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 Guide To Understanding WordPress RSSNo matter what product or service your business sells, you need to provide high-quality information on your site or blog that better educates, informs, and engages your visitors. For example, if you provide medical services, you may want to publish useful information from the health department, such as news and updates on medical research, health and fitness tips, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, is very time-consuming. You have to sort through, gather, and organize a ton of data, check your facts, write and edit 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 not only involves a huge amount of work but most of the information you are dealing with is well beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is an easier way to keep your readers up-to-date with your information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is the simplest way to provide your users with up-to-date information

(RSS - One of the simplest ways to provide your site readers with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Definition

  • RSS, which, according to some definitions stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be referred to as a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save users time from having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog entries, news headlines, videos, etc., which any user can then subscribe to.
  • RSS feeds can be read using programs called feed readers, or feed aggregators. Aggregators are used to find content on all different kinds of topics and distribute this content online.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and read by different feed aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) 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, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine different RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates from several different sources.

This guide shows you how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to display someone else’s content on your site via RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful (and legitimate) method used for sharing web content. Feeds provide a way for online users to receive the latest information published on sites and blogs they are interested in.

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

Global media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish content from other news agencies all around the world.

Syndication allows most leading news reporting agencies to deliver readers stories and newsworthy content from around the planet without actually having to set up additional news reporting and content writing staff in every location in the world …

Most digital news publishing agencies rely on syndication to publish newsworthy stories from news sources all around the globe.

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

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

News reporting agencies syndicate their stories using news feeds

(Online newspapers syndicate news stories using news feeds)

Most websites actually would like you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows high-quality information to be shared, but it can also drive visitors back to the original site that created and published the content being syndicated. This provides websites with new opportunities to generate additional web visitors.

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

Many news reporting agencies and major sites include an RSS feed section

(Most leading online media publications provide links to a feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS Feeds

(RSS feeds section. Image Source: NY Times RSS)

These feed items let readers access information from different sections of the site (e.g. business news, travel news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

An RSS feed directory can also contain further feed subcategories …

Feed sections can also include feed subcategories.

(RSS Feed section. Image: LA Times RSS)

Important

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

Using Feeds

Adding someone else’s content to your website has some obvious benefits. It not only gives additional exposure online to someone else’s business, it also adds value to your site without you having to create the content …

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

(Using RSS Feeds - Benefits)

While adding feeds 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 websites to syndicate your content.

When other websites syndicate your RSS feed, you have the opportunity to gain increased exposure online and drive new visitors …

Try to get other sites to syndicate your RSS feed ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(It’s worth trying to get other websites to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress RSS Feed

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

Depending on the WordPress 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 navigation menu, scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

WordPress Meta section - Entries RSS

(Meta widget – Accessing your RSS feed)

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

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

Copy RSS links to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

3) On some websites and again, depending on your WordPress site’s theme, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Link To Us, Share, or Keep In Touch toolbar …

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

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

4) You can also view your WordPress RSS feed by simply 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 your RSS feed page …

Feed items seen with Firefox

(RSS entries displayed on Firefox browser)

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

Feed items viewed on Google Chrome

(Feed items viewed using Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

WP Settings - Reading Settings - Syndication items field

(WordPress Reading Settings – Syndication items setting)

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

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

(The feed page will show the number of posts as you have specified in your Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Useful Info

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content displays …

Post excerpts affect how your feeds appear

(Post excerpts affect how a feed will display)

For a detailed tutorial about WordPress Post excerpts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s see how this works.

First, find a website or blog and look for a ‘subscribe’ link or icon …

Look for a 'subscribe to feed' link.

(Look for an RSS feed icon. 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 feed URL into a feed reader …

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

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

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

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Site

Let’s show you how to add content from other website or blog’s RSS feeds to your WordPress site.

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is in, you can display on your site the latest news and updates from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry by simply adding their RSS 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 from an RSS feed to your sidebar …

Add an RSS feed to your sidebar

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

First, Find a website or blog containing content that you would like to display on your sidebar and copy the feed URL …

Copy the feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard)

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

RSS Widget

(Widgets Section – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Load your website in your browser. The content will now show on the sidebar …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Added To WP 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:

How To Add RSS Feed Content To Your Posts

Can content from an RSS feed be added to posts? It sure can!

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

RSS plugins for WordPress

(RSS plugins for WordPress)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin

(WPeMatico WordPress Plugin)

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

You can manage all of your imported feeds and organize feeds according to campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and auto blogging plugin for WordPress that offers premium add-ons for extended functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post extension for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin is an advanced, feature-filled importer that lets you add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into your WP posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WP Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

RSS Post Importer lets you import, curate, syndicate, merge and display full text feeds (RSS, Atom, etc.) on your WordPress website or blog.

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed)

The POWr RSS Feed plugin automatically combines and displays content from various RSS feeds.

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

The premium version 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 WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes WordPress Plugin)

The WP Pipes plugin 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 functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter, export your posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to a new level.

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a flexible 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 — 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 (e.g. from your blog, LinkedIn, Flickr, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog by WPMUDev)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types – WordPress Plugin)

By default, WordPress only posts posts in your RSS feed. Use RSS Includes Pages if you want to include pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Tip

Using WordPress RSS – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress makes available RSS feeds of your latest post comments in addition to making RSS feeds of your posts available.

You can inspect your comments feed by clicking on Comments RSS in the ‘Meta’ widget of your sidebar menu …

Comments Feed

(Comments RSS)

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

Comments feed items seen on Firefox web browser

(Comments feed items seen using Firefox)

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

Comments feed items displayed with a Google Chrome browser

(RSS comments feed content as seen using Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste the feed URL into a feed reader to view the feed content. Image: 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 WP installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Accessing Single Item Feeds

Being able to display an RSS feed for a specific post item 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 specific post item is shown below:

Specific Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category Feeds

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

If your website or blog publishes content under several categories, you can provide a separate RSS feed for each different category.

