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.

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WordPress And RSSNo matter what your business sells or what industry you are a part of, providing quality information on your site or blog is essential. For example, if your business provides travel services, it’s not a bad idea to publish useful information from government departments and foreign travel offices, such as news and updates on travel warnings, tips from consulates, etc.

The problem with providing this kind 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 not only involves a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is an easier way to keep your site visitors up-to-date with the latest information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - One of the simplest ways to provide your users with up-to-date information

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

RSS – An Overview

  • RSS, which, according to some definitions is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly known now as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • Once users subscribe to a website’s feed, they no longer have to physically visit and check the source website for content updates. Instead, their browser will constantly monitor the content and keep feed subscribers automatically updated.
  • RSS feeds are often used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog post items, news headlines, audio lists, etc., which other users can then subscribe to.
  • You can view an RSS feed using software programs called feedreaders, or aggregators. Aggregators are used to access content on all kinds of topics and distribute this content (and updates made to the content) online.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be 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, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine many RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates from various sources.

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

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful (and legitimate) method used for sharing content online. Feeds provide a way for web users to stay up-to-date with the latest information published on different websites and blogs.

First, let’s look at the uses of syndication.

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

Syndication allows many online newspapers and many influential online media publications to deliver readers the most recent stories and newsworthy content from all around the planet without actually having to hire and send additional staff all around the world …

Global media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from news sources all around the planet.

(Media publications use syndication to publish newsworthy items from news sources around the planet.)

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content with other sites. Online newspapers syndicate content using feeds

Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing newsworthy content

(Content syndication is used by online newspapers to share information with other publications)

Most websites actually would like you to share their content. Syndicating content not only allows information to be shared, but it also drives visitors back to the original site responsible for creating and publishing the content being syndicated. This provides websites with additional opportunities to generate significant web visitors.

Most online newspapers and major sites have an RSS feed section (look for menu links that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, 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.) …

Many digital content publishing agencies contain a feed section

(Major sites will have a feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS Feeds

(RSS feeds list. Source: New York Times RSS)

These feeds allow you to source information from different sections of the website (e.g. business news, entertainment news, jobs, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain further subcategories …

Feed sections can also include subcategory feeds.

(RSS Feed section. Source: latimes.com feeds)

Important Info

Note: A feed is only a URL. All you need to do to use feeds is copy the URLs and paste these into an application that can process the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Syndicating Content – Benefits

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

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(The Benefits Of Syndicating Content)

While adding RSS feeds from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, it’s a great idea to try and get other websites to syndicate your content.

When other sites syndicate your RSS feed, you have the opportunity to get more exposure online and drive new visitors …

Look for ways to get visitors to syndicate your feed ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Get visitors to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress RSS – Overview

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

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

1) If your theme displays the Meta widget on your navigation menu …

The feed will show as many recent items you have specified in your WP Reading Settings section

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

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

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

(WP Reading Settings – ’For each article in a feed show’: ‘Full text’ or ‘Summary’)

Important

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

Post excerpts can affect how a feed will display

(Post excerpts affect how a feed will display)

If you need help WordPress Post excerpts, go here: Post Excerpts A Practical Guide For Beginners

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

Let’s see how this works.

First, find a website or blog and search for a ‘subscribe’ button 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 the URL of your feed 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 feed URL into a feed reader to view the content.

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

Like feedreaders, WordPress has the ability to process XML/RSS feeds and convert these into content that can be read by your visitors.

Adding RSS Feeds To WordPress Sites

Let’s show you how to add content from another site to yours.

How To Add RSS Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is a part of, you could add to your site the latest news from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry by simply adding content from their feed. You can use RSS feeds to display a range of information on your WordPress site such as news, Facebook updates, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

Let’s add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar …

Let's add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar area

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

copy the RSS feed from a website containing content that you would like to display on your sidebar …

Copy the feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy your feed URL to the clipboard)

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

Widgets Screen - RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here: How To Add WordPress Widgets To The Website

Load your site in your browser. The content from the RSS feed should now appear in your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been inserted) …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Added To Sidebar Menu)

How To Add Feed Content To WordPress Posts

Can content from RSS feeds be added to WordPress posts? It sure can!

