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.

Your WordPress RSSNo matter what product or service you sell or what industry your business is a part of, it’s vitally important to provide quality information on your site or blog. For example, if you provide medical services, it’s not a bad idea to publish the latest information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness advice, etc.

To create and publish this type of information, however, is very time-consuming. You have to sort through, gather, and organize a ton of information, check your sources for accuracy, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually ensure that this information is 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 entirely beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is a much simpler way to keep your site visitors up-to-date with the latest information.

It’s called RSS

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

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What Is It?

  • RSS, which, according to some experts is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • When users subscribe to an RSS feed, they no longer have to manually check the source website for content updates. Instead, their web browser constantly monitors the site and keeps feed subscribers up-to-date.
  • Feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog post items, news headlines, video lists, etc., which other users can then subscribe to.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML document that includes full or summarized text along with metadata like published date, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then browse any updates posted on these websites through an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate information.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom 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 machines and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also allow you to combine multiple RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates from different sources.

In this detailed article, we 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 websites to your site via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful way to share web content. RSS Feeds provide a simple way for online users to receive the latest information posted on different sites.

First, let’s look at syndication.

Many news reporting agencies use content syndication to publish news and stories from news agencies all around the world.

Syndication allows most online newspapers and many popular media publications to deliver readers stories and news items from around the planet without actually having to employ additional news reporting agencies everywhere around the world …

Media publications use content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies around the globe.

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

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

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

(Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing information)

Most websites actually would like you to share 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.

Most digital content agencies and major content sites will have an RSS feed section (look for links in their navigation menu that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “salt lake tribune rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Major sites provide links to an RSS feed section

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

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

RSS Feeds

(RSS feeds directory. Image: New York Times)

Each of these feed items lets you access content from different areas of the website (e.g. business news, arts news, jobs, etc.)

An RSS feed directory can also contain further feed subdirectories …

RSS Feed section.

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

Important Info

Note: A feed is just a URL. To use feeds, all you need to do is 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

Syndicating someone else’s content on your site has some obvious benefits. It not only gives additional exposure online to someone else’s website, it also helps your site by freeing you up from having to create this content …

Using RSS Feeds - Benefits

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

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

When other websites syndicate content using your RSS feed, this gives your business the opportunity to gain increased exposure online and drive new visitors …

Get other websites to syndicate content using your feed ... it will help to increase your exposure online!

(Look for ways to get users to syndicate your content … it will help to increase traffic!)

About Your WordPress Feed

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

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

1) If your theme displays the Meta widget as part of your navigation menu …

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

(Reading Settings – Display ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for posts in a feed)

Important

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts can affect how feeds will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how content in your feeds display)

If you need help Post excerpts, refer to this 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 a feedreader, i.e. an application that translates feeds into readable content.

Let’s show you how this works.

First, find a website whose content you want to subscribe to and look for an RSS feed icon …

Look for a 'subscribe to feed' icon.

(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

(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 the feed URL into a feedreader to view the feed content.

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

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

Adding An RSS Feed To Your WordPress Site

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

Adding Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you operate 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 by simply 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 content sourced from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar …

Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, Go to a site containing content that you want to display on your sidebar and copy the feed URL …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, go to your Widgets screen and paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

RSS Widget

(Widgets Screen – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Load your website in your web browser. The content can now be seen in your sidebar …

RSS Feed Added To WP Sidebar Menu

(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:

Adding Feeds To Your WordPress Posts

Can content from an RSS feed be added to posts instead of the sidebar? It sure can!

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

'Add Plugins' search results - RSS plugins

(‘Add Plugins’ screen – RSS plugins)

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

Here are some plugins that allow you to curate and add content from RSS feeds to your pages and posts:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico – WordPress Plugin)

WPeMatico is an auto blogging plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from RSS/Atom feeds that you select.

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

Go here to learn more about using this WordPress plugin:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension lets you import RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts.

For more information, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer)

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

The plugin will fetch an RSS feed and publish the entire content of each feed item as a separate post.

To learn more about using this WordPress plugin, visit this site:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed)

With POWr RSS, you can combine and display content from multiple RSS feeds.

The plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust feed priority, use custom fonts, colors, backgrounds, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in every language.

The premium version contains many additional features.

Visit the plugin site to learn more about this plugin:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes

(WP Pipes)

The WP Pipes plugin is a powerful data migration plugin that allows you to create 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 Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter, export WordPress posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to new levels.

More information:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress is a simple and flexible syndication plugin for WordPress site content.

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.

You can use this FeedWordPress to create aggregator sites, or display all your online activity in one place.

Go here for more information:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev WP Plugin

(Autoblog WP Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up very quickly, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Simply copy and paste in your feed URL, give your feed a name (for admin purposes) and select a blog to post content to.

For more information about this plugin, visit this site:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

The RSS Includes Pages plugin lets you display pages in your WordPress RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more information, go here:

Useful Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

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

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

WordPress Comments RSS

(Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed items viewed with Firefox

(RSS comments feed entries viewed on a Firefox browser)

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

RSS comments feed content seen with a Google Chrome browser

(Comments feed entries displayed on Google Chrome web browser)

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Specific Post Item Feeds

Being able to select an RSS feed for an individual post can be useful. For example, you may want to add feeds from specific items to RSS aggregator sites, or you may have created a valuable resource that other online users will want to syndicate.

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

Feed For Single Post Item

(Feed For Specific Post Item)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

Note: By default, if you only add “/feed” to the end of a post address, WordPress will return the comments left on that post, not the post content itself.

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

Some your site visitors may only want to syndicate content from one or two 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:

Format for WP category feed

(WordPress post categories RSS feed format)

Select and copy the category link address to your clipboard …

Select and copy your category URL ...

(Select and copy your category URL …)

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

Use this format for WordPress post categories RSS feed

(WP post categories RSS feed format)

The RSS feed will now only include content published in this particular category …

Category RSS feed page

(Category 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 – Publish Your Own RSS Feeds Page

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

Set Up A Feeds Page

(Create Your Own Directory Of Feeds)

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

RSS button graphic

(RSS icon. Image Source: public-domain-photos.com)

If you need help with adding tables to WordPress posts and pages, go here:

WordPress RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows several feed configurations without editing code. Here are some examples of custom feeds you can use …

Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Feed that displays your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed that includes 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: RSS Feed that includes the latest comments made on single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Feed containing latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/03/03/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/02/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays the latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

It’s a good idea to promote your feed. Make sure you place your subscribe links somewhere visible …

Promote your 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 provide your subscribers with high-quality content that can add value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Easily add content from other sites and get online users to share your content using WordPress and RSS!

(Add great content to your site and get others to subscribe to your content 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 – Additional Resources:

  • Download RSS Buttons – Visit Feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss logos”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable Free RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information and links to resources about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about RSS.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation site. Go here to learn more about using feeds in WordPress.

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 RSS, and how to display someone else’s content on your site using their RSS feed.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of problems that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you expand your business online. To learn more about the benefits of using WordPress please see other great content on this site.

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress to grow your business online at minimal cost with no coding skills required!

Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.