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 Feature OverviewNo matter what your business sells or what industry you belong to, providing high-value information to your blog readers is essential. For example, if your business provides insurance-related services, you may want to provide users with useful information from government departments, such as news or updates on statistical findings, insurance advice, etc.

The problem with creating this kind of information, however, is that it requires an enormous amount of effort and resources. You have to filter through, research, and organize a lot of data, check your sources for accuracy, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually make sure that this information is 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.

Thankfully, there is an easier way to keep your readers up-to-date with the latest information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your subscribers with the latest information

(RSS is the simplest way to provide your site visitors with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Definition

  • RSS, which, according to some is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly referred to now as Really Simple Syndication. It it is also called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • Once a user subscribes to an RSS feed, they no longer have to manually check the website for updated content. Instead, their browser will constantly monitor the content and automatically keep subscribers updated.
  • Feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog entries, news headlines, audio playlists, etc., to which other users can choose to subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML (Extensible Markup Language) document that includes either full or summarized text along with metadata such as date of publishing, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites or blogs that publish feeds and then browse updates posted on these sites through an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate information automatically.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feedreaders. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF (RDF = Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different devices, readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine many RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from various websites.

This detailed article shows you where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to display content from other websites on your site via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

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

First, let’s look at the concept of content syndication.

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

Content syndication allows most leading news agencies to deliver readers global stories and the latest news from all over the planet without actually having to hire and post additional news reporting and content writing teams all around the world …

Online newspapers use syndication to publish stories from news sources all around the planet.

(News reporting agencies rely on content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources all around the globe.)

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing information with other sites. Online newspapers syndicate their news stories using feeds

Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content

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

Most websites actually want you to share their information. Syndicating content not only allows high-quality 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 additional opportunities to generate new web traffic.

Most online newspapers and major online media publications have a feed section (look for links in their navigation menu that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “courier rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many digital news publishers and major sites contain a feed section

(Most online newspapers and leading online media publications will contain an RSS feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds section will bring up a list of RSS feeds for different areas of the site …

RSS feeds list

(A list of different RSS feeds. Image Source: nytimes.com)

Each of these RSS feed items lets readers access information from different sections of the site (e.g. technology news, arts news, editorials, etc.)

An RSS feed list can also include feed subcategories …

A feed list can also include subcategories.

(Feed sections can also contain subcategory feeds. Image: latimes.com)

Important Info

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

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

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

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(Syndicating Content - Benefits)

While adding RSS feeds 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 you also want other sites to syndicate your content.

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

Get visitors to syndicate your content ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Look for ways to get other websites and blogs to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help increase your exposure online!)

About Your WordPress RSS

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

Depending on your WordPress theme, there are a number of ways to access your RSS feed:

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to display as part of your navigation menu, scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

You can access your WordPress RSS feed from the Meta section

(WordPress Meta section – Accessing your RSS feed)

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

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

Copy RSS links to your clipboard from "subscribe to RSS" buttons

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

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

Look for an RSS button in a a Subscribe, Link To Us, or Social Share section

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

4) You can also view your RSS feed by 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 WordPress site installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed items as seen on Firefox

(RSS feed items displayed on Firefox web browser)

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

RSS feed entries displayed with a Google Chrome web browser

(Feed items seen with a Chrome browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

Reading Settings - Syndication items

(WP Settings – Reading Settings – Syndication feeds)

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

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

(The feed will show the number of 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 your Reading Settings section that affects your feeds is whether to display posts as full text, or just a summary …

Settings - Reading Settings - Display 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for articles in your feed

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

Useful Info

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts can affect how a feed will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how your feed content will appear)

If you need help using Post excerpts in WordPress, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, all you need to do to view the content of a feed is to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into an application that translates feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s see how this works.

First, find a website or blog and search for their RSS feed link …

Look for a 'subscribe to feed' link or button.

(Look for a ‘subscribe’ icon. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the feed URL)

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

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

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

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

How To Add A Feed To WordPress

Let’s show you how to add content from other websites and blogs to yours.

