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 Your WordPress RSSNo matter what product or service you provide, providing high-value information on your site or blog is essential. For example, if you provide insurance-related services, you may want to publish information from government departments, such as news or updates on statistical research, insurance advice, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it involves a huge amount of effort and expertise. You have to sift through, research, and organize a lot of information, check your facts, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then ensure that this information is continually up-to-date. As you can imagine, this is not only 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 continually provide your site visitors with great information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is the easiest way to provide your readers with the latest information

(RSS - One of the easiest ways to provide your readers with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Definition

  • RSS is an acronym for RDF Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred, Really Simple Syndication. It can also be called a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • After users subscribe to an RSS feed, they no longer have to physically visit and check the source website for updated content. Instead, their browser will continually monitor the feed and keep feed subscribers up-to-date.
  • RSS feeds are typically used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as new blog post items, news, audios, etc., to which any user can choose to subscribe.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML (XML = Extensible Markup Language) document that includes either full or summarized text along with metadata like published date, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then keep up with any updates posted on these websites through a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate content.
  • Feeds can be made available in different formats and read by different feedreaders. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF (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 multiple RSS feeds to receive news and updates from many different sources.

In this detailed article, we will explain where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to display content from other websites and blogs on your site via RSS feeds.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful way to share web content. RSS Feeds provide web users with a simple way to stay up-to-date with the latest information posted on different sites.

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

Global media publications rely heavily on content syndication to publish newsworthy content from news agencies around the world.

Content syndication allows news reporting agencies to deliver readers stories on all kinds of topics and up-to-the-minute news from all over the globe without having to post additional staff everywhere in the world …

Many online newspapers use syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies around the globe.

(Online newspapers use content syndication to publish stories from news sources around the planet.)

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

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

(Content syndication is a legitimate method of sharing information)

Most websites actually would like you to share 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 that published the content being syndicated. This creates new ways to drive traffic back to their site.

Many digital publishers and major content sites 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”, “international herald tribune rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Most online newspapers and major online media publications contain a feed section

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

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section will bring up a directory of RSS feeds for different content topics on the site …

RSS Feeds

(RSS feeds section. Source: NY Times RSS)

These feed items let you access information from different areas of the site (e.g. business news, travel news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

An RSS directory can also include subcategories …

A feed list can also include feed subdirectories.

(Feed sections can also include subcategories. Image: latimes.com feeds)

Useful Info

Note: A feed is simply a URL. All you need to do to use RSS feeds is to copy the URLs and paste these into software that can translate the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Using Feeds

Adding 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 adds value to your site without you having to create that content …

The Benefits Of Using Feeds

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

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 websites to use your content.

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

Get visitors to syndicate your feed ... it will help to increase your exposure online!

(Get other sites to syndicate content using your feed … it will help increase your exposure online!)

WordPress RSS – Overview

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

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

1) If your theme has been configured to display the Meta widget on the sidebar …

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

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

Display Full Text Or Summary Of Posts In Your RSS Feed

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

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

(Reading Settings – Show ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for each article in a RSS feed)

Important

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

Post excerpts affect how your feed content will appear

(Post excerpts can affect how your feed content will display)

To learn more about using excerpts in WordPress Posts, go 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 and paste it into an application that can translate feeds into readable content.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, go to a website or blog and search for a ’subscribe to feed’ link or icon …

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

(Look for an RSS feed section. 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 your clipboard)

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

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

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

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

How To Add RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Site

In the example below, we’ll add content from another website’s RSS feeds to your WordPress site.

Adding A Feed To Your WordPress Sidebar

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

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

Let's add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar

(Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar)

First, Find a website or blog containing content that you want to display on your site and copy its RSS feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

Widgets Screen - RSS Widget

(Widgets Panel – RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Load your website in your browser. The content should appear on your sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been added) …

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Content Added To Sidebar Menu)

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 Your Posts

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

You can easily do this using WordPress plugins. Search inside your ’Add Plugins’ section (Plugins > Add New) for RSS feed, RSS feed to post, etc.

