Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

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

WordPress User's Guide To RSSNo matter what product or service you provide or what industry your business belongs to, it’s vitally important to provide quality information to your site or blog users. For example, if your business provides insurance-related services, you may want to include the latest information from government departments, such as news and updates on statistical findings, insurance tips, etc.

To create and publish this type of information, however, is really time-consuming. You have to filter through, gather, and organize a ton of information, check your facts, write and edit content (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 is not only a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is completely beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is a simpler way to keep your site visitors up-to-date with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is one of the easiest ways to provide your subscribers with up-to-date information

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What You Need To Know

  • RSS, which, according to some is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It is often referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • After users subscribe to a website’s feed, they no longer have to manually visit and check the source website for content updates. Instead, their browser will continually monitor the content and automatically keep subscribers updated.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog entries, news headlines, video lists, etc., to which other users can choose to subscribe.
  • RSS feeds can be read using a software-based tool called an RSS reader, or aggregator. Aggregators are used to access content on all kinds of topics and syndicate this content (and any updates made to this content) online.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats and read by different aggregators. 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 machines, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine multiple RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from different sites.

In this article, we will explain where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to add content from other websites to your site via RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful (and legitimate) way of sharing content online. RSS Feeds provide online users with a simple and easy way to keep up with the latest information posted on sites they are interested in.

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

Global media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish stories from news sources all around the world.

Syndication allows digital agencies and many leading online publications to deliver readers up-to-the-minute news items and newsworthy stories from all around the globe without actually having to hire additional staff and content writers everywhere around the world …

Online newspapers and influential online media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources around the globe.

(Global media publications use syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies all around the globe.)

Syndication is used to share information legitimately with other sites. News reporting agencies syndicate newsworthy content using feeds

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content

(Online newspapers syndicate stories using feeds)

Most websites actually want you to syndicate their information. Syndicating content not only allows valuable information to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the original site that created and published the content being syndicated. This provides websites with new opportunities to generate significant web traffic.

Major sites will have a feed section (look for links in the navigation menu that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “belfast telegraph rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most digital content agencies provide links to an RSS feed section

(Most leading online media publications have an RSS feed section. Image Source: Sydney Morning Herald )

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section brings up a list of RSS feeds for different content topics on the site …

A site's list of different RSS feeds

(RSS directory. Source: NY Times)

These feed items let you source information from different sections of the website (e.g. business news, entertainment news, editorials, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain subcategory feeds …

RSS Feed section.

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

Important Info

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

Content Syndication – Benefits

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

Using RSS Feeds Has Many Benefits!

(Content Syndication - Benefits)

While adding a feed from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are benefits in getting other websites to syndicate your content.

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

Get other websites to syndicate your content ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(It’s a good idea to get visitors to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help to increase your web traffic!)

WordPress Feed – About

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

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

1) If your theme has been configured to display the Meta widget on your navigation menu …

Your feed will show as many recent items you have specified in the WordPress Reading Settings section

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

(WordPress Settings – Reading Settings – Display ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for posts in your feed)

Important Info

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

Post excerpts can affect how your feed content displays

(Post excerpts affect how your feed content will display)

We have written 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 a feed is to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into a feedreader, i.e. an application that translates feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, find a website whose content you want to syndicate and look for an RSS feed section …

Search for a 'subscribe to feed' icon.

(Search for an RSS feed button. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

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 feed reader to view the content.

(Paste the feed URL into a feed reader to view the content. Image Source: Feedreader)

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

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Site

In the example below, we’ll add content from other websites to yours.

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business operates in, 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 importing 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 content from an RSS feed to your sidebar …

Add an RSS feed to your sidebar

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

copy the RSS feed from a website or blog that publishes content that you want to add to your sidebar …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard)

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

Widgets Panel - RSS Widget

(Widgets Screen – RSS Widget)

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

Load your site in your web browser. The content should now display in the sidebar …

RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

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 Feeds To WordPress Posts

Can content from an RSS feed be added to a post? It sure can!

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

'Add Plugins' section

(’Add Plugins’ section)

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

Here are a number of auto blogging plugins for WordPress that let you create new with feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator WordPress 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 extension lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

RSS Post Importer can be used to curate, syndicate, import, merge and display full text feeds (RSS, Atom, etc.) on your WordPress site.

RSS Post Importer will fetch an RSS feed and publish the entire content of each item in your feed as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress)

The POWr RSS Feed plugin automatically combines and displays content from multiple content using RSS feeds.

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

The premium edition of this plugin contains many additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes

(WP Pipes – WordPress Plugin)

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

This plugin provides loads of powerful functionality like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn, export WordPress posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress is a flexible syndication plugin 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 many different sources), or display all of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Facebook, Flickr, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog WP Plugin)

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, 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 Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages Plugin For WordPress)

Install RSS Includes Pages 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:

Important

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to displaying feeds of your posts, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of comments posted on your site.

You can see the comments in your feed by clicking on Comments RSS in the ‘Meta’ section of your sidebar menu (note: your theme may not be configured to display this widget) …

WordPress Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments RSS)

Comments posted on your site by visitors and users will appear in the Comments RSS page …

RSS comments feed items as seen on Firefox browser

(Comments feed items viewed with a Firefox browser)

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

Comments feed items seen using a Google Chrome web browser

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

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Creating Single Item Feeds

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

The formula for making an RSS feed for single post items is shown below:

Specific Post RSS Feed

(Feed For Specific Post Item)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category RSS Feeds

Some your site visitors may only want to syndicate content from a particular category. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

If your site displays content published under many categories, WordPress allows you to offer users a separate RSS feed for each of these categories.

Just use the format shown below:

WordPress post categories feed format

(WordPress post categories feed format)

Copy the category URL …

Copy the category URL ...

(Copy the selected category URL to your clipboard …)

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

WordPress post categories RSS feed format

(WP post categories RSS feed format)

Your feed now only includes content specific to this particular category …

Category-specific feed

(Category-specific 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 – Provide Your Own Page Of RSS Feeds On Your Site

You can provide your own RSS feeds page that allows your readers to subscribe to specific categories …

Set Up Your Own List Of Feeds On Your Site

(Set Up A List Of Feeds For Your Visitors)

Link an RSS button like the one shown below to the URL of your category feed and then create a table or a list of all your individual feeds on a new page …

RSS button image

(RSS button graphic. Source: public-domain-photos.com)

We have created a detailed tutorial about creating tables in WordPress pages and posts here:

RSS Feeds – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure a number of feed types without editing code. Here are some examples of custom feeds you can display …

Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(Different Custom Feeds You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – RSS feed that displays your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Includes the latest comments posted on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed for single items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that includes the latest comments made on a specific post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed that displays latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/05/13/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/04/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Includes the latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to let your users know that they can subscribe to your feeds. Place a ’subscribe to RSS’ link in a visible location …

Promote your RSS feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Keep in mind that online users will only want to subscribe to your content if you provide your subscribers with high-quality information that can add great value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Add someone else's content and get others to syndicate your content using WordPress and RSS!

(Add great content from other sites and get online users to syndicate your content with RSS!)

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 feed 🙂

RSS Resources:

  • Download RSS Icons – Visit sites like feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS logo”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS graphics.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information and resources about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org/WordPress Feeds – WordPress documentation and reference. Visit this site for more information about feeds in WordPress.

WordPress RSS Feature Overview

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 display content from other sites on your site using their RSS feed.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of problems that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To read more about using WordPress for a business website or blog please see our related posts section.

***

"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

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the owner of WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. 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.