Have you ever wondered what RSS feeds are, how they can benefit your WordPress website, and how you can locate their URLs?
RSS feeds are versatile tools that have a variety of applications. For example, they can be used to syndicate and curate content, send traffic to your site, help build your brand, and enhance your online reputation by regularly sharing fresh content.
Despite the mystery surrounding them, getting started with RSS feeds requires no coding expertise. So, in this post, we’ll show you everything there is to know about using them on your WordPress website.
What is an RSS feed?
“RSS” is an acronym for “Really Simple Syndication” or “Rich Site Summary.” It is a standardized system used by online publishers for distributing content.
An RSS feed is a type of web feed for distributing and sharing web content. Subscribing to one allows you to receive a flow of automatic updates from your favorite websites within moments of them being published. While they are often associated with news sites, RSS feeds are useful on many other types of websites, such as blogs.
Previously, staying updated on blogs and websites meant bookmarking and periodically visiting them to check for new changes. However, RSS feeds effectively automate that process. They do this by reading and converting the website’s XML files into a consumable format, building a list of the site’s latest activity, and linking back to that. Best of all, everything is done in real-time, so the content you receive really is hot off the press!
What are the key benefits of using RSS feeds on a WordPress website?
RSS feeds come with several significant benefits when used on a WordPress website:
- Improved site SEO – by using an RSS feed to display your site’s content on another website, for example, an e-zine or news service, it will have a backlink to your main article. Backlinks are a key ranking factor for search engines like Google or Bing.
- You can add lots of interesting content from other sources to your website, keeping users more engaged and offering added value.
- Your subscribers are notified immediately when new content is available. Therefore, they are more likely to read it and actively engage with your website. Furthermore, subscribers don’t need to remember your site’s URL or check it out regularly to be informed of the new content.
- RSS feeds don’t get lost in a sea of emails, most of which are either never opened or marked as spam.
- As people must actively subscribe to an RSS feed, they will not receive unsolicited content (i.e., spam.)
- They help build brand awareness and trust.
- Website owners can use RSS feeds to keep track of published posts.
- Your RSS feed can include affiliate links to other sites, creating monetization opportunities.
Who can use RSS Feeds?
The simple answer is pretty much anyone!
As already mentioned, news sites often use RSS feeds to provide subscribers with ‘ticker tape’ updates of current headlines. However, here are some examples of other typical use cases:
- New bloggers can use a plugin such as WP RSS Aggregator to automatically create posts from content retrieved from external feed sources. This is a great way of adding content without writing from scratch.
- Sports websites can use RSS feeds to provide the latest scores directly on the site.
- Bloggers and other content publishers can use RSS to syndicate their material for distribution by email, feed readers, and other devices.
- Website owners can automatically circulate new posts to subscribers via an RSS feed. This is an excellent way of sharing your expertise or generating content for other sites.
- Educational establishments like schools and colleges can use RSS feeds to circulate homework assignments, notices, etc.
- Businesses can use them to distribute special offers or discount coupons to subscribers.
How do you locate an RSS feed URL in WordPress?
Where a WordPress website has an RSS feed, its URL is generally created automatically in its HTML page source and can be found in the /feed/ directory.
For example, if your website is www.mysite.com, the RSS feed URL would be www.mysite.com/feed/, in which case WordPress will only display the posts and comments.
If you only wish to see the RSS feed for a specific category, the URL can be modified to www.mysite.com/category/category_name/feed.
Similarly, the URL of the RSS feed can be adjusted to display only a particular author (www.mysite.com/author/authorname/feed), or for comments, it will be (www.mysite.com/comments/feed).
Using a plugin to locate the feed URL and set up RSS feeds in WordPress
To save you from finding the RSS feed on a WordPress site yourself, a plugin like WP RSS Aggregator can help you do it automatically, eliminating the need to mess around with paths like /feed/.
It does this by inspecting the code of the website you plan on using to see if an RSS feed is available. Where a feed is present, the plugin will proceed to use it, and if not, it will warn you that no RSS feed is available.
Of course, that’s not all WP RSS Aggregator can do, as it also allows you to:
- Import content from various feed sources such as blogs, news sites, and social media networks.
- Combine multiple feeds into one and embed it into your site using simple shortcodes.
- Manage all your RSS feed sources from a single location in your WordPress backend.
The plugin automates the entire process, eliminating the need for you to add each post manually – a real-time saver! Best of all, the core plugin is free, plus there are several competitively priced add-ons and premium plans available to enhance its functionality further.
How to generate posts automatically from an external RSS feed using WP RSS Aggregator
WP RSS Aggregator is available with a powerful Feed to Post feature that automatically adds content to your website from external sources.
Feed to Post works by importing RSS feed items from external sources and publishing them as individual WordPress or custom posts. What’s more, the look of the posted content will match your site’s branding as the settings of your theme’s CSS or page builder are applied to them.
