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How to Set Up a News Aggregator with WordPress & WP RSS Aggregator

The WP RSS Aggregator plugin keeps growing in popularity having reached a total of 400,000 downloads, and there are more plans to grow it further. Being the Project Lead, I always look for different ways of implementing it, so I used my resources to create the best WordPress news dashboard possible, all powered by our WP RSS Aggregator plugin and its add-ons (and a few other plugins to take care of the minor tasks) - introducing WP News Desk.

News aggregator websites, whatever niche they may be for, offer the best way to sift through the ridiculously large amount of news that is published every hour. Curating the news for a specific niche or market gives readers a single location where they can find all the information they need.

There are plenty of great news aggregators out there, from the likes of Alltop to the Drudge Report. Sites like these are tremendously successful because they focus on 4 key areas:

  1. They use a simple design that is easy to navigate and read. Whether you’re on a desktop computer or your mobile phone, they’re easily accessible everywhere.
  2. The aggregated content can be sorted and filtered in various ways, from topics to sources.
  3. They aggregate news from a variety of trusted sources, ensuring that they reach as wide an audience as possible without sacrificing quality.
  4. All the news is attributed to the original source, ensuring that they are not stealing content from anyone and the original writer gets the credit they deserve for their own content.

We Live in a World where Content is King

We’ve all heard the saying by now: “content is king”; whether you’re tired of hearing it or not, it still holds true. However, you don’t want just any content; it has to be good, quality content that provides value.

In the fast-paced world of social media, we’re bombarded by new content every second – some of it good, some of it bad. It’s almost impossible to keep up with everything that’s going on in the world, and the same can be said for the WordPress community.

Content is king

There are so many great WordPress resources out there nowadays that are constantly bringing us the latest news or publishing great tutorials that it has become a job in itself to keep up with all of them. You need some way to keep track of all these incredible sources without it becoming a hassle. That’s where content aggregation comes in.

Hence the Birth of WP News Desk – A News Aggregator for WordPress

WP News Desk is a WordPress site that provides you with all the latest WordPress news from around the world. It curates the latest posts from over 100 of the top WordPress websites: WordPress blogs, news sites, ecommerce blogs, personal blogs, and tech blogs with a category dedicated to WordPress. It also includes a separate section dedicated to WordPress podcasts that is regularly updated with all the latest episodes.

wp-news-desk

WP News Desk began as a means of showcasing the power of the WP RSS Aggregator plugin and its add-ons, while also providing you, the WordPress blogger, enthusiast, developer, or whatever you might call yourself, with a central space where you can keep up to date with all the latest happenings in the WordPress blogging sphere.

Although similar aggregation sites already exist, we wanted to create a news aggregator that streamlined the sources to only the best ones out there, ensuring that you only get the very best quality content that’s published across the web (in relation to WordPress, of course).

Interested?

Create your own news aggregator. Get the WP RSS Aggregator Pro Plan and get started today.

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The Steps Taken to Create WP News Desk

The process of creating the WP News Desk site wasn’t a hard or long one. In fact, WP RSS Aggregator simplifies it tremendously since the majority of the time will actually be taken up by the content curation itself. Here are the steps we took to put it all together.

Step 0: The Website

Once you’ve picked a domain name and registered it, you need to pick a host for your website. This is where your website will live, so it’s important that you make the right choice.

When building a news aggregator website, you’re going to be curating a lot of content, possibly with a lot of images and a lot of traffic, so a reliable host will be very important.

At WP Mayor, we recommend WP Engine’s Startup hosting plan for news aggregators. We’ve worked successfully with them for many years and have hosted multiple aggregator sites with no trouble whatsoever. That’s why we collaborated with them to give you 4 months off their annual plans!

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If you don’t have the budget to spend around $300 a year on hosting and would rather start with something cheaper, we recommend Bluehost. They provide top WordPress hosting at more affordable prices.

Once you’ve chosen a hosting provider and set up your website, it’s time to get started.

Step 1: Set Up WP RSS Aggregator

Install WP RSS Aggregator and its Add-ons

As I’ve already mentioned, the WP News Desk news aggregator runs on the WP RSS Aggregator WordPress plugin and its add-ons. It makes use of the Feed to Post and Full Text RSS Feeds add-ons for its main aggregating functionality.

Boost visitor engagement and grow your following with WP RSS Aggregator.

