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 FeatureNo matter what service or product you provide or what industry your business is in, it’s important to provide quality information to your site visitors. For example, if you provide medical services, it’s not a bad idea to include the latest information from the health department, such as news or updates on medical research, health and fitness tips, etc.

To create and publish this kind of information, however, takes a great deal of effort and expertise. You have to do a ton of information sorting, researching and organizing, checking sources for accuracy, content writing and editing (or hire someone to do this for you), and then make sure that this information is continually up-to-date. As you can imagine, this not only involves a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is completely beyond your control.

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

It’s called RSS

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

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

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS

What You Need To Know About RSS

  • RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly known, Really Simple Syndication. It is often called a “feed” or “newsfeed”.
  • RSS lets content publishers automatically syndicate their content to save readers time from having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
  • Feeds are often used to publish frequently updated information, such as blog entries, news headlines, audios, etc., to which other users can choose to subscribe.
  • RSS feeds can be viewed with a software program called a feed reader, or aggregator. Aggregators can be used to find new content published on websites and syndicate this content (and updates made to the content) to many online properties.
  • 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 (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 allow you to combine different RSS feeds to display news and updates sourced from different sites.

This detailed guide shows you 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.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds

Content syndication is a powerful method used to share web content. RSS Feeds provide a way for online users to keep up with the latest information posted on different sites.

First, let’s look at content syndication.

Online newspapers and many influential media publications use syndication to publish stories from news agencies around the world.

Content syndication allows online newspapers to deliver readers the latest stories and news from all over the planet without having to hire more news reporting departments in every location in the world …

Media publications rely on content syndication to publish newsworthy stories from other news agencies around the globe.

(Many news reporting agencies rely on syndication to publish newsworthy content from other news agencies all around the globe.)

Syndication is a legitimate method of sharing content. online media publications syndicate stories using news feeds

Digital content publishers syndicate newsworthy content using news feeds

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

Most websites actually would like you to share their content. Syndicating content not only allows information to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the original site responsible for publishing the content being syndicated. This can be an effective way to generate web traffic.

Most leading online media publications provide links to a feed section (look for links in their navigation menu 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.) …

Most leading online media publications provide links to an RSS feed section

(Leading news reporting agencies have an RSS feed section. Source: Sydney Morning Herald )

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

RSS feeds section

(RSS Feeds. Image: nytimes.com)

These feed items give you access to information from different sections of the site (e.g. technology news, travel news, lifestyle magazine, etc.)

An RSS directory can also include further feed subdirectories …

RSS Feed section.

(RSS Feed section. Image: latimes.com)

Important

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

The Benefits Of Content Syndication

Adding content from someone else’s site on your site has some obvious benefits. It gives additional exposure online to someone else’s website and helps your site by freeing you up from having to create this content …

Content Syndication Benefits Someone Else's Business And Yours!

(RSS Feeds Has Many Benefits!)

While adding an RSS 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 sites syndicate your RSS feed, this gives your business the opportunity to gain more exposure online and drive more web traffic …

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

(Look for ways to get users to syndicate your content … it will help drive more traffic to your site!)

WordPress RSS – Overview

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

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

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

Your feed page will show as many recent items you have specified in the WordPress 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 the Reading Settings section that affects your RSS feed is whether to display each article as full text, or just a summary …

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

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

Idea

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

Post excerpts can affect how a feed displays

(Post excerpts affect how content in feeds appear)

We have written a detailed tutorial about Post excerpts here:

View The Content Of Your RSS Feeds

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

Let’s take a look at how this works.

First, find a website whose feed you want to syndicate and search for an RSS feed button …

Search for an RSS feed button.

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

Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …

Copy the URL of your feed

(Copy the URL of your feed)

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

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

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

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

How To Add An RSS Feed To Your WordPress Site

Let’s show you how to add content from other websites or blogs to your WordPress site.

Adding RSS Feeds To Your Sidebar

As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry you are in, you can display on your site the latest content 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 updates, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.

Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …

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

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

First, Find a site containing content that you would like to display on your site and copy its RSS feed …

Copy your feed URL

(Copy the URL of your feed to the clipboard)

Next, paste the feed into an RSS widget …

Widgets Screen - RSS Widget

(RSS Widget)

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

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

RSS Widget

(RSS Feed Added To Sidebar)

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 Your WordPress Posts

Can you add content from RSS feeds to a post? Yes, you can!

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

'Add Plugins' screen - WordPress RSS plugins

(‘Add Plugins’ screen – RSS plugins for WordPress)

Note: Most RSS plugins typically require configuration – visit the plugin sites for instructions, or contact us for assistance with plugin configuration.

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

WPeMatico

WPeMatico Plugin For WordPress

(WPeMatico – WordPress Plugin)

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP RSS Aggregator

WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin

(WP RSS Aggregator WordPress Plugin)

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

For example, the Feed to Post add-on allows you to add content to your site automatically by importing RSS feeds directly into posts or any other custom post type.

