Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

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

WordPress RSS Feeds For BeginnersNo matter what your business provides or what industry you are a part of, providing quality information on your site or blog is essential. For example, if you provide travel services, it’s not a bad idea to publish information from government departments and foreign travel offices, such as news and updates on travel warnings, tips from embassies, etc.

The problem with creating this kind of information, however, is that it involves a lot of work and expertise. 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 make sure that this information is continually kept up-to-date. As you can imagine, this not only involves a huge amount of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS - The easiest way to provide your subscribers with great information

(RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your subscribers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Definition

  • RSS, which, according to some experts stands for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly referred to now as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be referred to as a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • Once users subscribe to a website’s feed, they no longer have to physically check the website for updated content. Instead, their web browser constantly monitors the content and keeps feed subscribers updated.
  • Feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog post items, news headlines, audios, etc., which users can then subscribe to.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML document that includes 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 browse updates posted on these sites through an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate web content automatically.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and read by different feedreaders. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure that feeds are compatible with different devices, readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine different RSS feeds to receive news and updates from multiple sources.

This article explains where your RSS feed is located, 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.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful and legitimate method used to share web content. Feeds provide web users with a simple way to stay up-to-date with the latest information published on different sites.

First, let’s take a look at syndication.

Online newspapers and many popular online media publications rely on content syndication to publish news from news agencies all around the world.

Content syndication allows leading online newspapers to deliver readers up-to-the-minute news items from all around the globe without having to employ more reporting agencies in every place around the world …

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

(Media publications rely on content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies around the globe.)

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content. Global media publications syndicate content using news feeds

Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing content

(Online newspapers syndicate their newsworthy content using feeds)

Most sites actually would like you to share their content. Content syndication not only allows high-quality information to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the original site that published the content being syndicated. This provides websites with additional opportunities to generate significant web visitors.

Most news reporting agencies and major content sites have a feed section (look for links in their navigation section that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “nz herald rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Major content sites will have a feed section

(Major sites include an RSS feed section. Source: SMH )

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section will bring up a directory of different RSS feeds …

RSS feeds directory

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

These RSS feed items let readers access content from different sections of the website (e.g. business news, travel news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

An RSS directory can also contain feed subcategories …

RSS Feed section.

(A feed directory can also include feed subcategories. Image: LA Times)

Useful Info

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

Content Syndication – Benefits

Syndicating content from someone else’s website on your website has some obvious benefits. It not only gives additional exposure online to someone else’s business, it also helps your site by freeing you up from having to create the content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

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

While adding an RSS 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 use your content.

When other sites syndicate content using your feed, this gives you the opportunity to get more exposure online and drive new web traffic …

Consider trying to get visitors to syndicate your feed ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Get other online users to syndicate your content … it will help increase your exposure online!)

Your WordPress RSS Feed

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

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

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

Meta widget

(Meta section – Accessing your RSS feed)

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

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

Copy feed URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

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

Look for an RSS button in a a Links, Follow, or Social Share floating, slide-out, or fixed toolbar

(Look for an RSS button in a a Follow Us, Link To Us, or Share slide-out, fixed, or floating toolbar)

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

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

Using any of the above methods will bring up your site’s feed page …

RSS feed entries displayed using Firefox

(RSS feed content displayed on Firefox)

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

Feed entries seen with Google Chrome

(RSS content seen with Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

You can specify how many items you want displayed in your Feeds section in the Reading Settings section. Enter the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WP Reading Settings - Syndication feeds

(WordPress Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

Your feed section will display as many recent items you have specified section …

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

(Your feed page will display the number of items you have specified in the Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

Settings - Reading Settings - 'For each article in a feed show' options

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

Idea

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts affect how feeds display

(Post excerpts affect how a feed will display)

We have created a detailed tutorial about Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, find a website whose content you want to subscribe to and search for an RSS feed section using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for a 'subscribe to feed' button.

(Look for a ’subscribe to feed’ button. 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 a feed reader …

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

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

Like feedreaders, WordPress has the ability to process RSS feeds and convert these into readable content for humans.

