Trusted WordPress tutorials, when you need them most.
Beginner’s Guide to WordPress
25 Million+
Websites using our plugins
Years of WordPress experience
WordPress tutorials
by experts

12 Tips to Optimize Your WordPress RSS Feed (Quick & Easy)

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on WPBeginner. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations. Learn more about Editorial Process.

Do you want to optimize your RSS feed in WordPress?

Every WordPress site has an RSS feed by default. You can optimize this feed to protect your content, send more traffic to your site, and more.

In this article, we will show you how to optimize and customize your RSS feeds the right way.

Tips to Optimize Your WordPress RSS Feed (Quick & Easy)

Why Optimize Your WordPress RSS Feeds?

RSS feeds offer a way for your readers to subscribe and read your blog posts in their favorite feed reader apps like Feedly.

The term ‘RSS’ stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. It allows users to read new content from their favorite blogs without having to manually visit each website.

Even though feed readers aren’t as popular as they once were, there are still many readers who prefer to read WordPress blog content this way.

By optimizing your RSS feed, you can also prevent content scraping, get more backlinks, send traffic to your site, and more.

With that said, let’s get into our expert tips for optimizing your RSS feed.

1. Create an RSS Feed Sitemap

An RSS sitemap is different from an XML sitemap. RSS sitemaps only contain your most recent content, which helps Google to keep your content fresher in search results.

If you publish content frequently, then this can lead to a boost in your search engine rankings.

All in One SEO allows you to add an RSS sitemap to your website easily without having to code.

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the All in One SEO plugin. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you will be prompted to set up the plugin. You can follow the guided steps in the setup wizard or see our guide on how to set up All in One SEO for WordPress.

AIOSEO enables RSS sitemaps automatically, so there’s nothing else you need to do.

If you’d like to double-check, simply go to All in One SEO » Sitemap and then click on the ‘RSS Sitemap’ tab.

You can see that the ‘Enable Sitemap’ toggle in the ‘RSS Sitemap’ box is already enabled.

RSS Sitemap in AIOSEO

You can also set the number of posts and the post types you want to include in the ‘Sitemap Settings’ box.

We will leave the default settings, but you can include more posts (links) or only include certain post types or taxonomies.

Sitemap settings

Before you leave the screen, make sure to click the ‘Save Changes’ button.

Now you have enabled your RSS sitemap for your website.

To submit your new RSS sitemap to Google, you can see our guide on how to add your WordPress site to Google Search Console. It’s the same process as submitting an XML sitemap.

2. Edit Your RSS Feed Before and After Content

By default, WordPress RSS feeds will show your recent post content, and there’s no built-in option to customize that content for your readers.

Luckily you can use the All in One SEO plugin to easily customize your RSS feed before and after content.

Simply follow the same steps as above to install, activate, and set up the plugin.

After that, navigate to All in One SEO » General Settings and then click the ‘RSS Content’ menu option.

Add content before or after your WordPress RSS feed

On this screen, you can add any content you want to display before and after each post in your RSS feed.

You can add HTML, smart tags for links, and other metadata to each section.

After content RSS

Once you are happy with your changes, make sure to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to save your RSS feed.

3. Protect Your RSS Feed From Content Scrapers

Content scraping is when content is taken from your site, usually via your RSS feed, and republished on someone else’s site as their own.

It can be very frustrating to see someone stealing your content, monetizing it, and even outranking your website in the search results.

Luckily, you can customize your RSS feed to actually benefit your site if someone steals your content via your RSS feed.

For more details, see our beginner’s guide to preventing blog content scraping in WordPress.

4. Show Excerpt Instead of Full Article in RSS Feed

Showing your full article in the RSS feed lets your users read the entire article in their feed reader. This can negatively affect your page views, advertising revenue, and conversion rates.

By showing the article summary instead of the full article in your RSS feed, you require readers to come to your WordPress website to read the full post.

WordPress comes with a built-in solution. Simply go to Settings » Reading in your WordPress admin dashboard.

Then, scroll down to the section titled ‘For each post in a feed, include’ and select the ‘Excerpt’ radio button.

RSS Feeds Can Contain Full Text or an Excerpt of Each Post

You can also control the number of posts that display in your RSS feed as well.

In the ‘Syndication feeds show the most recent’ box, simply enter a number into the box.

