Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

Learn about the benefits of using RSS and how to access, format and use WordPress RSS feeds to import and syndicate your content …

WordPress RSS FeatureNo matter what your business provides or what industry you belong to, providing high-quality information on your site or blog is important. For example, if your business provides insurance-related services, it’s not a bad idea to include the latest information from government departments, such as news or updates on statistical findings, insurance advice, etc.

The problem with creating this type of information, however, is that it is very time-consuming. You have to do a lot of information sifting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, writing and editing 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 is not only a huge amount of work but most of the information you are dealing with is entirely beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

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

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What Is It?

  • RSS is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred to, Really Simple Syndication. It is also often referred to as a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save users time from having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • Feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog posts, news, music playlists, etc., to which other users can then subscribe.
  • You can view an RSS feed with software-based programs called RSS readers, or feed aggregators. Feedreaders are used to access new content published on websites and distribute this content (and updates made to the content) to other online properties.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and read by different feed readers. 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 that feeds are compatible with different devices, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine multiple RSS feeds to display news and updates from several different sources.

In this in-depth article, we show 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 their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful (and legitimate) method used to share web content. RSS Feeds provide a simple way for web users to keep up with the latest information published on different websites.

First, let’s look at syndication.

Media publications rely on content syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies all around the world.

Syndication allows most leading online newspapers to deliver readers global stories and up-to-the-minute newsworthy content from all over the globe without having to send more reporting agencies everywhere in the world …

Global media publications use syndication to publish content from news sources all around the globe.

(Media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from other news agencies all around the globe.)

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

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

(Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing information)

Most sites actually would like you to syndicate their information. Content syndication not only allows valuable information to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the site that originally published the content being syndicated. This provides websites with new opportunities to generate additional web traffic.

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

Leading news reporting agencies contain an RSS feed section

(Most content agencies and major content sites will have a feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS Feeds

(RSS feeds list. Image: nytimes.com)

Each of these feeds allows readers to access content from different sections of the site (e.g. technology news, sports news, jobs, etc.)

An RSS list can also include subcategories …

RSS Feed section.

(Feed sections can also contain feed subcategories. Image Source: latimes.com feeds)

Useful Info

Note: An RSS feed is simply a URL. To use a feed, all you have to do is copy the URL and paste it into software that can translate the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Content Syndication – Benefits

Adding content from someone else’s website on your site has some obvious benefits. It helps someone else’s content and helps you by freeing you up from having to create that content …

Syndicating Content - Benefits

(Content Syndication Has Many Benefits!)

While adding an RSS feed from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, it’s worth keeping in mind that you also want other sites to use YOUR content.

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

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

(Get users to syndicate your feed … it will help to increase your exposure online!)

Overview Of The WordPress RSS Feed

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

Depending on your WordPress site’s theme, there are a number of ways to access the WordPress RSS feed:

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

You can access your WordPress RSS feed from the Meta section

(You can access your WordPress RSS feed in the Meta section)

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

In the screenshot below, for example, a visitor can copy the site’s RSS feed URL by clicking on on the Subscribe to RSS link …

Copy RSS URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

3) On some sites and again, depending on your WordPress site’s theme, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Subscribe, Share, or Link To Us floating, slide-out, or fixed toolbar …

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

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

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 RSS …

Feed entries as seen with a Firefox web browser

(RSS feed entries as seen using a Firefox browser)

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

Feed entries displayed with Google Chrome

(RSS content displayed on Google Chrome web browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

Settings - Reading Settings - Syndication feeds

(Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

Your feed section will display as many recent posts as you have specified in your WP Reading Settings section …

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

(The feed page will show as many recent posts as you have specified in the 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 your posts as full text, or a summary …

Reading Settings - 'For each article in a feed show': 'Full text' or 'Summary'

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

Important

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

Post excerpts can affect how feeds will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed appears)

We have written a detailed tutorial about using Post excerpts in WordPress here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s show you how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and search for their RSS feed button using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for an RSS feed icon.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

