No matter what service or product you provide or what industry your business is a part of, it’s vitally important to provide quality information for your site users. For example, if your business provides taxation services, you may want to include information from the taxation office, such as news and updates on tax rulings, small business tax tips, etc.
To create and publish this kind of information, however, is very time-consuming. You have to do a ton of information sifting, researching and organizing, fact-checking, content writing and editing (or hire someone to do this for you), and then continually ensure that this information is kept up-to-date. As you can imagine, this is not only a lot of work but most of the information you are dealing with is beyond your control.
Fortunately, there is a much easier way to keep your site readers up-to-date with the latest information.
It’s called RSS …
(RSS is one of the easiest ways to provide your readers with up-to-date information)
RSS – Basic Information
- RSS is short for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly referred to, Really Simple Syndication. It is often referred to as a “feed”, or “news feed”.
- When a user subscribes to a website’s feed, they no longer have to manually visit and check the website for updated content. Instead, their web browser will continually monitor the content and keep feed subscribers up-to-date.
- RSS feeds are also used to publish information that is frequently updated, such as blog posts, news headlines, audios, etc., which users can choose to subscribe to.
- Essentially, an RSS feed is an XML (XML = Extensible Markup Language) document that includes either full or summarized text along with metadata such as published date, author, etc. It allows people to subscribe to content on websites and then browse updates posted on these sites through a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to automatically syndicate web content.
- There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feed aggregators. Some of these include RSS feeds, Atom feeds and RDF feeds. All of these formats, however, use a standard XML file format to ensure compatibility with different devices, readers, and programs.
- Many sites and software applications also let you combine multiple RSS feeds to aggregate news and updates sourced from many different websites.
In this comprehensive 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 add someone else’s content to your site via RSS.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds
Content syndication is a powerful method used to share web content. RSS Feeds provide web users with an easy way to keep up with the latest information published on sites and blogs they are interested in.
First, let’s look at how content syndication is used.
Global media and digital news publishing agencies rely on content syndication to publish newsworthy content from news sources around the world.
Syndication allows leading news reporting agencies to deliver readers stories on all kinds of topics from all over the planet without having to hire and set up more writers everywhere around the world …
(Global media publications rely heavily on syndication to publish newsworthy items from other news agencies around the planet.)
Syndication is used to share newsworthy content legitimately. News reporting agencies syndicate stories using news feeds …
(Content syndication is used by news publishing agencies to share newsworthy content with other publications)
Most sites actually would like you to share their content. Syndicating content not only allows high-quality information to be shared, but it can also send visitors back to the site that published the original content being syndicated. This provides websites with new opportunities to generate additional web visitors.
Most news reporting agencies and leading online media publications have a feed section (look for links 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.) …
(Major sites have an RSS feed section. Image Source: Sydney Morning Herald )
Clicking on a site’s RSS feeds link brings up a list of different RSS feeds of the site …
(RSS feeds list. Source: nytimes.com RSS feeds)
Each of these feed items lets you access content from different sections of the website (e.g. business news, arts news, jobs, etc.)
A feed list can also include subcategories …
(RSS Feed section. Image: latimes.com feeds)
Note: A feed is only a URL. All you need to do to use feeds is copy the URLs and paste these into a program that can process the feed into something readable. We’ll cover this further below.
The Benefits Of Content Syndication
Adding content from someone else’s website or blog on your website has some obvious benefits. It gives someone else’s content additional exposure online and helps your site by freeing you up from having to create the content …
(Content Syndication – 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 worth keeping in mind that you also want other websites to syndicate your content.
When other websites syndicate your content, this gives your business the opportunity to get more exposure online and drive new web traffic …
(Get other website owners to syndicate your feed … it will help increase your exposure online!)
WordPress Feed – About
By default, WordPress automatically publishes a feed of your posts, allowing others to syndicate your content on their websites and blogs.
Depending on which theme you have installed, there are a number of ways to get your WordPress RSS feed:
1) If your theme allows the Meta widget to be displayed on the sidebar or footer, just scroll down to the Meta section and click on Entries RSS …
2) You can also find links and/or buttons on certain WordPress themes that allow your visitors to copy your feed.