Just use the format below:

RSS feed format for post categories

(WP post categories RSS feed format)

Select and copy the category URL …

Copy the category URL to your clipboard ...

(Copy your category URL …)

Add “feed” to the end of it …

Feed format for category

(Use this format for WP post categories RSS feed)

Your category RSS feed will now only display content assigned to this category …

Category-specific RSS feed

(Category-specific RSS feed)

The WordPress Codex also provides different ways to create feeds not just for post categories, but also feeds for tags, authors, search, etc.

For this example, let’s create a feed for a specific post category using the format shown below:

Post Category feed format

(Post Category feed format. Source: WordPress Codex)

Here is the feed format WordPress recommends using. In this example, the post category ID is ’42’. We’ll need to replace the post category ID and the domain name …

WordPress post category feed format

(WordPress post category feed format)

To find the post category ID, go to Posts > Categories …

Posts > Categories menu

(Posts > Categories menu)

Locate the post category you want and hover your mouse over the title to reveal its unique ID …

Post Category ID

(Post Category ID)

In our example, the post category ID is ’29’ and the post category feed format we need to use for this specific category with our domain name looks like this …

Post category feed format with domain name and ID

(Post category feed format with domain name and ID)

Copy and paste the feed into your browser and hit enter …

Paste the feed into your browser

(Paste the feed into your browser)

This will display the feed for that specific category …

RSS feed of a specific post category

(RSS feed of a specific post category)

Note that in this example, WordPress automatically converted the feed format we pasted into the browser into the category feed we had used in the previous section of this tutorial …

Post category feed format

(Post category feed format)

Here is the feed format again …

Post category feed

(Post category feed)

In this case, the simplest way to create additional feeds for specific categories is to simply change the post category slug …

Change the post category slug to create a new category specific feed

(Change the post category slug to create a new category specific feed)

Paste the edited feed into your web browser and hit enter to display the content for that specific category’s feed …

Post category feed content

(Post category feed content)

Now that you have a method for creating feeds for specific post categories (or tags, authors, etc.), you can even create a directory or list of individual feeds for visitors.

Tip #4 – Set Up A Page Of Feeds

You can create a feeds list that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in the categories they are interested in …

Set Up Your Own Directory Of RSS Feeds On Your Site

(Provide Your Own List Of Feeds)

All you need to do is link a button icon like the one shown below to each feed URL and then create a table or a list of all feeds on a separate page …

RSS icon

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

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

RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure various feed types without editing code. Below are examples of some of the kinds of custom feed formats you can create …

WordPress RSS - Feed Types

(WordPress RSS – Custom Feeds)

Below are the different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed displaying the latest comments left on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed that displays single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed that displays the latest comments made on an individual post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Feed displaying the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/03/13/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/01/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/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 latest post entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to let your users know that they can subscribe to your RSS feeds. Make sure you place your ’subscribe to RSS’ button somewhere visible …

Encourage your visitors to subscribe to your feeds!

(Encourage visitors to syndicate your feeds!)

Keep in mind that other website owners will only want to subscribe to your content if the information that you provide on your site is useful, informative, or highly entertaining. In other words, focus on providing your subscribers with high-quality information that will add great value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Easily add content to your site and get other users to subscribe to your content with RSS!

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

Useful 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 🙂

RSS – Resources:

  • Feed Graphics – Visit FeedIcons or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss buttons”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download 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.
  • WordPress.org/Feeds – Official WordPress documentation repository. Visit this site to learn more about using feeds in WordPress.

WordPress RSS Feature Overview

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

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of problems that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To read more about using WordPress please click on links to visit other great content on this site.

***

"Learning WordPress has been a huge stumbling block for me. I've been looking for something that covers absolutely everything but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Thank you so much ... you have just provided me with what I have been looking for! Truly appreciated!" - Tanya

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Use Amazon S3How To Use Amazon S3

Learn how to set up and use Amazon S3 to upload, store, manage, and protect your site’s images, large media files, downloadable files, stream videos and more.

More info: How To Use Amazon S3

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

Using Password ManagersUsing Password Managers

Password Managers provide an easy and secure way to keep track of all your passwords. This video course shows you how to use two FREE powerful password management tools.

More info: Using Password Managers

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Use cPanelHow To Use cPanel

cPanel is a powerful and simple-to-use web hosting management software application that gives website owners the ability to quickly and easily manage their servers and websites using a simple and intuitive dashboard.

This video course will teach you how to use the main features of cPanel to manage your web hosting.

More info: How To Use cPanel

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Set Up WordPress On LocalhostHow To Set Up WordPress On Localhost

Learn how to install, set up, and locally host a fully functioning WordPress site on your computer.

More info: How To Set Up WordPress On Localhost

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Use FTPHow To Use FTP

This video course shows you how to use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to transfer and upload files between your hard drive and your server using a free FTP program called Filezilla.

More info: How To Use FTP

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

How To Back Up & Restore WordPress SitesHow To Back Up & Restore WordPress Sites

Learn how to safely and automatically backup your WordPress files and database and how to easily restore your WordPress site if something were to happen.

More info: How To Back Up & Restore WordPress Sites

Recommended Video Courses For WordPress Users

WordPress SecurityWordPress Security

Learn how to keep your WordPress site or blog secure and protected from malware, hackers and brute-force attacks.

More info: WordPress Security

Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the owner of WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.