Automatically generate content for your WordPress website or blog by showing RSS feeds with content from other websites. Step by step guide to add RSS feed content to WordPress posts.
Creating content for a website or blog takes a lot of time and effort, so you might wonder if there are any shortcuts. One option available to you is to use RSS feeds. They can provide content for your site automatically, which means that you don’t have to spend time and effort creating it.
What is an RSS feed?
An RSS feed is a list of the most recently published posts on a website or section of a website. The feed typically contains 5 to 10 items and each item consists of the URL of the post, the title and the first paragraph.
Every WordPress website has an RSS feed and the URL is www.website.com/feed – in other words, just add /feed to a website URL and that is the RSS feed. This website’s RSS feed is rawinfopages.co.uk/feed for example.
Can you use RSS feeds
Do you need permission to use another site’s RSS feed? No. It is a built in feature of WordPress and sites can limit what content they provide in RSS feeds in Admin > Settings > Reading. Here you can set the number of items in a syndication feed and whether the full post text or just a short summary is provided.
A site could set the number of items to 1 and provide just a summary and so give away very little if it wanted. Usually it is helpful to provide summaries of 5 to 10 items. When people show RSS feeds the items link back to your site, so it is way to get more visitors. People see an RSS feed item and click the link, which takes them to your site.
So RSS feeds provide free content you can use on your own site, such as auto-generating posts that automatically update without you having to do anything. Let’s see how it works.
1 Add WP RSS Aggregator
Go to the Plugins section on your WordPress website and click Add New.
Enter ‘wp rss aggregator’ into the search box and then click the Install Now button next to the plugin in the search results. Activate it afterwards.
2 View WP RSS Aggregator feeds
Select RSS Aggregator in the WordPress sidebar on the left. The feed sources are listed on the right. Of course, it is empty the first time the plugin is used. We need to add one or more sources of RSS feeds.
Click the Add New button at the top.
3 Add an RSS feed source
Enter a name for the RSS feed. This is purely for your information, so make it describe the source. For example, use te website name.
Enter the URL for the source. Remember that you can add /feed to any WordPress website.
Some websites provide multiple RSS feeds and you might need to search the site for them. For example, a news site might have separate RSS feeds for world news, sport, technology, finance and so on. It will list the URLs somewhere on the site.
4 Set the feed options
On the right is a Feed Processing panel with several options, such as the Active status, the update interval, and others. Set them as you prefer.
Click the Publish button in the top right corner finish.
5 View the feed sources
Return to WP RSS Aggregator Feed Sources through the sidebar menu and the feed that was just added is listed. As the mouse hovers over it, menu items appear below in the usual WordPress fashion. There is also a pause button. If you want to stop it, but not delete it.
6 Create a new post
Create a new post in WordPress in the usual way. At the right side of the post editor toolbar (the classic editor that is, who knows where Gutenberg editor will hide it), is a new button. Click it to add an RSS feed to a post.
7 Configure the RSS feed
The checkbox at the top can be used to select all feed sources, however, you may find it best to clear it and select the feed source to display in the list below. We only have one, so this is a no-brainer. Just select it.
Set the feed limit to the number of items you want to display on the page. A website can limit the number of items in a feed, but just in case it doesn’t, set your own limit. I want five items and so set Feed Limit to 5. Click Add Shortcode.
8 RSS feed shortcodes
Here is the RSS feed shortcode. It is straightforward and you could even enter it manually in the post editor if you wanted to, which might be easier with Gutenberg editor. The source is the ID (see step 5) displayed under the feed in the Feed Sources list.
Text and images can be placed before or after the shortcode, so you could provide some explanatory text, a Pinterest pin or whatever you want.
9 View your RSS feed
Here is what the page looks like when it is published. The list of articles is taken from the RSS feed and this is the simplest and most basic view. The page is auto-updating, so if the source website posts a new article, the links on your page auto-update to reflect the new content.
The links list shown above may not look very exciting, but don’t forget you can add your own text and images above and below the RSS feed links.
Also, in the plugin settings are many options, such as hiding or showing the source and date, whether links are normal or nofollow, and so on. Once you have the feed working, check out the options and configure the display.
There are paid extras for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin that add thumbnail images and extracts, and these make the links list much more visually interesting. There is nothing like an image to brighten up a page and thumbnail images are automatically taken from the RSS feed.
You probably don’t want to list the articles on a competitor’s website and send people to them for obvious reasons, but you might want to find a news website that has a useful RSS feed that covers your niche. Find a feed that has articles that are useful for your visitors, but which aren’t competitors.