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 Beginner's Guide To Using WordPress RSSNo matter what product or service you sell, it’s vitally important to provide quality information to your site users. For example, if you provide health-related services, it’s a good idea to publish useful information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness advice, etc.

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

Thankfully, there is a much simpler way to regularly provide your users with expert, up-to-date information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is the simplest way to provide your site visitors with the latest information

(RSS is the easiest way to provide your users with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS Made Simple

  • RSS, which, according to some is short for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly referred to now as Really Simple Syndication. It is often referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content so that subscribers can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog posts, news headlines, video lists, etc., which any user can then subscribe to.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML (XML = Extensible Markup Language) document that includes either full or summarized text along with other metadata like published date, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then keep up with any updates posted on these sites using a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate their content automatically.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF (RDF = Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure that feeds are compatible with different devices, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine multiple RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from various different websites.

This guide shows you where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to add someone else’s content to your site using RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful way of sharing content online. Feeds provide online users with an easy way to receive the latest information posted on different sites.

First, let’s look at syndication.

Online media publications use syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources all around the world.

Content syndication allows most news publishers and popular online media publications to deliver readers fresh news headlines and content of general interest from all around the globe without actually having to hire more reporters in every place around the world …

Media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies around the planet.

(Online newspapers rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from news sources all around the world.)

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

Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing newsworthy content

(Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing newsworthy content)

Most websites actually would like you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows information to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the site that published the original content being syndicated. This provides websites with additional opportunities to generate new web visitors.

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

Most online newspapers provide links to an RSS feed section

(Most news reporting agencies and leading online media publications contain a feed section. Image Source: Sydney Morning Herald RSS )

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

A directory of feeds

(RSS feeds directory. Image Source: nytimes.com RSS feeds)

gives readers access to information from different areas of the site (e.g. business news, travel news, editorials, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain feed subcategories …

Feed sections can also include subcategory feeds.

(Feed sections can also include subcategories. Source: latimes.com feeds)

Important

Note: A feed is simply a URL. To use RSS feeds, all you have to do is copy the URLs and paste these into software that can translate the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Content Syndication – Benefits

Adding content from someone else’s site on your site has some obvious benefits. It gives someone else’s business additional exposure online and adds value to your site without you having to create the content …

The Benefits Of Content Syndication

(Using Feeds)

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 sites to use your content.

When other sites syndicate your content, this gives you the opportunity to gain increased exposure online and drive new web traffic …

Get visitors to syndicate your RSS feed ... it will help to increase your web traffic!

(Try to get other website owners to syndicate your feed … it will help to increase your exposure online!)

WordPress Feed – About

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

Depending on the WordPress 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 be displayed in your navigation menu, scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Meta section - Accessing your RSS feed

(WordPress Meta section)

2) You can also find links and buttons on certain WordPress themes that allow your visitors to copy your feed.

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

Copy feed URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe to RSS" buttons

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

3) On some sites and again, depending on the theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Links, Share, or Subscribe section …

Look for an RSS button in a a Share, Subscribe, or Links toolbar

(Look for an RSS button in a a Share, Follow, or Links section)

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

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

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

RSS items seen on Firefox browser

(RSS feed items viewed with a Firefox web browser)

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

RSS entries as seen on Google Chrome

(Feed items displayed with Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

Reading Settings - Number of syndication feed items field

(WP Reading Settings – Number of syndication feed items)

Your feed page will show the number of posts as you have specified section …

Your feed page will show the number of items you have specified in your Reading Settings section

(The feed will display as many recent items you have specified in the Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Important Info

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

Post excerpts can affect how a feed appears

(Post excerpts affect how your feed content will appear)

To learn more about using excerpts in WordPress Posts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s show you how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and look for their RSS feed link …

Search for a 'subscribe' link.

(Look for an RSS feed icon. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

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

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

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

Like feedreaders, WordPress also has the ability to process XML/RSS feeds.

How To Add An RSS Feed To WordPress Sites

In the example below, we’ll add content from other website’s RSS feeds to yours.

