A related posts plugin makes it easy for readers to discover more of your content.
It does this by adding a few links to related content at the end of your article. Typically, the plugin knows they’re related because the articles are in the same category, have the same or similar tags or similar words in the title tag and content.
The idea is simple – to keep visitors on your site for as long as possible.
Think about this for a second – if you don’t give them the chance to stay on your site, you’re effectively saying “Okay, that’s all I have. Thanks for visiting. Goodbye.”
You don’t want to do that.
You want to make the most of every bit of traffic you get. You want to keep people on your site, engaging with your content, for as long as possible.
The longer somebody stays on your site, the more likely they are to become a customer, client or a subscriber.
How does a Related Posts plugin work?
There are a lot of these plugins around. They typically work by reading the post titles, assigned categories and tags, and sometimes the words used in your posts, to collate related content and output them as a list at the end of a post.
The better plugins let you choose the number of posts to show. Also, they let you choose between showing the list as plain text links, as thumbnails or as text and thumbnails.
Should you use one?
That’s your call. It’s worth playing around with one or two of the popular ones to see if they increase engagement on your site. You should be aware that some of them hog server resources and can slow down the loading time of your site. Once again, test them out to see how they work for you.
Popular WordPress Related Posts plugins
You might be better choosing from one of the tried and tested plugins to begin with. Here is a list of the ones that have been installed most often. The number represents the active installs at the time of writing.
- Related Posts (100,000)
- Related Posts for WordPress (6,000)
- Related Posts by Taxonomy (8,000)
- Efficient Related Posts (7,000)
- Contextual Related Posts (70,000) *we’re using this one*
- Related Posts Thumbnails (30,000)
- Yuzo – Related Posts (20,000)
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) (300,000)
Don’t let the numbers sway your decision. Just because a plugin is active on hundreds of thousands of sites doesn’t make it the best one for your situation. If you’re concerned about using too many plugins, read The Trouble with (Some) WordPress Plugins.
What do you think of these plugins? Have they helped or hindered your site? Have you seen more or less engagement when using one? I’d love to know your thoughts – please share them in the comments.
And now for our list of related posts…