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 …

WordPress RSS Feature OverviewNo matter what service or product you sell, providing high-quality information on your site or blog is vitally important. For example, if you provide insurance-related services, you may want to include useful information from government departments, such as news and updates on statistical findings, insurance tips, etc.

The problem with providing this type of information, however, is that it is really time-consuming. You have to do a ton of data gathering, researching and organizing, fact-checking, writing and editing 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 lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.

Fortunately, there is an easier way to keep your readers up-to-date with the latest information.

It’s called RSS

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

(RSS is the easiest way to provide your users with the latest information)

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What Does RSS Mean?

  • RSS is short for RDF 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 their site readers can read it without having to keep revisiting sites to check for updates.
  • Feeds are also used to publish frequently updated information, such as new blog entries, news headlines, audio lists, etc., which users can choose to subscribe to.
  • Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML document that includes full or summarized text along with other metadata such as published date, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then browse any updates posted on these websites using a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate information automatically.
  • There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed readers. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom Publishing Protocol) 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 machines and programs.
  • Many sites and software applications also allow you to combine several RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates from several different sources.

In this detailed guide, you are going to learn where to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to add someone else’s content to your site via their RSS feed.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful way to share web content. Feeds provide a simple way for online users to stay up-to-date with the latest information published on websites they are interested in.

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

Most news reporting agencies and many influential media publications use syndication to publish content from other news agencies around the world.

Content syndication allows news reporting agencies to deliver readers stories from all around the globe without having to hire more news staff in every location in the world …

Many news reporting agencies use content syndication to publish stories from news sources all around the globe.

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

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

Online newspapers syndicate their stories using news feeds

(Content syndication is used by news reporting agencies to share content with other news publications)

Most websites actually would like you to share their content. Content syndication not only allows information of great value to be shared, but it can also drive visitors back to the original site responsible for creating and publishing the content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Major sites contain an RSS feed section (look for links that say “RSS” or “Newsfeeds” in them, or just search for “name of site/keyword + rss” – e.g. “nytimes rss”, “courier mail rss”, “sydney morning herald rss”, etc.) …

Many news reporting agencies and major online media publications provide links to an RSS feed section

(Many news reporting agencies and major online media publications include an RSS feed section. Source: SMH )

Clicking on a site’s RSS links section will bring up a directory of different RSS feed sections …

A site's directory of different RSS feeds

(RSS Feeds. Image Source: New York Times)

These RSS feed items give you access to information about different sections of the website (e.g. technology news, arts news, jobs, etc.)

An RSS feed list can also contain further feed subdirectories …

Feed sections can also contain feed subcategories.

(RSS Feed section. Image: latimes.com feeds)

Useful Info

Note: An RSS feed is just a URL. All you have to do to use the 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 content from someone else’s website on your site has some obvious benefits. It not only gives someone else’s site additional exposure online, it also helps your site by freeing you up from having to create that content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(Content Syndication - Benefits)

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 sites to use your content.

When other websites and blogs syndicate your feed, you have the opportunity to get increased exposure online and drive new visitors …

It's worth trying to get users to syndicate your RSS feed ... it will help to increase traffic!

(Try to get other websites and blogs to syndicate your RSS feed … it will help to increase your exposure online!)

WordPress RSS Feed – Overview

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

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

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

Your feed will show the number of items you have specified in your WordPress Reading Settings section

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

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

(Reading Settings – ’For each article in a feed show’: ‘Full text’ or ‘Summary’)

Idea

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

Post excerpts affect how your feed content displays

(Post excerpts can affect how your feeds will appear)

If you need help Post excerpts, see this tutorial:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

As mentioned previously, all that’s required to view the content of an RSS feed is to copy the feed’s URL and paste it into a feedreader, i.e. an application that can read and translate feeds into readable content for humans.

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 button using any of the methods described earlier …

Look for an RSS feed link.

(Search for a ’subscribe to feed’ button. 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 what the RSS feed contains by pasting the URL of the feed into a feed reader …

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

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

Like feed readers, WordPress has the ability to process XML/RSS feeds.

How To Add Feeds To Your Site

Let’s show you how to add content from other websites and blogs to yours.

Adding RSS Feeds To Your WordPress Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is in, you can 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 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 area …

Add an RSS feed to your sidebar

(Add an RSS feed to the WordPress sidebar navigation area)

copy the RSS feed from a website containing content that you want to add to your site to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the feed URL)

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

RSS Widget

(Widgets Panel – RSS Widget)

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

Refresh your web browser. The content from the RSS feed can now be seen on your sidebar (or wherever you have inserted the RSS widget) …

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:

Adding A Feed To Your WordPress Posts

Can content from RSS feeds be added to WordPress posts instead of a sidebar? Yes, it can!

