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 your business provides or what industry you are a part of, providing high-value information on your site or blog is essential. For example, if you provide travel-related services, you may want to publish useful information from government departments and foreign travel offices, such as news or updates on travel warnings, advice from embassies, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, requires an enormous amount of effort and resources. You have to do a lot of data sorting, researching and organizing, checking the accuracy of your facts, content writing and editing (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 completely beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is an easier way to keep your site visitors up-to-date with your information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is the simplest way to provide your subscribers with the latest information

(RSS is one of the easiest ways to provide your site visitors with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – An Overview

  • RSS is short for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly known, Really Simple Syndication. It is also often called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content so that users can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog posts, news, video lists, etc., to which other users can then subscribe.
  • RSS feed content can be read using a software called a feed reader, or aggregator. Feed readers can be used to find content on all different kinds of topics and syndicate this content (and any updates made to this content) to online properties.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed readers. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different machines, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine multiple RSS feeds to receive news and updates from various sources.

In this guide, we explain where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to display content from other websites and blogs on your site using their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful way to share web content. RSS Feeds provide online users with a simple way to receive the latest information published on websites they are interested in.

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

News reporting agencies and many influential online publications rely on content syndication to publish stories from content sources around the world.

Content syndication allows digital publishers and leading online publications to deliver readers global stories and the most recent news items from all over the planet without having to send more writers all around the world …

News reporting agencies use content syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies all around the world.

(Global media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies all around the world.)

Syndication is used to share content legitimately. Global media publications syndicate newsworthy content using feeds

Content syndication is used by news reporting agencies to share information with other news publications

(Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing newsworthy content)

Most websites actually want you to syndicate their content. Content syndication not only allows great information to be shared, but it also drives visitors back to the site that originally created theoriginally created and published the content being syndicated. This creates links that can drive traffic back to their site.

Many online newspapers and major content sites provide links to a feed section (look for menu links that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “telegraph rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Major content sites have a feed section

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

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds link brings up a directory of RSS feeds for different content areas of the site …

RSS feeds section

(A website’s list of feeds. Image Source: nytimes.com)

These RSS feed items allow you to source information from different sections of the site (e.g. technology news, arts news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

Feed sections can also include further feed subcategories …

RSS Feed section.

(Feed sections can also include subcategory feeds. Source: LA Times)

Important Info

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

Using Feeds – Benefits

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

Content Syndication Has Many Benefits!

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

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 there are benefits in getting other sites to use your content.

When other websites syndicate your content, this gives your business the opportunity to gain increased exposure online and drive new visitors …

Look for ways to get users to syndicate your content ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Consider trying to get other websites and blogs to syndicate your content … it will help increase your exposure online!)

About Your WordPress RSS

WordPress automatically publishes a feed of your latest posts, allowing others to easily syndicate your content on their sites.

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

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

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

(The feed page will show the number of items you have specified in the WP Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Important Info

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

Post excerpts can affect how a feed displays

(Post excerpts affect how a feed will display)

If you need help using WordPress Post excerpts, see this step-by-step tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, all that’s required to view the content of an RSS feed is to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into an application that reads and translates feeds into readable content.

Let’s show you how this works.

First, find a website whose feed you want to subscribe to and look for a ’subscribe to feed’ button or link …

Search for a 'subscribe to feed' link.

(Look for an RSS feed link. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

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

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

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

How To Add Feeds To WordPress

Let’s show you how to add content from other website or blog’s RSS feeds to your site.

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Sidebar

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

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

Let's add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area

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

First, Find a website or blog that publishes content that you would like to display on your sidebar and copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

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

RSS Widget

(Widgets Section – RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your browser. The content will now show on your sidebar (or wherever you have placed the RSS widget) …

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 Your WordPress Posts

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

You can easily do this using WordPress plugins. Just search on WordPress.org plugin repository for RSS Aggregator, RSS feed to post, etc.

'Add Plugins' section

(’Add Plugins’ search results)

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

Here are a number of autoblogging tools that let you create new with feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico - WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico – WordPress Plugin)

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

You can manage all of your imported feeds and arrange them into campaigns.

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 plugin for WordPress with extended functionality with premium extensions (add-ons).

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer

(RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin)

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

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full content of each item in the feed as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed WP Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin)

With POWr RSS, you can combine and display content from a number of different content using RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust sizing and spacing of feeds, use custom colors, borders, fonts, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in all languages.

The premium edition of POWr contains many additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, accept or reject posts in your feed, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress)

FeedWordPress provides flexible Atom/RSS syndication for WordPress 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 of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog WP Plugin

(Autoblog Plugin For WordPress)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in the URL of your feed, give the feed a name (for admin purposes) and select the blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types WP Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

Useful Info

Using WordPress RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to making RSS feeds of your latest posts available to online users, WordPress also displays RSS feeds of your latest post comments.

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

WordPress Comments RSS

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

Comments feed items as seen using a Firefox browser

(RSS comments feed entries displayed using a Firefox web browser)

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

RSS comments feed entries as seen with Google Chrome

(Comments feed items seen using Google Chrome)

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Individual Item RSS 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 items to RSS directories, or you may have created a valuable resource that other online users will want to syndicate.

The formula for using an RSS feed for individual post items is shown below:

Single Post RSS Feed

(RSS Feed For Specific Post Item)

To create the above feed, copy the URL of your post, and append “/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 the URI of your post, WordPress will return the comments made on your post, not the post content itself.

Tip #3 – Displaying Category Feeds

Some your site users may only want to subscribe to content from a particular 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 below:

WordPress post categories feed format

(Use this format for WordPress post categories feed)

Select and copy the category link address …

Select and copy your category link address ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

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

WordPress post categories feed format

(RSS feed format for post categories)

Your category feed now only displays content published under this particular category …

Category feed

(Category-specific 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 For Visitors

You can create a feeds directory that allows readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories, just like the larger websites do …

Set Up A List Of Feeds

(Create A Feeds Page)

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

RSS graphic

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

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

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows various feed configurations that do not require code editing skills. Below are examples of some of the kinds of custom feeds you can display …

Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – displays your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Contains the latest comments published on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed containing individual post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed containing the latest comments made on single post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/11/27/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Feed containing the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/03/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains the latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to promote your RSS feeds. Place a subscribe link or button somewhere visible …

Remember to make your RSS feeds visible your RSS feeds!

(Promote your RSS feeds!)

Also, keep in mind that online users will only want to syndicate your content if you provide your visitors with very high-quality content that can add value to their sites and benefit their users.

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

(Easily add great content to your site and get visitors to subscribe to your content online using RSS feeds!)

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:

  • Download RSS Buttons – Visit www.feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss buttons”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about the benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex: Feeds – Official WordPress documentation repository. Go here for more information about using WordPress RSS.

Using RSS In WordPress

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

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 read more about using WordPress please click on links to visit other posts on this site.

***

"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now

Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.