I was recently reading a post by Justin Germino, who had a problem using his main WordPress RSS feed because it shows every post on his blog, including guest posts. He wanted a way to only display posts written by him and found that WordPress has built-in functionality to do this.
An author feed was the solution that Justin was looking for. It’s a special feed that is automatically created by WordPress (no coding required!). It only displays posts written by the specified author and one is created for every single author you have.
To use an author feed, just use this address:
and change the domain for your own blog’s domain and the author name (dave) for your own author name.
You can also use feeds that only display posts within a certain category. For example, I could use the following feed to only display posts in my WordPress category:
Child category feeds follow the slug patterns you give them when setting up your categories. So for example, to only show posts in my Basics category, which is a sub-category of my WordPress category, I would use the following feed:
You can also use category IDs if you prefer, but I’m going to refer you to the Codex if you want to learn how to do that, as I believe using the category slug is much better.
The tag feed is very similar to the category feed. Simply swap out the tag (security) and domain in the following example to create a feed for posts with a particular tag:
Again, you can use tag IDs if you wish, but you’re just creating extra work for yourself. Answers in the Codex article referenced above if you’re interested though.
These feeds are handy for staying up-to-date on what is being said about a particular post. While some WordPress blogs give you the functionality to subscribe to comments by email when you comment, you normally have to comment yourself, and be OK with the comments clogging up your inbox. Your preferred method might be to get those comments using an RSS feed.
Again, this is included as standard in WordPress and you just need to add /feed/ to the end of the post permalink. So for example, the comments feed for this post is:
And there’s even a feed which includes comments from all posts. Just add /comments/feed/ to the end of the domain name. For example:
Now here’s a pretty interesting one. You can create a feed for a particular search expression, and it will return posts that match your search expression. This is a powerful tool that you can use to get notified of specific information from other WordPress sites. For example, if I want to be notified of every article on Mashable that mentions the iPhone, I can use the following feed address:
In order to configure it to your specific needs, you need to change the domain to the site you’re interested and the search term (iphone in this case) to the one that you’re interested in. If you want to use a search term that has two different words, like “social media”, then swap out the space out for a plus sign. For example:
A quick shortcut
If you’re having trouble with the syntax of a particular feed, you can use this quick workaround to save you the trouble. If your browser auto-discovers feeds (most do these days), then you can simply navigate to the appropriate page and the feed shown when you hit the RSS icon should be the one you’re looking for.
For example, if you go to any category page on my site, when you click the auto-discover icon, you’re not only given the main site feed, but you’re also given a feed for that category. The same applies when you go to posts (for comments), tag pages and author pages, though it doesn’t appear to work for search results.
Justin already came up with a great use for these more specific feeds. What do you use them for?
Custom post type feeds
After creating a custom post type for a client, I hadn’t realised that post using the custom post type don’t appear in the main WordPress RSS feed. However, as with categories and tags, custom post types have their own RSS feed. So for example, a custom post type that I recently provided for a client was called gallery and the RSS feed for that custom post type is: http://www.simontickett.com/feed/?post_type=gallery