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

'Add Plugins' screen

(RSS plugins)

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

The plugins below can be used to feed content to posts, or “autoblog” (An auto blog is a blog with content that is automatically gathered and compiled from RSS feeds):

WPeMatico

WPeMatico WordPress Plugin

(WPeMatico)

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

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

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 that offers premium add-ons for extended functionality.

For example, the Feed to Post add-on lets you import RSS feeds directly into your WordPress posts.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin)

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

The plugin fetches an RSS feed and publishes the entire content of each item in the feed as a separate post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin For WordPress

(Powr RSS Feed – WordPress Plugin)

POWr RSS Feed combines and displays content from multiple content using RSS feeds.

The POWr RSS Feed plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust feed spacing and size, use custom fonts, borders, colors, and more. It is also mobile responsive and supports text in any language.

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

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes

(WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress)

The WP Pipes plugin for WordPress 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 Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn, export your posts as podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and more!

For more details, go here:

FeedWordPress

FeedWordPress Plugin

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress is a versatile Atom/RSS syndication plugin for WordPress.

As stated in the FeedWordPress site …

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 site (sites that combine and display posts from many different sources), or bring together all your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog by WPMUDev - WordPress Plugin

(Autoblog by WPMUDev Plugin For WordPress)

Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up very quickly, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Just copy and paste in the URL of your feed, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select a blog that you want it to post to.

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages

(RSS Includes Pages – WordPress Plugin)

By default, WordPress only posts posts in your RSS feed. Use RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed in addition to posts.

For more details, go here:

Tip

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – Comment RSS Feeds

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

You can see these by clicking on Comments RSS in your ‘Meta’ widget …

Comments RSS

(WordPress Comments RSS)

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

RSS comments feed items displayed using Firefox

(Comments feed items viewed using a Firefox web browser)

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

Comments feed items viewed on a Google Chrome web browser

(Comments feed items seen 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 feed content. Image 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 site is located in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Displaying RSS Feeds For Individual Post Items

Being able to create an RSS feed for a single post 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 making an RSS feed for a single post item is shown below:

Feed For Specific Post

(Specific Post RSS Feed)

To create the above feed, copy the post URL, and append “/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 your post, WordPress will return the comments associated with that post, not the post content itself.

Tip #3 – Using Post Category RSS Feeds

Some your site users may only want to syndicate content from a specific category. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.

With WordPress, you can create category feeds.

All you have to do is use the format below:

WP post categories feed format

(Feed format for post categories)

Select and copy the category URL to your clipboard …

Copy your category URL ...

(Copy your category URL …)

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

Feed format for post categories

(WP post categories RSS feed format)

The feed will now only contain content specific to this particular category …

Category-specific feed

(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 Directory Of RSS Feeds

You can set up a list of feeds for your visitors that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories, just like the larger websites do …

Create Your Own RSS Feeds Page

(Create A Page Of RSS Feeds On Your Site)

You can link an image like the one shown below to the URL of your feed and then create a table or a list of all individual feeds on a separate page …

RSS icon

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

We have written a detailed tutorial about creating tables in WordPress here:

RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows a number of feed configurations without touching code. Here are some examples of custom feed formats you can display …

Different Custom Feeds You Can Create Using WordPress RSS

(Different Feed Formats You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

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

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – RSS feed that displays your latest entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Contains the latest comments posted on your site
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for individual post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Includes the latest comments made on a single post entry
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Includes latest items in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/05/02/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – Displays latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/10/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Feed containing latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2012/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Contains the latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: RSS feed containing latest entries for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

It’s a good idea to let your site visitors know that they can subscribe to your RSS feeds. Make sure you place your subscribe link somewhere visible …

Promote your feeds!

(Promote your feeds!)

Also, keep in mind that online users will only subscribe to your content if you provide your subscribers with very high-quality information that will add great value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

Easily add content to your site and get others to share your content with RSS!

(Easily add someone else’s content and get visitors 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 RSS Resources:

  • Feed Buttons – Visit FeedIcons or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “rss logos”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS images.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board Go here if you want to learn more about RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – Learn more about the benefits of using RSS feeds.
  • WordPress Codex – Official WordPress documentation and information repository. Go here for more information about using WordPress RSS feeds.

WordPress RSS Feeds For Beginners

Congratulations! Now you know how to find your WordPress RSS feed, how to use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content syndicated online, and how to display someone else’s content on your site via their RSS feed.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of issues that can affect your website and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To learn more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business web site please see other posts we have published on this site.

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"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)

Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.