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 …

For a white label version of this tutorial visit WPTrainingManual.com.

WordPress And RSSNo matter what service or product your business provides, it’s vitally important to provide high-quality information to your site visitors. For example, if your business provides taxation services, it’s not a bad idea to publish useful information from the taxation office, such as news or updates on tax rulings, small business tax tips, etc.

The problem with creating this type of information, however, is that it is very time-consuming. You have to do a ton of information gathering, 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 not only involves a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is completely beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is a much simpler way to regularly provide your site visitors with up-to-date information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is the easiest way to provide your users with the latest information

(RSS is the easiest way to provide your blog subscribers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

Basic Information About RSS

  • RSS, which, according to some stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to now as Really Simple Syndication. It is often called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • When a user subscribes to an RSS feed, they no longer have to manually visit and check the website for updated content. Instead, their browser will constantly monitor the site and keep feed subscribers automatically updated.
  • RSS feeds are also used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog posts, news headlines, video lists, etc., which any user can choose to subscribe to.
  • You can read RSS feeds with programs called feed readers, or aggregators. Feed readers are used to access new content published on websites and distribute this content to many online properties.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats 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, readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine several RSS feeds to display news and updates from various sources.

In this comprehensive article, we will explain where your RSS feed is located, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to add content from other sites to your site using RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful and legitimate way of sharing web content. Feeds provide web users with an easy way to stay up-to-date with the latest information published on websites they are interested in.

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

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

Syndication allows many news reporting agencies and many highly-visited online media publications to deliver readers the most recent news items and stories from around the planet without having to send additional reporting agencies to every place around the world …

News reporting agencies and many influential online media publications rely on syndication to publish content from other news agencies around the world.

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

Syndication is used to share content legitimately. Online newspapers syndicate news stories using feeds

Content syndication is used by online newspapers to share newsworthy content with other news publications

(Online newspapers syndicate newsworthy content using feeds)

Most websites actually would like you to syndicate their information. Syndicating content not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it can also drive visitors back to the site that originally created theoriginally created and published the content being syndicated. This provides websites with additional opportunities to generate new web visitors.

Major sites include 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”, “telegraph rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most news publishing agencies and major content sites will include an RSS feed section

(Most leading online media publications include a feed section. Image: Sydney Morning Herald RSS )

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

A website's list of feeds

(A site’s list of different feeds. Image: NY Times RSS)

These feeds give readers access to content from different areas of the site (e.g. business news, sports news, jobs, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain further feed subdirectories …

A feed directory can also include feed subcategories.

(Feed sections can also contain subcategory feeds. Image: latimes.com)

Useful Info

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

The Benefits Of Content Syndication

Adding content from someone else’s website or blog on your website has some obvious benefits. It gives someone else’s website additional exposure online and helps you by freeing you up from having to create that content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(Syndicating Content 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 worth keeping in mind that there are benefits in getting other websites to use your content.

When other sites syndicate your RSS feed, this gives your business the opportunity to gain more exposure online and drive more visitors …

Get visitors to syndicate your RSS feed ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Look for ways to get other websites and blogs to syndicate content using your RSS feed … it will help to increase traffic!)

WordPress RSS

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

Depending on the theme you have installed, there are a number of ways to get the WordPress RSS feed:

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

Access your WordPress RSS feed in the Entries RSS menu

(Meta widget – Entries RSS)

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 site’s RSS feed URL by right-clicking and copying on the Subscribe to RSS link …

Copy RSS links to your clipboard from "subscribe to RSS" buttons

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

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

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

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

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

  • http://www.yourdomain.com/feed
  • http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/feed (if your website or blog is located in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Using any of the above methods will bring up your RSS page …

RSS entries seen with a Firefox web browser

(Feed items displayed on Firefox)

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

Feed items seen with a Google Chrome browser

(Feed entries displayed on Chrome browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

Reading Settings - Syndication feeds

(WordPress Reading Settings – Syndication items setting)

The feed will display as many recent posts as you have specified section …

The feed will show the number of posts as you have specified in the WP Reading Settings section

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

The other setting in the WordPress Reading Settings section that affects your feeds is whether to display posts in the feed as full text, or a summary …

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

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

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Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts can affect how your feeds will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how your feeds appear)

To learn more about using WordPress Post excerpts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, 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 translate feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s show you how this works.

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

Look for an RSS feed button.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy your feed URL to your clipboard)

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

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

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

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

Adding Feeds To Your Site

Let’s show you how to add content from other sites to yours.

