Should you ever find yourself needing to add an RSS feed to your site, you’ll probably never need to look any further than the WP RSS Aggregator plugin. The core plugin is free and available in the WordPress Plugin Directory and there are add-ons available that expand functionality quite a bit. But I’ll talk more about those later. First, let me give you a brief rundown of what this plugin actually does.
This plugin makes importing, merging, and showcasing RSS feeds on your WordPress site a snap. You can display a single feed wherever you want or merge several feeds from different websites to create a truly custom selection of content.
A good example of what this plugin can do is cited on the WP RSS Aggregator website. Blogger Kristi Hines uses the plugin to set up a dedicated feed for all of the articles she has published on other websites. She used the author feed for each site on which she’s had work published to create a Latest Posts page that showcases a constantly updated stream of her work.
This just goes to show how versatile this plugin truly is. Once you’ve added all the feeds you want to display, you just call them up using a shortcode. You can’t get much simpler than that.
Here’s the full feature set for the free version:
- Shortcode integration
- The ability to select the feed source
- The ability to limit the number of items displayed from a feed source
- Feed customization options
- Import/export options
- OPML import
- Feed item storage number limits
- Custom feeds
- Multi-language support
If you want to have more control of your RSS feeds then you might want to spring for some of the available extensions.
Before we get into discussing the various add-ons for this plugin, let’s spend some time talking about how easy it is to install and set it up.
After downloading, installing, and activating the plugin, you should see options appear on the dashboard:
To view your feed sources, click “All Feed Sources.” You’ll be taken to this page:
If you want to add a new feed, just click “Add New.” You’ll then be taken to a page where you can create a new feed source to use on your site:
Insert the feed URL. Give it a name and a description. And if you’d like, set a limit for the number of items to be imported and/or displayed from this particular feed.
Once you’re done making changes, look to the righthand side of the dashboard for a few additional options:
You can publish the feed straight away, set it as active or paused, set a time for the feed to become active in the future, establish update intervals, and so forth.
To use this feed you’ve just created, go to any post or page where you’d like the feed to appear. An RSS feed button should appear on the post editor. Click it and you’ll be presented with this popup:
This screen lets you select what RSS feed you’d like to insert into your post or page. You can select multiple ones if you’ve set up several (or you can exclude them). When you’re done making your selections, click “Add Shortcode.” The shortcode will then appear in your post or page. Once published, this short code will pull up the referenced RSS feed you previously set up and display items from that feed right on your site.
There’s a multitude of settings available as well. From General Settings:
These settings allow you to limit feed items by their age, the number of items per feed, how often feeds are processed, a custom URL, and anonymous tracking. There’s also Display Settings:
These settings control how the feeds appear on your site. Toggle between options like whether or not to show a feed’s source, how links should open, how long titles should be, and so forth. Lastly, there are Import/Export Settings:
You can export your RSS settings, import a settings backup file, and import or export your feed sources.
Adds-Ons and Extensions
If you’re pleased with the way the free core plugin is working then you might want to try out some of the premium add-ons. Of course, there is a fee involved but if you wish to have more control about how you create RSS feeds, these extensions can be incredibly helpful.
These extensions include the following:
The Categories add-on allows you to assign different categories to your feed sources. This way, you can select categories of feeds to display on your posts or pages using the WP RSS Aggregator shortcodes. This is helpful if you pull from many feeds.
Excerpts & Thumbnails
This add-on makes your RSS feeds have great visual appeal by adding thumbnails and excerpts from individual posts. So, instead of just a plain list of titles and links, your visitors will be presented with thumbnail images and a sentence or two from the posts listed in the feed. It’s a more robust way to display content:
The Keyword Filtering add-on allows you select specific keywords by which to filter what is and isn’t important into your feeds for display on your site. You can opt to filter for keywords in just titles or titles and content as well as choose to exclude content based on keywords:
You can also filter based on tags:
Feed to Post
The Feed to Post add-on adds the utmost flexibility to this plugin. In fact, it allows you to import specific items from RSS feeds directly to your posts or pages. Within this extension’s settings, you can select some specifics about the imported content including Post Type, Post Status, Post Format, Post Date, whether or not comments will be allowed, if a link to the source should be included, and more:
You also have several options for how it treats categories, tags, and authors, as well as several image settings:
There are two bundles available as well that make choosing “just one” extension a little less nerve-wrecking. The Simple Feeds Bundle for single sites includes the Categories, Excerpts & Thumbnails, and Keyword Filtering add-ons. The Advanced Feeds Bundle for single sites includes the Feed to Post and Keyword Filtering add-ons.
After trying out the WP RSS Aggregator plugin — both as the free core plugin and with all the extensions turned on — I found it to be very helpful. If you have a need for integrating posts from another site into yours, it’s a quick and painless way to set it up. What I especially enjoyed was the ability to merge feeds, so I could display content from multiple sources all within the same feed.
Since a major part of building sites is populating them with solid content, this plugin stands to make offering visitors more to look at while browsing very easy. And the custom feed building options make it simple to aggregate content from all over the web that meets your specifications. Just as Kristi Hines does in the example cited at the beginning of this post, you can put together a feed that includes images and excerpts that’s sorted by categories or keywords. It’s up to you.
Have you tried out WP RSS Aggregator yet? I’d love to hear what you think of it — or any other RSS feed plugins on the market — in the comments.