How To: Use RSS Feeds to Auto-Publish Content to your WordPress Site
Even though Google unceremoniously dropped their support for RSS, via the discontinuation of their well-loved, if not well-used (enough) Google Reader service, there is still some mileage left in the RSS format.
While publishers can benefit by turning one-time visitors into regular readers via subscription to their RSS feed, site owners can also make use of RSS feeds to incorporate content from other sources into their websites. By using an RSS aggregator plugin, it is possible to stream content from other websites and publish it on your own site automatically.
This might sound like content scraping or outright plagiarism. However, if used responsibly this approach to content curation and publishing can help enhance your website without doing any harm from a credibility or SEO perspective.
While filling your blog with content from other sources is an example of not how to do it, creating an aggregated source of the best weekly news stories from your niche is a good way to add value to your readers’ visit to your site.
This can be done in the form of simply listing article titles, with a link back to the original post, or going as far as publishing whole posts directly to your blog. If you want to provide a one stop resource for your readers, in the form of a news roundup page, popular posts list, or top 10 related items, these plugins can help you source content from elsewhere while doing it in the right way.
Best WordPress RSS Aggregator Plugins
With these plugins you can add the feeds from your favourite or notable sites in your niche and then automatically publish the latest post titles and more, direct to your blog.
WP RSS Aggregator
This is a popular free plugin for incorporating content into your WordPress site via RSS feeds. It has been developed by Jean from WP Mayor and has a positive rating on the WordPress.org plugin repository. Once installed, it’s easy to add new sources to your site, simply by entering the URL of the site you wish to source content from.
Once you’ve added one feed or more, you can insert the feeds into your posts by using a shortcode. Thankfully the plugin adds a menu item to your post editor which allows for easy insertion of the shortcodes into your posts. You can select all your added feeds to be included in your post, just one, or a selection.
This RSS plugin comes with a number of settings that make it very easy to manage how the links and imported content are handled. These include the ability to open links in a new window or not, or use the lightbox effect, set links as nofollow and show the date published, to name but a few.
WP RSS Aggregator is well supported with a video walkthrough available covering how to setup and use the plugin as well as other types of user documentation.
While this plugin is free, there are some premium add-ons available. Amongst the available extensions, the extra features include:
- Feed to Post: import feed items into their own posts
- Keyword Filtering: control what gets published on your blog by specifying keywords to filter by
- Categories: filter and organise feed items by category
- Excerpts and Thumbnails: include excerpts and thumbnail images from the posts as part of your list of feed items
If you want to begin automatically sourcing the latest new stories from a list of your favourite sites, for publication on your own blog, it couldn’t be easier with this free plugin and its premium add-ons.
WP RSS Multi Importer
RSS Multi Importer is a popular free plugin that allows you to add feeds from other sites and then display that content on your site. There are three main options for displaying the feed content which includes:
- Shortcodes to display feed items in a post
- Create blog posts from the feed items (Feed to Post)
- Display aggregated feed items in the sidebar via a widget
As you can see, using the Feed to Post option, of this plugin will create a new post on your site featuring the content from the blog you’ve selected. I can’t really think of a legitimate use for ‘mirroring’ another blog’s content on your site, automatically using a plugin like this, however, creating lists of posts from a selection of your favourite sources can be done in a way that is useful to your readers without taking large chunks of content from another site.
This plugin allows you to create categories for the feeds you import and also filter content from those feeds based on keywords. There are also templates for displaying the feeds. These include bullet lists, box grid layouts and other layouts for customising how the content is displayed.
Using the Feed to Post functionality, you can set the time interval of how often to check your chosen feeds for new content to import. It is also possible to set the default status of posts that are created using this plugin, including draft, pending, private and published. If you want to go down the auto blogging route then you certainly can do so with this plugin. Imported posts can also be set to expire using the auto remove posts settings.
This is a feature packed plugin that allows you to grab content from other sites, either in the form of post title, excerpts or the full post. It could be made easier to use if there was a menu item added to the post editor for inserting the shortcodes and their parameters. However, overall it’s a well-documented plugin that can be setup pretty quickly and highly customised.
Download this Plugin
Hopefully these plugins have given you some ideas on how you can use the RSS feeds from your favourite sites to post content or links to the top news stories automatically, or semi-manually, on your site. While this is likely to result in users clicking on links that take them away from your site, for those that are more concerned with providing useful resources for their readers this won’t be seen as a negative effect.
While using RSS feeds to import content wholesale is rarely a good idea, some creative thinking and well thought out planning can help add a useful resource to your site that will be of benefit to your users and those you link to.
Are you using RSS feeds to add content to your site and if so, how are you going about it?