Back in the early 2000s, RSS was all the rage. And while it's not as popular now, RSS still has its uses and provides plenty of features worth taking advantage of.
For example, a WordPress RSS feed can allow you to automatically share your blog posts across different social media profiles. And when built well, an RSS feed can prove to be a great way to keep up with the news.
So, today I'll tell you about 5 of the best RSS WordPress plugins, and how to add them to your WordPress server:
- Feedzy (Excellent Autoblogging features)
- WordPress RSS Feed Retriever (Very easy to use)
- WP RSS Aggregator (Great customer support)
- Category Specific RSS Feed Subscription (Create your own RSS feed)
- RSSImport (Good for tech-savvy users)
How To Install a WordPress RSS Feed Plugin?
Before getting into the details of individual plugins, I'll first explain how to add a plugin to your WordPress server It's a very straightforward process.
As long as you're using an up-to-date version of WordPress, it can be done directly from the dashboard.
- Find the option on the WordPress admin area.
Just head over to the admin area (the left side of your screen), highlight 'Plugins' and hit 'Add New'. Doing that will take you to the plugins directory.
- Search for a specific product.
To find a plugin, all you need to do is search its name in the top right field of your screen.
- Begin installation.
As soon as you find the WordPress RSS feed plugin you're looking for, just hit the 'Install Now' button and it will be added to your site!
The Best WordPress RSS Feed Plugins
Now that you know how to install a plugin, the question is which RSS plugin should you install? I've carried out a careful review of every major RSS plugin and selected the 5 greatest to help you choose:
Free 'Lite' version (paid pricing starts at $59.00)
Recommended for: Impressive auto blogging functionality
It allows you to easily embed media of almost any form into your RSS posts and customize how often your feeds are updated.
Better yet, once you've added a piece of RSS content, you can group it for easy reuse across your site.
Those are both features available in the free 'Feedzy RSS Feeds Lite Package' which you can find in the WordPress plugin directory using the method described above.
However, if you want to take your RSS syncing to the next level, you can purchase the 'Pro' version for $59.
The paid package offers features such as auto-blogging which can automatically create a new post whenever your subscribed RSS stream is updated. Feedzy Pro also lets you share product feeds, making it ideal for eCommerce sites.
Recommended for: Ease of use and simplicity
While Feedzy includes basically every RSS feature you can think of (and compatibility with almost every common media format), WordPress RSS Feed Retriever pairs things down with a simple RSS display list.
But though it includes less functionality, what WordPress RSS Feed Retriever does, it does very well
The shortcode you need to add the feed is simple and easy to customize, giving you control over things like thumbnail size and post order.
More importantly, the feed it creates looks professional and will fit in with the look and feel of your WordPress site, no matter the theme you're using.
Free version available (Feed to Post add-on costs $80.00)
Recommended for: Superior customer support
Like Feedzy, WP RSS Aggregator has a free version and a paid upgrade.
But all the most vital RSS features, including the ability to add an unlimited number of sources and integrate YouTube video content, are included in the free package!
The paid upgrade adds the option to automatically convert RSS feed updates into WordPress posts and costs $80 for installation on a single site.
One key advantage of using a paid RSS plugin such as WP Aggregator is the support you'll receive. You can contact a customer representative between 10 am and 6 pm UTC, and access an extensive knowledge base filled with in-depth tutorials.
What's more, WP Aggregator has created its own WordPress themes which will center your site around an RSS feed, making it easy to create a professional looking news or magazine page.
Recommended for: Creating your own bespoke RSS feed
The Category Specific RSS Feed Subscription plugin allows you to create your own feed for readers to subscribe to.
As I already mentioned, consumers themselves rarely use RSS feeds anymore, but maintaining your own feed will allow other blogs and applications to easily share the content you produce.
If the name didn't already give it away, this plugin will also let you create an RSS feed for posts you release in preset categories.
That's a particularly useful feature if you run a large website and publish content on multiple topics.
Recommended for: Lightweight RSS integration
Instead, it will allow you to easily display RSS feeds within your WordPress posts by creating a widget or inserting a shortcode.
Many users are drawn to RSSImport by its focused functionality and because it makes it possible to customize the CSS of the feeds you display.
CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet. Having the freedom to edit it means you can change everything about how your RSS posts display, from the size of embedded images to the fonts used.
In order to change different CSS parameters, you will need to have a bit of familiarity with WordPress shortcode, so this isn't a plugin I recommend for beginners.
It's also worth noting that RSSImport doesn't support video RSS posts. If you want to embed lots of multimedia content through your RSS plugin, Feedzy is a better choice.
Final Thoughts: the Benefits of an RSS Blog
As for how to use RSS, these plugins can essentially be divided into two categories. The majority allow you to use material produced by third-parties to add fresh and constantly updating content to your website. However, plugins such as Category Specific RSS Feed Subscription let you do something quite different by letting you create an RSS feed for your own website.
If you've read through my recommendations and still can't decide which plugin to use, remember that they're all either free or have a free version, giving you the freedom to try before you buy.