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 service or product you sell or what industry your business is in, providing high-value information to your site visitors is important. For example, if your business provides travel services, it’s a good idea to provide users with the latest information from government and foreign travel-related departments, such as news or updates on travel warnings, tips from embassies, etc.

The problem with creating this type of information, however, is that it is really time-consuming. You have to sift through, research, and organize a ton of data, check your facts, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually make sure that this information is kept up-to-date. As you can imagine, this not only involves a huge amount of work but most of the information you are dealing with is completely beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

RSS - The simplest way to provide your users with great information

(RSS - One of the simplest ways to provide your blog subscribers with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What Does RSS Stand For?

  • RSS, which, according to some experts is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, is more commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be called a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • When a user subscribes to an RSS feed, they no longer have to physically check the source website for updated content. Instead, their web browser will constantly monitor the site and automatically keep subscribers up-to-date.
  • Feeds are also used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog post items, news, audio lists, etc., to which other users can then subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML (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 websites and then browse updates posted on these sites using 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 (also called AtomPub or APP feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different devices, readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine multiple RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates sourced from many websites.

This article shows you 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 their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful and legitimate way to share web content. Feeds provide a simple way for online users to keep up with the latest information published on different sites.

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

Most digital news publishers and highly-visited online media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish stories from other news agencies around the world.

Syndication allows online newspapers to deliver readers stories on all kinds of topics as well as the most recent news from all over the globe without having to set up additional reporters and content writers in every location around the world …

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

(Digital news publishing agencies use syndication to publish content from other news agencies all around the globe.)

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

Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing newsworthy content

(Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing information)

Most websites actually would like you to share their information. Content syndication not only allows high-quality information to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the original site that created and published the content being syndicated. This creates new ways to drive traffic back to their site.

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

Most leading online media publications include an RSS feed section

(Many news publishers and major sites contain an RSS feed section. Source: SMH RSS )

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

RSS Feeds

(RSS directory. Source: nytimes.com)

gives you access to information from different sections of the site (e.g. technology news, travel news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

An RSS directory can also include feed subdirectories …

Feed sections can also include feed subdirectories.

(RSS Feed section. Source: latimes.com feeds)

Important

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

The Benefits Of Syndicating Content

Adding content from someone else’s website on your website has some obvious benefits. It helps someone else’s business and adds value to your site without you having to create this content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(Content Syndication Has Many Benefits!)

While adding feeds 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 sites to use YOUR content.

When other sites syndicate your content, this gives your business the opportunity to get more exposure online and drive new visitors …

Get users to syndicate content using your feed ... it will help to increase traffic!

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

WordPress Feed

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

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

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to be displayed on your sidebar or footer menu, just scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Meta section

(You can access your WordPress RSS feed in the Meta section)

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

For example, in the screenshot below, a visitor can simply copy the site’s RSS feed URL by right-clicking and copying on the Subscribe to RSS link …

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

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

3) On many sites and again, depending on the WordPress theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Stay In Touch, Link To Us, or Share toolbar section …

Look for an RSS button in a a Link To Us, Social Share, or Follow Us floating, slide-out, or fixed toolbar

(Look for an RSS button in a a Social Share, Subscribe, or Link To Us toolbar)

4) You can also view your WordPress site’s feed by typing your site’s URL into a web browser and adding “/feed” after the URL, e.g.:

  • http://www.yourdomain.com/feed
  • http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/feed (if your website is located in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Using any of the above methods will bring up a page containing your site’s feed …

Feed items viewed using a Firefox browser

(Feed items as seen with Firefox)

Note that your feed page will display differently depending on the web browser you use …

Feed items as seen with Google Chrome

(Feed entries viewed using Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

Settings - Reading Settings - Syndication feeds

(WP Reading Settings – Number of syndication feed items)

The feed will display the number of posts as you have specified in the WordPress Reading Settings section …

Your feed will display the number of items you have specified in the Reading Settings section

(Your feed will display the number of items you have specified in the Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

(Reading Settings – ’For each article in a feed show’: ‘Full text’ or ‘Summary’)

Important Info

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

Post excerpts can affect how a feed will display

(Post excerpts affect how content in feeds appear)

We have created a detailed tutorial about using WordPress Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s see how this works.

