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 Using The WordPress RSSNo matter what your business sells or what industry you belong to, it’s important to provide quality information to your site visitors. For example, if you provide travel services, it’s not a bad idea to include useful information from government and foreign travel-related departments, such as news or updates on travel warnings, tips from consulates, etc.

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

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

It’s called RSS

RSS is the simplest way to provide your blog subscribers with great information

(RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your users with up-to-date information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Definition

  • RSS is short for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred, Really Simple Syndication. It it is also referred to as a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • When users subscribe to a website’s feed, they no longer have to physically visit and check the source website for updated content. Instead, their browser will constantly monitor the feed and automatically keep subscribers updated.
  • Feeds are also used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog entries, news headlines, audio lists, etc., to which other users can then subscribe.
  • RSS feed content can be viewed with programs called feedreaders, or aggregators. Feedreaders are used to find new content published on websites and syndicate this content to many online properties.
  • There are different feed formats and these can be read by different feed readers. 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 compatibility with different machines and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also let you combine different RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from various sites.

In this comprehensive article, we show you how to find your WordPress RSS feed, 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.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful and legitimate way of sharing content online. RSS Feeds provide a way for online users to stay up-to-date with the latest information published on websites and blogs they are interested in.

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

News reporting agencies and many highly-visited online publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish stories from news agencies around the world.

Syndication allows online newspapers and many leading media publications to deliver readers global stories and the most recent news headlines from around the globe without having to set up more news staff and news writers all around the world …

Many news reporting agencies and many influential media publications rely on syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources around the globe.

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

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

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

(Syndication is a legitimate way of sharing information)

Most sites actually want you to syndicate their information. Content syndication not only allows great information to be shared, but it also sends visitors back to the original site that created and published the content being syndicated. This creates new ways to drive traffic back to their site.

Many online newspapers and leading online media publications have an RSS feed section (look for links in the navigation menu that say ”RSS”, “Syndication”, or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “huffington post rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most digital content publishers include an RSS feed section

(Major content sites will contain a 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 topics on the site …

RSS directory

(RSS feeds section. Source: nytimes.com RSS feeds)

These feeds give you access to information about different areas of the website (e.g. technology news, entertainment news, editorials, etc.)

An RSS feed directory can also include subcategories …

Feed sections can also include subcategories.

(A feed directory can also include feed subdirectories. Image Source: Los Angeles Times RSS)

Important

Note: An RSS feed is only a URL. All you need to do to use the feed is to copy the URL and paste it into software that can translate the feed code into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Using RSS Feeds – Benefits

Syndicating content from someone else’s site on your website has some obvious benefits. It gives additional exposure online to someone else’s content and adds value to your site without you having to create that content …

Syndicating Content - Benefits

(The Benefits Of Content Syndication)

While adding feeds from another site is a great way to add content to your site that you don’t have to create, it’s a great idea to try and get other sites to syndicate your content.

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

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

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

WordPress RSS – Overview

WordPress automatically publishes a feed of all your posts, allowing other online users to syndicate your content on their websites and blogs.

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

1) If your theme has been configured to display the Meta widget in a standard or custom menu …

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

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

Important

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 content in feeds display)

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 reads and translates feeds into readable content.

Let’s show you how this works.

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

Search for a 'subscribe to feed' link.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the feed URL)

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

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

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

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

How To Add An RSS Feed To WordPress Sites

Let’s show you how to add content from another website or blog to your site.

Adding An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is in, you can add to your site the latest news and updates from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry by simply adding their RSS feed. You can easily display a range of information on your WordPress site like news, social media 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 menu …

Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar

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

First, find a site containing content that you want to add to your site and copy the RSS feed to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy your feed URL to the clipboard)

Next, go to Appearance > Widgets and paste the feed into an RSS widget …

WP RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Load your site in your web browser. The content can now be seen on the sidebar (or wherever you have placed the RSS widget – e.g. custom menu) …

RSS Feed Content 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:

Adding RSS Feed Content To Your Posts

What if you want to add content from RSS feeds to posts instead of a sidebar?

