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 …

Overview Of WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product you provide or what industry your business is in, providing high-value information on your site or blog is important. For example, if your business provides insurance-related services, it’s a good idea to publish information from government departments, such as news and updates on statistical research, insurance tips, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, takes a huge amount of time and resources. You have to do a lot of data sifting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, writing and editing 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 not only involves a huge amount 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 your information.

It’s called RSS

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

(RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your site readers with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What You Need To Know

  • RSS, which, according to some definitions is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly known as Really Simple Syndication. It is often called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save readers time from having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • Feeds are also used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog post items, news headlines, audios, etc., which users can choose to subscribe to.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML (Extensible Markup Language) document that includes full or summarized text along with metadata like published date, 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 their information 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 (Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different machines, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine different RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates sourced from different websites.

In this in-depth article, we will explain where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to display content from other sites on your site via RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful (and legitimate) method used for sharing content online. Feeds provide a simple and easy way for online users to receive the latest information published on sites they are interested in.

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

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

Syndication allows leading digital content publishers to deliver readers the latest news and interesting content from all around the planet without actually having to employ and set up additional reporters everywhere around the world …

Online newspapers rely on content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies all around the globe.

(News reporting agencies rely on content syndication to publish stories from other news agencies all around the planet.)

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

Content syndication is used by global media publications to share newsworthy content with other publications

(Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing information)

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

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

Most news reporting agencies and major content sites will have a feed section

(Major content sites provide links to an RSS feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section brings up a directory of different RSS feeds of the site …

A website's directory of different RSS feeds

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

These feed items give readers access to content from different sections of the site (e.g. business news, arts news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

An RSS feed directory can also include subcategories …

RSS Feed section.

(Feed sections can also contain subcategories. Image Source: LA Times)

Important Info

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

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

Adding someone else’s content to your website has some obvious benefits. It gives someone else’s business additional exposure online and adds value to your site without you having to create this content …

Syndicating Content Has Many Benefits!

(The Benefits Of Content Syndication)

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 you also want other sites to use your content.

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

Get other websites and blogs to syndicate content using your RSS feed ... it will help to increase your web traffic!

(It’s a good idea to get users to syndicate your feed … it will help to increase your exposure online!)

WordPress RSS – About

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

Depending on your theme, there are a few ways to get your RSS feed:

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

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

(The 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 your Reading Settings section that affects your feeds is whether to display articles as full text, or just a summary …

WordPress Reading Settings - Show 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for posts in a RSS feed

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

Important

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts affect how a feed appears

(Post excerpts affect how your feeds appear)

We have written a detailed tutorial on Post excerpts 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 and paste it into an application that can translate feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s show you how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and look for an RSS feed icon using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for an RSS feed button.

(Look for a ’subscribe to feed’ icon. Image source: http://www.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 what the feed contains by pasting the feed URL into a feedreader …

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

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

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

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Site

In the example below, we are going to add content from other website’s RSS feeds to yours.

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation menu

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

First, Go to a website containing content that you want to add to your sidebar and copy the RSS feed to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed)

Next, go to your WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets and paste the feed into an RSS widget …

Widgets Screen - RSS Widget

(Widgets Screen – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Load your site in your browser. The content should now display on your 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 Feed Content To Your WordPress Posts

What if you want to add content from an RSS feed to a post instead of your sidebar?

You can do this using plugins. Search inside your Plugins screen for RSS Aggregator, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' screen - WordPress RSS plugins

(RSS plugins for WordPress)

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

Here are a number of auto blogging plugins that let you create posts using RSS feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator)

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

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WP Plugin

(RSS Post Importer)

The RSS Post Importer plugin allows you to import, curate, syndicate, merge and display full-text feeds on your WordPress blog.

The plugin fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full article content of each item in the feed as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed – WordPress Plugin)

With the POWr RSS Feed plugin, you can automatically combine and display content from a number of different sources using RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display videos, images, and articles, adjust feed size and spacing, use custom colors, borders, fonts, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on all computers, phones, and tablets and supports text in any language.

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

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress

(WP Pipes)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication options for WordPress site-generated content.

As stated in the FeedWordPress website …

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

You can use this FeedWordPress to create aggregator sites, or bring together all your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev WP Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

By default, WordPress only posts posts in your RSS feed. You can use a plugin like the RSS Includes Pages plugin to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed and not just posts.

For more details, go here:

Important Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

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

You can view your comments feed by clicking on Comments RSS in your ‘Meta’ widget area (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) …

WordPress Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

Comments feed entries viewed on Firefox

(Comments feed items displayed using Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed entries displayed using Google Chrome

(RSS comments feed content as seen on Google Chrome)

Again, you can check what the comments 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 your URL of your comments feed into a feedreader to view the content. Image: Feedreader)

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 WP site installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Feeds For Individual Posts

Being able to use an RSS feed for a specific post 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 single post items is shown below:

RSS Feed For Single Post Item

(RSS Feed For Specific Post)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Displaying Category RSS Feeds

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

If your website or blog contains content published under many categories, you can provide a separate RSS feed for each of your categories.

Just use the format shown below:

WP post categories RSS feed format

(RSS feed format for category)

Select and copy the category link address …

Copy your category link address ...

(Copy the selected category link address to your clipboard …)

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

RSS feed format for category

(Feed format for post categories)

The RSS feed now only contains content assigned to that particular category …

Category feed

(Category 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 RSS Feeds Page

You can set up your own RSS feeds list that allows readers to subscribe only to content in the categories that interest them …

Create A List Of Feeds For Subscribers

(Set Up An RSS Feeds Page)

All you need to do is link an icon like the one shown below to a category feed and then create a table or a list of all feeds on a new page …

RSS button graphic

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

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

WordPress RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure different feed types without code editing skills. For example, here are some of the kinds of custom feeds you can display …

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed that displays the latest comments published on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing a post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Includes the latest comments made on specific post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/04/17/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays the latest items 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/2014/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays the latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays latest entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

It’s a good idea to promote your feed. Make sure you place your ’subscribe to RSS’ buttons somewhere visible …

Encourage visitors to subscribe to your RSS feeds!

(Encourage your visitors to subscribe to your feeds!)

Finally, 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 visitors.

Add content to your site and get others to subscribe to your content online with RSS!

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

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 🙂

Resources:

  • RSS Feed Icons – Visit sites like Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS logo download”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about RSS.
  • WordPress.org – Official WordPress documentation and reference repository. Visit this site to learn more about RSS feeds in WordPress.

A Beginner's Guide To Understanding WordPress RSS

Congratulations! Now you know how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to display content from other websites on your site using RSS feeds.

Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of problems that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you improve your business online. To read more about using the WP website management software please see other great content on this site.

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"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

Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.