What if users didn’t have to come to your WordPress site to read your articles? This will definitely make it easier for users as they don’t have to navigate to ten of their favorite blogs and news sources to get their daily information. It’s also a good thing for website owners because it allows you to distribute your content in a more efficient way, getting it where your customers want it.

That’s the whole idea behind RSS.

RSS has been around since 1999 as a content distributor for the entire web. In addition, it is combined with aggregators for easy reading, compilation and organization.

In short, RSS gives your readers everything they want in one place. That way, they don’t have to bookmark their favorite news sites or search on Google when they want to read.

How RSS Works

RSS, or Really simple integration, giving readers the opportunity to subscribe to your blog. After that, the reader needs to use an RSS reader or aggregator to consume the content.

To subscribe, the reader clicks the subscribe button. That’s it. RSS feed buttons can sometimes be hard to find on a website or blog, but you can usually find them near social media buttons, in the footer, or by searching Google for “site name” + “RSS feed”.

RSS feed buttons can sometimes be hard to find on a website or blog, but you can usually find them near social media buttons, in the footer, or by searching Google for “site name” + “RSS feed”.

RSS feeds can also be broken down by category or topic. This is more relevant to large online magazines such as The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. Why is this happening? Because there are dozens, if not hundreds, of these publications, sections.

Why is this happening? Because there are dozens, if not hundreds, of these publications, sections.

Therefore, readers can decide to subscribe to the entire paper or just the sports section.

This is another benefit of having an RSS feed. It’s entirely possible that some readers find only some of your articles attractive. So they might just want to subscribe to the travel or business part.

After subscribing to an RSS feed, users need to specify how they will use the information. As mentioned, this requires some kind of aggregator or RSS reader.

The most popular option used to be Google Reader. It’s a clean, extremely efficient way to group dozens of RSS feeds together.

Unfortunately, Google Reader stopped working in 2013. So, this is no longer an option. However, there are many other RSS readers in use today.

Which RSS readers are highly recommended?

After Google Reader shuts down, Google mainly recommends moving all customers to feed. It’s definitely the most similar to Google Reader, but it’s all up to your own preferences.

There are dozens of RSS readers to choose from, but these are the most popular:

As mentioned before, everyone has their own charms. For example, Feedly mimics the simplicity and organization of Google Reader, while Panda is more of a way to browse multiple sites in one interface. If you plan to aggregate content, I suggest you test all of them to see which is correct. After all, it will be the main center of your reading.

How to use RSS on your WordPress site

Now that you understand how your readers utilize RSS, it’s time to dive into what and how WordPress site owners are.

First, you should know that you will be interacting with RSS in one or two ways. The first and most important aspect of RSS for website owners is getting an RSS subscription button on your website. This acts as a distribution network for your content, all without much work on your part.

How to Add Links and Icons to Your RSS Feed

You can make some choices for this process. Technically, you can grab an RSS image from Google Images, put it in a widget, and link the image to the sidebar. This will save you the need to install plugins, but it’s usually not the cleanest way to include an RSS button.

First, check if your WordPress theme includes custom widgets for social icons. If a widget is available, you should be able to insert it into any widget ready area (sidebar, footer or even top bar).

Total Social Gadget

The above is an example general theme Social widgets (also includes options for button style, size, order, etc.). But if your theme doesn’t include this built-in functionality, you may find that using a plugin is your best bet.

Add a single RSS button

Initially, you might try inserting the RSS button yourself. This might be the case if you wanted to keep it separate from the social buttons, or put it at the bottom of the site.

If this is the case, there are plugins like RSS feed icon or RSS Icon Widget. They all work fine, but you don’t get any additional features like buttons to increase your social following.

If you have these links, it’s more common to see RSS buttons next to your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest links.

Add RSS with social media links

If you want to group all these buttons together, you can usually find social media button plugins that also allow custom icons and links or actual RSS icons.

Ultimate Social Media Icons Does the trick for social buttons and RSS, as it also includes an RSS icon and a field to insert the RSS URL.

What is my RSS URL?

WordPress will automatically generate an RSS feed for you. This feed is a compilation of your articles and can be shared with an RSS URL. As you can see in the screenshot above, the user needs an RSS URL in order to click the button. Most of the time you’ll paste this URL into the plugin field, but sometimes you might just link the image.

Anyway, your RSS URL looks like this: http://www.wpexplorer.com/feed/

The only thing you need to do is replace the “wpexplorer.com” text with your actual website. Once you have this URL, it’s easy to start distributing RSS feeds on your website.

Display Multiple RSS Feeds on Your WordPress Site

The second reason you might use RSS is if you want to display a 3rd party feed on your WordPress site. For example, maybe you run a financial blog and want to provide stock trends from a more up-to-date and reliable source. After all, you don’t update share price changes yourself. You’d better get an RSS feed from CNNMoney or Reuters and insert it into your sidebar.

The same goes for most news blogs, as it is often impossible to keep up with every corner of the news cycle. Movie bloggers don’t want to miss the opportunity to share the soundtrack on Rotten Tomatoes. This is where the Rotten Tomatoes RSS feed comes into play.

Therefore, this RSS strategy is more about providing valuable information to your users than distributing content across the Internet.

RSS feed display front end

The top plugin for creating RSS news feeds on your website is called WP RSS Aggregator.

Download the WP RSS Aggregator plugin and install it on your website. Go to the RSS Aggregator tab in the Dashboard and fill in everything from the RSS URL to the feed source name. It will ask you some additional settings, like if you want to link to the source and if you want to remove duplicate titles.

Add new feed

After that, you can manage all your feeds and display them in a constant stream on your website. Put the feed on your sidebar or on its own page.

Why Your WordPress Site Needs RSS

Some bloggers may consider RSS to be an ancient technology. This idea is far from true, especially for tech-savvy readers. Some bloggers think it’s better suited for larger magazines. This is also not true.

Some bloggers think it’s better suited for larger magazines. This is also not true.

Even if you have five or ten RSS readers, that’s pretty good for a small to medium blog. It’s just a different way for your users to access content, so it’s like an alternative to your email list or when you post on social media.

If you have any questions about using RSS in WordPress, let us know in the comments below.