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 …

For a white label version of this tutorial visit WPTrainingManual.com.

Understanding The WordPress RSSNo matter what product or service you sell or what industry your business belongs to, providing high-value information on your site or blog is essential. For example, if your business provides medical services, it’s a good idea to include the latest information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness advice, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it is very time-consuming. You have to sort through, gather, 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 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.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS - The easiest way to provide your blog subscribers with the latest information

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Simple Overview

  • RSS is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred, Really Simple Syndication. It can also be called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content so that their users can read it without having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog entries, news, audios, etc., to which any user can then subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML document that includes either full or summarized text along with metadata like date of publishing, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then browse updates posted on these websites using an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate web content automatically.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be read by different feed aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF (Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different machines and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine several RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from different sites.

This guide explains where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to add content from other sites to your site using RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful and legitimate method used for sharing web content. RSS Feeds provide online users with a simple way to keep up with the latest information posted on different websites.

First, let’s look at syndication.

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

Content syndication allows most news reporting agencies and many leading media publications to deliver readers the latest stories and news from around the planet without having to hire and set up more news writers in every location around the world …

Global media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish news and stories from other news agencies around the globe.

(Media publications rely on syndication to publish newsworthy items from news sources all around the world.)

Syndication is used to share content legitimately with other sites. online media publications syndicate their stories using news feeds

Content syndication is used by digital content agencies to share content with other news publications

(News reporting agencies syndicate newsworthy content using news feeds)

Most websites actually want you to syndicate their content. Syndicating content not only allows valuable information to be shared, but it can also drive visitors back to the original site that published the content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Most digital news publishers and leading online media publications have an RSS feed section (look for links in their navigation menu that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “star tribune rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Major sites provide links to an RSS feed section

(Many online newspapers will have a feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS directory

(RSS feeds list. Image Source: nytimes.com RSS feeds)

These RSS feed items give you access to content from different areas of the website (e.g. business news, travel news, jobs, etc.)

An RSS feed list can also include feed subcategories …

Feed sections can also contain subcategory feeds.

(RSS Feed section. Image: latimes.com)

Useful Info

Note: An RSS feed is only a URL. All you need to do to use feeds is to copy the URLs and paste these into software 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 website has some obvious benefits. It gives someone else’s site additional exposure online and helps your site by freeing you up from having to create that content …

The Benefits Of Content Syndication

(Syndicating Content - Benefits)

While adding a 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 there are benefits in getting other sites to syndicate your content.

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

It's a good idea to get visitors to syndicate your feed ... it will help to increase traffic!

(Get visitors to syndicate your feed … it will help increase your exposure online!)

WordPress RSS Feed – About

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

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

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

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Useful Information

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

Post excerpts affect how feeds display

(Post excerpts affect how a feed displays)

To learn more about WordPress Post excerpts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, to view a feed’s content, you need to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into a feedreader, i.e. an application that can translate feeds into readable content.

Let’s show you how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and search for their RSS feed icon …

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

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

If you want, you can check what the RSS feed contains by pasting the feed URL into a feedreader …

Paste your 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 feedreaders, WordPress has the ability to process RSS feeds and convert these into content that is readable by humans.

Adding An RSS Feed To Your Site

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

Adding An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is a part of, you can easily add to your site the latest updates from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by importing their RSS feed. You can easily display a range of information on your WordPress site such as news, Facebook comments, 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 your sidebar

(Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar)

copy the feed URL from a website or blog that publishes content that you would like to add to your site to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

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

Widgets Area - RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Load your website in your web browser. The content from the RSS feed can now be seen on the sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been added – e.g. custom menu, footer, etc) …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Added To 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 RSS Feed Content To Posts

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

You can do this using WordPress plugins. Just search inside the ’Add Plugins’ screen for RSS Post, RSS feed to post, etc.

RSS plugins

(’Add Plugins’ section)

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

The plugins listed below can be used to feed content to posts, or “auto blog” (An auto blog is a blog with content that is automatically gathered and compiled from RSS feeds):

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico)

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

You can manage all the feeds you import and organize feeds according to campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress)

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

For example, the Feed to Post extension is a feature-filled importer that lets you import RSS feeds directly into posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

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

The plugin 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 For WordPress

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin)

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

The POWr RSS plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust feed priority, use custom fonts, backgrounds, colors, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on all phones, tablets, and computers and supports text in every language.