First, find a website whose content you want to syndicate and search for a ’subscribe to feed’ link or icon using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for an RSS feed section.

(Search for a ‘subscribe’ link or icon. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy your feed URL to the clipboard)

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

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

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

Like feed readers, WordPress has the ability to process XML/RSS feeds and convert these into readable content for humans.

Adding Feeds To Your Site

Let’s show you how to add content from other sites to yours.

How To Add RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

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

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

copy the feed URL from a website or blog containing content that you want to add to your sidebar …

Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard

(Copy your feed URL to the clipboard)

Next, go to your Widgets section and paste the feed into an RSS widget …

RSS Widget

(Widgets Screen – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Refresh your web browser. The content will now show on your sidebar (or wherever you have placed the RSS widget – e.g. custom menu) …

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:

Adding RSS Feed Content To Your Posts

Can content from an RSS feed be added to WordPress posts? Yes, it can!

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

'Add Plugins' section

(’Add Plugins’ section)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator – WordPress Plugin)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and autoblogging WordPress plugin that offers premium add-ons for additional functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post extension for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Post Importer WordPress Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed WP Plugin)

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

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

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

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 create curate content from RSS feeds, Google News, and many other sources.

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a simple and flexible syndication plugin for WordPress site 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 bring together all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Facebook, Flickr, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin)

By default, WordPress only posts posts in your RSS feed. Install the RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types plugin to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed and not just posts.

For more details, go here:

Useful Info

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to making RSS feeds of your posts available, 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 …

Comments Feed

(Comments RSS)

All the comments posted on your site by visitors display in the Comments RSS page …

Comments feed items as seen on Firefox web browser

(RSS comments feed entries seen on Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed content displayed using Google Chrome

(Comments feed entries seen on Google Chrome)

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

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Creating RSS Feeds For Individual Posts

Being able to select an RSS feed for a specific post item 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 making an RSS feed for single posts is shown below:

Specific Post Feed

(Feed For Specific Post Item)

To create the above feed, copy the post URI, 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 post URL, WordPress will return the comments left on that post, not actual content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Category RSS Feeds

Some your site users may only want to syndicate content about specific categories. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

WordPress allows you to create category feeds.

Just use the format below:

Format for WordPress post categories RSS feed

(Format for WP post categories RSS feed)

Select and copy the category link address …

Select and copy your category URL ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

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

WordPress post categories feed format

(Feed format for category)

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

Category-specific 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 – Create Your Own Feeds List

You can set up your own directory of RSS feeds for your subscribers that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories …

Publish Your Own Feeds List

(Set Up A Page Of RSS Feeds On Your Site)

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

RSS graphic

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

If you need help with adding tables to WordPress content, see this step-by-step tutorial:

RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows several feed configurations that do not require code editing skills. Here are some examples of custom feeds you can use …

Different Custom Feeds You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Feed Formats)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Feed that contains your latest entries
  • 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 a specific post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that includes the latest comments made on specific posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed containing the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/02/27/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/08/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed displaying the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays the latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

It’s a good idea to promote your RSS feeds. Place a ’subscribe to RSS’ buttons in a visible location …

Encourage your site users to syndicate your feeds!

(Encourage your visitors to syndicate your RSS feeds!)

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

Easily add content to your site and get online users to syndicate your content with RSS!

(Add someone else’s content and get other users to share your content with 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 feed 🙂

Additional RSS Resources:

  • Feed Images – Visit an online resource site like Feedicons or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss images”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about RSS.
  • WordPress.org/WordPress Feeds – Official WordPress documentation and reference repository. Go here for more information about RSS feeds in WordPress.

WordPress User's Guide To RSS

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

Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To learn more about using WordPress for a business web site please see other posts we have published on this site.

***

"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

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the owner of WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.