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 …

Your WordPress RSSNo matter what what industry you are a part of, providing high-value information to your blog visitors is essential. For example, if you provide medical services, it’s not a bad idea to provide users with useful information from the health department, such as news and updates on medical research, health and fitness advice, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, requires a huge amount of work and resources. You have to sift through, research, and organize a ton of data, check your sources for accuracy, 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 not only involves a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is completely beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

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

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS Made Simple

  • RSS, which, according to some experts stands for RDF Site Summary, is more commonly referred to now as Really Simple Syndication. It is also often referred to as a “feed” or “web feed”.
  • When users subscribe to an RSS feed, they no longer have to manually check the website for updated content. Instead, their browser will continually monitor the feed and automatically keep subscribers updated.
  • RSS feeds are often used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog posts, news, videos, etc., which other users can then subscribe to.
  • You can view RSS feeds using programs called feedreaders, or aggregators. Feedreaders are used to find new content published on websites and distribute this content (and updates made to this content) online.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feedreaders. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF (Resource Description Framework) feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure that feeds are compatible with different devices and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine different RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from many sites.

In this detailed article, you are going to learn where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to syndicate your content online using feeds, and how to add content from other websites to your site via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful (and legitimate) way of sharing web content. Feeds provide an easy way for online users to keep up with the latest information published on sites and blogs they are interested in.

First, let’s look at syndication.

Most online newspapers use syndication to publish newsworthy content from content sources around the world.

Content syndication allows leading online newspapers to deliver readers stories on all kinds of topics and up-to-the-minute newsworthy content from around the planet without actually having to hire and set up additional reporters and writers everywhere in the world …

Digital content publishers rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies around the world.

(Global media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies around the world.)

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

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

(Digital content publishing agencies syndicate their information using feeds)

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

Many online newspapers and leading online media publications include a feed section (look for links that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, 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 news reporting agencies and major online media publications will include an RSS feed section

(Most news reporting agencies and leading online media publications will have a feed section. Image: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds section

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

These feed items allow you to access information from different areas of the website (e.g. technology news, entertainment news, health news, etc.)

Feed sections can also include subcategory feeds …

An RSS directory can also contain feed subdirectories.

(Feed sections can also contain feed subcategories. Source: Los Angeles Times)

Useful Information

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

The Benefits Of Using Feeds

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

RSS Feeds Has Many Benefits!

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

While adding a feed 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 there are benefits in getting other websites to syndicate YOUR content.

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

Get visitors to syndicate your feed ... it will help drive more traffic to your site!

(Try to get other websites and blogs to syndicate your feed … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress Feed – About

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

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

1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to display on your sidebar, you can scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS

WordPress Meta widget - Accessing your RSS feed

(Meta widget – Accessing your RSS feed)

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

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

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

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

3) On many websites and again, depending on your WordPress site’s theme, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Follow, Social Share, or Link To Us section …

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

(Look for an RSS button in a a Keep In Touch, Link To Us, or Share section)

4) You can also view your WordPress site’s RSS 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 subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

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

Feed items seen on Firefox web browser

(Feed items viewed using a Firefox web browser)

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

Feed items viewed using Google Chrome

(Feed items viewed on a Google Chrome browser)

Specify Number Of Items To Display On Your RSS Feed

To specify how many items you want to show in your Feeds page, go to your Reading Settings section and type in the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …

WordPress Reading Settings - Syndication items setting

(Settings – Reading Settings – Number of syndication feed items field)

The feed section will display the number of items you have specified in the WP Reading Settings section …

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

The other setting in the WordPress Reading Settings section that affects your RSS feed is whether to display articles as full text, or a summary …

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

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

Important Info

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

Post excerpts can affect how your feeds will display

(Post excerpts affect how a feed displays)

To learn more about WordPress Post excerpts, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, to view the content of a feed, you need to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into an application that translates feeds into readable content for humans.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, go to a website whose content you want to syndicate and look for an RSS feed icon using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for a 'subscribe' link or button.

(Search for a ’subscribe to feed’ button. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed to your clipboard

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

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

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

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

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

Adding A Feed To WordPress Sites

Let’s show you how to add content from another site to your WordPress site.

