Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

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

WordPress RSS Feature OverviewNo matter what what industry you are a part of, providing high-value information on your site or blog is important. For example, if you provide travel-related services, it’s a good idea to include the latest information from government departments and foreign travel offices, such as news or updates on travel warnings, advice from embassies, etc.

The problem with creating this kind of information, however, is that it requires a great deal of effort and resources. You have to do a lot of information sifting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, content writing and editing (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually make sure that this information is up-to-date. As you can imagine, this is not only a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS - The easiest way to provide your blog subscribers with the latest information

(RSS is the easiest way to provide your subscribers with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What Is RSS?

  • RSS is short for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred to, Really Simple Syndication. It is also often called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • When users subscribe to a website’s feed, they no longer have to physically check the website for updated content. Instead, their web browser will continually monitor the feed and automatically keep subscribers updated.
  • RSS feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog entries, news, music playlists, etc., to which any user can then subscribe.
  • You can read an RSS feed using a software program called an RSS reader, or feed aggregator. Feedreaders are used to find new content published on websites and syndicate this content online.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed readers. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure that feeds are compatible with different machines, readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine many RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from different sites.

This article shows you how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to add content from other sites to your site via RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful way of sharing content online. RSS Feeds provide online users with an easy way to keep up with the latest information posted on websites and blogs they are interested in.

First, let’s look at content syndication.

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

Syndication allows most leading online newspapers to deliver readers global stories and the most recent news items from around the globe without having to employ more news writers in every location in the world …

Media publications use syndication to publish newsworthy stories from news sources all around the world.

(Global media publications rely on syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources around the globe.)

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

Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing newsworthy content

(Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content)

Most sites actually would like you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the original site that created and published the content being syndicated. This creates new ways to drive traffic back to their site.

Most leading online media publications contain an RSS feed section (look for links that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “huffington post rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Major sites have a feed section

(Most online newspapers have a feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds link will bring up a directory of different RSS feed sections …

RSS feeds directory

(RSS feeds list. Image: nytimes.com)

These RSS feed items give you access to content from different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, arts news, jobs, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain feed subcategories …

A feed directory can also include subcategories.

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

Useful Info

Note: A feed is only a URL. All that’s required to use the feed is to copy the URL and paste it into a program that can translate the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

The Benefits Of Content Syndication

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

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

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

While adding a feed from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are benefits in getting other sites to use your content.

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

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

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

About Your WordPress RSS Feed

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

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

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to display on your sidebar or footer menu, you can scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Meta widget

(WordPress Meta widget – Entries RSS)

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

For example, in the screenshot below, a visitor can copy the RSS feed URL by right-clicking and copying on the Subscribe to RSS link …

Copy feed links to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

3) On some websites and again, depending on the WP theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Links, Social Share, or Follow Us toolbar section …

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

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

4) You can also view your 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 site installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed items viewed using a Firefox web browser

(Feed items viewed using a Firefox browser)

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

RSS feed entries as seen using Google Chrome

(RSS feed content displayed on Google Chrome browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

Settings - Reading Settings - Syndication feed items setting

(Reading Settings – Syndication feed items setting)

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

The feed will display as many recent posts as you have specified in your WordPress Reading Settings section

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

Reading Settings - Show 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for articles in your RSS feed

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

Useful Info

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

Post excerpts affect how content in feeds will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed will appear)

If you need help WordPress Post excerpts, see this tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, all you have to do to view a feed’s content is to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into a feedreader, i.e. an application that translates feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s show you how this works.

First, go to a website whose content you want to subscribe to and search for their RSS feed button …

Look for an RSS feed button.

(Search for an RSS feed icon. Image source: 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 feed contains by pasting the URL of your feed into an online feed reader …

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

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

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

How To Add RSS Feeds To WordPress

In the example below, we are going to add content from another website or blog’s RSS feeds to yours.

How To Add Feeds To Your Sidebar

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

Let’s add RSS content to the WordPress sidebar …

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

(Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar)

copy the feed URL from a site that publishes content that you want to display on your site to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, go to your Widgets section and paste the feed into an RSS widget …

RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your web browser. The content should display on your sidebar (or wherever you have placed the RSS widget – e.g. footer, custom menu, etc) …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Content Added To 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 Content From RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Posts

What if you want to add content from RSS feeds to a post instead of a sidebar?

