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 product or service you sell or what industry your business is in, providing high-value information to your blog readers is vitally important. For example, if your business provides accounting services, you may want to provide users with the latest information from the taxation office, such as news or updates on tax rulings, small business tax deductions, etc.

The problem with creating this type of information, however, is that it involves a great deal of effort and resources. You have to do a lot of information sifting, researching and organizing, checking your sources for accuracy, writing and editing content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually make sure that this information is up-to-date. As you can imagine, this is not only a huge amount of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS - The easiest way to provide your subscribers with great information

(RSS is the easiest way to provide your subscribers with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What You Need To Know About RSS

  • RSS, which, according to some experts is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It it is also referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content to save readers time from having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog posts, news, video playlists, etc., to which other users can choose to subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML (XML = Extensible Markup Language) document that includes full or summarized text along with other metadata such as date of publishing, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on sites that publish feeds and then view updates posted on these sites through an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate content.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed readers. 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 and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine multiple RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from different websites.

In this article, we explain where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to add someone else’s content to your site using RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful (and legitimate) way to share content online. RSS Feeds provide an easy way for online users to stay up-to-date with the latest information posted on websites they are interested in.

First, let’s look at content syndication.

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

Syndication allows most leading online newspapers to deliver readers interesting stories and the most recent newsworthy content from around the globe without actually having to post more news reporting and content writing departments everywhere in the world …

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

(Media publications rely on syndication to publish stories from other news agencies all around the world.)

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content. Global media publications syndicate newsworthy content using feeds

Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing newsworthy content

(Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing information)

Most sites actually want you to syndicate their information. Content syndication not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the site that published the original content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

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

Most news publishers and major sites will have an RSS feed section

(Most online newspapers and major content sites contain a feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds link will bring up a directory of RSS feeds for different content topics on the site …

RSS feeds directory

(RSS feeds list. Image: New York Times RSS)

These feed items allow you to source information from different areas of the website (e.g. technology news, arts news, jobs, etc.)

A feed directory can also contain further feed subdirectories …

RSS Feed section.

(A feed directory can also include subcategories. Source: Los Angeles Times RSS)

Important

Note: An RSS feed is just a URL. All you need to do to use feeds is copy the URLs and paste these into a program that can translate the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

The Benefits Of Content Syndication

Adding someone else’s content to your site has some obvious benefits. It not only gives someone else’s site additional exposure online, it also adds value to your site without you having to create that content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

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

While adding a feed from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, it’s a great idea to try and get other websites to use your content.

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

Look for ways to get other websites and blogs to syndicate content using your RSS feed ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Look for ways to get users to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help increase your exposure online!)

WordPress RSS – Overview

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

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

1) If your theme displays the Meta widget as part of your navigation menu …

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

(Your feed page will show as many recent items you have specified in your Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

WP Settings - Reading Settings - 'For each article in a feed show' options

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

Idea

Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …

Post excerpts can affect how your feed content will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how content in your feeds will appear)

If you need help WordPress Post excerpts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s show you how this works.

First, find a website or blog and search for a ‘subscribe’ link or button …

Look for a 'subscribe to feed' link.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL to the clipboard

(Copy your feed URL)

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

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

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

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

How To Add A Feed To Your WP Site

In the example below, we are going to add content sourced from another website or blog to yours.

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

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

Add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar area

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

copy the feed URL from a website or blog that publishes content that you want to display on your sidebar …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard)

Next, go to your Widgets screen and paste the feed into a new RSS widget …

Widgets Panel - RSS Widget

(Widgets Section – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Refresh your browser. The content should appear in your sidebar …

RSS Feed Content Added To WP Sidebar

(RSS Feed Added To WordPress Sidebar Menu)

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 Posts

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

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

'Add Plugins' search results

(’Add Plugins’ section)

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

Here are some auto blogging plugins that let you automatically add posts with feeds and imported content:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin

(WPeMatico WordPress Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator – WordPress Plugin)

WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive RSS feed importer and autoblogging WordPress plugin with additional functionality with premium add-ons.

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer WordPress Plugin)

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

The plugin 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 – WordPress Plugin)

POWr RSS combines and displays content from a number of different RSS feeds.

This plugin also lets you display videos, images, and articles, adjust feed priority, use custom fonts, borders, colors, and more. It is also mobile responsive and supports text in all languages.

The premium version of this plugin contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

The WP Pipes plugin is a powerful data migration plugin that lets you 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/Facebook/Twitter, export WordPress posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to new levels.

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress)

FeedWordPress provides versatile 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.

FeedWordPress can be used to create aggregator sites, or display all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, LinkedIn, YouTube, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin

(Autoblog Plugin)

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 your feed URL, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select a blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin)

Use RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types 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:

Useful Information

WordPress RSS – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

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

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

Comments RSS

(WordPress Comments RSS)

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

Comments feed items viewed on Firefox

(RSS comments feed items as seen using a Firefox browser)

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

RSS comments feed entries viewed using a Google Chrome browser

(RSS comments feed content displayed with Google Chrome)

Again, you can check what the comments feed contains by pasting the URL of the feed into a feed reader …

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

(Paste your URL of your comments feed into a feed reader to view the feed content. Image: 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 subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Individual Post Item Feeds

Being able to create an RSS feed for an individual post 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 accessing an RSS feed for individual post items is shown below:

Specific Post RSS Feed

(Feed For Individual Post Item)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Category RSS Feeds

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

WordPress allows you to create separate category feeds.

All you have to do is use the format shown below:

Use this format for WordPress post categories feed

(Feed format for post categories)

Copy the category URL …

Copy the category URL ...

(Copy the category link address …)

Now, add “feed” to the end of it …

Use this format for WP category feed

(WP category feed format)

Your RSS feed will now only display content published in that category …

Category-specific feed

(Category RSS 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 – Provide Your Own Feeds Directory

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

Create A Feeds List

(Publish A Directory Of Feeds For Your Visitors)

You can also link an icon to the URL of your feed and then create a table or a list of all your individual feeds on a separate page …

RSS graphic

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

If you need help with inserting tables into WordPress posts and pages, refer to this tutorial:

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure various feed types without code editing skills. For example, here are just some of the kinds of feed types you can use …

WordPress RSS - Custom Feeds

(Different Feed Types You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

Here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed 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 left on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed for a specific post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed that includes latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/10/10/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/09/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Contains the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays the latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Contains latest items 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 let your visitors know that they can subscribe to your feeds. Make sure you place your subscribe button image somewhere visible …

Remember to promote your feeds!

(Remember to promote your RSS feeds!)

Keep in mind that online users will only syndicate your content if you provide your visitors with very high-quality content that will add great value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

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

(Add great content from other sites and get online users to share your content with WordPress and 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 RSS feed 🙂

Resources:

  • Feed Icons – Visit feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss logos”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS graphics.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about the history and benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation and reference. Visit this site for more information about using RSS feeds in WordPress.

Using RSS In WordPress

Congratulations! Now you know where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to display content from other websites on your site via RSS.

Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of issues that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To read more about the benefits of using the WP web site publishing platform please see other great articles and tutorials on this site.

***

"I love the way your email series "Infinite Web Content Creation Training Series" is documented and presented. It is very absorbing and captivating. The links and tutorials are interesting and educational. This has motivated me to rewrite my content following the concepts I am learning from the email series." - Mani Raju, www.fortuneinewaste.com

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