What is an RSS Aggregator?
An RSS aggregator offers a simple premise for its readers: get all the relevant content on a specific topic in one place.
An RSS Aggregator will bring web content from various sources into one location to help people access news from different places more easily.
Despite not being new technology, they remain popular thanks to their simplicity, their effectiveness at aggregating and saving news from your favorite websites, and because they work on both desktop and mobile.
They’re still popular too – for example, Feeder make a case for the popularity of RSS, highlighting that they grew organically to 600,000 subscribers in a relatively short space of time.
Well, you can build one yourself using WordPress.
Can I build an RSS Aggregator in WordPress?
Just like the RSS aggregators you read yourself, one that’s built in WordPress can use a clean and professional interface that follows the design of the likes of leading newspapers like The New York Times or Wall Street Journal.
A nice example of a news aggregator built with WordPress is WP News Desk, which aggregates WordPress-related content from around the web. Here is a snapshot from its website:
With a WordPress theme and a handful of essential plugins, it’s quick to get started with and a useful addition to your news aggregator building toolkit.
To see similar results with your own news aggregation service, use the following themes and plugins:
Best WordPress RSS Aggregator Themes
You’ll need a theme with a clean interface, that’s well-organized, and that runs super fast.
This will provide your website visitors with a great user experience, and if your site’s speed is quick and UX is great for users, it’ll help your website rank higher in Google too.
One of the most popular RSS aggregator WordPress themes is WP-Drudge.
It’s designed to help you create a website like the Drudge Report, a well-known news aggregation website (although the two are not affiliated), using only WordPress.
The WP Drudge theme makes it easy to post all types of content, and has space for ads so you can monetize your site traffic.
Price: $89 for a single site license
Voice is a nice choice for those of you wanting to provide a great first impression, and make money from your content aggregation service.
Whether it’s for a magazine, newspaper, or blog, you can use this theme to create beautifully styled content-centric websites–for your own content as well as the aggregation of content from others.
As a bonus, it comes with seamless ad network integration to make monetization of your content simple.
“Voice WordPress theme is created with news and magazine websites in mind. It’s a carefully crafted and well-thought-out theme, aiming to make the publishing of your articles as easy as possible. Its simple to use module system will let you organize your articles and content as you wish and you can make sure it will look good whether you have a small blog or a large editorial website.”
– Bojan Petrovic, MeksHQ
Newspaper is great because of how many styles of news you can work with.
Want a more buttoned-up look as you share entertainment and fashion news on your content aggregation site? Or how about something a bit more cutting edge as you aggregate the best software-related news?
Newspaper comes with dozens of demos to try out. It also includes features like social media integration, video capabilities, and byline widgets to save you from having to create them on your own.
The company behind Newspaper told us why it’s ideal for creating a News website:
“Newspaper helps you create a beautiful website out-of-the-box, with an easy to use drag-and-drop page builder, hundreds of beautiful templates and pre-built ad slots to help you monetize your website!”
– Alina S, TagDiv
Sounds good, right?
If you want to get started with Newspaper WordPress theme, they recommend starting with this documentation.
Price: Licenses from $59
The MH Magazine theme will be a great fit for your content.
It’s clean, modern, fully responsive and will work well for news RSS aggregator websites, online magazines or blogs, and other editorial or content based projects.
It offers lots of additional functionality including custom widgets, advanced layout options, and the ability to fully customize the color scheme to match your brand identity.
Best WordPress RSS Aggregator Plugins
News themes will often take care of the features you need to display posts in the best light possible (as evidenced by the themes above). That said, news aggregator WordPress sites have some additional needs that you need to be prepared to address with plugins.
To start making your content aggregation site, you need a plugin like WP RSS Aggregator.
This plugin is going to make aggregating news feeds from a variety of sources and displaying them within a single feed on your site fast, and simple.
You’ll also want the Feed-to-Post upgrade, which turns an otherwise mundane aggregation of links to other sites into a place where news can be read from within your own WordPress website or app.
“Starting out with a website focused on content is not easy, especially since it takes time to populate your website with valuable content. With WP RSS Aggregator you can solve this problem.
As you write up your own original content, import content, import articles, videos and more from top sources in your niche to start attracting new visitors and keep them coming back for more, day after day (just remember to credit the original source!), making it an ideal plugin to create a news aggregator.”
