Let’s suppose that your website promotes a particular product or service, and you decide to provide your site readers with more useful information about your industry to better engage your visitors.
For example, let’s say you provide accounting services, and decide you’d like to keep your readers informed about the latest tax rulings, current news and updates from the taxation office, or provide corporate or small business tax tips, etc.
To add the above information to your site would require not only researching and writing the content yourself (or hiring someone to perform these tasks for you), but also checking your source sites regularly to make sure that your information is being kept up-to-date.
That’s a lot of work, especially if you are trying to keep up with information that you have no control over.
There is an easier way to do this.
It’s called RSS …
What Is RSS?
RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, or, as is more commonly known, Really Simple Syndication. It can also be referred to as a “feed”, or “newsfeed”.
RSS allows content publishers to automatically syndicate their content, so that their site readers can read it without having to keep revisiting their site to check for updates.
RSS feeds are also used by websites to publish frequently updated information, such as blog entries, news headlines, audios, videos, etc., which users can then subscribe to.
RSS feeds can be read using web-based, desktop-based, and even mobile-based software programs called an ìRSS readerî, ìfeed readerî, or an ìaggregatorî.
Feedreaders are used to access and find new content published on website feeds, and distribute this content (and any new updates made to the content) to other sites.
Essentially, an RSS feed is a structured XML document that includes full or summarized text along with other metadata such as published date, author name, etc.. It allows people to subscribe to content on a website and then keep up with the latest updates posted on that site through a feedreader. Conversely, RSS feeds also enable publishers to syndicate data automatically.
Once a user subscribes to a website’s feed, they no longer have to manually visit and check the website for updated content. Instead, their browser will constantly monitor the site and update the content automatically on the user’s feedreader.
Many sites and software applications also allow you to combine different RSS feeds to receive news and updates from several different sources.
There are different kinds of feeds, read by different feedreaders. 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 machines and programs.
In this tutorial you are going to learn 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.
Watch the video below and then complete the step-by-step tutorial to learn how to use your WordPress RSS feed …
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds
Content syndication is a very powerful and legitimate way to share content online. Feeds provide a way for other online users to keep up with the latest information posted on different sites.
First, let’s take a look at the concept of “syndication”.
Newspapers use syndication to publish content from other news agencies around the world. Syndication allows newspapers to deliver stories to their readers from all around the world and keep them up-to-date on the latest news, without actually having to employ and post reporters on every location around the planet …
Newspapers syndicate their news stories using news “feeds”…
Most sites actually want you to syndicate their content. Syndicating content not only allows great information to be shared, but it also drives visitors back to the site that published the original content being syndicated. This creates links that drive traffic back to their site.
Newspapers and major sites, for example, will have a feed section (look for links that say ìRSSî or ìNewsfeedsî in them)…
Clicking on the site’s RSS link brings up a list of RSS feeds giving you access to different content sections of the site …
Each of these RSS feeds allows you to access specific information from different sections of the site (e.g. business news, entertainment news, technology news, etc.) .
Note that a feed is simply a URL. All you need to do to view a feed’s content, is to copy the feed’s URL, and then paste it into a feedreader – i.e. an application that can read and translate feeds into readable content.
The Benefit Of Using RSS Feeds
Adding someone elseís content to your site obviously benefits them by giving their site additional exposure online, but it also allows you to add value to your site without having to create new content.
For example, as mentioned earlier, if you are an accounting firm, you could display the latest news from the Tax Office on your site simply by adding their feed to your site.
You can use feeds to display a range of information such as news, Facebook statuses, or content from other sites on your WordPress site using RSS Feeds and the WordPress RSS widget.
While adding an RSS feed on your WordPress site from another site is a great way to add content to your site without having to create it, itís worth keeping in mind that you also want other sites to use YOUR content …
Your WordPress RSS Feed
WordPress automatically publishes feeds of all your posts, allowing others to easily syndicate your content on their sites.
Depending on your WordPress site’s theme, there are a number of ways to get your WordPress site’s RSS feed:
1) You can scroll down to the Meta section of your sidebar and click on Entries RSS.
2) You can also find links and/or buttons on certain themes that allow your visitors to copy your RSS feed.
