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Customizing RSS Feed Links for WordPress.com and WordPress Sidebar Widgets

With the new feature in WordPress.com blogs to add feeds to your sidebar using Sidebar Widget enabled WordPress Themes and/or the soon-to-be-released Sidebar Widget WordPress Plugin, you now have a powerful feature to add content to your blog and accessorize your sidebar.

If you would like to add feeds from another WordPress blog, the feed link would look like one or more of the following:

WordPress.com blog feed:http://lorelle.wordpress.com/feed/
WordPress.com blog comment feed:http://lorelle.wordpress.com/comments/feed/
WordPress Blogs: One or the following:

To add a feed from other websites and blogs, search the site for RSS feed links and use that link in your WordPress RSS Feed Sidebar Widgets.

Customized Feeds

You can also add category specific feeds with WordPress. You can do it by the permalink reference or the category ID number.

Lorelle on WordPress RSS Feed using WordPress Sidebar Widgets of Taking Your Camera on the Road - web page design postsWhen a visitors subscribes to a specific category feed, they will only see the posts from that category in their feed.

Sometimes, you’d like to further customize a WordPress blog RSS feed, highlighting a specific tag, keyword, or phrase to help narrow down the focus of the feed.

You can add a “search” string to the feed to narrow the results. For example, if you would like to create a feed for this site covering articles with the keyword “beginner”, which would include “beginner blogger” or “beginner WordPress” in the customize RSS feed search results, the customized RSS feed would look like:

http://lorelle.wordpress.com/feed?s=beginner

This would also apply to any WordPress blog, except those which do not use permalinks or is an older WordPress version. The following RSS feed would also work, featuring posts on “web page design” from my Taking Your Camera on the Road site, as featured at the bottom of my sidebar here:

http://www.cameraontheroad.com/wp-rss2.php?s=web+page+design

There are also a variety of customizable feeds you can use in your RSS feed links with your WordPress Sidebar Widgets to accessorize your sidebar.

By customizing your RSS feed, you can narrow the focus of the information displayed in your WordPress sidebar. For example, if your blog is about “photography”, then you can set that as a search keyword so only results returned in the RSS feed would be about photography. If you are writing about WordPress, then the keyword might be “wordpress”. Into muscle cars, then the keyword would be “muscle+cards”. It’s up to you to set whatever keyword you would like to create a custom RSS feed.

Custom Keyword Feeds from Various Sources

To help you add feed content to your WordPress blog, here is a list of the most common search engine, news, and social bookmarking sites and their feeds.

To customize these to your specific needs in the following examples, replace “wordpress” with your keyword. If you are using more than one word, connect them with a plus sign (+):

As you see from the list, different web tools and programming language have different requirements for setting the query or search to narrow the results. If the site or blog doesn’t list customizable feeds, use the above examples to match to their feed link, and see if you can customize the results. You can check the results in your browser by typing in the feed link in the address bar and examining the feed results. If it returns a 404 Page Not Found or other error, then try another combination to see if something else might work. It might not, but it might, and you would have a customizable feed to showcase on your WordPress blog.

Custom search feeds like this are also not perfect. As you can see in the graphic image example above of the feed from my main site on this site, narrowed to “web page design”, it includes an article I wrote about “Bears in the Kitchen – Chocolate Guide”. The words “web”, “page”, and “design” appear there, so it’s included, but it isn’t an article about web page design, just a guide for chocolate lovers. For the most part, the results, especially if they use more than one keyword, offer a fairly good representation of the topic.

Do you know of any other customizable feed link examples and techniques?


Site Search Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

44 Comments

  1. Posted April 13, 2006 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Information on how to add the tags at the bottom of my posts is found at A Tagging Bookmarklet for WordPress and WordPress.com Users. The article on how to create these tags is coming soon, but you can get started by following the instructions at Putting a Del.icio.us, Digg, technorati and Slashdot button into your blog and Putting a Del.icio.us, Digg, technorati and Slashdot button into your WordPress blog. It is simply a form you copy and paste for each post. I’m working on making it a little more sophisticated, but for WordPress.com blogs, it’s just a manual effort. Put it in a text file, search and replace the info for each post, and copy and paste it to the bottom of your WordPress.com post in the Write Panel. I’ll have more details soon.

    If you have the full version of WordPress, there are even plugins out there that will do this for you automatically.

    As for the feeds, I have no control over the website design, layout, or feeds, nor does anyone using WordPress.com blogs. We can’t use plugins or javascript. It’s all manually done in my Write Post panel. Through such limits comes creativity, though.