You can easily do this using plugins. Just search inside the ’Add Plugins’ section (Plugins > Add New) for RSS Aggregator, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' search results

(‘Add Plugins’ search results – WordPress RSS plugins)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico)

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

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

For more details, go here}:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator)

WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive RSS feed importer and autoblogging WordPress plugin with extended functionality with a number of premium extensions (add-ons).

For example, the Feed to Post extension for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin lets you import RSS feeds directly into posts.

For more details, go here}:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer)

The RSS Post Importer plugin can be used to import, curate, syndicate, merge and display full-text feeds on your WordPress website or blog.

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

For more details, go here}:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress

(Powr RSS Feed – WordPress Plugin)

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

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

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

For more details, go here}:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin)

The WP Pipes plugin is a powerful data migration plugin that lets you create 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 Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn, export WordPress posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here}:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides versatile syndication options for WordPress.

As stated in the FeedWordPress site …

FeedWordPress is an open-source Atom/RSS aggregator for the WordPress blog publishing platform. You set up feeds that you choose, and FeedWordPress syndicates posts from those sources into your WordPress posts table, where they can be displayed by your WordPress templates like any other post — but with additional meta-data, so that your templates can properly attribute the post to the source it came from.

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator site (sites that combine content from many different sources), or display all your online activity in one place.

For more details, go here}:

Autoblog

Autoblog

(Autoblog by WPMUDev)

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, 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 and Custom Post Types Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Includes Pages – WordPress Plugin)

The RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types plugin lets you display pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here}:

Important

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to displaying feeds of your latest posts, WordPress also displays RSS feeds of your latest post comments.

To access these, locate the ‘Meta’ section on your sidebar (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) and click on Comments RSS

Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed entries displayed with Firefox

(Comments feed items displayed using Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed items displayed on a Google Chrome browser

(Comments feed items viewed with a Google Chrome browser)

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

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

(Paste the URL of your comments feed into a feedreader to view the content. Source: Feedreader)

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 – Creating Specific Item RSS Feeds

Being able to create an RSS feed for individual post items 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 creating an RSS feed for single post items is shown below:

Feed For Individual Post Item

(Feed For Specific Post Item)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Category RSS Feeds

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

If you publish content under different categories, you can provide a separate RSS feed for each of these categories.

All you need to do is use the format shown below:

Use this format for WP post categories feed

(WordPress category RSS feed format)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Select and copy your category link address ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

Format for WordPress category feed

(WordPress post categories RSS feed format)

Your category RSS feed will now only contain content posted under that category …

Category RSS 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 – Set Up Your Own Page Of Feeds For Your Visitors

You can provide a feeds list that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories, just like large authoritative sites …

Publish A Feeds Directory

(Provide A Directory Of RSS Feeds)

Link an RSS button graphic like the one shown below to your category feed URLs and then create a table or a list of all your category feeds on a new page …

RSS button

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

To learn more about adding tables to WordPress content, go here:

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure several feed types that do not require touching code. Here are some examples of feeds you can use on your site and how to structure these feeds …

Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Custom Feeds)

Here are the different 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 – Includes the latest comments posted on your website
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed containing the latest comments made on a specific post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/05/09/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/04/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes the latest post entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed containing latest entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

It’s a good idea to let your site visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feeds. Place a subscribe link somewhere visible …

Remember to promote your RSS feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Keep in mind that other website owners will only syndicate your content if you provide great information. In other words, you need to provide high-quality information that can add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

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

(Easily add great content from other sites and get other users to syndicate 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 RSS feed 🙂

RSS – Additional Resources:

  • RSS Buttons – Visit Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS icon”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about using RSS.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress documentation and reference. Visit this site for additional information about using WordPress RSS.

Overview Of WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know where your RSS feed is located, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to add someone else’s content to your site using their RSS feed.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of issues that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you expand your business online. To read more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business web site please click on links to visit other posts on this site.

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"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group

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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 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.