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 WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product your business provides, you need to provide high-value information to your site or blog readers. For example, if your business provides medical services, it’s a good idea to provide users with useful information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness advice, etc.

To create and publish this type of information, however, involves an enormous amount of time and resources. 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 make sure that this information is continually 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 entirely beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is a simpler way to continually provide your readers with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your subscribers with the latest information

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – What You Need To Know

  • RSS, which, according to some experts stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly known as Really Simple Syndication. It can also be referred to as a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save users time from having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are also used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog entries, news, audios, etc., to which other users can then subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML (Extensible Markup Language) document that includes either full or summarized text along with other metadata like published date, feed author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and blogs that publish feeds and then browse updates posted on these websites through an RSS feed reader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate information.
  • Feeds can be made available in different types and 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 that feeds are compatible with different devices, feed readers, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also allow you to combine many RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates sourced from different websites.

This guide shows you 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 via RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a very powerful and legitimate method used to share web content. Feeds provide web users with an easy way to keep up with the latest information published on different websites.

First, let’s take a look at how content syndication is used.

Many digital content publishers use content syndication to publish news from other news agencies all around the world.

Syndication allows leading online newspapers to deliver readers stories on all kinds of topics and up-to-the-minute newsworthy content from all around the globe without actually having to send more news reporting and content writing departments everywhere in the world …

Most online newspapers rely heavily on content syndication to publish news and stories from news sources around the world.

(Global media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from news sources around the globe.)

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing newsworthy content. online media publications syndicate news stories using feeds

Content syndication is used by global media publications to share content with other news publications

(Content syndication is used by online newspapers to share content with other news publications)

Most websites actually would like you to syndicate their information. Syndicating content not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the original site responsible for creating and publishing the content being syndicated. This creates links that can drive traffic back to their site.

Most digital news publishers and leading online media publications have a 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”, “miami herald rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most online newspapers and leading online media publications will include an RSS feed section

(Most online newspapers will have a feed section. Image: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds section

(RSS feeds list. Source: nytimes.com)

These feeds let you access information from different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, travel news, jobs, etc.)

An RSS feed list can also contain further feed subdirectories …

RSS Feed section.

(An RSS feed directory can also include feed subdirectories. Image: LA Times RSS)

Important

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

Using Feeds – Benefits

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

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

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

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 you also want other websites to use YOUR content.

When other websites syndicate your feed, this gives your business the opportunity to gain more exposure online and drive more visitors …

Look for ways to get users to syndicate your content ... it will help to increase your web traffic!

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

About Your WordPress RSS Feed

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

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

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to display in a standard or custom menu, you can scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

Meta widget - Entries RSS

(Meta section – Entries RSS)

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

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

Copy RSS URLs to your clipboard from "subscribe" buttons

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

3) On some websites and again, depending on the WordPress theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Link To Us, Follow, or Social Share section …

Look for an RSS button in a a Share, Subscribe, or Links toolbar section

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

4) You can also view your feed by 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 WordPress site installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

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

RSS feed items as seen with Firefox

(RSS entries displayed with a Firefox browser)

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

Feed items viewed using a Chrome browser

(Feed entries seen using Google Chrome)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

To specify how many entries you would like to display in your RSS Feed section, go to your Reading Settings section and select the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

Reading Settings - Syndication feeds

(WordPress Reading Settings – Syndication feed items setting)

Your feed page will display as many recent items you have specified section …

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

(Your feed 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 Reading Settings section that affects your feeds is whether to display posts in the feed as full text, or just a summary …

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

(WordPress Reading Settings – ’For each article in a feed show’ options)

Tip

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

Post excerpts can affect how feeds will appear

(Post excerpts affect how your feeds will display)

For a detailed step-by-step tutorial on WordPress Post excerpts, go here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s see how this works.

First, find a website whose feed you want to subscribe to and search for a ’subscribe to feed’ button using any of the methods described earlier …

Search for a 'subscribe' button.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard

(Copy the feed URL to your clipboard)

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

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

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

Like feed readers, WordPress also has the ability to process RSS feeds and convert these into content that is readable by humans.

Adding An RSS Feed To Your WP Site

In the example below, we are going to add content from other websites or blogs to your site.

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business operates in, you could easily display on your site the latest news from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry by simply importing their RSS feed. You can easily display a range of information on your WordPress site like news, Facebook comments, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

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

Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar area

(Add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, go to a site containing content that you want to display on your sidebar and copy its RSS feed URL to your clipboard …

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 …

WP RSS Widget

(Widgets Panel – RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your web browser. The content can now be seen in the sidebar …

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:

How To Add A Feed To Posts

Can content from RSS feeds be added to WordPress posts instead of your sidebar? It sure can!