For example, in the screenshot below, a visitor can copy the site’s RSS feed URL by clicking on on the Subscribe to RSS link …
(Copy feed URLs to your clipboard from “subscribe” buttons)
3) On many sites and again, depending on the WP theme you have installed, you can find the RSS feed displayed in a Share, Follow Us, or Link To Us slide-out, floating, or fixed toolbar …
(Look for an RSS button in a a Follow, Link To Us, or Social Share toolbar)
4) You can also view your WordPress site’s feed by simply typing your site’s URL into a browser and adding “/feed” after the URL, e.g.:
- http://www.yourdomain.com/blog/feed (if your site is located in a subfolder, e.g. “blog”)
Using any of the above methods will bring up a page containing your RSS feed …
(Feed items viewed on Firefox web browser)
Note that your feed content will display differently depending on the web browser you are using …
(Feed entries viewed with Google Chrome)
You can specify how many items you would like to display in your RSS page in the Reading Settings section. Enter the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …
(Reading Settings – Syndication items setting)
The feed will show the number of items you have specified section …
(The feed page will display as many recent items you have specified in your WP Reading Settings section)
Another setting in the Reading Settings section that affects your RSS feed is whether to display posts in the feed as full text, or just a summary …
(WP Settings – Reading Settings – Display ‘Full Text’ or ‘Summary’ for articles in your RSS feed)
Post Excerpts can also affect how your feed content appears …
(Post excerpts can affect how a feed appears)
We have written a detailed tutorial about Post excerpts here: How To Use WordPress Post Excerpts
As mentioned previously, all you need to do to view the content of a feed is to copy the feed’s URL to your clipboard and paste it into a feedreader, i.e. an application that reads and translates feeds into readable content for humans.
Let’s take a look at how this works.
First, find a website or blog and look for an RSS feed link using any of the methods described earlier …
(Search for an RSS feed icon. Image source: YourCoffeeGuru.com)
Next, copy the feed URL to your clipboard …
(Copy your feed URL to the clipboard)
If you want, you can check what the RSS feed contains by pasting the feed URL into a feed reader …
(Paste the feed URL into a feedreader to view the content. Source: Feedreader.com)
Like feedreaders, WordPress has the ability to process RSS feeds.
Adding Feeds To Your Site
In the example below, we are going to add content from another website to yours.
How To Add An RSS Feed To Your Sidebar
As mentioned earlier, no matter what industry your business is a part of, you can easily display on your site the latest news from an industry-related government department or authoritative site in your industry simply by importing their RSS feed. You can use RSS feeds to display a range of information on your WordPress site like news, Facebook updates, or content from thousands of sites using the WordPress RSS widget.
Let’s add RSS content to your sidebar …
(Let’s add an RSS feed to your sidebar)
First, Find a website containing content that you want to add to your sidebar and copy its RSS feed …
(Copy your feed URL)
Next, log into your wordPress Dashboard and go to Appearance > Widget paste the feed into a new RSS widget …
(Widgets Area – RSS Widget)
To learn more about adding content to sidebars using widgets, go here: How To Add WordPress Widgets To Your Blog
Refresh your web browser. The content from the RSS feed should display in the sidebar …
Adding Feeds To Posts
Can you add content from RSS feeds to a post? Yes, you can!
You can easily do this using plugins. Search inside the ‘Add Plugins’ screen for RSS Aggregator, RSS feed to post, etc.
(‘Add Plugins’ search results – RSS plugins for WordPress)
Note: Most RSS plugins typically require configuration – visit the plugin sites for instructions.
The plugins below are useful if you want to add feed content to posts, or “autoblog” (An autoblog is a blog with content that is automatically gathered and compiled from RSS feeds):
WPeMatico is an easy to use auto blogging plugin that allows you to publish posts automatically from RSS/Atom feeds that you select.
You can manage all of your imported feeds and organize them into campaigns.
Go here to learn more this plugin: WPeMatico Plugin
(WP RSS Aggregator Plugin)
WP RSS Aggregator is a comprehensive RSS feed importer and auto blogging WordPress plugin with a number of premium add-ons for extended functionality.
For example, the Feed to Post add-on allows you to import RSS feeds directly into your WordPress posts.
More information: WP RSS Aggregator
(RSS Post Importer Plugin)
RSS Post Importer allows you to syndicate, curate, import, merge and display full text feeds on your WordPress site.
The plugin fetches an RSS feed and publishes the full article content of each feed item as a separate post.
More information: RSS Post Importer – WordPress Plugin
(Powr RSS Feed)
The POWr RSS Feed plugin allows you to automatically combine content from various RSS feeds.
This plugin also lets you display images, videos, and articles, adjust feed priority, use custom fonts, backgrounds, colors, and more. It also has mobile-responsive design and supports text in any language.
The premium version contains many additional features, such as the ability to display different feeds, accept or reject posts, and more.
More info: Powr RSS Feed
The WP Pipes plugin is a powerful data migration plugin that allows you to create curate content from RSS feeds, Google News, and other sources.
This plugin provides loads of features like CSV importing for posts/WooCommerce, RSS feed creator, auto blogging, auto post to Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook, export posts as iTunes podcasts, create Google XML sitemaps, and help take your WordPress CMS to new levels.
For more details, go here: WP Pipes Plugin For WordPress
(FeedWordPress – WordPress Plugin)
FeedWordPress provides flexible syndication 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.