In the screenshot below, for example, you can copy the site’s RSS feed by clicking on the “Subscribe to RSS” link …
3) On other sites, you can find the RSS feed by clicking or copying the link on a button …
4) You can also view your WordPress site’s RSS feed by typing your siteís URL into an internet browser and adding ‘/feed’ after the URL, e.g.:
or, if your site has been installed in a subdomain (e.g. “blog”)
Clicking on any of the above links will bring up your WordPress RSS feed page …
Note: You can specify how many items you want to show in your RSS Feed page, by going to your Reading Settings section and selecting the number of items to show in the “Syndication feeds show the most recent” field …
Adding A Feed To Your WordPress Site
In the example below, we are going to add content from a website to your WordPress site, and display it on your site’s sidebar.
First, copy the RSS feed from the site containing the content you want to display on your site …
Next, paste the feed into a WordPress RSS widget …
The content will now display on your sidebar …
What if you want to add content from an RSS feed to a post instead of the sidebar?
You can do this using plugins.
For example, you can use a plugin called WP-o-Matic …
Or try a similar plugin called WPeMatico …
You can also try a plugin called FeedWordPress …
The above plugins 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). Note: The above plugins require some configuration – visit the plugin sites for instructions.
There are also a number of autoblogging software solutions that can create posts on your site using feeds and imported content.
For example, there is Autoblog By WPMU …
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 it a name of your choosing (for admin purposes) and select a blog that you want it to post to.
Additionally, you can use a plugin like RSS Includes Pages if you also want to include pages in your WordPress RSS feed and not just posts (by default WordPress only includes posts in your RSS feed) …
Tip #1 – WordPress Comment RSS Feeds
In addition to displaying RSS feeds of your posts, WordPress also displays RSS feeds of comments posted on your site.
To view these, locate your Meta section on your sidebar (note: this section may not be visible on some themes), then click on Comments RSS …
All comments posted on your site by visitors will appear in the Comments RSS page …
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:
or, if your site has been installed in a subdomain (e.g. “blog”)
Tip #2 – Displaying Category RSS Feeds
You may find that some visitors come to your site because they are interested in a particular content category. Asking them to subscribe to your site’s feed to be kept updated, may not interest them if they feel they are going to get a whole lot of other content that they are not interested in.
If your site publishes content in multiple categories, you can easily offer them a separate RSS Feed for each category.
WordPress automatically allows you to create category feeds. All you have to do is to use the format below:
In other words, all you need to do is take the URL of your category …
And then add the word “feed” in front of it …
Your category RSS feed URL will now contain only content assigned to that category …
You can now create an “RSS Feed” page that allows your readers to subscribe only to content in the categories that interest them, just like the big websites and newspapers …
All you need to do is take an RSS button image like the one shown below, link it to the URL of your category feed, and then create a table or a list of all category feeds and insert it into a new WordPress page …
RSS Feeds – Additional Notes
RSS feeds can be customized in a number of ways, such as adding images to feeds, etc, but many of these require editing code.
WordPress provides a number of RSS feed configurations, however, that do not require code editing skills. Below are examples of some of the types of feeds you can display on your site by simply knowing how to structure the feed:
Below are the feed types, descriptions and feed examples shown in the table above:
- Feed Type: All Posts
- Description: Content feed – includes your latest posts
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/
- Feed Type: All Comments
- Description: Comments feed – includes the latest comments posted on your site
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/comments/feed/
- Feed Type: Individual Posts
- Description: Includes the latest comments made on a specific post
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/title-of-your-blog-post/feed/
- Feed Type: Archives
- Description: Day – includes latest posts in each archive
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/10/04/feed/
- Feed Type: Archives
- Description: Month – includes latest posts in each archive
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/10/feed/
- Feed Type: Archives
- Description: Year
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/2013/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: Includes latest posts for a custom type (e.g. book)
- Example Feed: http://yourdomain.com/feed/?post_type=book
One last thing …
Itís a good idea to let your visitors know on your site that they can subscribe to your feed …
Keep in mind that other sites will only syndicate or subscribe to your content, if the information that you provide is useful, educational, informative, entertaining or adds value to their visitors.
Congratulations! Now you know how to use your WordPress RSS feed, and how to post content from someone else’s site on your own site.