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 WordPress RSSNo matter what service or product you provide or what industry your business is a part of, providing high-value information on your site or blog is important. For example, if you provide accounting services, it’s a good idea to publish useful information from the taxation office, such as news and updates on tax rulings, small business tax deductions, etc.

The problem with creating this type of information, however, is that it is very time-consuming. You have to filter through, gather, and organize a lot of data, check your sources for accuracy, write and edit content (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually make sure that this information is 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 beyond your control.

Thankfully, there is a much simpler way to provide your site visitors with up-to-date information.

It’s called RSS

RSS is one of the simplest ways to provide your blog subscribers with up-to-date information

(RSS - The simplest way to provide your site visitors with great information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

RSS – Basic Definition And Information

  • RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred, Really Simple Syndication. It is often referred to as a “feed” or “news feed”.
  • RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content so that subscribers can read it without having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • Feeds are typically used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog entries, news, videos, etc., to which any user can then subscribe.
  • RSS feeds can be viewed with a program called a feed reader, or feed aggregator. Feed readers are used to access content on all different kinds of topics and distribute this content (and any updates made to the content) online.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, 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, feedreaders, and programs.
  • Many sites and software tools also let you combine many RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates from several different sources.

This guide explains where 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 sites to your site via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a really powerful and legitimate method used for sharing web content. Feeds provide web users with an easy way to receive the latest information published on different websites.

First, let’s look at syndication.

Many digital agencies and global media publications use content syndication to publish newsworthy content from content sources all around the world.

Content syndication allows many news reporting agencies and many highly-visited online media publications to deliver readers stories from around the planet without having to send more content writers to every location around the world …

Most news reporting agencies rely on syndication to publish newsworthy stories from news sources around the globe.

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

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

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing newsworthy content

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

Most websites actually want you to syndicate their information. Content syndication not only allows information to be shared, but it also drives visitors back to the original site that created and published the content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Most digital news publishers and major sites provide links to 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”, “courier rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

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

(Most leading online media publications contain an RSS feed section. Source: smh.com.au )

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

RSS feeds directory

(RSS directory. Image Source: New York Times)

These RSS feed items give you access to information from different sections of the site (e.g. technology news, arts news, science news, etc.)

Feed sections can also contain feed subdirectories …

RSS Feed section.

(Feed sections can also include subcategory feeds. Source: latimes.com)

Important

Note: A feed is just a URL. All that’s required to use the feed is copy the URL and paste it into software that can process the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.

Content Syndication – Benefits

Adding content from someone else’s website or blog on your site has some obvious benefits. It helps someone else’s business and adds value to your site without you having to create the content …

RSS Feeds Has Many Benefits!

(Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else’s Business 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 a great idea to try and get other websites to syndicate your content.

When other websites syndicate your content, this gives you the opportunity to get increased exposure online and drive new web traffic …

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

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

WordPress Feed

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

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

1) If your theme displays the Meta widget in a navigation menu …

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

(The feed page will display 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 your Reading Settings section that affects your feeds is whether to display articles as full text, or as a summary …

Reading Settings - Show 'Full Text' or 'Summary' for posts in a RSS feed

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

Info

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

Post excerpts can affect how your feed content displays

(Post excerpts affect how content in feeds appear)

If you need help WordPress Post excerpts, see this tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned earlier, all that’s required to view the content of a feed 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 see how this works.

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

Look for an RSS feed button.

(Search for an RSS feed section. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the feed URL

(Copy your feed URL)

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

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

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

Like feedreaders, WordPress also has the ability to process RSS/XML feeds and convert these into readable content for humans.

Adding Feeds To Your WP Site

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

Adding A Feed To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you operate in, you could 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 feed. You can use feeds to display a range of information on your WordPress site such as 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 …

Let's add content from an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar area

(Add content from an RSS feed to your sidebar)

copy the RSS feed from a website or blog that publishes content that you would like to add to your sidebar …

Copy the feed URL to your clipboard

(Copy your feed URL)

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

WordPress RSS Widget

(WordPress RSS Widget)

To learn more about using widgets, go here:

Refresh your browser. The content from the RSS feed will now appear in the sidebar (or wherever the RSS widget has been inserted) …

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 Content From RSS Feeds To Posts

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

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

'Add Plugins' screen

(WordPress RSS plugins)

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

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico - WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator Plugin For WordPress

(WP RSS Aggregator WP Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin allows you to autoblog by importing RSS feeds directly into posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WP Plugin

(RSS Post Importer Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed WordPress Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed Plugin)

With the POWr RSS Feed plugin, you can automatically combine and display content from various RSS feeds.