FeedWordPress can be used to create an aggregator site (sites that combine and display posts from various different sources), or bring together all your online activity (e.g. from your blog, Twitter, YouTube, or other online services, into a Lifestream.
To learn more about using this plugin, go here: FeedWordPress Plugin
Autoblog is an easy-to-use plugin that can be set-up in minutes, without coding skills or complicated instructions. Simply copy and paste in the URL of your feed, name your feed (for admin purposes) and select the blog that you want it to post to.
More information: Autoblog by WPMUDev WP Plugin
(RSS Includes Pages Plugin)
Use RSS Includes Pages if you want to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed and not just posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed).
More info: RSS Includes Pages and Custom Post Types
Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds
In addition to displaying feeds of your posts, WordPress also makes available RSS feeds of your latest post comments.
To see this feed, go to the ‘Meta’ widget on your sidebar (note: your theme may not be configured to display this widget) and click on Comments RSS …
(WordPress Comments RSS)
All the comments posted on your site by visitors and users display in the Comments RSS page …
(Comments feed items seen with a Firefox browser)
Like post entries, your comments feed content will display differently depending on the web browser you use …
(RSS comments feed items displayed using Google Chrome)
Again, you can check the feed content by pasting the feed URL into a feed reader …
(Paste your comments feed URL into a feedreader to view the content. Image: 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/blog/comments/feed (if your website is located in a subdomain, e.g. “blog”)
Tip #2 – Displaying Feeds For Single Post Items
Being able to select an RSS feed for a specific post item 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.
Essentially, the formula for making an RSS feed for a single post item is shown below:
(Single Post RSS Feed)
To create the above feed, copy the post address, and add “/feed/?withoutcomments=1” to the end.
(Single Post Feed)
Note: By default, if you only add “/feed” to the end of the post URL, WordPress will return the comments left on that post, not actual post content itself.
Tip #3 – Displaying Category Feeds
Some of your site visitors may only be interested in syndicating content from a specific category. They may not want to subscribe to all of your site’s content.
With WordPress, you can easily create individual category feeds.
All you need to do is use the format shown below:
(Use this format for WordPress post categories RSS feed)
Select and copy the category link address to your clipboard …
(Copy your category link address …)
Add the word “feed” to the end of it …
(Format for WP category RSS feed)
Your RSS feed will now only contain content posted under that particular category …
(Category-specific feed page)
Tip #4 – Set Up A List Of RSS Feeds
You can provide your own feeds page that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in the categories that interest them …
(Create A Feeds List)
All you need to do is link an icon like the one shown below to the URL of your feed and then create a table or a list of all your feeds on a separate page …
(RSS button. Image: public-domain-photos.com)
We have created a detailed tutorial about inserting tables into WordPress pages and posts here: Inserting Tables Into Posts And Pages With WordPress
WordPress RSS – Notes
Feeds can be customized in several different ways, such as adding videos and images to feeds, ads, etc. Some of these customizations require editing code.
WordPress allows you to configure several feed types that do not require code editing skills. Below are examples of some of the kinds of feeds you can create …
(Different Feed Types You Can Create Using WordPress RSS)
Below are the feed types, descriptions, and feed examples listed in the image 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 – Feed containing the latest comments left on your website or blog
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
- Feed Type: Individual Posts
- Description: RSS feed for a post
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/blog-post-title/feed/
- Feed Type: Individual Posts Comments
- Description: RSS Feed for the latest comments made on a single post
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-blog-post/feed/
- Feed Type: Archives
- Description: Day – Contains the latest entries in each archive
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/12/24/feed/
- Feed Type: Archives
- Description: Month – Contains the latest entries in each archive
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2015/11/feed/
- Feed Type: Archives
- Description: Year – Contains the latest post entries in each archive
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2014/feed/
- Feed Type: Search Results
- Description: Includes the latest items for a search query
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/search/term/feed/
- Feed Type: Custom Post Type
- Description: Displays the latest post 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 users know that they can subscribe to your RSS feed. Place a ‘subscribe to RSS’ link somewhere visible …
(Remember to promote your RSS feeds!)
Keep in mind that other sites will only want to subscribe to your content if your content is useful, educational, or highly entertaining. In other words, focus on providing your visitors with high-quality information that will add great value to their sites and benefit their users.
(Easily add content to your site and get online users to syndicate your content with RSS!)
- Download RSS Images – Visit FeedIcons.com or search online (e.g. “free rss icons”, “rss images”, etc.) for sites that contain downloadable RSS icons.
- RSSBoard.org – The RSS Advisory Board provides useful information and links to resources about RSS.
- Wikipedia/RSS – General information about using RSS feeds.
- WordPress Codex: Feeds – WordPress documentation. Visit this site to learn more about WordPress RSS.
Congratulations! Now you know 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 using RSS.