  2. atrocity79
    Posted October 14, 2006 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    How do I go about adding certain articles from sites. Ive opened a WordPress blog that I would like to feature only iPod related news. Lets say I want to pull an article from cnet.com or engadget.com, how would find the feed to that article and post it on my blog.

  3. Posted October 14, 2006 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Do you want to not write your own content and just feature links or excerpts of your desired subject in the post views or just in the sidebar? As for replacing content with feeds, there are plenty of sites that will give you that information. I do not encourage it here.

    For feed titles in your sidebar, if you are using the full version of WordPress, there are many WordPress Plugins for bringing in feed titles you can use. A search through the web will find those for you. If you are using a full version WordPress blog with a Widget-enabled WordPress Theme, or a WordPress.com blog, you can use feeds in the sidebar, as the article describes and as I have featured at the bottom part of my sidebar on this blog.

    I hope that helps.

  4. Posted July 17, 2007 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Lorelle

    Apologies if you’ve looked at this before but I must have missed it – is there a way I can add a link in the comments area of my blog to the feed for comments on that post? I know the feed exists (“feed/” after the end of the post URL) but I don’t know how to add a link to it to my template so it appears in each post. Blogger blogs have it, I’m sure it must be possible…

    Help me! Thank you!!

  5. Posted July 17, 2007 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Oh sorry – I’ve worked it out. If anyone else is confused, add a link to “feed/” – NOT “/feed/” – to your page, category or any other template, and it’ll append feed/ to the end of the url to give you the feed for that page.

  6. Posted July 28, 2007 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    This was the most helpful post I’ve read in a long time! Just so you know, I spent an hour or so looking for information about putting rss feeds on another one of my sites, and didn’t find anything worth using until I found this page! Thanks!

  7. Posted August 7, 2007 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    I activated customizable permalinks in my blog. Soon after that, my RSS is empty and nothing gets written to it! May be the links have broken and I am in a soup. How could I fix it?

  8. Posted August 7, 2007 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Change your feed links to the permalink version. It’s is usually your blog’s URL followed by /feed/ and make sure you update FeedBurner and any other feed service you use with the right URL using Permalinks.

  9. Posted August 21, 2007 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I love how you explain the “feed” process Lorelle. This information will sure come in handy for me as I am setting up my virtual assistance shop. Great work, I appreciate it!

  10. Posted August 21, 2007 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi There:
    I think I almost found the info I’m looking for.

    I’m learning to use PHPList for a couple of mailing lists I’m managing. I’d like one of the lists to extract RSS feeds by two categories: playlists and charts. Would something like this be valid…

    example.com/wp-rss2?cat=1&cat=2

    If this isn't valid, is there a way that it can be done?

    Thanks so much; your site has been very useful to me and I read it daily!

    Best,
    Velacnhe

  11. Posted August 22, 2007 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I can’t figure out yet how to do this “manually”, but why not try something like Yahoo Pipes which allows you to customize feeds?

  12. Asuka
    Posted February 14, 2008 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Your site is wonderful! Everything I searched for has an answer hear…I had a feed error I didn’t understant (I’m a wordpress newbie!) Two days searching the web for tips that don’t work…I forgot to come here, and bingo here’s my anwer. Next time I’ll remember where to look. Great work and thanks a whole bunch.

  13. Posted February 29, 2008 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Your blog is incredibly helpful. Thanks.
    I have managed after a long period of experimentation (by de widgeting my sidebar and placing some recommended php code) to get a Cat Feed Link in my left sidebar.
    However what I really want is to have Links to each of my categories adjacent to links to the rss feeds of each category – with all showing in the sidebar of each page/post – very much like your 4 Cat feeds/links in your sidebar (below the giraffe).
    Can you help point me in the right direction to accomplishing this.
    Thnx.

  14. Posted February 29, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    @ The Revster:

    To put feed links next to your categories, see the wp_list_categories template tag for including feeds.

  15. Posted March 10, 2008 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    thanx

  16. Posted March 12, 2008 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I use WordPress (self hosted for my website). I am trying to add a RSS feed to my sidebar using the RSS widget included. I have spent 2 hours and used your info and everything else I can think of and they are not working. The URL’s are valid. WordPress is just saying it can’t find an RSS feed there.

    Any ideas?

    Specifically I would like to include either a Google or Yahoo News feed that is specific to the keywords: Tybee+Island.

    Please help!

