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 …

Understanding The Benefits Of Using The WordPress RSS FeatureNo matter what service or product you provide, you need to provide high-value information to your site or blog readers. For example, if you provide health-related services, you may want to provide users with 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 kind of information, however, is that it is really time-consuming. You have to filter through, gather, and organize a ton of data, check your facts, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually ensure that this information is up-to-date. As you can imagine, this is not only a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is well beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is a simpler way to keep your users up-to-date with the latest information.

It’s called RSS

RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your subscribers with up-to-date information

(RSS - The simplest way to provide your subscribers with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What You Need To Know About RSS

  • 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 “news feed”.
  • RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content so that their site readers can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog post items, news headlines, audio lists, etc., which users can choose to subscribe to.
  • You can view RSS feeds with a program called an RSS feed reader, or feed aggregator. Feedreaders can be used to find new content published on websites and syndicate this content (and any updates made to this content) to other online properties.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed aggregators. 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, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine different RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates from different sources.

In this article, we will explain how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using RSS feeds, and how to display content from other websites on your site using RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful way of sharing content online. Feeds provide a simple way for web users to keep up with the latest information posted on websites they are interested in.

First, let’s take a look at syndication.

Online media publications use syndication to publish content from content sources around the world.

Content syndication allows news reporting agencies and many leading media publications to deliver readers interesting stories and up-to-the-minute newsworthy items from all over the planet without having to send more staff to every location around the world …

News publishing agencies rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from news sources all around the planet.

(Media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy items from other news agencies all around the world.)

Syndication is used to share content legitimately. online media publications syndicate their information using news feeds

Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content

(Content syndication is a legitimate way of sharing newsworthy content)

Most sites actually want you to share their information. Content syndication not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the original site responsible for publishing the content being syndicated. This provides websites with additional opportunities to generate significant web visitors.

Many online newspapers and major sites will include a 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”, “belfast telegraph rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most online newspapers and major sites contain a feed section

(Many news publishing agencies and major content sites have an RSS feed section. Image Source: Sydney Morning Herald RSS )

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

RSS feeds directory

(RSS directory. Image Source: New York Times)

Each of these feeds lets readers access information from different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, arts news, jobs, etc.)

A feed list can also contain further subcategories …

RSS Feed section.

(RSS Feed section. Source: latimes.com)

Important Info

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

Content Syndication – Benefits

Syndicating content from someone else’s website on your site has some obvious benefits. It not only gives someone else’s website additional exposure online, it also helps you by freeing you up from having to create that content …

The Benefits Of Using RSS Feeds

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

While adding an RSS 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 websites to syndicate your content.

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

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

(It’s worth trying to get users to syndicate your content … it will help to increase your exposure online!)

WordPress RSS

By default, WordPress automatically publishes a feed of all your posts, allowing others to syndicate your content on their websites.

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

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

Meta widget - Entries RSS

(Meta widget)

2) You can also find links and/or buttons on certain WordPress themes that let your visitors copy your RSS feed.

In the screenshot below, for example, a visitor can simply copy the site’s RSS feed URL by clicking on on the Subscribe to RSS link …

Copy RSS links to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

3) On many websites and again, depending on which theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Share, Subscribe, or Links fixed, floating, or slide-out toolbar …

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

(Look for an RSS button in a a Social Share, Links, or Subscribe floating, slide-out, or fixed toolbar)

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

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

Using any of the above methods will bring up your WordPress RSS feed page …

Feed items as seen using Firefox

(RSS entries as seen on a Firefox browser)

Note that your feed items will display differently depending on the web browser you are using …

RSS items seen with a Chrome browser

(Feed items viewed on Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

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

WordPress Reading Settings - Syndication items field

(WP Reading Settings – Syndication feed items)

The feed page will display as many recent posts as you have specified in your WP Reading Settings section …

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

(The feed will show as many recent posts as you have specified in your WP Reading Settings section)

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Idea

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

Post excerpts affect how your feeds appear

(Post excerpts can affect how a feed displays)

If you need help using excerpts in WordPress Posts, see this tutorial:

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 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 look for an RSS feed section using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for an RSS feed section.