– Mark, WP RSS Aggregator
And, if you want a guide on how to set up a news, content curation or aggregation site with WordPress, they wrote this practical tutorial on starting out with WP RSS Aggregator.
Price: Free for the core version. Add-on prices vary.
Another popular WordPress RSS aggregator plugin is Feedzy RSS Feeds.
Feedzy provides RSS feed and autoblogging functionality, which is going to make it easy for you to setup your website and start aggregating and curating the best content in your niche from around the web.
The plugin is mobile optimized too, so you can provide your website visitors with a great experience on all devices! If you decide that you want to provide a mobile app to your website visitors in the future, Feedzy will provide a clean design that’s going to help your app look great.
Price: Free version available. Paid plans start from £57.
RSSImport is a lightweight and flexible plugin that won’t take you long at all to setup.
Simply download and install it, then use a widget, shortcode, or a PHP function to start creating your content feed!
It only uses standard WordPress functionality so you don’t have to install any external libraries and complicate the setup in any way!
Another popular plugin to help create your RSS feed is the RSS Post Importer plugin.
Like some of the other plugins recommended, this plugin imports the entire Full Text RSS Feed from websites of your choice, to help you provide your audience with a regular stream of high quality content. They recommend their plugin for news aggregators, content syndicators, coompany blogs, event bloggers, or ecommerce deal bloggers due to it’s ability to help you post extremely timely content.
Price: Licenses start at $39
If you’re engaging with your audience via email, you’re going to want the email content to look great and reflect your website.
Featured Images in RSS & Mailchimp Email is going to help you create emails that look great, and are always up-to-date with the most recent content on your site.
“Our free Featured Images in RSS plugin is by far the best plugin to add beautiful photos with size and alignment options to your otherwise plain text-only RSS feed, which can then be used to create professional fully automated content marketing campaigns.
Our Premium version includes more advanced options our users have requested over time, like Media tags, excluding categories, sponsor or ad copy per post, and more, with friendly support including custom CSS coding for your platform of choice!”
– Rob, 5 Star Plugins
This plugin will add the featured images from posts straight to emails setup in CRM software such as Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, Hubspot, Constant Contact, Feedly and any other service that can use RSS-to-email functionality to enrich email content.
If you have a content-rich site, you’re likely to be categorizing it using a tag system or similar. Because of this, you’ll be attracting an audience with varied interests, and it’s unlikely that they’ll want to subscribe to a content feed that they aren’t completely interested in.
Category Specific RSS Feed Subscription WordPress plugin allows you to show a menu with multiple RSS feed subscription options, in addition to your normal RSS subscription option. This means your visitors can subscribe to the most relevant feeds possible on your aggregation website.
Images play a major role on any news website, which can be problematic for performance if you don’t optimize them properly.
You should have a plugin like Smush installed in order to keep uploaded content to a reasonable size, and making sure that your site loads quickly on all types of internet connection, and on both desktop and mobile devices.
If you want your news website to also work perfectly on your audience’s mobile devices, you can have a native news app built and published for you by MobiLoud.
Price: Free. Paid Pro version available.
Create a Mobile App for your RSS Aggregator Website
Once your website is up and running, it’s easy to create a mobile app to show your aggregated content in a native mobile format that your audience will love to use.
All you will need is your WordPress RSS Aggregator website, and a MobiLoud News subscription.
We created a mobile app for WP News Desk to help them provide their content to their audience on iOS and Android devices.
You can try their mobile app for yourself by downloading the app (for free!) from the iOS store here!
You can read the whole post on how we created the WP News Desk app, which outlines the requirements, and how we provided extra customizations to ensure the best possible app experience for both their users, and their content sources.
Creating a WordPress RSS Aggregator website is going to be far easier with the help of these plugins and themes.
You’ll be able to create whatever kind of RSS aggregator site that you want.
Many of these will plugins have explainer videos on their websites or embedded within their plugin page in the WordPress plugin directory, so you can get more of a feel for them before deciding on the right one for you!
Once your website is live, and your content feed is starting to see a high volume of traffic, you’re probably going to want a native mobile app to provide your audience a great mobile experience, and start increasing engagement with Push Notifications and growing your audience with an iOS and Google Play store presence.
Want to learn all about building and launching mobile apps for your WordPress site? If you liked this article, you’ll love the Mobile App Strategy Handbook. Click here to download it for free.