WordPress RSS plugins

(‘Add Plugins’ search results – WordPress RSS plugins)

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

Here are a few plugins that you can use to curate and add content from RSS feeds to your pages and posts:

WPeMatico

WPeMatico - WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator)

WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive RSS feed importer and autoblogging plugin for WordPress with a number of premium add-ons for extended functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post extension is an advanced importer that allows you to autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into WordPress posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer Plugin For WordPress

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed

(Powr RSS Feed WordPress Plugin)

With POWr RSS, you can automatically combine and display content from a number of different RSS feeds.

This plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust sizing and spacing of feeds, use custom borders, colors, fonts, and more. It is also mobile responsive and supports text in every language.

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

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress

(WP Pipes WordPress Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin For WordPress

(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides versatile syndication for WordPress site 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.

You can use this plugin to create aggregator sites, or bring together all of your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin For WordPress)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, with no coding required and no complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in your feed URL, give the feed a name (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 and Custom Post Types

(RSS Includes Pages – WordPress Plugin)

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

For more details, go here:

Tip

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress 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 latest posts.

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

WordPress Comments RSS

(WordPress Comments Feed)

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

RSS comments feed content displayed using a Firefox web browser

(RSS comments feed items seen with Firefox)

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

Comments feed entries displayed on Google Chrome

(RSS comments feed items displayed on Google Chrome)

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

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

(Paste your URL of your comments feed into a feedreader to view the content. Source: 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 WP installation is in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Using Individual Post Feeds

Being able to select an RSS feed for single post items can be useful. For example, you may want to add feeds from specific posts 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 individual posts is shown below:

RSS Feed For Individual Post

(Feed For Single Post Item)

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

Single Post 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 made on your post, not actual content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Displaying Post Category RSS Feeds

Some your site visitors may only want to syndicate content from a particular category. They may not want to subscribe to your entire site’s feed.

If you publish content under multiple categories, WordPress allows you to offer visitors a separate RSS feed for each post category.

Just use the format below:

RSS feed format for category

(WordPress category RSS feed format)

Select and copy the category link address to your clipboard …

Select and copy your category link address ...

(Copy your category URL …)

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

WP post categories feed format

(RSS feed format for category)

Your category feed now only displays content published in that category …

Category-specific RSS feed

(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 set up a feeds page that allows your readers to subscribe only to specific categories …

Provide A Directory Of RSS Feeds

(Provide Your Own Feeds Directory)

You can link an RSS button to each feed and then create a table or a list of all individual feeds on a separate page …

RSS image

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

To learn more about inserting tables into WordPress posts, go here:

WordPress RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows different RSS feed configurations that do not require code editing skills. Here are some examples of custom feeds you can use on your site and how to structure your feeds …

Different Feed Formats You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(WordPress RSS – Feed Types)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Feed that contains your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – RSS feed that displays the latest comments published on your blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed that includes a post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Includes the latest comments made on specific items
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/08/29/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – RSS feed that includes latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/12/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed containing the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2010/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains latest entries for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Feed containing the latest posts 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 visitors know that they can subscribe to your feed. Place your subscribe links in a visible location …

Promote your RSS feeds!

(Encourage your visitors to syndicate your feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that other website owners will only syndicate your content if the information that you publish on your site is useful, informative, or highly entertaining. In other words, focus on providing your subscribers with high-quality information that can add value to their sites and benefit their users.

Add content from other sites and get others to share your content with RSS feeds!

(Add great content from other sites and get other sites to subscribe to your content with RSS!)

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 RSS feed 🙂

Additional Resources:

  • RSS Feed Icons – Visit Iconspedia or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss logo download”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about the benefits of using RSS.
  • WordPress.org/WordPress Feeds – WordPress documentation and reference site. Go here for additional information about using RSS feeds in WordPress.

WordPress RSS Feature Overview

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, you now have a better understanding of issues that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you grow your business online. To read more about using the WP CMS software please see our related posts section.

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Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.