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

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

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

How To Add Feeds To Your Site

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

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business operates in, you could easily add to your site the latest content from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by importing their feed. You can easily display a range of information on your WordPress site such as news, social media comments, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

Let’s add RSS content to the WordPress sidebar …

Let's add an RSS feed to your sidebar

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

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

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 an RSS widget …

RSS Widget

(Widgets Section – RSS Widget)

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

Load your website in your browser. The content from the RSS feed will now appear in the sidebar …

RSS Feed Added To WordPress Sidebar

(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:

How To Add Content From RSS Feeds To WordPress Posts

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

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

'Add Plugins' screen - WordPress RSS plugins

(’Add Plugins’ section)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

WPeMatico is an autoblogging plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from multiple RSS/Atom feeds.

You can manage all the feeds you import and organize feeds into categories and 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 WordPress plugin that offers a number of premium add-ons for additional functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on allows you to add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into your posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WP Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress)

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

The plugin fetches an RSS feed and publishes the entire content of each feed item as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress

(Powr RSS Feed)

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

This plugin also lets you display videos, images, and article content, adjust feed spacing and size, use custom backgrounds, fonts, colors, and more. It is also mobile responsive and supports text in every language.

The premium version of this plugin contains many additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, manually accept or reject posts, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes

(WP Pipes WordPress Plugin)

The WP Pipes plugin for WordPress is a powerful data migration plugin that allows you to curate content from RSS feeds, Google News, and many other sources.

This plugin provides features 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 - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication options 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.

You can use this FeedWordPress to create aggregator site (sites that combine and display posts from many different sources), or bring together all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, Flickr, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog)

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 your feed URL, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select a blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages WP Plugin)

Use a plugin like RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types 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:

Tip

WordPress RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress displays RSS feeds of the latest comments posted on your site in addition to displaying feeds of your posts.

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

Comments RSS

(Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed entries displayed with a Firefox web browser

(RSS comments feed content viewed using a Firefox browser)

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

RSS comments feed items viewed on a Google Chrome web browser

(Comments feed items as seen with a Google Chrome browser)

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Using Single Item RSS Feeds

Being able to create an RSS feed for a single post 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 creating an RSS feed for single posts is shown below:

RSS Feed For Individual Post Item

(RSS Feed For Specific Post Item)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Category RSS Feeds

Some your site visitors may only want to syndicate content from one or two post categories. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

With WordPress, you can easily create category feeds.

Just use the format below:

Feed format for post categories

(WP RSS feed format for post categories)

Select and copy the category URL …

Copy the selected category URL to your clipboard ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

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

Format for WordPress post categories RSS feed

(WordPress category feed format)

Your RSS feed now only displays content published in this particular category …

Category-specific feed page

(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 – Provide An RSS Feeds Directory

You can create a page of RSS feeds on your site that allows readers to subscribe to content in the categories that interest them …

Provide Your Own Feeds Directory

(Provide A Directory Of Feeds For Subscribers)

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

RSS icon

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

To learn more about inserting tables into WordPress pages and posts, go here:

RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows various feed configurations without code editing skills. Here are some examples of custom feed types you can create …

Different Feed Formats You Can Create With WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Feed Formats)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes 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 website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed containing a single post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on specific post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Feed that contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/01/25/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – RSS feed containing the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/08/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Contains 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 feed. Place a ’subscribe to RSS’ buttons in a visible location …

Remember to promote your feeds!

(Encourage your site users to subscribe to your RSS feeds!)

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

Easily add great content from other sites and get other users to share your content with WordPress and RSS!

(Add great content to your site and get others to syndicate your content online with RSS feeds!)

Practical 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 RSS feed 🙂

RSS Resources:

  • Feed Graphics – Visit sites like Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS logo”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable Free RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information and links to resources about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress software documentation and information. Go here for more information about using WordPress RSS feeds.

WordPress And RSS

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

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To learn more about using WordPress please see other great articles and tutorials we have published on this site.

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