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

'Add Plugins' screen

(‘Add Plugins’ screen – WordPress RSS plugins)

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

Here are a number of plugins that let you add RSS feeds to your content:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico - WordPress 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 arrange them according to campaigns and categories.

For more information, go here: WPeMatico WP Plugin

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator - WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and autoblogging WordPress plugin that offers additional functionality with premium add-ons.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on is a feature-filled importer that allows you to autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into your WordPress posts or any other custom post type.

More information: WP RSS Aggregator – WordPress Plugin

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WP Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress)

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

The plugin fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full article content of each feed item as a separate post.

More info: RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed - WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed WP Plugin)

POWr RSS combines and displays content from various RSS feeds.

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

The premium plugin edition contains a number of additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, manually accept or reject posts in your feed, and more.

More info: Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress

WP Pipes

WP Pipes - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

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

For more details, go here: WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress WP Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication options for WordPress content.

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 content from many different sources), or bring together all of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more information, go here: FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog – WordPress Plugin)

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

For more information, go here: Autoblog

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types WP Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types WP Plugin)

By default, WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed. You can use a plugin like RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types if you want to include pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts.

To learn more about this WordPress plugin, go here: RSS Includes Pages WP Plugin

Important

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to giving online users access to feeds of your latest posts, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of your latest post comments.

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

WordPress Comments RSS

(Comments Feed)

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

Comments feed entries displayed with Firefox

(RSS comments feed content as seen using a Firefox web browser)

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

RSS comments feed content viewed on Google Chrome

(RSS comments feed content seen on a Google Chrome web browser)

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Using Single Item RSS Feeds

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

Essentially, the formula for using an RSS feed for a specific post item is shown below:

Specific Post Feed

(RSS Feed For Individual Post)

To create the above feed, copy the post address, and append “/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 a post URI, WordPress will return the comments left on your post, not actual content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Using Post Category Feeds

Some your site visitors may only be interested in syndicating content about specific topics. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

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

All you need to do is use the format below:

WordPress RSS feed format for post categories

(Format for WP post categories RSS feed)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Copy the category URL ...

(Copy the category URL to your clipboard …)

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

Feed format for post categories

(WP RSS feed format for post categories)

The feed will now only contain content assigned to this category …

Category RSS feed page

(Category feed)

Tip #4 – Publish A Page Of Feeds

You can provide a feeds page that allows readers to subscribe only to content in the categories that interest them …

Provide A Directory Of RSS Feeds For Subscribers

(Set Up Your Own List Of RSS Feeds)

You can also link an icon to your category (or specific post) feed URLs and then create a table or a list of your feeds on a new page …

RSS graphic

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

We have created a detailed tutorial on creating tables in WordPress posts here: Adding Tables To WordPress

RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows a number of feed configurations without editing code. Here are some examples of feed formats you can use …

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(WordPress RSS – Custom Feeds)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – displays your latest posts
  • 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: RSS feed containing a specific post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed for the latest comments made on specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Feed displaying latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/10/29/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/07/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Includes the 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 visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feed. Place a ’subscribe to RSS’ link in a visible location …

Encourage your site users to subscribe to your feeds!

(Encourage your visitors to subscribe to your feeds!)

Keep in mind that other website owners will only subscribe to your content if your information is useful, informative, or highly entertaining. In other words, you need to provide high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Add great content to your site and get others to syndicate your content online using RSS!

(Add content from other sites and get others to syndicate your content using 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 RSS feed 🙂

RSS – Resources:

  • Download RSS Feed Icons – Visit Iconspedia or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss logo download”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information and links to resources about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex: RSS Feeds – WordPress software documentation and information. Visit this site for additional information about 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 add someone else’s content to 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 get better results online. To learn more about using WordPress for a business website or blog please see other great articles and tutorials on this site.

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE WordPress tutorials for beginners. Our detailed step-by-step tutorials will save you money and teach you how to start, manage, and grow a website or blog using WordPress that puts you in complete control and delivers results with no coding skills required!