Trying to figure out how to create a news site with WordPress? The process is actually a lot easier than you might think. And in this post, I’m going to prove it!
I’ll show you how can build a fully-functioning news aggregator website with WordPress using just six plugins (or fewer!).
I say six plugins because it’s going to give you some back-end functionality to make managing your news site easier, as well as analytics to see how everything is going. But if you want to eschew those extras, you could even do this with three plugins!
Ready to get started? Here’s how to build a WordPress news aggregator site using just six plugins…
The 6 Plugins You’ll Use To Build Your WordPress News Site
Here are the six plugins that I’ll use in this little mini tutorial:
- WP RSS Aggregator – required – this free plugin lets you import RSS feeds to your WordPress site. It’s what you’ll use to collect all the latest news from the different news sources you want to feature on your site.
- Feed To Post Add-on for WP RSS Aggregator – required – this premium extension lets you import those news RSS feed items as actual posts. It’s essential to create a good user experience for your visitors and make your news site more SEO-friendly.
- Ninja Forms – required – this free form plugin lets you easily create a contact form or a news submission form, which is something every website needs.
- MonsterInsights – optional – this free plugin helps you add Google Analytics to your WordPress site and view analytics data without leaving your WordPress dashboard.
- ManageWP – optional – ManageWP makes it easy to manage your news site’s updates. It’s especially helpful if you have multiple WordPress sites because you can manage them all from one place.
- BlogVault – optional – this premium service helps you manage backups and security, which keeps your news site and its data safe and secure.
Here’s how to put these six plugins together to build your news site…
Step-by-Step: Setting Up Your News Site
Here’s the process, step-by-step. I’ll also link out to some more detailed articles, where needed.
The only thing that I’ll assume is that you already have a basic working WordPress site, as well as a theme. If you don’t have those things yet, check out my full guide on how to create a WordPress site, as well as our collection of the best WordPress news site themes.
Step 1: Collect The News Sources You Want To Feature
To get started, you need to figure out exactly which news sources you want to include in your news aggregator.
There’s no right or wrong here – it’s really just about finding quality sources in your niche.
For each source, you’ll also need an RSS feed. Almost every website will include an RSS feed somewhere. But sometimes the exact URL can be a little tricky to find.
If you’re struggling to find the RSS feed for a source you want to include, check out our guide on how to find a site’s RSS feed URL for some common strategies.
Once you find the RSS feed URLs, keep them handy because you’ll need them in the next section.
Step 2: Configure Your News Feeds In WP RSS Aggregator
Once you’ve activated both plugins, go to RSS Aggregator → Add New in your WordPress dashboard to add your first news feed source.
At the top, give it a name and enter the RSS feed URL in the URL box:
Further down, you’ll need to configure the Feed to Post settings. Again, this premium add-on is what lets you import RSS feed items as real posts on your WordPress site. This helps visitors more easily browse your site and also allows Google to fully index your site (which is good for SEO).
The Feed to Post settings are divided into different boxes. I recommend considering all the settings, but here are some options that you should pay special attention to:
- Post Status – this lets you choose whether to automatically publish new feed items, or hold them as drafts for manual approval. By default, items will show up as drafts, which means you’ll need to manually publish them before you see any new content on your site.
- Force Full Content – this lets you import the full content even if the feed only requires an excerpt (you’ll need to the Full Text RSS Feeds add-on if you want this functionality).
- Feed to Post Taxonomies – this lets you add categories or tags to the news items that you import.
- Prepend to Content or Append to Content – these let you give credit to the original news source. You can also use variables to insert information like a link back, the author name, etc.
If you want a more detailed guide to this process, I recommend reading my full post on how to create a latest news website.
Once you successfully add your first feed, you’ll also want to repeat the process for all the different news sources you want to include on your site.
Then, news items will automatically start appearing on your site as those sources publish new content. Here’s an example of what content from WP Mayor’s RSS feed looks like using the default settings (you could play around with the settings to get better featured images, if needed):
WP RSS Aggregator
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Step 3: Add A Contact Form With Ninja Forms
Once you publish all of your news source RSS feeds with WP RSS Aggregator, you pretty much already have a working news site! But you’re still missing some core website functionality. Namely, a contact form.
People might want to get in touch with you to have their own news content featured, or to provide feedback.
To give those people an easy way to send you messages, you can use the free Ninja Forms plugin.
Once you install and activate it, go to Ninja Forms → Add New to create your first form. You can either choose from one of the pre-made templates or create a blank form (the Contact Us template is a good starting point):
Then, use the simple drag-and-drop interface to build out your form. For example, you could create a field where people can include a news source that they want to be featured:
Once you’re finished, click Publish and add the shortcode where you want your contact form to appear. You can get the shortcode from the Ninja Forms dashboard:
Step 4: Set Up Back-End Management And Analytics Plugins
Finally, you’ll want to configure the optional behind-the-scenes plugins that will help you manage your site and collect helpful analytics information.
Because these plugins are optional, I won’t go into as much detail. But I will link you out to help articles for each plugin:
- MonsterInsights – again, this helps you add Google Analytics to your news site. Here’s the setup guide.
- ManageWP – this helps you manage all of your WordPress news sites from a single unified dashboard. Here’s a guide to help you get it set up.
- BlogVault – this helps you automatically back up your news site to a secure location. And it can also help you protect your site against malware and other malicious issues. Read our BlogVault review to learn more about using the plugin.
And once you’ve set these up, you’ll not only have a working WordPress news site, you’ll also have a news site that’s secure and easy to manage.
Other Optional Plugins That You Can Use To Enhance Your WordPress News Site
At this point, you have what was promised – a working WordPress news aggregator site built with six or fewer plugins.
But…there’s a whole wide world of plugins out there! Some of which might make you want to break the (arbitrary) six plugin limit.
If you want to further enhance your news site, here are some other helpful options…
- Full Text Feeds add-on for WP RSS Aggregator – I mentioned this earlier – it lets you import the full text of a post even if the RSS feed only includes an excerpt.
- Keyword Filtering add-on for WP RSS Aggregator – this is another useful add-on that lets you filter RSS feed items by keyword. You can either only include content with a certain keyword, or include all content except for content that includes a certain keyword.
- MobiLoud – this service helps you create a native mobile app version of your site, which lets your visitors consume news on the go.
- Yoast SEO – this free SEO plugin helps you handle a ton of important on-page SEO functionality. Basically, it helps your news site rank better in Google.
- Akismet – if you allow comments on news articles, this free plugin will help you automatically filter out comment spam.
- A page builder plugin – if you want to create a more detailed design, a page builder lets you use simple drag-and-drop editing to build more complex page designs. Elementor and Beaver Builder are two good options.
- Display Posts Shortcode – this free plugin lets you display a list of your latest news posts. It’s helpful if you want to create a simple list of latest news posts in a spot outside your new blog archive page.
Enjoy Your WordPress News Site!
Whether you want to keep things below six plugins or break through the limit with some of the other plugins that I featured, you now should have everything you need to build an awesome news site using WordPress.
Now over to you. Do you think there are any other plugins that are a must-have for a WordPress news aggregator website? Let us know in the comments!