How To Add RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Site

Let’s show you how to add content from another site’s RSS feeds to yours.

How To Add Feeds To Your 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 importing content from their RSS feed. You can easily display a range of information on your WordPress site such as news, Facebook comments, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

Let’s add RSS content to the WordPress sidebar navigation menu …

Let's add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

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

copy the feed URL from a website containing content that you want to add to your site …

Copy the feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, go to your Widgets area and paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

Widgets Section - RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Load your website in your browser. The content can now be seen on the sidebar …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Added To WordPress 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:

How To Add Feeds To Your Posts

Can content from an RSS feed be added to WordPress posts instead of the sidebar? It sure can!

You can easily do this using WordPress plugins. Search on the WordPress plugin repository for RSS feed, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' screen

(’Add Plugins’ screen)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico)

WPeMatico is an easy to use auto blogging plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from RSS/Atom feeds that you choose.

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator - WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin)

WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive RSS feed importer and auto blogging plugin for WordPress with premium add-ons for extended functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin allows you to import RSS feeds directly into WP posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin

(RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin)

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

The plugin will fetch an RSS feed and publish the full content of each feed item as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed - WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin)

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

This plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust feed size and spacing, use custom borders, colors, fonts, and more. It is also mobile responsive and supports text in all languages.

The premium edition of POWr 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 - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes – WordPress Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides simple and flexible syndication for WordPress.

As stated in the FeedWordPress site …

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

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator site (sites that bring together posts from many different sources), or bring together all of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev - WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog WordPress Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up very quickly, with no coding required and no complicated instructions. Just 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 Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin)

RSS Includes Pages modifies RSS feeds to include pages in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Important

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

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

You can access your comments feed by clicking on Comments RSS in your ‘Meta’ widget area …

Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments RSS)

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

Comments feed entries as seen on Firefox

(RSS comments feed content displayed on a Firefox browser)

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

RSS comments feed entries displayed using a Google Chrome web browser

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

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Using Specific Item RSS Feeds

Being able to create an RSS feed for an individual post item 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 accessing an RSS feed for specific posts is shown below:

Feed For Individual Post Item

(Feed For Single Post)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category RSS Feeds

Some your site users may only want to subscribe to content from one or two categories. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

WordPress allows you to create separate category feeds.

Just use the format shown below:

Feed format for post categories

(Feed format for post categories)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

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

(Copy the selected category URL …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

WP post categories RSS feed format

(Format for WordPress category RSS feed)

The RSS feed will now only display content published in that category …

Category-specific RSS feed

(Category RSS 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 – Publish Your Own Directory Of RSS Feeds On Your Site

You can provide a feeds list that allows readers to subscribe only to content in the categories that interest them …

Publish Your Own List Of Feeds

(Set Up Your Own Page Of RSS Feeds)

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

RSS image

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

For a detailed tutorial about inserting tables into WordPress, go here:

WordPress RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows a number of feed configurations without touching code. Below are examples of some of the kinds of feed types you can use on your site and how to structure these feeds …

Different Feed Formats You Can Create With WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Custom Feeds)

Here are the different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown in the diagram above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Feed that contains your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed that displays the latest comments left on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed containing the latest comments made on a specific post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/08/16/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/06/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Feed containing latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed containing latest entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

It’s a good idea to let your visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feeds. Make sure you place your ’subscribe to RSS’ button in a visible location …

Encourage your site users to syndicate your RSS feeds!

(Encourage visitors to syndicate your RSS feeds!)

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

Easily add someone else's content and get other users to share your content with RSS feeds!

(Add content to your site and get others to syndicate your content using WordPress and RSS!)

Useful 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 RSS feed 🙂

RSS – Additional Resources:

  • RSS Feed Buttons – Visit sites like iconspedia.com/search/rss or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS images”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information and links to resources about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about the history and benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress documentation and information repository. Go here for more information about feeds in WordPress.

The Benefits Of Using RSS Feeds 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 content from other websites and blogs to your site using RSS.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you improve your business online. To read more about using WordPress please see other great content we have published on this site.

***

"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill, DailyGreenPost.com

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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.