The Feed to Post add-on is what allows us to import the feed items from RSS feeds as WordPress posts and have them displayed within our blog, while the Full Text RSS add-on is used to bring in the featured images for those sources that don’t provide them within their RSS feeds.

Activate the License Keys

Once the plugins are installed, it’s important to add the license keys for the premium add-ons. This is important to keep receiving updates and support, but it’s also a requirement for the Full Text RSS Feeds add-on to work.

wp-news-desk-license

Set Up the General Settings

Next, it’s time to select the General Settings. In this case, we went ahead and set an age limit of 2 months that will be applied to all sources unless told otherwise in the feed source’s settings, and we also set a Feed Processing Interval of 2 hours, meaning new posts are fetched every couple of hours.

wp-news-desk-settings

Apart from that, the Feed to Post settings were also set to the options that we wanted to be applied to all feed sources as they were created. The most important ones included setting the Post Type to blog posts, using canonical links, setting the author to use to be the one provided in the feeds, and setting the featured image thumbnail to be the first image in the content, with a fallback to the feed image as a last resort.

Set Up the Categories

To ensure that you’re kept up to date with every bit of WordPress news out there, we decided to introduce podcasts into the mix too, so we created a separate news feed within WP News Desk that caters only for WordPress-related podcasts.

wp-news-desk-categories

This was done using the normal WordPress post categories. In fact, all that was needed here was to create the categories required for the sources we intended to include, and we could then apply them to the various sources individually.

You can also make use of the Keyword Filtering add-on to control, import, and store only feed items that contain specific keywords in the title or content, or with specific categories or tags to further streamline the categorization process.

Apply Some Customizations

In order to get the desired behavior in all areas of the site, we used our WP RSS Aggregator filters. These allowed us to make all the imported posts’ titles link directly back to the original source. This was always our intention since we wanted the original authors to get all the credit (and traffic) that they deserve.

wp-news-desk-filters

All it took was adding a filter to the theme’s functions.php file, along with another filter that allowed us to remove the Podcasts category from the regular blog and display it in a separate section of the site.

WP RSS Aggregator is designed to work with any WordPress theme. Using templates, WP RSS Aggregator allows you to create many styles of displays that can be used anywhere on the site. Just select the template to use, choose the sources to show, and you’re all done. This can be done in the page builder via both our Gutenberg block and shortcode. You can even include feeds in your sidebar or other widget areas!

Add the Feed Sources

The final step for WP RSS Aggregator was to add the feed sources, apply the individual settings for each source, occasionally adding a fallback featured image for those sources that don’t always include an image within their post’s content, and then publish the feed sources to start importing the posts.

wp-news-desk-feed-sources

That was it for setting up WP RSS Aggregator. The feed sources would now have their latest posts fetched every so often, and the WP News Desk blog would continue getting updated for as long as the plugin is running.

Step 2: Add Complimentary Plugins

Besides WP RSS Aggregator, we also opted to install a few other plugins that would allow for the smooth running of WP News Desk. First of all, in order to ensure that WordPress, the plugins, and our themes are kept up to date, we installed the Advanced Automatic Updates plugin.

Quick Featured Images is a plugin we often use alongside WP RSS Aggregator as a means of adding a featured image column to the Posts list. This allows us to quickly identify which posts and sources have no featured images set in order to be able to rectify it as quickly as possible.

We used Toolset to create our custom post type for our content as well as our custom fields and to display our content on the front-end. Check out how you can automatically import content into a post type with WP RSS Aggregator.

Since we wanted feedback from our visitors while also giving them a chance to suggest new sources, we opted to install the free Ninja Forms plugin, and it works great. Yoast SEO was then our go-to option to take care of the website’s SEO options, and BackupBuddy takes care of performing backups. Last but not least, Jetpack allows us to keep track of our site stats and does a few other minor tasks too.

Step 3: Launch the Site

All that was left now was to launch the site and to start letting the world know about it.

WP News Desk

At this point, you could be thinking that this might just be a one-time job – a set it and forget it kind of site. Well, no, I don’t believe any website could be that way.

While we have already curated the sources whose posts are displayed on WP News Desk, it still requires some curation and attention in order to keep it running smoothly and consistently.

What Does the Community Think?

The response to WP News Desk has been great, with multiple visitors getting in touch to either suggest a source or let us know what they think about the site. At this point, I feel that it’s important to point out that, as explained on WP News Desk itself, we’re not importing content from other sources to make it seem like our own (i.e., stealing it), but the exact opposite.

