or wherever you have inserted the RSS widget – e.g. footer, custom menu, etc) …

RSS Feed Added To WordPress Sidebar Menu

(RSS Feed Added To WordPress Sidebar)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

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

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

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

Adding A Feed To Your WordPress Posts

Can content from RSS feeds be added to a post instead of your sidebar? Yes, it can!

You can easily do this using plugins. Just search inside your Plugins section (Plugins > Add New) for RSS feed, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' section

(WordPress RSS plugins)

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

Here are a number of auto blogging tools that let you create new using RSS feeds and imported content:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

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 organize them according to categories.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on is an advanced importer that lets you add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into your WordPress posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin

(RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin)

The RSS Post Importer plugin can be used to syndicate, import, curate, merge and display full text RSS feeds on your WordPress blog.

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed WordPress Plugin)

With the POWr RSS Feed plugin, you can combine and display content from various RSS feeds.

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

The premium version contains a number of additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, accept or reject posts, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin

(WP Pipes)

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a versatile syndication plugin for WordPress.

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 β€” 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 of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev - WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up very quickly, with no coding required and no complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in the URL of your feed, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select the blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types WP Plugin)

Install RSS Includes Pages to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed and not just posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here:

Important

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to displaying RSS feeds of your latest posts, WordPress also displays RSS feeds of your post comments.

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

Comments Feed

(Comments RSS)

Comments posted on your site by visitors display in your Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed content seen on Firefox

(Comments feed items viewed with a Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed entries as seen on Google Chrome browser

(Comments feed items seen using a Google Chrome web browser)

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

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

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

Note: If the Meta section is not displaying on your theme, you can view the Comments RSS section of your site by opening up a browser and typing in the following URL:

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

Tip #2 – Displaying Feeds For Specific Items

Being able to use an RSS feed for specific post items 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 using an RSS feed for a single post is shown below:

Feed For Individual Post Item

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Single Post 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 that post, not actual post content itself.

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

Some your site visitors may only be interested in syndicating content from one or two categories. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

If your website or blog displays content published under a number of categories, you can easily create a separate feed for each different category.

All you need to do is use the format below:

WordPress category RSS feed format

(WordPress RSS feed format for post categories)

Copy the selected category URL …

Copy the category link address ...

(Copy the category link address …)

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

Format for WP post categories feed

(RSS feed format for post categories)

Your RSS feed will now only display content published in that particular category …

Category-specific feed page

(Category RSS 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 – Publish Your Own Feeds Page

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

Provide Your Own RSS Feeds Page

(Set Up A Feeds List)

You can also link a button graphic like the one shown below to each feed URL and then create a table or a list of all your category feeds on a separate page …

RSS button graphic

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

We have created a detailed tutorial about inserting tables into WordPress here:

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure a number of different feed formats that do not require messing with code. Here are some examples of feeds you can display …

WordPress RSS - Custom Feeds

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – RSS feed that includes your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed containing the latest comments posted on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing a post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Includes the latest comments made on a post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/12/24/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/05/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays 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 visitors know that they can subscribe to your feed. Place a subscribe button image in a visible location …

Encourage your site users to subscribe to your feeds!

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

Also, keep in mind that other sites will only want to syndicate your content if your content is useful, educational, or highly engaging. In other words, you must provide high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add content from other sites and get other users to share your content with RSS!

(Add content to your site and get other sites to subscribe to your content with RSS feeds!)

Practical 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™‚

RSS Resources:

  • RSS Graphics – Visit online resource sites like Iconspedia or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss logos”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about the history and benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress documentation and reference repository. Go here for more information about WordPress and RSS.

A Basic Guide To Using The WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to add content from other websites to your site via RSS feeds.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of problems that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To read more about the benefits of using the WordPress CMS software please click on links to visit other great articles and tutorials on this site.

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