Feed to Post is a premium add-on, but it is well worth buying given how quick and easy it makes populating your site with content. This makes it perfect for new blogs that don’t have many articles to begin with.
Here is an overview on how to use WP RSS Aggregator and the Feed to Post add-on to automatically create posts from an RSS feed:
Step 1 – Download and activate WP RSS Aggregator
First, download and activate WP RSS Aggregator as you would any other plugin. As it is available in the WordPress plugin repository, you can do this by choosing ‘Add New’ under ‘Plugins’ in the WordPress admin panel and using the search box to find WP RSS Aggregator.
Step 2 – Download and activate the Feed to Post add-on
A new RSS Aggregator submenu will appear in the menu of your WordPress admin panel. From this, select ‘Upgrade’ and then choose ‘Purchase & Install’ under the Feed to Post section. Follow the prompts to purchase, install and activate the add-on.
Step 3 – Create a new feed source and configure the post settings
Select ‘Feed Sources’ from the RSS Aggregator submenu and then click on ‘Add New.’
Next, enter into the URL field the address of the website from where you wish to source post content. Also, you can give the new feed source a memorable name in the ‘Name this feed’ field – in our example, we have called it ‘Example RSS.’
Note that if the URL you have entered has a valid feed, a preview of it will appear on the right-hand side. Conversely, if no feed exists, a warning will show, in which case you will need to find an alternative URL with an RSS feed.
Step 4 – Choose the settings
If you wish, you can now go through and adjust some of the other settings. More details of those are available in the WP RSS Aggregator Knowledge Base, or you can simply hover over the ‘?’ by each option for a brief explanation of what it does. Then, when you have finished configuring the settings, go ahead and hit ‘Publish.’
Step 5 – Admire your new posts!
Congratulations, you have now created your first feed source and pushed the content from it to new posts!
If you now click on ‘All Posts’ in your WordPress backend menu, you will see that a bunch of new draft posts have been generated from the RSS feed. You can now go through these and edit them if you wish, and once you are happy with them, publish them.
Here is what one of the posts looks like once published:
Please check out this article for further information on adding RSS feeds to your site.
Other great features of WP RSS Aggregator
The best thing about WP RSS Aggregator is the core plugin is entirely free. However, despite its zero Dollar price tag, it includes tons of great features, including:
- Unlimited imports of content from multiple feed sources.
- Configure RSS feeds to fetch new content automatically.
- Available in several languages, including Catalan, Dutch, US English, Italian, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish (Argentina and Spain).
- Add playable YouTube videos to your site.
- Configurable limits on the RSS feed items stored and fetched to enhance performance.
- Create a single custom RSS feed from imported items to use elsewhere.
- Action and filter hooks for developers
Along with Feed to Post, which we have already covered, several other premium add-ons are available to enhance the functionality of the free version of WP RSS Aggregator. These can be purchased directly from within WordPress using the ‘Upgrade’ option in the WP RSS Aggregator menu:
The add-ons currently available are:
Working in conjunction with the Feed to Post add-on, this add-on allows you to retrieve the full content for as many posts as you want for each feed source. It does this by converting RSS feed excerpts into full-text RSS feeds, so you get the full content of the posts/articles you import into your site.
This add-on gives you grid and list templates, allowing you to present your feed content precisely how you want it. The templates are easy to use and are fully customizable, even using custom CSS.
With this add-on, you can filter incoming RSS content based on specific keywords in either the title or content. Furthermore, it can filter based on specific categories, tags, or both. This allows you to retrieve only content relevant to your site’s visitors.
This add-on allows you to categorize WP RSS Aggregator’s feed sources and then display them in groups. Moreover, you can create categories for any niche you wish, and this add-on will make sure the right feed content is displayed accordingly.
Working in conjunction with the Feed to Post add-on, these extensions leverage the power of WordAi.com or SpinnerChief to rewrite feed content automatically before it is published. This removes the possibility of posts being marked as plagiarism by search engines.
Premium WP RSS Aggregator plans: the ultimate in functionality
For the ultimate functionality, you can upgrade to a premium WP RSS Aggregator plan. Three are available; Basic, Pro, and All Access, and the features included depend on which you purchase. However, expect to find some or all of the premium add-ons and integrations mentioned earlier, automatic image import into the gallery, automatic setting of author, tags, and categories, custom field mapping, premium support, and much more. Click here for full details of what each plan includes and current prices.
To see some excellent examples of WP RSS Aggregator in action, please click here.
RSS Feeds are a great addition to any WordPress site. They can add fresh new content from external sources such as other blogs, news sites, and social media channels the moment it is published. Moreover, having your own RSS feed means subscribers remain updated on your latest offerings without requiring them to make frequent trips back to your site.
WP RSS Aggregator is an excellent plugin allowing you to add RSS feeds to your WordPress website easily. Even with the free version, you can identify external sources that have RSS feeds and combine them into one for inclusion in your content. Best of all, a plugin like WP RSS Aggregator does all this effortlessly without the need for any coding knowledge!