WordPress Community

The WP RSS Aggregator plugin allows us to import all new posts to WP News Desk, display them within the blog with the source name, author name and publish date all clearly shown, and all the while always linking back directly to the original post.

As soon as a visitor clicks on a post title, featured image, or metadata, that person is taken directly from the aggregator site to the post on the original source’s website. This ensures that the authors get the credit they deserve while also providing the original source with the traffic it earned.

Build your own news aggregator with WP RSS Aggregator’s Pro Plan.

Mark Zahra
Mark Zahra
CEO at RebelCode, the team behind WP Mayor, Spotlight, WP RSS Aggregator, and the Mastermind.fm podcast. Follow me on Twitter @markzahra.

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48 Responses

  1. Hello
    Very nice work..:-)

    Please, could You estimate, the cost of buying all the plugins and addons needed for exc. this setup: wpnewshelpdesk – witch buy the way is awesome ?

    1. Hi, glad you like it! The cost of the add-ons can be found here, as it depends on what level of functionality you’re looking for. The rest of the plugins are mostly free versions, so the only other costs are your domain, hosting and time.

  2. Is this plugin more aggregator oriented or content curation oriented? I mean, once I added several sources, am I able to read then choose the articles I want to relay on my site?

    1. Hi Yves, it can be used for both. If you’d like to curate the content before it’s published on your site you can simply import the posts as Drafts, then read through them, select the ones you like, and Publish those. For more information you can open a pre-sales support ticket here 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Yves. Feel free to post your results in a comment here should you decide to create something cool with WP RSS Aggregator. We’re always very interested to see what our customers can come up with!

  3. Hi mark, which hosting provider will you suggest for me to create a robust news aggregator website? Thanks.

    1. Hey Paul, that’s the theme that does that. The WP RSS Aggregator only imports the content, then it’s up to your theme or page builder to display those posts in the style that you want.

  4. Is it possible to get approved for Google Adsense with an aggregator site? I know Adsense generally only allows ads to be placed on pages with original content. If not, what would be an alternative method of placing ads on an aggregator site?

    Thanks

    1. Hey Chris,

      Have you tried asking the Google support team about that?

      Are you planning on supplementing the imported content with your own? And do you plan to import the full content or to show snippets that then link to the original articles?

      There are other methods of placing ads on an aggregator sites. For example, you can do banner adverts for affiliates and earn commissions on sales that came from your site. Have you considered such a setup?

  5. Hi Mark,

    When using WP aggregator does it not affect SEO? I read on a very popular site that duplicate content is not very good for SEO and ranking and thus not SEO best practice.

    Secondly, in reference to the above – if ChiefSpinner is used does it change the content to original and unique content – thus no duplicate can be found apart from the post on my site?

    The above then also helps with adsense and google seeing it as original content not true?

    Thanks

    1. Hey there, apologies, I was away for a few days.

      Using a word spinner will change the post content to make it unique, however, the quality of that content depends completely on the service you use.

      With regards to affecting SEO, please take a look at the docs below, they should help you understand the situation better:

      https://docs.wprssaggregator.com/q-how-will-importing-existing-posts-affect-the-seo-for-my-site-and-the-source-site/

      https://docs.wprssaggregator.com/should-i-worry-about-duplicate-content-being-penalized-in-google/

  6. Every bloggers knows how important it is to be backing up a blog especially one whose blog has been hacked before like myself.
    Backing up through phpmyadmin is also one of the best and simple means of doing it and that’s exactly the way i usually back up mine.

  7. Hello sir i wanted to ask that how to get the add ons for free for rss aggregator because their is no option of free version

  8. Hi Mark,
    I was wondering what setting it is that causes the headline for each article to link directly to it’s page of origin.
    The way it’s working on my page, the headline for each article links to the identical (but shortened) article on my site. Then the user has to click on Continue Reading to get to the page of origin.
    I don’t actually want to duplicate the content on my page — just link directly to the site of origin.
    Thoughts?
    Rachel

    1. Hey John, feel free to contact the support team at any time from the link below:

      http://www.wprssaggregator.com/contact/

      By import one feed, do you mean import one post from an RSS feed source per hour, no matter how many new posts are available? If so, there is only one way to currently do this, and that is to limit the number of posts stored on your site to one, but that deletes the older posts.

      The reason for this is that we did not find a reliable way to decide which of the available new posts to import. Say there are 7 new posts, which particular one would you want?

