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 …

For a whitelabel version of this tutorial visit WPTrainingManual.com.

Understanding The WordPress RSSNo matter what what industry you are a part of, it’s important to provide quality information to your site or blog visitors. For example, if your business provides taxation services, it’s not a bad idea to publish useful information from the taxation office, such as news and updates on tax rulings, small business tax tips, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it involves an enormous amount of work and resources. You have to filter through, research, and organize a ton 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 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.

Thankfully, there is a simpler way to regularly provide your users with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - The easiest way to provide your readers with the latest information

(RSS - The easiest way to provide your site visitors with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What You Need To Know About RSS

  • RSS, which, according to some stands for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly known now as Really Simple Syndication. It it is also referred to as a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • After a user subscribes to a website’s feed, they no longer have to manually check the source website for updated content. Instead, their web browser will continually monitor the content and keep feed subscribers automatically updated.
  • Feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog post items, news headlines, audio playlists, etc., which users can then subscribe to.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML (Extensible Markup Language) document that includes either full or summarized text along with other metadata like date of publishing, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on sites that publish feeds and then view any updates posted on these websites using an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate their information automatically.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be read by different aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) feeds and RDF (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 allow you to combine different RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from many sites.

This article explains where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to add content from other websites and blogs to your site using RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

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

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

Most news reporting agencies and influential online publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from news agencies around the world.

Content syndication allows most leading content publishing agencies to deliver readers up-to-the-minute news and content of general interest from all around the globe without actually having to hire more news reporting departments in every place around the world …

Digital content publishers rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from other news agencies around the world.

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

Syndication is used to share newsworthy content legitimately with other sites. Digital news publishing agencies syndicate their newsworthy content using news feeds

News reporting agencies syndicate their news stories using news feeds

(Content syndication is used by digital content agencies to share newsworthy content with other publications)

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

Many digital news publishers and major content sites have a feed section (look for links in their navigation section 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.) …

Major content sites include a feed section

(Leading news reporting agencies contain a feed section. Image: SMH RSS )

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

RSS directory

(RSS directory. Source: nytimes.com)

Each of these feed items lets readers access information from different areas of the site (e.g. technology news, sports news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

A feed directory can also contain further feed subcategories …

An RSS list can also include subcategory feeds.

(Feed sections can also contain feed subdirectories. Source: latimes.com feeds)

Info

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

Using Feeds - Benefits

(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 that you don’t have to create, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are benefits in getting other sites to syndicate your content.

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

Consider trying to get other websites to syndicate your content ... it will help to increase your traffic!

(Get visitors to syndicate content using your RSS feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

About Your WordPress Feed

WordPress automatically publishes a feed of your posts, allowing others to easily syndicate your content on their websites and blogs.

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

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

WordPress Meta section - Accessing your RSS feed

(Meta section – Entries RSS)

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

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

Copy RSS links to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

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

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

(Look for an RSS button in a a Link To Us, Social Share, or Keep In Touch 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 subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed entries viewed with Firefox

(Feed items viewed on Firefox)

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

Feed entries as seen with Google Chrome

(Feed entries seen on Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

You can specify how many items you want to display in your RSS page, by going to your Reading Settings section and selecting the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

Settings - Reading Settings - Number of syndication feed items field

(Settings – Reading Settings – Syndication feed items setting)

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

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

(Your feed page will display as many recent posts as you have specified in your WordPress Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Useful Information

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

Post excerpts can affect how feeds appear

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed appears)

For a detailed step-by-step tutorial about WordPress Post excerpts, 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 an application that translates feeds into readable content.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and look for a ‘subscribe’ link or button …

Look for a 'subscribe to feed' icon.

(Look for a ‘subscribe’ button or link. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy your feed URL to the clipboard)

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

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)

Like feed readers, WordPress has the ability to process RSS feeds.

