Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

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

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Using RSS In WordPressNo matter what product or service you provide or what industry your business belongs to, you need to provide high-quality information on your site or blog that better educates, informs, or improves engagement with your readers. For example, if your business provides medical services, it’s not a bad idea to publish useful information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness tips, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, requires a great deal of effort and resources. You have to do a ton of data sorting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, content writing and editing (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually ensure that this information is 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 well beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is a simpler way to keep your site readers up-to-date with the latest information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is the easiest way to provide your blog subscribers with up-to-date information

(RSS - The simplest way to provide your subscribers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS Made Simple

  • RSS, which, according to some definitions stands for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly known as Really Simple Syndication. It is also often referred to as a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • When a user subscribes to an RSS feed, they no longer have to manually check the website for updated content. Instead, their browser will continually monitor the feed and automatically keep subscribers up-to-date.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog posts, news headlines, audio lists, etc., to which any user can then subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML 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 sites that publish feeds and then keep up with any updates posted on these websites using an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate web content.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and 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 that feeds are compatible with different machines, readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also allow you to combine many RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates sourced from many sites.

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

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful and legitimate way to share content online. RSS Feeds provide a simple way for web users to receive the latest information published on sites they are interested in.

First, let’s take a look at content syndication.

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

Syndication allows online newspapers to deliver readers the most recent news items and interesting stories from all around the globe without actually having to employ more news staff in every location around the world …

Global media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies around the planet.

(Media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources around the world.)

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

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content

(Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content)

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

Many news reporting agencies and major sites provide links to 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”, “miami herald rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most digital publishing agencies and major content sites have an RSS feed section

(Leading online newspapers include an RSS feed section. Source: SMH )

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

RSS feeds section

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

These feed items give readers access to different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, travel news, jobs, etc.)

A feed list can also contain further feed subcategories …

A feed list can also contain feed subdirectories.

(RSS Feed section. Source: Los Angeles Times RSS)

Useful Info

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

Content Syndication – Benefits

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

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(The Benefits Of Content Syndication)

While adding a feed 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 syndicate your content.

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

It's a good idea to get users to syndicate your content ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Consider trying to get other websites to syndicate content using your RSS feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress RSS Feed – Overview

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

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

1) If your theme has been configured to display the Meta widget in a standard or custom menu …

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

The other setting in your WP Reading Settings section that affects your RSS feed is whether to display articles as full text, or just 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’ options)

Important

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

Post excerpts affect how your feeds will display

(Post excerpts affect how your feed content will appear)

We have created a detailed tutorial about Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, all you have to do to view the content of an RSS feed is to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into an application that reads and 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 look for an RSS feed section using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for an RSS feed link.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

If you want, you can check what the RSS feed contains by pasting the URL of your feed into a feedreader …

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

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

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

How To Add RSS Feeds To WordPress Sites

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

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your WordPress Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are in, you can add to your site the latest news from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry by simply adding content from their feed. You can 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 RSS content to your sidebar …

Add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation menu

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

copy the feed URL from a website containing content that you would like to display on your site to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

Widgets Panel - RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Refresh your web browser. The content from the RSS feed will now appear on your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been inserted) …

RSS Feed Content Added To WP Sidebar

(RSS Feed 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:

How To Add RSS Feed Content To Posts

Can content from an RSS feed be added to a post instead of a sidebar? Yes, it can!

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

'Add Plugins' screen - WordPress RSS plugins

(’Add Plugins’ screen)

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

Here are a few autoblogging tools that let you automatically add new with feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico WordPress Plugin)

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

You can manage all the feeds you import and arrange feeds according to categories.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Post Importer WordPress Plugin)

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

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full content of every item in the feed as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed WP Plugin)

With POWr RSS Feed, you can combine and display content from various sources using RSS feeds.

This plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust the priority of different feeds, use custom fonts, borders, colors, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on all phones, computers, and tablets and supports text in all languages.

The premium version contains many additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication options for WordPress-generated content.

As stated in the FeedWordPress website …

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 various different sources), or display all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, Flickr, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages Plugin)

You can install a plugin like RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types if you would like 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:

Useful Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress displays RSS feeds of your post comments in addition to making RSS feeds of your posts available.

To see these comments, locate the ‘Meta’ section on your sidebar (note: your theme may not be configured to display this widget) and click on Comments RSS

WordPress Comments RSS

(WordPress Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed entries viewed using a Firefox browser

(RSS comments feed entries viewed on Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed items displayed using a Google Chrome browser

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

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Accessing Feeds For Individual Post Items

Being able to create an RSS feed for a single post 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 posts is shown below:

Feed For Individual Post Item

(Specific Post RSS Feed)

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 append “/feed” to the end of the web address of your post, WordPress will return the comments left on that post, not actual post content itself.

Tip #3 – Category RSS Feeds

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

If your website displays content published under many categories, you can provide a separate RSS feed for each post category.

Just use the format below:

RSS feed format for category

(WordPress post categories RSS feed format)

Copy the selected category URL …

Copy the selected category link address to your clipboard ...

(Copy the category link address to your clipboard …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

WP post categories feed format

(WP post categories feed format)

Your feed will now only include content posted in this particular category …

Category RSS feed page

(Category-specific feed)

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 Subscribers

You can publish a list of feeds that allows readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories …

Create A List Of Feeds For Your Site Visitors

(Publish Your Own RSS Feeds List)

Link an image to the URL of your category feed and then create a table or a list of all category feeds on a new page …

RSS button

(RSS icon. Image: public-domain-photos.com)

If you need help with adding tables to WordPress posts and pages, refer to this tutorial:

WordPress RSS – Notes

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

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

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Custom Feeds You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

For your convenience, here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed in the diagram 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 published on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed that includes specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Includes the latest comments made on single post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/09/04/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/07/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Feed containing latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays the latest post entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

It’s a good idea to let your visitors know that they can subscribe to your feeds. Place your ’subscribe to RSS’ links in a visible location …

Remember to promote your RSS feeds!

(Encourage your visitors to subscribe to your RSS feeds!)

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

Easily add content to your site and get others to share your content with RSS!

(Add content to your site and get others to share your content with 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 🙂

RSS – Additional Resources:

  • RSS Feed Images – Visit FeedIcons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss buttons”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS graphics.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about the benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress Codex: WordPress Feeds – Official WordPress documentation and information site. Visit this site to learn more about WordPress RSS feeds.

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 using RSS.

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

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"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum

Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.