  9. I use WP RSS Aggregator with Baskerville 2. I notice that a few of the posts don’t have the “continue reading” at the end of the page. First, have you experienced this with WP News Desk and what was your remedy?

    1. HI Martin, can you share an example of a post with that link and one without? If you can also share the source RSS feeds that would be helpful. If you’re not comfortable sharing them here, you may contact support here: https://www.wprssaggregator.com/contact/

      It might be that some of those links are coming from the original feed itself, or that you’re missing a setting on only some of the feed sources. Are you using a particular setting from WP RSS Aggregator to display the “continue reading” link?

  10. The page is not live yet. I did send a picture to the customer support but not sure if they understood. Would I have to insert the code manually if the continue reading is not working for a post? I did send a picture. Will send another one.

    1. Since you’re using the Baskerville theme, ​I believe that theme does not show a “Continue reading” link when there is less content in the entire post that the max excerpt length. So if a post has 20 words, for example, the entire content can be seen in the excerpt, so it won’t include a “Continue reading” link.

      This is an issue you’ll need to sort out with the theme developer, not WP RSS Aggregator. The developer is Anders Norén, you can find the website here: https://www.andersnoren.se/teman/baskerville-wordpress-theme/

  11. I have a post here that the “Continue Reading” didn’t show up and there were more than 20 words. Here is the article being imported- https://www.tableau.com/about/blog/2019/12/introducing-learning-paths-sharpen-your-skills-new-role-based-learning, it is more than 20 words. So this might be a WP RSS Aggregator issue. As you used the Baskerville theme in WP News Desk, I just wanted to see if you dealt with this problem and how you solved it. Anyway, I will gather some insight from Anders Noren.

  12. I started a news aggregation site with this similar setup (wp rss aggregator with feed to post) but I’m experiencing a bit of an issue with disk space management since using the featured image requires those files to be saved locally.

    Was this ever an issue on WP News desk? I’m currently pulling from 30 sources and around 100 posts a day. The problem is that 1000 posts is taking up 1GB from the featured images! (and that’s with image compression tools). This is quickly going to fill up my available disk space (20GB).

    Perhaps I’m just a fool for choosing hosting with limited disk space, but I also didn’t originally intend to build the site I’m currently working on. Just curious if this is something you ran into as well and if so, how it was managed.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Frank, we don’t have that problem on WP News Desk, and never have.

      Featured images must be hosted locally as a WordPress requirement so I’m afraid there’s no other way around that as far as I know. May I ask what hosting you’re using? We haven’t had this be an issue on any of our sites so far, most of which are hosted on SiteGround, WP Engine, Kinsta, or Servebolt.

      1. Hi Mark,

        Thanks for the info. I’m using Siteground. Their plans have limited disk space available. (mine is 20gb). I actually do like their service and it’s blazing fast (especially compared to other hosts I’ve used) but the disk space limitation is frustrating.

        I did notice there is an option in wp rss aggregator to delete posts automatically after a certain age but I wanted to keep at least one year of content which does not seem feasible anymore. At my current rate of 120 posts a day and 1000 posts = 1GB space needed for the images, I’m looking at only about 5-6 months of content before maxing out.

        Any thoughts on possible solutions?

        1. That’s great, we’ve worked successfully with SiteGround for many years.

          Keeping up to 1 year’s worth of posts is a lot. We typically have our own setups to remove older posts after 2 to 3 months. That would be your best option here given the volume of posts that you are importing. Is there a particular reason to keep 1 year’s worth of posts?

          You may also want to speak to SiteGround to see if they have any other solutions.

          1. You make a fair point! One year is excessive and not really needed other than a “why not if you could” type of perspective. Maintaining 2-3 months will be more than sufficient for my needs. Thank you again for sharing your insight!

  13. Hello, I have a question if you occurred a similar problem with your WP New Desk Site.

    We have a Page with all the same codes and installed Plugins as you. Everything was fine until we found out that an customer was reading an external article on our website, which shouldn’t be happening. Also on this viewing article are other imported articles which should be linking outside our website to the original source, but are linked to our website.

    We also tried this code: https://kb.wprssaggregator.com/article/295-f2p-filter-make-post-titles-link-directly-to-the-original-article (paragraph: “In some cases, the post title links might not link externally when on the singular post view. If this is the case, apply the additional filter below.”). Which helped with the other articles inside the viewing article, but this makes another problem. The linked articles where not the same links as the title and Website.

    I hope you can help us out.

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