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

'Add Plugins' screen

(RSS plugins)

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

Here are a number of autoblogging tools that let you automatically create posts with RSS feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico WP Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

You can manage all the feeds you import and arrange them into categories.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin lets you import RSS feeds directly into posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer)

RSS Post Importer allows you to curate, syndicate, import, merge and display full-text feeds (RSS, Atom, etc.) on your WordPress website or blog.

RSS Post Importer will fetch an RSS feed and publish the entire content of each item in the feed as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed - WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed – WordPress Plugin)

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

The POWr RSS plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust sizing and spacing of feeds, use custom fonts, colors, borders, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any tablet, phone, or computer and supports text in all languages.

The premium edition of this plugin contains many 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

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

WP Pipes is a powerful data migration plugin that allows you to create 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 your posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to a new level.

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress - WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication 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 site (sites that combine posts from multiple sources), or display all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, LinkedIn, Flickr, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev WP Plugin

(Autoblog – WordPress Plugin)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, with no coding required and no complicated instructions. Simply copy and paste in the URL of your feed, name your feed (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 Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

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

For more details, go here:

Idea

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to displaying RSS feeds of your latest posts, WordPress also displays RSS feeds of your post comments.

To see your comments feed, go to the ‘Meta’ widget on your sidebar (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) and click on Comments RSS

WordPress Comments Feed

(Comments Feed)

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

Comments feed entries displayed using a Firefox browser

(Comments feed entries as seen with Firefox)

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

RSS comments feed entries seen on Google Chrome web browser

(RSS comments feed items viewed with Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste your feed URL into a feedreader to view the content. Image: 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 website is located in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Accessing Single Item RSS Feeds

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

RSS Feed For Individual Post Item

(Specific Post RSS Feed)

To create the above feed, copy the post address, 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 left on that post, not actual content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Post Category RSS Feeds

Some your site users may only want to syndicate content from one or two post categories. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

With WordPress, you can easily create separate category feeds.

Just use the format shown below:

Format for WP post categories RSS feed

(Feed format for category)

Select and copy the category link address …

Copy the selected category link address ...

(Copy the selected category URL …)

And append the word “feed” to the end of it …

Feed format for post categories

(Feed format for post categories)

Your feed will now only include content posted under that category …

Category RSS feed page

(Category RSS feed)

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

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

Post Category feed format

(Post Category feed format. Source: WordPress Codex)

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

WordPress post category feed format

(WordPress post category feed format)

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

Posts > Categories menu

(Posts > Categories menu)

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

Post Category ID

(Post Category ID)

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

Post category feed format with domain name and ID

(Post category feed format with domain name and ID)

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

Paste the feed into your browser

(Paste the feed into your browser)

This will display the feed for that specific category …

RSS feed of a specific post category

(RSS feed of a specific post category)

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

Post category feed format

(Post category feed format)

Here is the feed format again …

Post category feed

(Post category feed)

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

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

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

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

Post category feed content

(Post category feed content)

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

Tip #4 – Provide An RSS Feeds List

You can create your own list of feeds for visitors that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in the categories they are interested in, just like large authoritative sites …

Provide A Directory Of Feeds On Your Site

(Publish An RSS Feeds List)

All you need to do is link an RSS button graphic to the URL of your feed and then create a table or a list of all category feeds on a new page …

RSS button graphic

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

To learn more about creating tables in WordPress content, go here:

RSS Feeds – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure a number of different feed types without messing with code. For example, here are some of the kinds of custom feed formats you can create …

Different Feed Types You Can Create With WordPress RSS

(Different Custom Feeds You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – contains your latest posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Displays the latest comments posted on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed containing an individual post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Displays the latest comments made on a post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Displays latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/05/02/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Feed that includes the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/06/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed containing the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains the latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed containing latest post entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

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

Encourage visitors to subscribe to your feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Keep in mind that other sites will only want to subscribe to your content if you provide useful information. In other words, provide high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their users.

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

(Add someone else’s content and get visitors to syndicate your content online with RSS feeds!)

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 🙂

Resources:

  • RSS Feed Buttons – Visit a site like Feedicons or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss images”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download Free RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization responsible for publishing RSS specifications, providing guidance to developers who create RSS applications and helping to further the understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about the benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – Official WordPress documentation and information site. Visit this site for additional information about feeds in WordPress.

WordPress RSS Feature

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 add content from other websites and blogs to your site via their RSS feed.

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

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"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum

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