The plugin also lets you display images, videos, and article content, adjust feed priority, use custom colors, fonts, backgrounds, and more. It also displays feeds correctly on any phone, computer, or tablet and supports text in all languages.

The premium plugin version contains many additional features.

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes - WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes Plugin)

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

This plugin provides features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn, 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)

FeedWordPress provides simple and flexible syndication options 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 sites, or display 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

(Autoblog by WPMUDev 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, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select the blog to post content to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages Plugin For WordPress)

Install RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types if you would like to include pages in your RSS feed in addition to posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).

For more details, go here:

Tip

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WP Comment RSS Feeds

WordPress makes available RSS feeds of your post comments in addition to displaying RSS feeds of your latest posts.

You can inspect the comments in your feed by clicking on Comments RSS in your ‘Meta’ widget (note: this section may not be visible on some themes) …

Comments Feed

(Comments Feed)

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

Comments feed entries displayed using a Firefox browser

(Comments feed entries viewed on a Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed entries as seen on Google Chrome

(Comments feed items displayed using Google Chrome)

Again, you can check what the feed contains by pasting the URL of the feed into a feedreader …

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

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

Tip #2 – Using Feeds For Individual Posts

Being able to use an RSS feed for an individual post item 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 making an RSS feed for an individual post is shown below:

Single Post Feed

(Individual Post Feed)

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

Single Post RSS Feed

(Single Post Feed)

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

Tip #3 – Category Feeds

Some your site visitors may only be interested in subscribing to content from a particular post category. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

If your website contains content published under multiple categories, WordPress allows you to easily offer subscribers a separate RSS feed for each category.

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

Use this format for WordPress post categories feed

(WP post categories feed format)

Select and copy the category link address …

Copy the category link address ...

(Copy the category URL …)

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

Use this format for WP category RSS feed

(WP category feed format)

Your feed will now only contain content posted for this particular category …

Category feed page

(Category-specific 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 – Provide Your Own RSS Feeds Page

You can create your own feeds list that allows readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories, just like the larger online publishers do …

Set Up A List Of Feeds

(Set Up A Page Of RSS Feeds For Your Visitors)

You can also link an image like the one shown below to category feed URLs and then create a table or a list of your individual feeds on a new page …

RSS icon

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

If you need help with creating tables in WordPress content, see this step-by-step tutorial:

RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure different feed formats that do not require code editing skills. For example, here are just some of the kinds of custom feeds you can use …

WordPress RSS - Feed Types

(Different Feed Types You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

For your convenience, here are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Contains the latest comments published on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: Feed that contains specific posts
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: RSS Feed that displays the latest comments made on a post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/01/13/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Contains the latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/09/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – RSS feed that includes the latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains the latest items for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Contains the latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to let visitors know that they can subscribe to your feeds. Place a subscribe links in a visible location …

Encourage your site users to syndicate your RSS feeds!

(Encourage your visitors to subscribe to your RSS feeds!)

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

Easily add great content from other sites and get others to share your content with RSS!

(Easily add content to your site and get other sites to share your content with RSS!)

Useful Tip

If you need help coming up with content ideas subscribe to our FREE content creation course using the form below:

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

Resources:

  • RSS Icons – Visit FeedIcons.com or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss icon”, etc.) for sites containing downloadable RSS icons.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization with three primary duties: publishing the RSS specification, providing guidance to developers who create RSS applications and furthering the understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia/RSS – Learn more about the history and benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex: Feeds – WordPress software documentation and information site. Visit this site for additional information about WordPress and RSS.

WordPress RSS Feed

Congratulations! Now you know where your RSS feed is located, how to syndicate your content online using RSS, and how to add content from other sites to your site via RSS feeds.

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

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