On WordPress sites, posts display in reverse chronological order by default. This order ensures visitors see your newest posts first, which can help to drive up the number of views on those posts faster.
The problem is if you have a lot of content on your site, then older posts will become buried and visitors will be less likely to read them. To make sure visitors can find and view all your posts, no matter when they were published, you can add internal links in your posts and pages. Linking to related posts — rather than the newest — will help visitors discover more of your content, which may keep them on your site longer.
Let’s say you add internal links in your posts and pages and keep the display of most recent posts in your sidebar. The problem is a displaying your most recent posts might not be helpful to your readers.
Let’s say they found one of your posts about SEO organically. They read and enjoyed it, but want to learn more. When they look to the sidebar of your site however, they only see your most recent posts, which are all about blogging and video marketing. If you have internal links within the post, they might choose to click one of those and stick around on your site. But that’s best case scenario. Worst case scenario: they go back to Google, type in a new search query, and click on someone else’s post.
To ensure your visitors can easily find all the content they need, you can add a display of related posts in your sidebar, footer widget areas, and at the end of a post. You just need a WordPress plugin to do it.
In this post, we’ll explore the best related posts plugin for WordPress so you can provide your visitors with the best experience possible.
Best WordPress Related Post Plugins
The best related post plugins for WordPress will enable you to quickly and easily add a display of related posts anywhere on your site. Below is a collection of premium and free plugins that do just that.
Contextual Related Posts is the top-rated recent posts plugin in the WordPress directory.
This free plugin allows you to display a list of related posts on your website and in your feed. It automatically generates these lists based on context clues from the title and content of your posts. You don’t have to do anything but install and activate the plugin.
What sets Contextual Related Posts (CRP) apart from similar plugins that exist today is its functionality and flexibility. With the CRP plugin, you can display your related posts using a custom block in the Gutenberg editor, the [crp] shortcode, or widgets. You can include posts, pages, custom post types, and even attachments in your display. You can also choose to include excerpts and thumbnail images, which CRP will automatically create based on the dimensions specified in its Settings page. Here’s a look at the customization options of CRP’s Gutenberg block.
Finally, the code is easily extendable. You can edit the HTML tags used in your dashboard and add custom CSS to change the style of your displays. More advanced users can use filters and actions to edit the CRP template, add features, and more.
The Related Posts Thumbnails Plugin for WordPress is another highly-rated related posts plugin in the WordPress directory.
Like Contextual Related Posts, this plugin allows you to display related posts in the sidebar of your site or in posts or pages using a custom Gutenberg block, shortcode, or widget. You can also include image or video thumbnails for each post that's displayed.
Unlike the CRP plugin, you can style your list without coding — but your options are more limited. In the "Style Options" tab of the plugin page in your dashboard, you can change the color of the background, border, and text as well as the font size. Here's a demo:
Related Posts by Taxonomy is another free plugin that makes it easy to add related posts to your WordPress site.
Since this plugin can find related posts, no matter what its category, tag, or post type is, it is excellent at auto-generating lists of relevant content. It also supports multiple display options, including image thumbnails, links, excerpts or full posts. However, Related Posts by Taxonomy does have more limitations than the plugins mentioned above.
First, you can only add related posts in the sidebar or at the end of a post — and you can only do so using a widget or shortcode, not a Gutenberg block. Second, you can only customize the display box by adding code to your theme’s stylesheet. That means users with limited technical knowledge will likely have to make do with the default template shown below.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin is one of the most popular and widely used plugins for WordPress. This plugin can help you increase your page views by providing readers with an auto-generated display of relevant content on your site.
To create these displays, YARPP has an algorithm that looks at the titles, body copy, categories, and tags of your pages, posts, and custom post types and creates "matches." Once they meet your match threshold (which you can designate in the plugin settings page), these matches can then be included in the display of related content at the bottom of your posts and pages.
You can also display this related content in the sidebar of your site with the YARPP widget. If you'd like to display this content elsewhere, you can but you'll have edit your theme file to do so.