    • Posted March 28, 2014 at 4:26 am | Permalink

      You can add an rss or atom feed, but not just a url. Go to Feedburner to help you create a feed from a URL

    • Posted March 30, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      I don’t understand your comment. You can add any feed link to the feed WordPress Widget, most commonly known as the RSS Widget. It must be a site feed. All WordPress sites have feeds built into them by default, as do most modern sites. Feedburner, which I believe is defunct, put down by Google, its owner. Their crippled service does allow you to enter a site link and it will search for the feed link, but I don’t believe it will create one for a site that doesn’t support feeds such as a static HTML site. There are services that will create a feed for such sites, but Feedburner isn’t one of them.

      If you cannot find the feed link for a site, and you know they have one, and the site is on WordPress or WordPress.com, simply add “feed” to the end of the URL such as http://lorelle.wordpress.com/feed/. That is the default feed structure for all WordPress sites.

  17. Posted March 12, 2008 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    @ Katrina:

    The article should give you the information you need. If you need more specific help, please go to the WordPress.com Forums.

    I’m traveling right now so unable to give you more individual help.

  18. Posted March 13, 2008 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for responding. Your article is great but the RSS feeds that you supply are not working for the WP RSS sidebar widget. I have also tried the RSS feeds supplied on the Goggle News site. Both validate via feevalidator.org but neither work. Same with Yahoo News.

    I have posted this problem in the WordPress.org forum’s so maybe somebody can help me there.

    Thanks again!

  19. Leon
    Posted September 20, 2008 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle

    One of the few explanations around that make sense.

    Provides the solution without making it complicated.

    Appreciated and thank you.

    Leon

  20. Posted October 31, 2008 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    @ james:

    See A Tagging Bookmarklet for WordPress and WordPress.com Users, Social Bookmarking Submit Links on WordPress Blogs, and Adding Del.icio.us, Digg, Technorati and Slashdot Links to Your WordPress Blog. However, these are totally unnecessary today as people are using social bookmarking tools to mark pages so why clutter up your blog with unnecesary stuff. I’ve stopped using them.

  21. Posted November 18, 2008 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle. Your site is SO helpful.
    In WordPress I am trying to mock the RSS feed from my blogger. Any ideas? My blogger url is: lindseyspiegel.blogspot.com
    I like how the most recent blog that has been updated is on the top and it states how long ago each blog has been updated and the new post name. Is it possible to do this in WordPress? Thanks for your help.

  22. Posted November 18, 2008 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    @ Lindsey Spiegel:

    I don’t understand how you want to “mock” your feed. Do you mean you want to add a feed from your other blog to your WordPress blog? Just use the feed sidebar widget to add it. If you want it customized with dates and such, you’ll have to hunt around for a WordPress feed Plugin that allows customization of feeds or dig into the feed retrieval code for WordPress. I recommend you ask in the WordPress Support Forums.

    If I were you, I’d just stick to titles in your feed using the feed widget. It’s clean and easy and requires nothing special.

  23. Frances
    Posted November 26, 2008 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Do you have any idea how I’d limit the summary (excerpt) text of the rss feeds to anything other than the default wordpress 50 characters? Either that or make a custom excerpt field using custom fields and then only get the rss summary (excerpt) to read that…

    So it would look like this:

    Title 01
    This is the summary for the article above …

    I’ve honestly searched google for about 5 hours now, tried a million things (even editing the sql directly where it says limit=50 and that did nothing) and the wordpress forums seem to be dead. I always seem to end up on your site for how-to things so hopefully you can save me from madness once again :)

  24. Frances
    Posted November 26, 2008 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    Alternatively is there any way to take the recent posts default plugin and make it have a summary? I just realised when I click on the RSS link it doesn’t take me to the main article it just takes me to a truncated excerpt which really wasn’t what I wanted.

  25. Posted November 26, 2008 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    @ Frances:

    I don’t quite understand. You want the feed to show “summaries” (excerpts) or you want the links in your feeds to go to the full post not the summary? If you click on a link in the feed Widget, it should not go to a summary page of your post unless something is wrong with your single post pageview (single.php in your WordPress Theme). It should go to the full post feed.

    First, can you be a little clearer, and second, you will get faster help with this in the WordPress Support Forum where they can give you the free individual help you might need to resolve the issue with your WordPress Theme or the Plugin or Widget that might have a problem with it. Thanks.

  26. Posted November 26, 2008 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    @ Frances:

    Are you talking about the title text in the feed link? To change that, you have to edit the Widget code area to change the variable from post content to the post title, the much better option.

