Thanks to the Internet, there’s a ton of news out there on a whole range of topics. To help people sift through the mess of news getting published every day, you can create a WordPress news aggregator website to collect and sort news from different sources into one easy-to-find location – your own content aggregator.
What makes a good content aggregator website?
Made famous, in part, by sites like The Drudge Report, content aggregator sites are part of many web users daily browsing habits.
Content aggregator sites aren’t just about blindly throwing up content from an RSS feed, though.
To create a quality WordPress news aggregator website, you’ll want to consider these points:
- Make content sortable. Ensure that whatever solution you use to aggregate news lets you add categories to different news sources/articles so that your readers can easily find what they want.
- Aggregate a variety of content. Make sure that your site is able to successfully aggregate content from a variety of sources – otherwise, you’re not offering as much benefit to your readers.
- Use a news-friendly theme. Choose a WordPress theme that lets visitors quickly scan multiple articles to find one that interests them.
- Make sure you provide attribution. It should go without saying, but you need to provide attribution to the original source so that you don’t end up accidentally stealing content.
In the sections below, we’ll show you how to create a WordPress news aggregator website that meets the above conditions and is built for success.
How to create a WordPress news aggregator website
Here are the steps you need to take:
Step 1: How to pick a theme for your WordPress news aggregator website
To build a content aggregator site on WordPress, you will need a solid theme and an RSS plugin which can import feeds as headlines and/or full WordPress posts.
Your theme should be able to display multiple posts on the page. If it can’t handle this then your content aggregator site will be devoured by the competition.
Let’s take Techmeme as an example and how the three-column structure gives them an opportunity to display ~12 headlines above the fold. If you go to the final section you will see another 13 headlines organized in a two-column structure. Suitability for a WordPress news aggregator website means a theme able to display a large number of headlines.
All those headlines mean that a good content aggregator site has a lot of information. This makes navigation options the second “make or break” criteria. Whether your aggregator site organizes content by source or category, you will need to make things easy for your readers.
Take a look at how Metacritic offers multiple navigation options through the page.
With this is mind, you should use a theme that organizes content inside a grid, like Oblique. It is a free news magazine theme, which means it is set up to display multiple articles on a single page with clarity.
I also like the look of Readable as a content aggregator site because it has the nice grid setup with a good menu option running along the top of the screen.
You could also look at Gather, which is another great theme for content aggregation because it has a number of layout options baked right in. Choose from one- to four-column masonry layout options for the ultimate content sharing options.
Step 2: Install a WordPress RSS aggregator plugin
So, after the theme is set up, the next thing you need is to select a plugin that can help you collect and post the articles to your feed. The best option for this is an RSS aggregator plugin, for two reasons:
- Firstly, you can set it once and then leave everything to automation.
- Secondly, you will be able to import the feeds as actual WordPress posts.
For this we recommend Feedzy – the pro version. Or, if you can make do with slightly less features, you can also get the free version of Feedzy here:
Start by installing Feedzy like any other plugin.
Step 3: How to find feeds for aggregation
Once you have installed and activated the plugin, you are ready to get the feeds for your WordPress news aggregator website.
For WordPress blogs, it is nearly always a case of adding
/feed to the end of the site’s URL. This is what you’ll see:
For any other page you can look for the RSS feed icon, like the one on The Economist:
When you find a feed that interests you, click on it to see a screen similar to the WordPress feed screen above. The URL of the page will be the feed URL you need for your content aggregator site to gather data.
You can view a site’s source code with any browser’s developer tools and CTRL+F and search for “rss”:
In this case, everything after “href=” is feed gold for a content aggregation site.
You can also add RSS feeds from YouTube to your site. Simply go to YouTube Subscription Manager. You can export the RSS feed of any YouTube channel that you are subscribed to. After you have exported the file, simply open it and you can copy and paste the channel feed URL and make your WordPress news aggregator website really pop.
Step 4: How to add feeds to your WordPress aggregator site
We’re going to use Oblique to set up an aggregator site for WordPress videos. Using the above method, I collected a bunch of YouTube RSS feeds.
Enter the dashboard of your WordPress site and click on Feedzy → Feed Categories:
Click on Add Category to get started. Give the Category a name and paste all of your feeds in the Category Feeds editor.
Once you have entered the URLs, hit publish to get your first category up and ready.
In order to start aggregating feeds on your site, you will need to grab the slug from the categories page.
Then click on Import Posts in the Feedzy menu and new import to open the Import Setup Wizard. Give the posts a name, and paste the slug in to the Feed sources field.
If you are aggregating content using a broad RSS feed, you can use Feedzy’s feed filters option to narrow the posts. Simply enter keywords for inclusion or exclusion in the field.
You can now start assigning the values to your feed imports to make your site functional. You will see quite a few options, but for a content aggregator site you will need to select ‘post’ from the menu.
For the second step, you will need to set the appropriate category for each of the posts. It is important to follow the rules for creating useful categories.
This step should be fairly simple, but if you are setting up exclusions then you might want to set the posts to draft. This will give you the option to review before anything is posted.
One of Feedzy’s best qualities are the provided shortcodes, which will help you automate the naming, and attribution processes.
You can also set Feedzy to use the published date from the original article or your own post. Luckily, Feedzy provides all the codes, you just need to select according to your preference.
When it comes to content, you have quite a few options. However, for a good aggregator site, an excerpt and URL back to the original site are the best move.
You can also choose to include the featured image from the blog, or video. This, again, should come down to your preference. However, keep in mind that an image free post will allow you to add more headlines.
Once you are happy with your choices click ‘Save & Activate’ to return to the main screen. If your feed is ready to aggregate content, the slider will be green and the countdown started.
You will have your first content aggregator site as soon as that first run is done. You can also use this screen to see how many items were imported by Feedzy in each run.
A completed run means you have finished the final step of the WordPress news aggregator website setup: aggregating and posting content. You can then go to your site and see how your aggregator site looks. Example:
Wrapping things up
Thanks to WordPress’ ease of use and extensibility, it’s easy to create a WordPress news aggregator website. You won’t need to code anything yourself – all you’ll need to do is find the RSS feeds for the websites that you want to aggregate content from.
Remember – here’s everything that you need to build a WordPress news aggregator website:
- Solid hosting that can handle importing multiple RSS feeds
- A WordPress news aggregator theme that can display large numbers of articles
- The Feedzy RSS Feeds plugin to actually aggregate news items
- (Optional) Additional plugins to help integrate Facebook and Twitter