It's also important to note that Yet Another Related Posts Plugin requires more server resources compared to other plugins in this list. Make sure you have the resources to spare before installing and activating this one.
Related Posts Pro is a premium related post plugin that comes packed with layouts and templates for showcasing your related content.
There are three major layouts you can choose from: isotopic, slick and slide, and transitioning. Isotopic is a grid-like layouts, slick and slide is a timed slider, and transitioning is a slider that uses animation effects, like the fly-in animation. Once you choose your layout, you can choose from over 65 unique templates, each of which has unique colors, typography, icons, and effects. Here's an example of an isotopic template:
The JetPack plugin can do almost anything: automated social media posting, site analytics, mobile themes, you name it. Included among its 30+ modules is the Related Posts module.
This module will scan all of your posts, analyze them, and display the relevant ones at the end of a post, so that visitors can stay on your site longer. If you want to display this content elsewhere within the post, then you can uncheck the option below and use the Related Posts block in the Gutenberg editor.
What’s unique about the Jetpack plugin is that all the analysis, processing, and serving takes place in the cloud so there is no additional load on your server. This gives it an advantage over other related post plugins like YARPP.
Custom Related Posts is an easy-to-use free related posts plugin. While others automate the process of finding and adding related posts, CRP requires you to manually add them to your posts, pages, or custom post types. This can be ideal for smaller or newer sites that have less content and need more control over those related links.
Since CRP is compatible with the Classic Editor and Gutenberg Block Editor, you can display related posts with a widget, block, or even a shortcode. For Gutenberg, CRP actually adds two blocks: one for creating the display of related posts and one for previewing it in the post editor. That means you don’t have to keep switching back and forth from the preview page to the editor.
WordPress Infinite Related Next Post Manager is a top-rated premium related post plugin in the CodeCanyon marketplace.
In the plugin settings page, you can control how the plugin calculates which content is relevant, whether that be by category, tag, author, publish date, or all of the above. You can also set how many posts are included in the display. If you don’t input anything, eight will be shown by default.
Once you’ve configured the basic settings, time to think about design. The WordPress Infinite Related Next Post Manager offers four styles for displaying your recent posts: infinite loading, top slider, bottom slider, and left sidebar. Eah style offers a unique set of customization options. For example, if you choose the “bottom slider” style, then you can customize the text, font size, color, background color, and color of the slider control (an arrow or a line). Take a look at the bottom slider in the demo below.
Originally created as a social media sharing plugin, Shareaholic is now a suite of audience growth & engagement tools. In addition to adding social media share and follow buttons to your posts, pages, and images, you can use Shareaholic to highlight related content on your site based on language, author, tags, and publish date. Together, these buttons and displays can help you increase your social traffic, social following, and pageviews.
Here’s an example of a Shareaholic display with thumbnail images.
Shareaholic is an all-in-one solution like JetPack. Also like JetPack, it performs all analysis, processing, and serving in the cloud so there is no additional load on your server.
Inline Related Posts is a great option if you'd rather display related posts within your posts and pages, instead of in the sidebar of your site.
This plugin will automatically add display boxes for relevant content in the middle of your WordPress posts or pages. That way, you don't have to do any work to increase page views and engagement on your site and advance your internal linking strategy.
Choosing from more than 20 combinations for displaying these internal links, you can style them to catch your reader's eye without interrupting or distracting them from reading the post or page. In the plugin settings page in your WP dashboard, you'll able to customize the opacity, text color, border, and copy of your display box. You can preview these changes directly in the settings page so you don't have to keep hitting the "Preview" and "Back" buttons.
Keeping Visitors on Your Site Longer
As a content creator on WordPress, you want your readers to be able to find as much of your content as easily as possible. To help, you can add displays of related posts at the bottom of your posts or pages, in the side bar, or at the top of your site.
This is easy with WordPress related post plugins. Using any of the tools mentioned above, you can create and customize display boxes for your content to persuade readers to continue browsing your site.
Originally published Aug 21, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated August 22 2020