How To Add RSS Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are part of, 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 adding content from their feed. You can easily display a range of information on your WordPress site like news, social media 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 menu …

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

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

First, Go to a website containing content that you would like to display on your site and copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard)

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

Widgets Section - RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

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

Load your website in your browser. The content from the RSS feed can now be seen on your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been added) …

RSS Feed Added To Sidebar

(RSS Feed Content Added To WP Sidebar)

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 Posts

Can you add content from RSS feeds to WordPress posts instead of your sidebar? Yes, you can!

You can easily do this using plugins. Just search inside the Plugins admin screen for RSS feed, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' search results

(WordPress RSS plugins)

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

The plugins below are useful if you want to add feed content to posts, or “auto blog” (An autoblog is a blog with content that is automatically gathered and compiled from RSS feeds):

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico)

WPeMatico is an easy to use plugin that lets you publish posts automatically from RSS/Atom feeds that you specify.

You can manage all the feeds you import and arrange them into campaigns.

For more details, go here}:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on is a feature-rich importer that allows you to import RSS feeds directly into WP posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here}:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress)

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

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the entire content of each item in your feed as a standalone post.

For more details, go here}:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed – WordPress Plugin)

POWr RSS Feed lets you automatically combine and display content from multiple RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS plugin also lets you display videos, images, and articles, adjust feed size and spacing, use custom fonts, colors, borders, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any phone, computer, or tablet and supports text in all languages.

The premium plugin edition contains many additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, manually accept or reject posts, and more.

For more details, go here}:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

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

This plugin provides loads of functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter, export 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 WP Plugin

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible Atom/RSS syndication options for WordPress site 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.

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator site (sites that combine and display content from different sources), or display all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, LinkedIn, 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, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Simply copy and paste in the URL of your feed, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select the blog to post content to.

For more details, go here}:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages – WordPress Plugin)

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

For more details, go here}:

Tip

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress displays RSS feeds of comments posted on your site in addition to making RSS feeds of your latest posts available.

You can see the comments in your feed by clicking on Comments RSS in your ‘Meta’ widget (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) …

WordPress Comments Feed

(Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed content viewed on Firefox

(RSS comments feed entries viewed with Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed entries as seen on Google Chrome

(RSS comments feed items displayed on a Google Chrome web browser)

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

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

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

Note: If the Meta section is not displaying on your theme, you can view the Comments RSS section of your site by opening up a browser and typing in the following URL:

  • http://www.yourdomain.com/comments/feed
  • http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/comments/feed (if your WordPress installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using RSS Feeds For Specific Items

Being able to create an RSS feed for specific 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 making an RSS feed for specific post items is shown below:

RSS Feed For Individual Post

(Single Post Feed)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Using Post Category Feeds

Some your site users may only want to syndicate content from a specific category. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

With WordPress, you can create category feeds.

Just use the format shown below:

WP post categories RSS feed format

(Feed format for post categories)

Select and copy the category link address …

Select and copy your category URL ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

Feed format for post categories

(Format for WordPress category RSS feed)

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

Category RSS 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 – Create An RSS Feeds Page

You can create your own RSS feeds list that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in the categories they are interested in, just like the larger authoritative sites do …

Set Up Your Own List Of Feeds

(Set Up Your Own Page Of RSS Feeds On Your Site)

All you need to do is link an icon like the one shown below to the URL of your category feed and then create a table or a list of all individual feeds on a separate page …

RSS button image

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

To learn more about inserting tables into WordPress posts and pages, go here:

RSS Feeds – Notes

You can customize feeds 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 a number of feed formats without code editing skills. For example, the table below contains some of the kinds of custom feeds you can create …

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 – displays your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed displaying the latest comments left on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed containing single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Includes the latest comments made on a post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/10/01/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/10/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays latest entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to let your visitors know that they can subscribe to your feed. Place your ’subscribe to RSS’ button or link in a visible location …

Encourage your site users to syndicate your feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that other sites will only want to subscribe to your content if you provide your visitors with very high-quality information that will add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

Easily add great content to your site and get others to subscribe to your content online using RSS!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get online users to share your content using 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 🙂

Resources:

  • RSS Feed Buttons – Visit online resource sites like Iconspedia or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS logos”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about RSS.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress software documentation. Visit this site to learn more about feeds in WordPress.

A Basic Guide To WordPress RSS Feeds

Congratulations! Now you know how to find your WordPress RSS feed, 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 their RSS feed.

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

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"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum

***

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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.