Adding Feeds To Your WP Site

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

How To Add A Feed To Your Sidebar

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

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

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

First, Find a site containing content that you want to add to your site and copy the RSS feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the feed URL to the clipboard)

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

RSS Widget

(Widgets Section – 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 should display on the sidebar (or wherever you have added the RSS widget – e.g. footer, custom menu, etc) …

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 Content From RSS Feeds To Your Posts

Can content from an RSS feed be added to WordPress posts? Yes, it can!

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

'Add Plugins' search results

(’Add Plugins’ screen)

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

Here are a few plugins that allow you to curate and add content from RSS feeds to your pages:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator - WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on is a feature-filled importer that lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into your posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

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

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full article content of every item in the 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 combines and displays content from various content using RSS feeds.

This plugin also lets you display videos, images, and articles, adjust the priority of different feeds, use custom borders, colors, fonts, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in all languages.

The premium edition of this plugin contains many additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes

(WP Pipes)

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication options 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 sites, or bring together all of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog WP Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin For WordPress)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Simply copy and paste in your feed URL, 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 and Custom Post Types)

Use RSS Includes Pages if you would like to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed and not just posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here:

Idea

WordPress RSS – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

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

You can view your comments feed by clicking on Comments RSS in the ‘Meta’ widget of your sidebar …

WordPress Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments RSS)

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

Comments feed items seen on Firefox web browser

(Comments feed entries viewed with a Firefox browser)

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

RSS comments feed content viewed using Google Chrome

(Comments feed items as seen on Google Chrome browser)

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

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

(Paste the feed URL into a feed reader to view the content. Image 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 site installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Displaying Individual Post Feeds

Being able to access an RSS feed for specific posts 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 Specific Post

(RSS Feed For Single Post Item)

To create the above feed, copy the URI of your post, and add “/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 the URI of your post, WordPress will return the comments left on that post, not the post content itself.

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

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

If your website or blog contains content published under several categories, WordPress allows you to provide a separate RSS feed for each different category.

Just use the format shown below:

Feed format for category

(WP post categories feed format)

Select and copy the category link address …

Copy the category URL to your clipboard ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

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

Feed format for post categories

(Format for WordPress category RSS feed)

Your category RSS feed will now only contain content published under this particular category …

Category-specific RSS feed page

(Category 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 – Create Your Own Page Of RSS Feeds For Subscribers

You can provide an RSS feeds directory that allows your readers to subscribe only to specific categories …

Provide Your Own Feeds Directory

(Provide Your Own RSS Feeds Page)

You can link a button graphic like the one shown below to the URL of your category feed and then create a table or a list of your feeds on a separate page …

RSS button graphic

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

We have created a detailed tutorial about inserting tables into WordPress pages and posts here:

RSS Feeds – Additional Notes

RSS feeds can be customized in various different ways, such as adding videos to feeds, ads, etc. Some of these feed customizations require editing code.

WordPress allows several feed configurations that do not require messing with code. Here are some examples of feeds you can use and how to format your feeds …

Different Custom Feeds You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – contains your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed that contains the latest comments left on your website
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed that displays a post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that includes the latest comments made on individual posts
  • 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/2017/06/21/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Feed containing latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/01/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays the latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Contains the latest items 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 site users know that they can subscribe to your feed. Make sure you place your subscribe links somewhere visible …

Promote your RSS feeds!

(Remember to promote your feeds!)

Also, keep in mind that other website owners will only syndicate your content if you provide your subscribers with high-quality content that can add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add someone else's content and get other sites to share your content with WordPress and RSS!

(Add content to your site and get online users to subscribe to your content with WordPress and RSS!)

Useful 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 🙂

Additional RSS Resources:

  • Download RSS Buttons – Visit an online resource site like feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS icon”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization with three primary duties: publishing the RSS specification, providing guidance to developers who create RSS applications and helping the public to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex: WordPress Feeds – Official WordPress documentation site. Visit this site to learn more about using RSS feeds in WordPress.

Understanding WordPress RSS

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 using RSS.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of problems that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To learn more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business web site please see other great articles and tutorials we have published on this site.

***

"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)

For a whitelabel version of this tutorial visit WPTrainingManual.com.
Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.