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

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

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

Add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation menu

(Add an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, go to a website or blog containing content that you would like to add to your sidebar and copy the RSS feed to your clipboard …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed)

Next, paste the feed into an RSS widget …

Widgets Panel - RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

To learn more about using sidebar widgets, go here:

Load your site in your web browser. The content will now display in your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been inserted – e.g. footer, custom menu, etc) …

RSS Feed Content Added To Sidebar Menu

(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 Feeds To WordPress Posts

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

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

'Add Plugins' section - WordPress RSS plugins

(’Add Plugins’ screen)

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

Here are a number of auto blogging plugins for WordPress that let you create posts with feeds:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin

(WPeMatico)

WPeMatico is an autoblogging plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from selected RSS/Atom feeds.

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin is an advanced, feature-filled importer that lets you autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into WP posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

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

The plugin fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full content of every item in your feed as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed WordPress Plugin)

POWr RSS automatically combines and displays content from various RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS plugin also lets you display videos, images, and article content, adjust feed size and spacing, use custom borders, fonts, colors, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in every language.

The premium edition of this plugin contains a number of additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress WordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a versatile Atom/RSS syndication plugin for WordPress site-generated 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 of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, LinkedIn, YouTube, or other online services, in one place.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog Plugin For WordPress

(Autoblog by WPMUDev)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in your feed URL, 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 and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages

(RSS Includes Pages – WordPress Plugin)

By default, WordPress only posts posts in your RSS feed. Install RSS Includes Pages to include pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Useful Information

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

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

To access these, go to the ‘Meta’ widget area on your sidebar (note: your theme may not be configured to display this widget) and click on Comments RSS

WordPress Comments Feed

(WordPress Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed entries viewed with Firefox

(Comments feed entries as seen using Firefox)

Like post entries, your comments feed items will display differently depending on the web browser you use …

Comments feed entries seen on a Google Chrome web browser

(RSS comments feed entries seen with Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste the feed URL into a feedreader to view the 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 WP site installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Individual Post Feeds

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

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

RSS Feed For Specific Post Item

(Specific Post Feed)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post RSS Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Using Post Category Feeds

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

If your website displays content published under several categories, you can provide a separate RSS feed for each different category.

All you have to do is use the format below:

WordPress post categories feed format

(RSS feed format for post categories)

Select and copy the category link address …

Copy your category link address ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

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

RSS feed format for category

(Feed format for post categories)

Your category feed now only displays content assigned to that particular category …

Category-specific 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 – Set Up Your Own RSS Feeds Directory

You can create an RSS feeds page that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories, just like the larger websites do …

Create Your Own Directory Of Feeds On Your Site

(Publish A Directory Of RSS Feeds)

Link an RSS image like the one shown below to your category feed URLs and then create a table or a list of all feeds on a separate page …

RSS icon

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

To learn more about inserting tables into WordPress posts and pages, see this tutorial:

RSS Feeds – Notes

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

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

WordPress RSS - Custom Feeds

(WordPress RSS – Custom Feeds)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – contains your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed displaying the latest comments published on your website
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed containing a post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on a specific post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/07/16/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/01/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Includes latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/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: Includes latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

Remember to promote your RSS feeds. Make sure you place a subscribe button image in a visible location …

Remember to make your RSS feeds visible your RSS feeds!

(Remember to make your feeds visible your RSS feeds!)

Keep in mind that other website owners will only want to syndicate your content if you provide your subscribers with very high-quality content that can add great value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add content from other sites and get other users to syndicate your content using RSS feeds!

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

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 RSS feed 🙂

RSS – Additional Resources:

  • Download RSS Feed Icons – Visit Iconspedia or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “RSS icon”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization responsible for publishing the RSS specification, providing guidance to developers who create RSS applications and helping to further the understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation and information repository. Go here to learn more about WordPress RSS.

WordPress User's Guide To 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 display someone else’s content on your site via RSS feeds.

Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of problems that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you get better results online. To read more about using WordPress for a business website please see our related posts section.

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"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now

Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.