How To Add RSS Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are in, you can easily 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 easily display a range of information on your WordPress site like news, social media updates, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

Let’s add RSS content to the WordPress sidebar navigation menu …

Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar area

(Add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, go to a website that publishes content that you want to display on your sidebar and copy its RSS feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

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

WordPress RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Refresh your web browser. The content from the RSS feed should now appear on the sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been inserted) …

RSS Feed Content Added To WP Sidebar

(RSS Feed 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 RSS Feed Content To Your Posts

Can you add content from an RSS feed to posts instead of a sidebar? Yes, you can!

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

'Add Plugins' section - RSS plugins

(RSS plugins for WordPress)

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

The plugins listed 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)

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

You can manage all of your imported feeds and arrange them according to categories.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin is a feature-filled importer that allows you to 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 For WordPress

(RSS Post Importer WordPress Plugin)

RSS Post Importer allows you to import, syndicate, curate, merge and display full text feeds on your WordPress website or blog.

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the entire content of each item in your feed as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed)

POWr RSS Feed lets you automatically combine and display content from various sources using RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust sizing and spacing of feeds, use custom fonts, borders, colors, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any computer, phone, or tablet and supports text in every language.

The premium edition of this plugin contains many additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a flexible 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 site (sites that combine and display posts from multiple sources), or display all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, LinkedIn, Flickr, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

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

For more details, go here:

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Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress displays RSS feeds of your latest post comments in addition to giving online users access to RSS feeds of your posts.

To view these, 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 RSS

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed entries seen using Firefox

(RSS comments feed entries as seen on Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed entries as seen on Google Chrome

(RSS comments feed entries viewed using Google Chrome)

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Specific Post Item Feeds

Being able to use an RSS feed for specific posts can be useful. For example, you may want to add feeds from specific posts to RSS directories, or you may have created a valuable resource that other online users will want to syndicate.

The formula for accessing an RSS feed for an individual post item is shown below:

RSS Feed For Individual Post Item

(Feed For Individual Post)

To create the above feed, copy the post URL, 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 associated with that post, not the content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Using Post Category Feeds

Some your site users may only be interested in subscribing to content from a particular category. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

WordPress allows you to create category feeds.

All you need to do is use the format below:

RSS feed format for category

(Feed format for category)

Copy the category URL …

Select and copy your category link address ...

(Copy the selected category link address to your clipboard …)

Now, append the word “feed” to the end of it …

WP post categories feed format

(WP category feed format)

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

Category-specific feed page

(Category feed page)

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

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

Post Category feed format

(Post Category feed format. Source: WordPress Codex)

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

WordPress post category feed format

(WordPress post category feed format)

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

Posts > Categories menu

(Posts > Categories menu)

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

Post Category ID

(Post Category ID)

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

Post category feed format with domain name and ID

(Post category feed format with domain name and ID)

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

Paste the feed into your browser

(Paste the feed into your browser)

This will display the feed for that specific category …

RSS feed of a specific post category

(RSS feed of a specific post category)

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

Post category feed format

(Post category feed format)

Here is the feed format again …

Post category feed

(Post category feed)

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

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

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

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

Post category feed content

(Post category feed content)

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

Tip #4 – Publish Your Own Feeds List

You can publish your own directory of feeds for your subscribers that allows readers to subscribe to specific content, just like the larger online publishers do …

Create Your Own List Of RSS Feeds On Your Site

(Publish A List Of Feeds)

Link an image to a category feed URL and then create a table or a list of all your feeds on a new page …

RSS button image

(RSS button graphic. Source: public-domain-photos.com)

We have created a detailed tutorial on adding tables to WordPress posts here:

RSS Feeds – Notes

Feeds can be customized in several different ways, such as adding videos to feeds, ads, etc. Some of these customizations require editing code.

WordPress allows various feed configurations that do not require editing code. Here are some examples of feed formats you can display …

WordPress RSS - Custom Feeds

(WordPress RSS – Feed Formats)

For your convenience, here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed in the image 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 – RSS feed that displays the latest comments posted on your website
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed for an individual post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on a post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/11/22/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/02/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed containing latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: RSS feed displaying the latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Includes latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to let your site users know that they can subscribe to your feeds. Make sure you place your ’subscribe to RSS’ link in a visible location …

Remember to promote your RSS feeds!

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

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

Add content to your site and get visitors to syndicate your content online with WordPress and RSS!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get other sites to subscribe to your content using RSS!)

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 RSS feed 🙂

RSS – Additional Resources:

  • RSS Feed Images – Visit online resource sites like Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS logo”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information and resources about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about using RSS.
  • WordPress.org – Official WordPress documentation. Go here for additional information about using WordPress RSS.

A Beginner's Guide To Understanding WordPress RSS

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

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you improve your business online. To read more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business website or blog please see other posts we have published on this site.

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"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie

For a white label version of this tutorial visit WPTrainingManual.com.
Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.