For more details, go here:

RSS Post Importer

RSS Post Importer WP Plugin

(RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin)

RSS Post Importer can be used to import, syndicate, curate, merge and display full-text RSS feeds on your WordPress blog.

The plugin will fetch an RSS feed and publish the full article content of each feed item as a standalone post.

For more details, go here:

Powr RSS Feed

Powr RSS Feed Plugin

(Powr RSS Feed – WordPress Plugin)

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

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

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

For more details, go here:

WP Pipes

WP Pipes WordPress Plugin

(WP Pipes – WordPress 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 loads of features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, autoblogging, auto post to LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter, export your 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 Plugin For WordPress

(FeedWordPress Plugin)

FeedWordPress provides flexible Atom/RSS syndication 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.

You can use this plugin to create aggregator site (sites that bring together content from multiple sources), or bring together all your online activity into a Lifestream.

For more details, go here:

Autoblog

Autoblog

(Autoblog)

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

For more details, go here:

RSS Includes Pages

RSS Includes Pages - WordPress Plugin

(RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types)

The RSS Includes Pages plugin modifies your RSS feeds to include pages and not just posts.

For more details, go here:

Important

Useful Tips

Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds

In addition to making RSS feeds of your latest posts available, WordPress also displays RSS feeds of the latest comments posted on your site.

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

WordPress Comments Feed

(Comments Feed)

Comments posted on your site by visitors and users can be seen in your Comments RSS page …

Comments feed entries viewed on Firefox

(Comments feed items seen using Firefox)

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

Comments feed entries seen with a Google Chrome browser

(Comments feed items viewed on Google Chrome)

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

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

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

Note: If the Meta section is not displaying on your theme, you can view the Comments RSS section of your site by opening up a browser and typing in the following URL:

  • http://www.yourdomain.com/comments/feed
  • http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/comments/feed (if your site has been installed in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)

Tip #2 – Displaying RSS Feeds For Specific Posts

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

The formula for creating an RSS feed for a single post item is shown below:

Specific Post RSS Feed

(Feed For Individual Post Item)

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

Single Post RSS 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 for that post, not actual content of the post itself.

Tip #3 – Category RSS Feeds

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

If your site contains content published under multiple categories, you can provide a separate RSS feed for each of these categories.

Just use the format below:

Format for WP post categories RSS feed

(WP post categories feed format)

Copy the selected category link address to your clipboard …

Copy the selected category link address ...

(Copy the selected category link address to your clipboard …)

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

Use this format for WP category feed

(Use this format for WordPress category feed)

Your feed will now only contain content posted under that particular category …

Category feed page

(Category-specific 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 – Publish Your Own Directory Of Feeds On Your Site

You can set up a directory of RSS feeds that allows readers to subscribe only to content in specific categories …

Set Up Your Own Feeds Page

(Set Up Your Own Directory Of Feeds For Visitors)

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

RSS button graphic

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

If you need help with creating tables in WordPress content, refer to this tutorial:

RSS – Additional Notes

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

WordPress allows you to configure different feed types that do not require code editing skills. Here are some examples of custom feeds you can use …

WordPress RSS - Custom Feeds

(Different Custom Feeds You Can Create With WordPress RSS)

Here are the different feed types, descriptions, and feed examples shown in the table above:

  • Feed Type: All Posts
  • Description: Content feed – Includes your latest post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
  • Feed Type: All Comments
  • Description: Comments feed – Feed containing the latest comments posted on your website or blog
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts
  • Description: RSS feed for an individual post
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
  • Description: Contains the latest comments made on individual post entries
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Day – Contains the latest posts in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/10/23/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Month – RSS feed displaying the latest post entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2016/02/feed/
  • Feed Type: Archives
  • Description: Year – Displays latest entries in each archive
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2017/feed/
  • Feed Type: Search Results
  • Description: Includes latest posts for a search query
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
  • Feed Type: Custom Post Type
  • Description: Contains the latest items for a custom type (e.g. book)
  • Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book

One more thing …

Remember to promote your RSS feed. Make sure you place your ’subscribe to RSS’ links in a visible location …

Encourage your visitors to syndicate your feeds!

(Encourage your visitors to syndicate your feeds!)

Finally, keep in mind that other sites will only want to subscribe to your content if you provide your visitors with high-quality content that can add great value to their sites and benefit their visitors.

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

(Add someone else’s content and get other sites to share 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 RSS feed 🙂

Additional Resources:

  • RSS Graphics – Visit online resource sites like FeedIcons or search online (e.g. “free RSS icons”, “RSS images”, etc.) for sites that allow you to download RSS graphic elements.
  • RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board is an independent organization responsible for publishing the RSS specification, providing guidance to developers who create RSS applications and helping the public gain a better understanding of RSS.
  • Wikipedia.org/RSS – General information about RSS.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress documentation site. Visit this site for additional information about using WordPress and 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 someone else’s content to your site via RSS.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better understanding of problems that can affect your web site and how WordPress can help you build a better business online. To learn more about using WordPress for a business website please click on links to visit other great content on this site.

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"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum

Originally published as Ultimate Guide To WordPress RSS.