Before you leave this screen, make sure to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to update your RSS feed settings.

By default, your WordPress RSS feed does not show featured images for posts. You can easily add them by using a code snippet that’s included in WPCode’s library.

Simply navigate to Code Snippets » + Add Snippet and then search the library for ‘rss’. You can then hover over the snippet named ‘Add Featured Images to RSS Feeds’ and click the ‘Use Snippet’ button.

WPCode Includes a Snippet to Add Featured Images to Your RSS Feed

Now all you need to do is switch the ‘Active’ toggle to the On position and then click the ‘Update’ button.

Featured images have now been added to your RSS feeds.

Toggle the Active Switch On

You can also add featured images to your RSS feed manually by adding the following code snippet to your functions.php file.

function wpb_rsstutorial_featuredimage($content) {
global $post;
if(has_post_thumbnail($post->ID)) {
$content = '<p>' . get_the_post_thumbnail($post->ID) .
'</p>' . get_the_content();
return $content;
add_filter('the_excerpt_rss', 'wpb_rsstutorial_featuredimage');
add_filter('the_content_feed', 'wpb_rsstutorial_featuredimage');

This code simply checks if a post has a thumbnail (featured image) and displays it along with the rest of your post content.

6. Add Custom Post Types to Your RSS Feed

Many WordPress sites use custom post types to create separate sections from regular blog articles.

For example, here at WPBeginner, we created separate custom post types for our Deals and Glossary sections.

If you publish a lot of content using different custom post types, then you will want to add these to your main feed.

To do this, you’ll need to add the following code to your functions.php file or by using a code snippets plugin such as WPCode.

function myfeed_request($qv) {
	if (isset($qv['feed']) && !isset($qv['post_type']))
		$qv['post_type'] = array('post', 'books', 'movies');
	return $qv;
add_filter('request', 'myfeed_request');

This code adds two custom post types, ‘books’ and ‘movies’, to the main RSS feed. Make sure you replace these with your own custom post types.

7. Add Additional Text to Post Titles in RSS

Adding additional text to your post titles in RSS can be helpful if you create multiple kinds of post content.

For example, this can help your readers distinguish between guest posts, regular blog content, and sponsored content.

Here’s a code snippet you can use to display the post category in the title:

function wpb_rsstutorial_titlecat($content) {
$postcat = "";
foreach((get_the_category()) as $cat) {
$postcat .= ' ('.$cat->cat_name . ')';
$content = $content.$postcat;
return $content;
add_filter('the_title_rss', 'wpb_rsstutorial_titlecat');

For more details and examples, see our guide on how to completely customize your WordPress RSS feeds.

8. Allow Users to Subscribe to RSS Feed via Email

Not all your users want to use a feed reader to subscribe to your posts. A lot of people will prefer to subscribe by email instead. That’s one reason why having an email newsletter is important.

To send RSS emails automatically, we recommend using Brevo (formerly Sendinblue). It’s a popular email marketing service provider that has a forever-free plan to send up to 300 emails a day.

Brevo formerly Sendinblue newsletter plugin

Once your email list is set up, you can automatically send RSS emails when you publish a new blog post.

For more details, see our guide on how to notify subscribers of new posts in WordPress.

9. Allow Users to Subscribe to Categories in RSS Feed

Each category on your WordPress site will automatically have its own RSS feed. If you run a massive blog with many diverse categories, then this lets your readers only subscribe to categories that interest them.

However, a lot of users don’t realize they can easily subscribe to specific categories. You can make this easier for your readers by highlighting this on your website.

Allow users to subscribe to categories in WordPress

For more details, see our guide on how to make separate RSS feed for each category in WordPress.

10. Add Custom Field Data to Your RSS Feed

Custom fields let you add extra metadata to your WordPress posts and pages. However, this metadata isn’t included in your default RSS feed.

To display custom fields in your RSS feed, simply add the following code snippet to your functions.php file or by using a code snippets plugin such as WPCode.

function wpb_rsstutorial_customfield($content) {
global $wp_query;
$postid = $wp_query->post->ID;
$custom_metadata = get_post_meta($postid, 'my_custom_field', true);
if(is_feed()) {
if($custom_metadata !== '') {
// Display custom field data below content
$content = $content."<br /><br /><div>".$custom_metadata."</div>
else {
$content = $content;
return $content;
add_filter('the_excerpt_rss', 'wpb_rsstutorial_customfield');
add_filter('the_content', 'wpb_rsstutorial_customfield');

This code checks if the custom field is being used and if the RSS feed is being displayed. After that, it will add the custom field data below the post content.

