Incorporating external RSS feeds from related sources can be quite beneficial to your blog. It can help attract targeted traffic, add related and updated content, feed the search engine robots and encourage repeat visits. If you are using the WordPress platform, you can simply install a plugin of your choice, and you can instantly fetch and display RSS feeds on your blog’s sidebar, repost the feed contents or publish the feeds’ summary in your posts.
Using WordPress widgets for RSS Feeds
Before looking at the plugins, it should be noted that it is possible to simply go to Appearance >Widgets, select the RSS widget, place it on the area of the page you would like the feed, insert the feed and check the options. The feed can then be displayed wherever a widget can be inserted. This option is best for those who only need a basic RSS feed display.
For those who would like more flexibility with their feeds, these WordPress plugins can be used in various ways to including pulling social media feeds from your Twitter and Facebook accounts, displaying posts from other sites and/or aggregate related feeds from some of your favorite sites (remember to give credit where it is due when using external feeds).
So, what are the plugins you can use in adding related news and articles to your WordPress blog? Here is a list of RSS feed plugins you may want to consider (listed in alphabetical order):
BlogNetworking WP Plugin
BlogNetworking was designed to allow blog networks to share headlines, mainly through a central feed of associate sites. To set up your feeds, you should add the URLs of your chosen blogs to the RSS address box found under the Advanced section in the Link edit screen.
A good indication of the quality of any plugin is the number of times it has been downloaded. At the time of writing, this plugin has already been downloaded more than 560,000 times. If you want to try this out to see how it performs, here are some things you need to know about it.
FeedWordPress does more than just display external feeds on your blog. It actually creates a separate post for each feed. So, if you want to import your tweets to your blog, this plugin can help you do just that. The auto-update feature is turned off by default, but you can easily configure your cron job settings to meet your specifications or you can use manual updates to do the job. It also works seamlessly with timestamps so you don’t need to worry about messing up the chronology of your feeds and posts. FeedWordPress will make sure you get the latest updates by comparing the latest updated timestamp on the feed with the latest updated timestamp in your WP database.
FetchFeed Shortcode Pageable
With this plugin, you can display external feeds in your posts or pages by using a simple shortcode. You also have the ability to set the URL of the feed, the number of items per page, the number of pages in the footer and the number of total items of the feed as well. Moreover, you can choose whether or not to link the title to the detail page and/or configure the title of the link and use CSS to set the style of your output.
If you want to pull images and photos from your own or another person’s Flickr account and display them on your sidebar or footer, then you should definitely consider using the flickrRSS plugin. You can also use this plugin to display photos based on a specific user’s or group’s favorite photostream or pull photos from the whole Flickr community.
If you want to provide additional information to your readers by linking to some of your own favorite sites on the topic, then you may want to consider installing the RSS Blogroll plugin. Rather than featuring the blog’s title on your sidebar, this plugin will display the article titles to attract more attention and generate better quality traffic.
RSSImport allows you to import and display external feeds on your site using a widget, a shortcode or PHP template tags. Using this plugin, you can display feeds in your sidebar or any widgetized area by setting the options on the Widgets page, or you can feature external feeds in your posts and pages by using shortcodes. Alternatively, you can also use this plugin to display feeds anywhere you want, provided you have the technical skills to do it. By inserting a piece of PHP code where you want your feeds to appear, you can be sure to have complete control over the customization and configuration of your theme.
If you want to embed external feeds into your pages or posts, have the capability to choose articles based on your preferred keywords and set the number of feeds you want to appear on your blog, then you may want to take a closer look at this plugin.
SilenceSoft RSS Reader
Aside from allowing external RSS feeds to show in your posts or sidebar, you also have the power to categorize the sites from which you pulled your feeds and use an image or gravatar to go along with your feeds.
Super RSS Reader
The Super RSS Reader plugin is the perfect alternative for the default RSS widget in WordPress. It features a jQuery news ticker effect and offers a wide variety of external CSS styles and customizable color modes. You can also feature RSS feeds from multiple sources in a single widget by making use of the tabbed RSS feeds.
WordPress RSS Shortcode
If you want to display external feeds on a separate page without necessarily creating posts from feeds, then you may want to consider using this plugin. This plugin works best with Yahoo!Pipes, an interactive site that allows users to integrate and mashup content from all over the web.
Once you find the RSS plugin that will best suit your needs, you just have to install it, activate it through the Plugins menu in your WP dashboard, fill in the necessary information or input the required codes (when you are using shortcodes or PHP tags) in your posts or pages, and you’re done.
Using these appropriately can boost your site’s content and enhance the overall quality of your site by giving your readers fresh information from all over the internet.