The premium version of this plugin contains a number of additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, accept or reject posts, and more.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin

(WP Pipes)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress

(FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress)

FeedWordPress is a versatile Atom/RSS syndication plugin for WordPress.

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 (e.g. from your blog, LinkedIn, YouTube, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog - WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev WP Plugin)

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, give the feed a name of your choosing (for admin purposes) and select the blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types WP Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

Idea

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to making RSS feeds of your posts available, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of your post comments.

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

Comments RSS

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

Comments feed items displayed on Firefox browser

(RSS comments feed content displayed using Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed content viewed on Google Chrome

(Comments feed items viewed with Google Chrome)

Again, you can check what the comments RSS 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 content.

(Paste the 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 WordPress installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Accessing Specific Post RSS Feeds

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

The formula for accessing an RSS feed for an individual post item is shown below:

Specific Post RSS Feed

(Feed For Specific Post)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Post Category Feeds

Some your site visitors may only be interested in subscribing to content from one or two post categories. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

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

All you need to do is use the format below:

RSS feed format for category

(Feed format for category)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Copy the category link address ...

(Copy the category URL …)

Now, append the word “feed” to the end of it …

RSS feed format for category

(Use this format for WordPress category RSS feed)

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

Category RSS feed page

(Category RSS feed page)

The WordPress Codex also provides different ways to create feeds not just for post categories, but also feeds for tags, authors, search, etc.

For this example, let’s create a feed for a specific post category using the format shown below:

Post Category feed format

(Post Category feed format. Source: WordPress Codex)

Here is the feed format WordPress recommends using. In this example, the post category ID is ’42’. We’ll need to replace the post category ID and the domain name …

WordPress post category feed format

(WordPress post category feed format)

To find the post category ID, go to Posts > Categories …

Posts > Categories menu

(Posts > Categories menu)

Locate the post category you want and hover your mouse over the title to reveal its unique ID …

Post Category ID

(Post Category ID)

In our example, the post category ID is ’29’ and the post category feed format we need to use for this specific category with our domain name looks like this …

Post category feed format with domain name and ID

(Post category feed format with domain name and ID)

Copy and paste the feed into your browser and hit enter …

Paste the feed into your browser

(Paste the feed into your browser)

This will display the feed for that specific category …

RSS feed of a specific post category

(RSS feed of a specific post category)

Note that in this example, WordPress automatically converted the feed format we pasted into the browser into the category feed we had used in the previous section of this tutorial …

Post category feed format

(Post category feed format)

Here is the feed format again …

Post category feed

(Post category feed)

In this case, the simplest way to create additional feeds for specific categories is to simply change the post category slug …

Change the post category slug to create a new category specific feed

(Change the post category slug to create a new category specific feed)

Paste the edited feed into your web browser and hit enter to display the content for that specific category’s feed …

Post category feed content

(Post category feed content)

Now that you have a method for creating feeds for specific post categories (or tags, authors, etc.), you can even create a directory or list of individual feeds for visitors.

Tip #4 – Set Up A Feeds List

You can set up your own RSS feeds page that allows readers to subscribe only to specific content …

Publish A List Of RSS Feeds

(Create An RSS Feeds Directory)

You can also link a button graphic like the one shown below to the URL of your category feed and then create a table or a list of all individual feeds on a new page …

RSS image

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

If you need help with creating tables in WordPress posts and pages, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

RSS Feeds – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure various feed types without code editing skills. Here are some examples of custom feeds you can display on your site and how to create your feeds …

Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

For your convenience, here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown in the diagram above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Feed that includes your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed displaying the latest comments left on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed containing specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Includes the latest comments made on specific posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/03/27/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/08/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/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 the latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to let visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feed. Place your subscribe button somewhere visible …

Remember to promote your feeds!

(Promote your RSS feeds!)

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

Easily add great content to your site and get others to share your content with RSS feeds!

(Add great content from other sites and get others to subscribe to your content online using WordPress and RSS!)

Useful Tip

If you need help coming up with content ideas subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our feed 🙂

RSS Resources:

  • RSS Feed Graphics – Visit FeedIcons.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss images”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information and resources about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about using RSS.
  • WordPress Codex – Official WordPress documentation repository. Visit this site to learn more about WordPress feeds.

Using WordPress RSS Feeds For Beginners

Congratulations! Now you know how 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 and blogs on your site via RSS feeds.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you improve your business online. To learn more about the benefits of using the WP CMS platform please click on links to visit our related posts section.

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"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

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