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 …

A Basic Guide To Understanding WordPress RSSNo matter what your business sells or what industry you are in, it’s important to provide high-quality information on your site or blog that educates, informs, or improves engagement with your readers. For example, if your business provides accounting services, it’s a good idea to include the latest information from the taxation office, such as news and updates on tax rulings, small business tax deductions, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, requires a lot of time and resources. You have to do a lot of information sifting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, content writing and editing (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 huge amount of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is an easier way to regularly provide your site visitors with expert, up-to-date information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - One of the simplest ways to provide your users with up-to-date information

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What You Need To Know About RSS

  • RSS is short for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred, Really Simple Syndication. It is often called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save readers time from having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • RSS feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog posts, news headlines, videos, etc., which other users can then subscribe to.
  • You can view the content of RSS feeds with software programs called feedreaders, or aggregators. Feedreaders can be used to find new content published on websites and distribute this content (and any updates made to the content) to other sites.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats and 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 devices and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine different RSS feeds to receive news and updates sourced from a number of different sites.

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

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful way to share content online. RSS Feeds provide a way for web users to keep up with the latest information posted on different websites.

First, let’s take a look at syndication.

Digital agencies and many leading media publications use content syndication to publish news from news sources around the world.

Content syndication allows most online newspapers to deliver readers interesting stories and the most recent newsworthy items from all around the globe without actually having to employ additional reporters everywhere in the world …

Many news reporting agencies rely on syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies all around the globe.

(Media publications rely on syndication to publish content from other news agencies around the planet.)

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

Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing information

(Online newspapers syndicate their newsworthy content using feeds)

Most sites actually want you to syndicate their information. Syndicating content not only allows 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 can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

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

Most online newspapers and major content sites provide links to a feed section

(Most digital content agencies and major sites include an RSS feed section. Image Source: smh.com.au )

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section brings up a list of RSS feeds for different content topics on the site …

RSS feeds directory

(RSS feeds directory. Image: NY Times)

These feeds give readers access to different areas of the site (e.g. technology news, arts news, science news, etc.)

Feed sections can also include further subcategories …

A feed list can also contain feed subcategories.

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

Info

Note: An RSS feed is just a URL. All you need to do to use RSS 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.

Syndicating Content – Benefits

Syndicating content from someone else’s website on your site has some obvious benefits. It not only gives someone else’s business additional exposure online, it also adds value to your site without you having to create this content …

The Benefits Of Using Feeds

(The Benefits Of Syndicating Content)

While adding feeds from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, it’s worth keeping in mind that you also want other sites to syndicate YOUR content.

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

Get users to syndicate your content ... it will help increase your exposure online!

(Get visitors to syndicate content using your RSS feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress Feed – Overview

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

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

1) If your theme displays the Meta widget on the sidebar …

Your feed will display as many recent items you have specified in the Reading Settings section

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Tip

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

Post excerpts can affect how content in your feeds appear

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed will appear)

We have written a detailed tutorial on using WordPress Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s see how this works.

First, find a website or blog and look for their RSS feed link using any of the methods described earlier …

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

(Look for a ‘subscribe’ button. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed)

If you want, you can check what the RSS feed contains by pasting the feed URL into an online feed reader …

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

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

Like feedreaders, WordPress has the ability to process XML/RSS feeds.

How To Add Feeds To Your WP Site

Let’s show you how to add content sourced from another site to yours.

Adding A Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are part of, you can display on your site the latest news and updates from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by importing content from their feed. You can use feeds to 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 content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area …

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

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

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

Copy the feed URL

(Copy your feed URL to the clipboard)

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

Widgets Area - RSS Widget

(Widgets Screen – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Refresh your web browser. The content will now show in the sidebar (or wherever you have inserted the RSS widget – e.g. custom menu, footer, etc) …

RSS Feed Added To Sidebar

(RSS Widget)

Add Your WordPress RSS Feed To Search Consoles

You can add your WordPress RSS feed to Google and Bing’s search consoles. This will help them index your content faster.

WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console

(WordPress RSS feed added to Google Search Console)

Adding your site’s RSS feed to search consoles is simple, fast, easy, and requires no technical skills. For a step-by-step tutorial, go here:

How To Add RSS Feed Content To Posts

Can you add content from RSS feeds to a post? You sure can!

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

'Add Plugins' section - WordPress RSS plugins

(RSS plugins for WordPress)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

WPeMatico is an auto blogging plugin that lets you publish posts automatically from RSS/Atom feeds that you specify.

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and auto blogging 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 add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Post Importer)

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

RSS Post Importer will fetch an RSS feed and publish the full article content of every item in your feed as a separate 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 RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display videos, images, and articles, adjust feed size and spacing, use custom backgrounds, fonts, colors, and more. It is also mobile responsive and supports text in all languages.

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

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes WP Plugin

(WP Pipes WordPress Plugin)

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

This plugin provides loads of features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook, export WordPress posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress

(FeedWordPress WP Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides versatile syndication options for WordPress.

As stated in the FeedWordPress site …

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 plugin to create aggregator site (sites that combine and display content from multiple sources), or display all of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog - WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages Plugin For WordPress)

RSS Includes Pages lets you display pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Info

WordPress RSS – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

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

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

WordPress Comments Feed

(Comments Feed)

All the comments posted on your site by visitors can be seen in your Comments RSS page …

Comments feed items as seen using a Firefox web browser

(Comments feed entries displayed on Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed content as seen with a Google Chrome web browser

(RSS comments feed content as seen using Google Chrome)

Again, you can check what the comments RSS feed contains by pasting the feed URL into an online feedreader …

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

(Paste the comments feed URL into a feedreader to view the feed content. Image Source: 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 site is located in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Feeds For Specific Items

Being able to display an RSS feed for an individual 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 posts is shown below:

Single Post RSS Feed

(Specific Post Feed)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Category RSS Feeds

Some your site visitors may only be interested in subscribing to content from a specific post category. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

If you publish content under several categories, you can provide a separate RSS feed for each of these categories.

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

WordPress category RSS feed format

(Feed format for category)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Copy the selected category link address ...

(Copy the selected category URL to your clipboard …)

Append “feed” to the end of it …

WP post categories feed format

(WP category RSS feed format)

Your feed now only contains content published in this particular category …

Category-specific RSS feed

(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 – Create A List Of Feeds On Your Site

You can provide your own directory of feeds that allows your readers to subscribe only to specific content, just like large online publishers …

Set Up Your Own Feeds Page

(Create Your Own Directory Of RSS Feeds For Your Subscribers)

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

RSS graphic

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

To learn more about creating tables in WordPress content, see this tutorial:

RSS – Notes

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

WordPress allows a number of feed configurations without touching code. Here are some examples of feed types you can use and how to create these feeds …

WordPress RSS - Feed Types

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

Below are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed in the image above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Includes the latest comments posted on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed that includes a single 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 a specific post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Feed containing the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/01/28/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Includes latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/09/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2011/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed containing the latest entries 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 feed. Place your subscribe button in a visible location …

Promote your feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that online users will only want to subscribe to your content if the information that you provide on your site is useful, educational, or highly entertaining. In other words, you must provide high-quality information that will add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

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

(Easily add great content to your site and get online users to share your content with WordPress and RSS!)

Practical 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 🙂

Additional Resources:

  • RSS Buttons – Visit Iconspedia.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss buttons”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS graphics.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information and resources about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about the history and benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress software documentation repository. Visit this site to learn more about feeds in WordPress.

WordPress User's Guide To RSS

Congratulations! Now you know where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to add someone else’s content to your site via their RSS feed.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of issues that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To learn more about using the WP content management platform please see our related posts section.

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Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.