Writers and journalists frequently contribute to different sites as well as their own blog, and WordPress can be used to easily add their articles there.
For a writer, having an updated list of articles published elsewhere on their own website is an excellent method of promotion. Many writers however, will find that adding each link individually is time-consuming and counter-productive. Thankfully, there is an automated option for writers who base their websites on WordPress.
The RSS Feed Widget
WordPress provides an RSS feed widget by default to all sites. This widget can display up to twenty recent entries, with or without timestamps and excerpts, on any area with widgets in WordPress. This is typically the sidebar, but depending on the theme, it can be placed in the header, footer, or on front pages instead.
The widget is identified in the Widget admin screen simply as ‘RSS – Entries from any RSS or Atom feed’.
Getting the Article List
Magazine and blog sites will always provide an RSS feed of their material to subscribers. Many of them also provide individualised feeds for each of their contributing writers; Magazine style sites that run on WordPress, for example, use the format http://example.com/author/authorname/feed/ for their author feeds. RSS feeds can be identified by the orange RSS icon.
To get the article feed link; a user only has to right click on the RSS or ‘Subscribe’ button and copy the link to the clipboard.
Adding the Feed to WordPress
On the WordPress Widget admin screen, drag the RSS widget to any suitable area. It should open up automatically for configuration. The only essential part is the RSS feed URL; paste the RSS feed link there. Normally the widget will only show title links, but ticking “Display Content” and “Display Date” will add an excerpt and timestamp. Once the widget settings are saved, the article feed should now appear on the website, using the theme settings for formatting.
The two main benefits of using an RSS widget in this manner is that the look and feel of the article list will automatically match the rest of the site, and it will be dynamically updated as soon as the writer publishes more content on the site providing the feed. It’s also possible to add the feed anywhere on a WordPress site, by using a combination of plugins and custom page templates, or by editing the theme directly. In theory, the RSS feed can be added to any blogging platform that has the option to display a specific feed in a specific location.
It is important to note, however, that although some WordPress RSS plugins make it possible to automatically republish articles in their entirety from an RSS feed, this is not recommended at all. Google penalises duplicate content in their index, and the author may have agreed to exclusive usage rights for their articles on the originating site. The RSS method really should be used only for promotion, if possible.