One of the major concerns for a website or a blog owner is to attract as many visitors as possible. You can easily overcome this by mastering the basics of SEO to increase the visibility of the website. For most bloggers, the bigger challenge has always been enticing these visitors to stay longer on your site. While publishing quality and relevant content can help solve this, it is not enough. Adding related posts in WordPress can optimize your website to keep visitors to your site and enhance engagement.
Why Do You Need Related Posts?
The related posts feature can benefit you in several ways including:
- Reducing bounce-rate by directing the visitors to other pages of the site.
- Increase page views, thus promoting engagement.
- Improve your SEO ranking.
- Grow your advertising revenue.
In this post, we will go through how you can display posts with similar content in your WordPress site.
Install Related Posts Plugin
- Navigate to “Plugins > Add New” and search for “Contextual Related Posts”. Install and activate the plugin.
Related Posts General Settings
- Go to the “Settings” menu on your WP admin dashboard and select “Related Posts” to open the plugin’s configurations.
- On the “General” tab and specify where the plugin will automatically add related posts. Tick the “Posts” and “Pages” options.
Position and Device Settings
You can determine the position where to display related posts on your page or post as well as disable/enable display on mobile devices.
- To do so, scroll down the “General” tab and chose a figure between 10 and 999 to select a relative position for the related posts.
- Choose ‘999’ for “Display location priority” to display similar posts just above the comments and after the post’s content.
- You can also decide to display similar posts before or after a specific paragraph within the post by typing the paragraph number. For example ‘0’ to show then before the content, ‘1’ after paragraph one and so on. ‘-1’ will display them after the last paragraph of the post.
- Check or uncheck the “Display on mobile devices” depending on your preference.
You can alter other settings and once done, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click “Save changes”.
Output, Style and Thumbnail Settings
- Under the “Style” tab you can set the style for the related posts output. “Rounded thumbnails” allows displaying an image and Post title. Select the option and save the changes.
- Switch to “Thumbnail” tab. Here you can specify the location and size of the thumbnail.
- Additionally, you can choose a default image to display if the post has no thumbnail. To add a default thumbnail, copy and paste the URL to the image.
- Go to the “Output” tab to control how the related post will show on your post or page.
- You can change the title, say to something like ‘Similar Articles’. To do so, edit the text between the HTML heading tags.
- You can also control the length of the excerpt, exclude a post, page or category.
- Don’t forget to save the settings at the bottom of the page.
Using the Related Post Plugin to Promote your Earlier Content
- Edit the number of related posts that you would like to show, under the “List tuning” tab.
- You can configure the plugin to only relate to an older post that you need to bring to the spotlight. To do so, specify how old the related post should be by typing the number of days under the “Related posts should never be newer than” heading.
- Scroll down the tab and modify the various option according to your needs and save your settings.
Automatic Related Posts Recommendations
- For the best results, you need to use categories and tags effectively for every post to allow the plugin to select related posts. Here are the results for automatic related posts.
- This plugin automatically selects related posts based on the post title and content, but you can add related posts manually from the post editor.
- Open the post editor and scroll to the bottom to the “Manual related posts:” field, type the Ids for the posts you would like to add separated by commas.
- Then click the “Update” button to include the pages.
Caution in Using Related Posts Plugins
Related posts plugin work out of the box for smaller websites. However, when your site grows the plugin needs to index all posts on your site. Thus adding lot of load on the backend database. Due to this face, some of the hosting companies will not allow you to use related posts plugin on their servers. Also related posts plugins will add dedicated MySQL tables in the database. When you delete the plugin, ensure to delete the database tables to keep your site clean.
Therefore, we do not recommend using related posts plugins when you host your sites on shared hosting companies like Bluehost or HostGator. If you have larger site then try to use the default related post option in your theme. If that is not the case, look for plugins like Jetpack that does not add much load on the database.
Third Party Content Recommendations
This is a very popular option for larger sites. there are many third party services like Google AdSense Matched Content Ads, Taboola and Outbrain to get the content recommendations on your site. You need to add the script code on your site to show the related posts. The advantage here is that the indexing of your site content is done outside your server and hence your database will not get impacted.
However, it has a problem of loading the content from third party servers which will cause the slow page loading issue. This is a small trade-off you need to pay for keeping your database clean. You can also have a powerful hosting like WPEngine or SiteGround Cloud VPS depending on the traffic level of your site.
Related posts can make the life of your site visitors simpler, enticing them to stay longer on your website. Additionally, you can use this feature to promote your less popular content driving more traffic to other posts that could be ignored. In WordPress, you can use a number of plugins to manage related posts. The above steps show you how to add related posts to after the posts using the CRP plugin. Also check out negative impact of using such related plugins and the alternatives as explained.