Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

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

A Basic Overview On Using The WordPress RSSNo matter what your business sells or what industry you are a part of, it’s vitally important to provide high-value information to your site or blog users. For example, if you provide medical services, it’s a good idea to provide users with the latest information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness tips, etc.

The problem with creating this type of information, however, is that it requires a huge amount of effort and expertise. You have to do a lot of information sifting, researching and organizing, checking sources for accuracy, 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 huge amount 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 great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is the easiest way to provide your site readers with great information

(RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your blog subscribers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What Does It Mean?

  • RSS, which, according to some experts is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly known now as Really Simple Syndication. It it is also referred to as a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content so that their site readers can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are also used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog entries, news headlines, video lists, etc., which users can then subscribe to.
  • RSS feed content can be read using a program called a feed reader, or aggregator. Feed readers can be used to access content on all kinds of topics and distribute this content (and updates made to the content) to many online properties.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats and 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 compatibility with different machines, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine multiple RSS feeds to receive news and updates from various sources.

In this detailed article, we explain 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.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful method used to share content online. Feeds provide a way for web users to stay up-to-date with the latest information published on websites they are interested in.

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

Online media publications use syndication to publish content from other news agencies around the world.

Syndication allows news publishers to deliver readers up-to-the-minute news and stories from around the planet without having to employ more news writers everywhere around the world …

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

(Global media publications rely on syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies all around the planet.)

Syndication is used to share content legitimately with other sites. Global media publications syndicate their newsworthy content using news feeds

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing information

(Digital news publishers syndicate information using feeds)

Most sites actually want you to syndicate their information. Syndicating content not only allows information to be shared, but it can also drive visitors back to the original site that created and published the content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Most news publishers and major content sites provide links to a 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”, “chicago tribune rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many news reporting agencies include an RSS feed section

(Many digital content agencies and major content sites have an RSS feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds directory

(A directory of RSS feeds. Source: nytimes.com RSS feeds)

gives you access to information from different areas of the website (e.g. business news, sports news, science news, etc.)

Feed sections can also include further subcategory feeds …

Feed sections can also include subcategories.

(An RSS directory can also contain subcategory feeds. Source: latimes.com)

Important

Note: An RSS feed is only a URL. To use RSS feeds, all you need to do is copy the URLs and paste these into a program that can process the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

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

Syndicating Content Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

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

While adding feeds from another site is a great way to add content to your site that you don’t have to create, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are benefits in getting other sites to use your content.

When other sites syndicate your feed, this gives your business the opportunity to get increased exposure online and drive new visitors …

Try to get visitors to syndicate your feed ... it will help to increase your web traffic!

(Look for ways to get visitors to syndicate content using your feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress Feed – About

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

Depending on your WordPress theme, there are a number of ways to get your RSS feed:

1) If your theme has been configured to display the Meta widget in your navigation menu …

The feed page will show as many recent posts as you have specified in your Reading Settings section

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Idea

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

Post excerpts can affect how content in feeds will appear

(Post excerpts affect how content in feeds will display)

To learn more about Post excerpts, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, all you need to do to view a feed’s content is to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into an application that reads and translates feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and search for an RSS feed icon using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for a 'subscribe to feed' link or button.

(Look for a ’subscribe to feed’ icon or link. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

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

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

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

Adding An RSS Feed To WordPress Sites

Let’s show you how to add RSS content from another website or blog to yours.

How To Add Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are in, you can display on your site the latest news and updates from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by importing content from their feed. You can easily display a range of information on your WordPress site like news, Facebook comments, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

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

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

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

WordPress RSS Widget

(Widgets Panel – RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your browser. The content will now display on your sidebar (or wherever you have inserted the RSS widget) …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Content Added To WordPress 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:

How To Add An RSS Feed To WordPress Posts

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

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

WordPress RSS plugins

(‘Add Plugins’ screen – RSS plugins for WordPress)

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

Here are a few auto blogging plugins that let you automatically create posts with feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin

(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 arrange feeds according to categories.

For more details, go here}:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and autoblogging WordPress plugin with additional functionality with a number of premium add-ons.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on allows you to autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into your posts.

For more details, go here}:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here}:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin)

The POWr RSS Feed plugin allows you to combine content from a number of different RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display videos, images, and article content, adjust feed priority, use custom fonts, colors, backgrounds, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any tablet, computer, or phone and supports text in all languages.

The premium edition of this plugin contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here}:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here}:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication options for WordPress-generated 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 posts from various different sources), or display all of your online activity in one place.

For more details, go here}:

Autoblog

Autoblog - WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in your feed URL, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select the blog that you want it to post to.

For more details, go here}:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

Install a plugin like RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types if you want to include pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here}:

Important

Using WordPress RSS – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

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

To view this feed, go to the ‘Meta’ widget on your sidebar menu (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) and click on Comments RSS

Comments RSS

(Comments RSS)

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

Comments feed items viewed using Firefox

(RSS comments feed items viewed with Firefox)

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

Comments feed entries viewed with a Google Chrome browser

(RSS comments feed entries displayed on Google Chrome browser)

Again, you can check the feed content by pasting the feed URL into a feed reader …

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

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

Tip #2 – Single Post Feeds

Being able to display an RSS feed for an individual post item 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 creating an RSS feed for specific post items is shown below:

Feed For Specific Post Item

(RSS Feed For Specific Post)

To create the above feed, copy the post URI, 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 URI, WordPress will return the comments associated with your post, not actual post content itself.

Tip #3 – Displaying Category Feeds

Some your site users may only want to subscribe to content from a particular post category. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

If you publish content under multiple categories, WordPress allows you to provide a separate feed for each post category.

Just use the format below:

WP category RSS feed format

(Feed format for category)

Select and copy the category link address …

Copy the selected category URL ...

(Copy the selected category link address …)

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

Feed format for post categories

(WordPress RSS feed format for post categories)

Your RSS feed now only includes content posted in that category …

Category-specific feed

(Category-specific 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 A List Of RSS Feeds For Your Visitors

You can publish an RSS feeds list that allows your readers to subscribe only to specific content …

Publish Your Own Feeds List

(Set Up A Directory Of RSS Feeds)

All you need to do is link an image to the URL of your category feed and then create a table or a list of all category feeds on a separate page …

RSS icon

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

If you need help with inserting tables into WordPress posts and pages, go here:

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows a number of RSS feed configurations that do not require touching code. Below are examples of some of the kinds of feed formats you can create …

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

For your convenience, here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – contains your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Contains the latest comments published on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed containing individual post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Feed that displays the latest comments made on single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/12/20/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Feed displaying the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/02/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – RSS feed displaying latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: RSS feed displaying latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: RSS feed that displays the latest post entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to promote your RSS feed. Place a subscribe button or link in a visible location …

Encourage visitors to syndicate your feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that online users will only want to syndicate your content if you provide great content. In other words, you need to provide high-quality information that will add great value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Easily add someone else's content and get other users to syndicate your content online using RSS!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get online users to subscribe to your content with WordPress and RSS!)

Practical Tip

If you need great content ideas subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our feed 🙂

Additional RSS Resources:

  • Feed Icons – Visit FeedIcons or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS buttons”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about RSS.
  • WordPress Codex: WordPress Feeds – WordPress documentation and information site. Go here for additional information about using feeds in WordPress.

The Benefits Of Using RSS In WordPress

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 via RSS feeds.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of problems that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To read more about using the WP software please click on links to visit our related posts section.

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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.