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

'Add Plugins' section - RSS plugins

(RSS plugins)

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

Here are some plugins that allow you to add RSS feeds to your pages and posts:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

You can manage all of your imported feeds and arrange them according to campaigns.

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator)

WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive RSS feed importer and auto blogging WordPress plugin that offers additional functionality with a number of premium extensions (add-ons).

For example, the Feed to Post extension 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 - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress)

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

RSS Post Importer fetches an RSS feed and publishes the entire content of every 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)

The POWr RSS Feed plugin combines and displays content from multiple RSS feeds.

This plugin also lets you display videos, images, and articles, adjust feed priority, use custom fonts, backgrounds, colors, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on all phones, tablets, and computers and supports text in every language.

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

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

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, auto blogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter, export WordPress 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 Plugin For WordPress)

FeedWordPress is a simple and flexible 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 display all of your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, Flickr, or other online services, into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog by WPMUDev

Autoblog 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 your feed URL, give the feed a name of your choosing (for admin purposes) and select the blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types

RSS Includes Pages Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

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

For more details, go here:

Important

Using WordPress RSS – Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress makes available RSS feeds of comments posted on your site in addition to giving online users access to RSS feeds of your posts.

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

Comments Feed

(Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed content displayed using a Firefox browser

(RSS comments feed entries seen with Firefox)

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

Comments feed items viewed with Google Chrome

(Comments feed entries viewed on a Google Chrome browser)

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

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

(Paste the URL of your comments feed 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 WordPress site installation is in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Displaying Feeds For Individual Items

Being able to select an RSS feed for single post items 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 displaying an RSS feed for single posts is shown below:

Feed For Individual Post

(Individual Post RSS Feed)

To create the above feed, copy the web address of your post, and add “/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 URI of your post, WordPress will return the comments left on your post, not the post content itself.

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

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

If your website or blog publishes content under a number of categories, you can offer subscribers a separate RSS feed for each post category.

All you need to do is use the format below:

WordPress category RSS feed format

(WP category RSS feed format)

Select and copy the category URL …

Copy your category link address ...

(Select and copy your category link address …)

Now, append the word “feed” to the end of it …

Use this format for WordPress category feed

(Feed format for category)

The RSS feed will now only display content published in this category …

Category-specific RSS feed page

(Category-specific 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 Feeds List

You can create a list of feeds for subscribers that allows your readers to subscribe to specific content, just like large websites …

Publish Your Own List Of RSS Feeds For Visitors

(Provide Your Own List Of RSS Feeds For Visitors)

All you need to do is link an image to category (or specific post) feed URLs and then create a table or a list of all feeds on a new page …

RSS image

(RSS image. Image 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 pages and posts, refer to this tutorial:

RSS Feeds – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure various feed types without editing code. Here are some examples of custom feed types you can use and how to structure these feeds …

WordPress RSS - Custom Feeds

(WordPress RSS – Custom Feeds)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – displays your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed that displays the latest comments posted on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for a post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Includes the latest comments made on specific post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – RSS feed that contains the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/06/14/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Feed displaying the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/05/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed containing latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Displays the latest entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One last thing …

It’s a good idea to let your site visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feeds. Place a ’subscribe to RSS’ button or link in a visible location …

Remember to promote your RSS feeds!

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

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

Add someone else's content and get online users to subscribe to your content with WordPress and RSS!

(Add content to your site and get others to syndicate your content using WordPress and RSS!)

Practical Tip

If you need great content ideas subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our feed 🙂

Additional Resources:

  • RSS Buttons – Visit Feedicons.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS images”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable Free RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – General information about the benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation and information. Visit this site for more information about using WordPress RSS.

WordPress RSS Feature

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 content from other sites to your site using their RSS feed.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of issues that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To read more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business website please click on links to visit our related posts section.

***

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Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.