11. Delay Posts From Appearing in RSS Feed

Delaying posts from appearing in your RSS feed can save you from accidental publishing and can help you beat content scrapers if that’s an issue you regularly face.

When you delay posts from appearing in your RSS feed, you give the search engines time to crawl and index your content before it appears elsewhere.

Plus, you can check for any typos before it gets sent out to RSS subscribers.

To do this, you’ll need to add the following code to your functions.php file or by using a code snippets plugin such as WPCode.

function publish_later_on_feed($where) {

	global $wpdb;

	if ( is_feed() ) {
		// timestamp in WP-format
		$now = gmdate('Y-m-d H:i:s');

		// value for wait; + device
		$wait = '10'; // integer


		// add SQL-sytax to default $where
		$where .= " AND TIMESTAMPDIFF($device, $wpdb->posts.post_date_gmt, '$now') > $wait ";
	return $where;

add_filter('posts_where', 'publish_later_on_feed');

This code will add a 10-minute delay before posts appear in your RSS feed. You can change it to your own needs by changing the 10 and MINUTE values.

12. Add Social Buttons to Your WordPress RSS Feeds

Most RSS feed readers don’t have social sharing features, or they are not very noticeable. However, you can add your own social media icons to your RSS feed to encourage sharing.

First, you will need to create image icons for the social media networks you want to add. For this tutorial, we created images for Facebook and Twitter and uploaded them by going to Media » Add New.

After you upload your image files, you need to copy the ‘File URL’ and paste it into your favorite text editor to save it for the next step.

For more details, see our guide on how to get the URL of images you upload in WordPress.

Get the URL of an image in the WordPress media library

Next, you need to add the following code snippet to your functions.php file or by using a code snippets plugin such as WPCode.

// add custom feed content
function wpb_add_feed_content($content) {
// Check if a feed is requested
if(is_feed()) {
// Encoding post link for sharing
$permalink_encoded = urlencode(get_permalink());
// Getting post title for the tweet
$post_title = get_the_title(); 
// Content you want to display below each post
// This is where we will add our icons
$content .= '<p>
<a href="' . $permalink_encoded . '" title="Share on Facebook"><img src="Facebook icon file url goes here" title="Share on Facebook" alt="Share on Facebook" width="64px" height="64px" /></a>
<a href="'. $post_title . '&url=' . $permalink_encoded . '" title="Share on Twitter"><img src="Facebook icon file url goes here" title="Share on Twitter" alt="Share on Twitter" width="64px" height="64px" /></a>
return $content;
add_filter('the_excerpt_rss', 'wpb_add_feed_content');
add_filter('the_content', 'wpb_add_feed_content');

This code above will simply add the social sharing buttons for Twitter and Facebook. You need to replace the src= attribute in the image tag with your own image URLs that you pasted into your text editor earlier.

If you have optimized your RSS feed and are seeing errors, then see our guide on how to fix RSS feed errors.

We hope this article helped you learn how to optimize your WordPress RSS feed. You may also want to see our guide on how to choose the best website builder or our expert picks for the best email marketing services for small businesses.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us. Here's our editorial process.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

The Ultimate WordPress Toolkit

Get FREE access to our toolkit - a collection of WordPress related products and resources that every professional should have!

Reader Interactions

6 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
    Every month, our top blog commenters will win HUGE rewards, including premium WordPress plugin licenses and cash prizes.
    You can get more details about the contest from here.
    Start sharing your thoughts below to stand a chance to win!

  2. Karim Twin says

    It’s very useful article to deal with rss feed. Thanks for your great efforts . Keep it up .

  3. Cezar says


    4. Add Featured Image with WordPress Posts in RSS Feed is not working how is supose to work. Its showing full article instead of Summary (how i setup on Settings>Reading) and also showing 2 images check my website feed

  4. danilo alba says

    Feedly conflicts with the sliders in the site, so if we have to choose between having a slider or having feedly

Leave A Reply

Thanks for choosing to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our comment policy, and your email address will NOT be published. Please Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.