    I’m sorry you are not finding the help you need in the WordPress Support Forums which are more active now than ever in the past as they are now supported by paid staff members as well as hundreds of volunteers, compared to a dozen or less. Make sure you frame the question and the content in the forum post as clearly and specifically as you can to get the specific help you need.

    Editing the MySQL table is dangerous and unnecessary as it would then be overwritten by the WordPress code. To change this, you have to change the code, or write a Plugin that will replace the post content variable with the post title.

  27. Posted February 2, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing, this post about customizing wordpress feeds was really helpful. I was trying to figure out a way to get a category specific WordPress feed to an email newsletter. Not as easy as it sounds but after a few days experimenting I finally got to the point where I had something like this: http://tcp3.com/c0po

    In spirit of sharing you can read about the entire process on my blog here.

    We are working on a WordPress plugin that will automate a lot of these processes. Stay tuned or contact me via the above links if interested.

    Thanks again,

    Adam

  28. Posted April 20, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, thanks for the info. I understand now about adding RSS feeds to your blog. I was wondering if you can show an RSS icon on your blog for others to subscribe to, i.e., invite them to subscribe to your blog.

    Thanks.

  29. Posted February 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I have my feed set with a permalink that has the ID and have checked the box that says: Check this box if you would like to DISABLE the Feedburner. If you disable the feedburner the wordpress feed url will be used. However, when I press the feed button on the site, the following information appears:
    You must provide a feed uri
    Error 400

    Can you help me find out what is wrong?

    Thanks!

  30. Jim
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    I am having an issue with an error message in IE 8.

    When I open my rss in firefox the xml is
    “http://example.com/feed”. No problem. When I open in IE the xml is “feed:http://example.com/feed“and I get an error message.

    There has to be a file in the studiopress theme that I can edit and remove “feed” to eliminate error in IE but I have looked and can’t find it. Any ideas?

    Thanks

    • Posted May 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      There isn’t a way of changing anything in the feed. This is how IE works. However, you might want to run your feed through some tests to see if there is code that is causing the problem. The WordPress Support Forum might be of more help.

  31. Ryan W
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    How do I get the images for rss feeds to display on my wordpress page

    • Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

      You choose the option in the Feed Widget to make the icons appear. If they do not appear, WordPress or your Theme does not have the images and you will have to upload them.

  32. stephendrennan
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    I am trying to get my wordpress rss feed from my blog to show up on my landing page, I entered the feed url http://example.com/blog/?feed=rss2 in my index for html but my blog posts will not update on my landing page http://example.com, any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Posted January 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      The only way to add feeds to a page is through a WordPress Plugin that permits feeds to be displayed on a page on your site or through the feed Widget in the sidebar. You can’t just dump it in and expect it to work.

  33. Posted March 13, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Great site. Thanks very much for this post, in particular.

    I’m trying to figure out how to make the RSS feed widget display the title as just words – not as a link to the feed page. Not urgent, but I had to make the links in sidebar a strange color in order to get links to show up on dark green as well as white. :(

    • Posted March 13, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      There are two feed widgets in WordPress. One is for displaying the feeds on the site which displays the icon, text (posts or entries and comments), or a combination of the two. There is another for displaying feeds from on or off your site. That one picks up the title from the site. If you are not seeing the title, you have either added the URL in the title area or the page is not generating the title tag correctly.

      As for styling the links, that’s a design CSS and Theme issue and not part of the default functionality of WordPress.

    • Posted March 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the quick response.

      I was referring to the RSS widget which pulls a feed from elsewhere, and has an optional title.

      I typed the words into the optional field of the widget, and they show up just as I typed them. The problem is that the widget automatically makes the title words a link to the site. Because the title is a link, CSS colors them the same as all other links in the sidebar. However, other sidebar links are displayed against a dark background – while the titles are against a white background.

      It looks like I would need to define the RSS widget as a special class and then set the style for it separately.

    • Posted March 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Possibly. However, I’m seeing normal external feeds coming into your site. They look fine. That feed widget has its own unique styles in CSS. Good luck.

  34. ProfesorYeow
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Very interesting. Thanks for the info!!!

  35. Ajmal
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    I have this feed link coming in my rss feed.. http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNGTQrhBbg&url=http://www.example.com/feed/ but i want to remove in all urls anything before the main target url… like the above url should look like just http://www.example.com/feed

    how to do it…??

    • Posted November 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      This is a referrer link created by google’s search results to track links. It has nothing to do with WordPress. Use direct site feeds, not feeds from Google search results.


36 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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