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 User's Guide To RSSNo matter what your business sells or what industry you are a part of, you need to provide high-quality information to your site or blog readers. For example, if you provide insurance-related services, you may want to publish information from government departments, such as news and updates on statistical findings, insurance advice, etc.

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

Fortunately, there is a simpler way to regularly provide your site readers with great information.

It’s called RSS

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

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – An Overview

  • RSS, which, according to some experts is short for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to now as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be called a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • When users subscribe to an RSS feed, they no longer have to physically check the source website for updated content. Instead, their browser will constantly monitor the site and keep subscribers automatically updated.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog posts, news, audios, etc., to which users can then subscribe.
  • RSS feeds can be viewed with software-based programs called feedreaders, or feed aggregators. Feed readers are used to find content on all different kinds of topics and syndicate this content to other online properties.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feedreaders. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom (also called AtomPub or APP feeds and RDF (Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different machines and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine many RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates sourced from various sites.

This detailed article explains 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 via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful (and legitimate) method used for sharing content online. RSS Feeds provide web users with an easy way to stay up-to-date with the latest information posted on websites they are interested in.

First, let’s look at how syndication is used.

Most digital news publishers and many popular online publications use content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources all around the world.

Syndication allows most leading digital content publishers to deliver readers up-to-the-minute newsworthy items from all around the planet without having to set up additional news reporting and content writing teams in every location in the world …

Media publications rely on content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources all around the planet.

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

Syndication is used to share information legitimately with other sites. online media publications syndicate content using feeds

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

(Content syndication is used by global media publications to share newsworthy content with other news publications)

Most sites actually would like you to syndicate their information. Content syndication not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the site that published the original content being syndicated. This creates links that can drive traffic back to their site.

Many online newspapers and major sites will have a feed section (look for links in their navigation menu that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “texas tribune rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Major sites have a feed section

(Major content sites have an RSS feed section. Source: Sydney Morning Herald RSS )

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

RSS feeds list

(RSS Feeds. Image Source: nytimes.com)

These feed items let readers source content about different areas of the site (e.g. technology news, entertainment news, jobs, etc.)

A feed list can also contain further feed subcategories …

Feed sections can also include subcategories.

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

Important

Note: A feed is simply a URL. To use a feed, all that’s required is to copy the URL and paste it into an application that can translate the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

RSS Feeds – Benefits

Adding someone else’s content to your website has some obvious benefits. It not only gives someone else’s site additional exposure online, it also adds value to your site without you having to create this content …

The Benefits Of Using Feeds

(Content Syndication - Benefits)

While adding RSS feeds 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 websites to use your content.

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

Try to get other sites to syndicate your feed ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(It’s worth trying to get users to syndicate your feed … it will help to increase your exposure online!)

WordPress RSS – About

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

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

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

Meta widget - Entries RSS

(Meta section – Accessing your RSS feed)

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

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

Copy RSS URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

3) On some websites and again, depending on the WP theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Social Share, Link To Us, or Subscribe fixed, slide-out, or floating toolbar …

Look for an RSS button in a a Keep In Touch, Share, or Links toolbar

(Look for an RSS button in a a Keep In Touch, Links, or Social Share toolbar section)

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

  • http://www.yourdomain.com/feed
  • http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/feed (if your website or blog has been installed in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed items seen with Firefox

(Feed items as seen with Firefox)

Note that your feed items will display differently depending on which web browser you are using …

RSS feed content as seen on Google Chrome

(Feed entries as seen on Chrome web browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

To specify how many entries you want displayed in your RSS page, go to your Reading Settings section and select the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WordPress Reading Settings - Syndication items field

(Reading Settings – Syndication feed items)

Your feed will display the number of items you have specified section …

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

(Your feed page will display the number of posts as you have specified in the 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 your posts as full text, or as a summary …

WP Reading Settings - Display 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for each article in your feed

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

Important

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content displays …

Post excerpts can affect how a feed will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed appears)

We have written a detailed tutorial about WordPress Post excerpts here:

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 to your clipboard 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 syndicate and look for a ‘subscribe’ icon or link …

Look for an RSS feed link.

(Look for a ‘subscribe’ icon. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the feed URL)

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

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

(Paste the feed URL into a feedreader to view the feed content. Image: http://feedreader.com/online)

Like feed readers, WordPress also has the ability to process XML/RSS feeds and convert these into human-readable content.