Adding A Feed To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

(Let’s add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar)

copy the RSS feed URL from a website or blog containing content that you want to display on your site to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

Widgets Panel - RSS Widget

(Widgets Panel – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Refresh your browser. The content from the RSS feed will now show in your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been added – e.g. custom menu, footer, etc) …

RSS Feed Content Added To WordPress Sidebar Menu

(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:

Adding RSS Feed Content To Posts

Can you add content from RSS feeds to posts? Yes, you can!

You can easily do this using WordPress plugins. Search inside the Plugins screen for RSS Post, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' search results - RSS plugins for WordPress

(’Add Plugins’ section)

Note: Most RSS plugins typically require configuration – visit the plugin sites for full instructions, or contact us if you need assistance configuring plugins.

Here are some autoblogging plugins for WordPress that let you automatically add posts using RSS feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico WordPress Plugin)

WPeMatico is an auto blogging plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from RSS/Atom feeds of your choice.

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and auto blogging WordPress plugin that offers premium add-ons for extended functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post extension for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into your WP posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer

(RSS Post Importer)

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

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed)

With the POWr RSS Feed plugin, you can automatically combine and display content from multiple sources using RSS feeds.

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

The premium version of POWr contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes)

The WP Pipes plugin is a powerful data migration plugin that lets you 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, auto blogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook, export your posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a flexible syndication plugin for WordPress-generated 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.

You can use this plugin to create aggregator sites, or bring together all of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Facebook, YouTube, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev – WordPress 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 your feed URL, 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 and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages WordPress Plugin)

The RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types plugin modifies your default WordPress RSS feed to include pages and not just posts.

For more details, go here:

Important

WordPress RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

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

To see the comments in your feed, locate the ‘Meta’ widget on your sidebar menu (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) and click on Comments RSS

WordPress Comments Feed

(Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed entries displayed using Firefox

(RSS comments feed entries as seen on Firefox browser)

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

RSS comments feed entries displayed on a Google Chrome web browser

(RSS comments feed entries as seen with Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste the comments feed URL into a feedreader to view the feed 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 installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Displaying Feeds For Single Post Items

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

The formula for displaying an RSS feed for specific posts is shown below:

RSS Feed For Specific Post

(RSS Feed For Individual Post)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Displaying Category Feeds

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

WordPress allows you to create category feeds.

Just use the format shown below:

Use this format for WP post categories RSS feed

(Format for WP category feed)

Copy the selected category link address …

Copy your category link address ...

(Copy the category link address …)

Add “feed” to the end of it …

Use this format for WP category feed

(WP RSS feed format for category)

Your RSS feed will now only include content posted under that particular category …

Category-specific RSS feed

(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 – Publish A Feeds List

You can publish your own feeds list that allows readers to subscribe to content in specific categories, just like the larger authoritative sites do …

Create Your Own List Of Feeds

(Publish Your Own Directory Of Feeds)

All you need to do is link an RSS image to the URL of your feed and then create a table or a list of all feeds on a new page …

RSS button

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

To learn more about inserting tables into WordPress pages and posts, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

WordPress RSS – Notes

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

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

Different Feed Types You Can Create With WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Feed Formats)

Here are the different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed 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 – Feed containing the latest comments posted on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed for a single post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on a single post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed that contains latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/05/19/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/05/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – RSS feed that displays latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2018/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: Displays the latest post entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

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

Encourage your site users to subscribe to your RSS feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Keep in mind that other website owners will only want to subscribe to your content if you publish great content. In other words, you must provide high-quality information that will add great value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Easily add content from other sites and get others to share your content using RSS!

(Add someone else’s content and get others to subscribe to your content online with 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 Resources:

  • RSS Feed Buttons – Visit sites like Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS images”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS graphics.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information and resources about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about the history and benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress software documentation and reference. Go here for more information about using WordPress RSS feeds.

WordPress And RSS

Congratulations! Now you know where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to add someone else’s content to your site via their RSS feed.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of problems that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you expand your business online. To learn more about using WordPress please click on links to visit other great content we have published on this site.

***

"Your training is the best in the world! It is simple, yet detailed, direct, understandable, memorable, and complete." Andrea Adams, FinancialJourney.org

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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.