(Look for a ’subscribe to feed’ button. Image source: http://www.yourcoffeeguru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

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

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

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

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

How To Add Feeds To Your WP Site

In the example below, we are going to add content from another site’s RSS feeds to yours.

How To Add A Feed To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

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

Let's add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area)

copy the RSS feed from a website containing content that you want to display on your sidebar …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

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

Widgets Screen - RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

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

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

RSS Feed Added To Sidebar Menu

(RSS Feed Content Added To Sidebar)

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 Feed Content To Your WordPress Posts

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

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

'Add Plugins' search results

(RSS plugins for WordPress)

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

Here are a few plugins that allow you to add RSS feeds to your pages:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin

(WPeMatico WordPress Plugin)

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

You can manage all of your imported feeds and organize feeds into categories and campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator)

WP RSS Aggregator is an RSS feed importer and auto blogging plugin for WordPress with extended functionality with premium add-ons.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin allows you to add content to your site automatically by importing 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 blog.

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress)

POWr RSS allows you to combine content from a number of different RSS feeds.

The plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust sizing and spacing of feeds, use custom colors, backgrounds, fonts, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in every language.

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

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes WP Plugin

(WP Pipes WP Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a simple and flexible Atom/RSS syndication plugin 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 FeedWordPress to create aggregator sites, or display all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, YouTube, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog)

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 the URL of your feed, give your 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

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types – WordPress Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

Important Info

WordPress RSS Feeds – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

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

To see these, locate the ‘Meta’ section on your sidebar (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) and click on Comments RSS

WordPress Comments RSS

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

Comments feed items seen using Firefox

(Comments feed entries as seen on Firefox web browser)

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

RSS comments feed entries as seen using a Google Chrome web browser

(Comments feed items as seen on Google Chrome web browser)

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

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

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

Tip #2 – Creating Single Item RSS Feeds

Being able to use an RSS feed for a specific 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 a single post is shown below:

RSS Feed For Single Post Item

(Individual Post Feed)

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

Single Post Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Displaying Post Category Feeds

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

If your site contains content published under several categories, WordPress allows you to easily provide a separate RSS feed for each different category.

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

WordPress category feed format

(Feed format for category)

Copy the category link address …

Copy your category URL ...

(Copy the category URL …)

Now, add “feed” to the end of it …

Feed format for post categories

(Use this format for WP post categories RSS feed)

The category feed now only contains content posted for this particular category …

Category-specific feed

(Category 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 – Publish A List Of Feeds For Visitors

You can create your own RSS feeds page that allows readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories, just like large online publishers …

Publish Your Own Page Of RSS Feeds

(Set Up Your Own Directory Of Feeds For Your Visitors)

You can also link a button icon to a feed URL and then create a table or a list of all category feeds on a separate page …

RSS button

(RSS icon. Image: public-domain-photos.com)

If you need help with adding tables to WordPress, go here:

RSS Feeds – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure a number of different feed formats without touching code. Below are examples of some of the kinds of custom feeds you can display …

WordPress RSS - Feed Formats

(Different Feed Types You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

Here are the different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed that displays the latest comments left on your website
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed containing an individual post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on a single post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/07/13/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/12/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Displays latest post entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Includes latest entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to promote your RSS feed. Make sure you place your ’subscribe to RSS’ button or link in a visible location …

Remember to make your feeds visible your RSS feeds!

(Promote your RSS feeds!)

Keep in mind that online users will only syndicate your content if you publish useful content. In other words, you must provide high-quality information that can add great value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Add someone else's content and get other sites to subscribe to your content using RSS!

(Add someone else’s content and get other users to syndicate your content using RSS feeds!)

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 Graphics – Visit FeedIcons or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss logo download”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization with three primary duties: publishing the RSS specification, providing guidance to developers who create RSS applications and helping to further the understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about using RSS.
  • WordPress Codex: RSS Feeds – WordPress software documentation and reference. Go here for additional information about using feeds in WordPress.

Understanding Your WordPress RSS

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

Hopefully, this post has given you a better understanding of problems that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you improve your business online. To learn more about the benefits of using WordPress please see our related posts section.

***

"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)

Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.