How To Add Feeds To Your WP Site

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

Adding Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are part of, you could easily add to your site the latest news from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by importing their RSS 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 the WordPress sidebar navigation area …

Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar)

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

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the feed URL)

Next, go to Appearance > Widgets and paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

WP RSS Widget

(Widgets Area – RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your web browser. The content from the RSS feed can now be seen in your sidebar …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Content Added To WP Sidebar Menu)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

You can add your WordPress RSS feed to Google and Bing’s search consoles. This will help them index your content faster.

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

Adding your site’s RSS feed to search consoles is simple, fast, easy, and requires no technical skills. For a step-by-step tutorial, go here:

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Posts

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

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

'Add Plugins' search results

(RSS plugins)

Note: These plugins typically require configuration – visit the plugin sites for setup instructions, or contact us if you need help configuring plugins.

Here are a few autoblogging plugins that let you automatically add posts using feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin)

WPeMatico is an autoblogging plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from specific RSS/Atom feeds.

You can manage all of your imported feeds and arrange them into categories and campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into WP posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WP Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress)

RSS Post Importer lets you syndicate, import, curate, merge and display full text feeds on your WordPress blog.

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress

(Powr RSS Feed)

The POWr RSS Feed plugin lets you combine and display content from various content using RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS plugin also lets you display videos, images, and article content, adjust the priority of different feeds, use custom backgrounds, fonts, colors, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on all tablets, phones, and computers and supports text in any language.

The premium plugin version contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress

(WP Pipes WordPress Plugin)

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

This plugin provides loads of powerful functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, export your posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to a new level.

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a simple and flexible Atom/RSS syndication plugin 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 plugin to create aggregator sites, or display all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Facebook, YouTube, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev WordPress Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types – WordPress Plugin)

By default, WordPress only posts posts in your RSS feed. You can use a plugin like the RSS Includes Pages plugin if you would like to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Important

Using RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

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

To view your comments feed, go to the ‘Meta’ widget on your sidebar menu (note: your theme may not be configured to display this widget) and click on Comments RSS

Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments RSS)

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

Comments feed entries viewed using a Firefox browser

(Comments feed items displayed on Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed entries as seen on Google Chrome

(Comments feed entries seen on Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste the comments feed URL into a feed reader to view the content. Image: 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 website has been installed in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Creating Feeds For Specific Post Items

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

The formula for using an RSS feed for individual posts is shown below:

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Using Post Category RSS Feeds

Some your site users may only be interested in syndicating 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 easily create a separate RSS feed for each of these categories.

Just use the format below:

Feed format for post categories

(WP post categories feed format)

Select and copy the category URL …

Select and copy your category link address ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

And append “feed” to the end of it …

WordPress post categories feed format

(Feed format for post categories)

Your RSS feed now only contains content published in this category …

Category 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 – Create Your Own Feeds Page

You can set up your own RSS feeds page that allows readers to subscribe only to specific categories …

Set Up Your Own Directory Of RSS Feeds

(Create Your Own Directory Of Feeds For Your Visitors)

You can link an RSS icon to the URL of your category feed and then create a table or a list of all your 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)

If you need help with creating tables in WordPress content, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure a number of different feed types that do not require touching code. For example, here are just some of the kinds of custom feed types you can use …

Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(Different Custom Feeds You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – RSS feed that includes your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Includes the latest comments published on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed for specific post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Feed displaying the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/04/05/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Feed that displays latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/09/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains the latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed that includes latest post 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 promote your RSS feeds. Place your subscribe buttons in a visible location …

Promote your RSS feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Also, keep in mind that online users will only want to subscribe to your content if your information is useful, informative, or highly engaging. In other words, provide high-quality information that will add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add someone else's content and get visitors to share your content using RSS!

(Add great content from other sites and get others to share your content online with WordPress and RSS!)

Practical 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:

  • Feed Graphics – Visit a site like Feedicons or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS logo download”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about RSS.
  • WordPress.org/Feeds – Official WordPress documentation and information. Visit this site for more information about using feeds in WordPress.

WordPress User's Guide To RSS

Congratulations! Now you know where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to display someone else’s content on your site using RSS feeds.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To learn more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business website please click on links to visit other great content we have published on this site.

***

"Your training is the best in the world! It is simple, yet detailed, direct, understandable, memorable, and complete." Andrea Adams, FinancialJourney.org

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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.