Showing related content to your readers is a great way to encourage user engagement and get more clicks for your blog. This is why related posts plugins seem to be rising in popularity with each passing day.
Basically, such related posts plugins tend to showcase other relevant content from your site at the end of each post (or alongside it, as the case may be). If a user is reading an article about logo design in Photoshop, there are good chances he or she might be interested in articles related to logo design trends. This is where related content suggestions kick in. Related posts plugins can help you showcase such content with ease.
So, which related posts plugin works well in WordPress? This article lists 10 of the best related posts plugins for WordPress users.
Self-Hosted Related Posts Plugins
First, let us look at some self-hosted WordPress plugins. These plugins are installed on your website and they scan your posts right from your server itself to suggest related content. If you are on a shared host, be sure to check your CPU resource usage stats as some of these plugins can be resource intensive.
Contextual Related Posts is a pretty popular and well reputed WordPress plugin. It is a rather customization heavy plugin, with a lot of options that you can tweak. You can customize the output, appearance, post selection algorithm, and even choose to cache the related posts suggestions for faster and better performance.
This plugin adds a metabox to the post editor for selection of related posts. Plus, you can also choose to exclude certain posts, post types or categories.
Inline Related Posts is a unique plugin on this list in the sense that it does not provide related content suggestions at the end of the articles. Instead, it offers “inline” suggestions that occur within the content of the post.
For some users, it might be distracting to find related links inline the article as it can hamper the reading experience. In fact, if you are running a longform articles’ site, this plugin should better be avoided. However, for casual websites, such as sports news sites or viral sites, this plugin is a must-have feature!
As the name suggests, Related Posts by Taxonomy can pick related post suggestions on the basis of taxonomy. Thus, posts that have more terms in common with the current post, be it tags or categories or custom taxonomies, will appear in suggestions.
This related posts plugin operates best as a widget that you can add to your sidebar, or after content. Ideally, you should consider using it if you have a clearly defined taxonomy structure on your website. If you have multiple contributors or editors adding tags at random, this plugin might not fare too well.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, or YARPP for short, is a very popular WordPress plugin that offers a lot of customization options and tweaks. You can selectively allow or disallow posts on the basis of taxonomies or post types, as well as the nature or content of posts.
YARPP also lets you tweak and customize the display options, and even showcase related posts suggestions in the RSS feeds of your site.
Yuzo Related Posts claims to be “the best related post plugin” for WordPress. Considering the level of features this plugin has to offer, the claim might not be hyperbole. You can choose and setup your related posts selection algorithm, and even style and customize the appearance.
However, two things were a let-down when I gave this plugin a spin. First, WordPress was spelled as “Wordpress”. Second, when I went to the Settings, it showed me a popup about its Pro version. Now, almost all the plugins listed in this list have both free and paid versions, and almost all of them showcase banners and links to the Pro versions. However, I have a special dislike for popups, especially if they appear in the admin panels.
That shouldn’t take anything away from Yuzo Related Posts as it is otherwise a great plugin. It even comes with cache cleaning and transient options management features, so that it plays well with your database too.
Hosted Related Posts Plugins
The plugins that follow are hosted elsewhere on someone else's servers. As such, they do not consume the resources of your own host. You can, however, still customize them from your WordPress admin panel.
Contextly is more than just a related posts plugin. It is a full-fledged content handling and promotion channel. You can showcase related content in widgets, after posts, inline the content, and even in your sidebars.
Contextly also offers a wide array of tools for this purpose. However, the free plan is almost as good as gone, and the cheapest paid plan begins at $9 per month. For casual bloggers, this might be at par or more than their web hosting fee per month. As such, Contextly is more of a serious-minded product for higher and larger websites.
Related Posts by Zemanta is yet another popular WordPress plugin for showcasing related content on your site. It is a no-nonsense plugin actually: you can pick from 6 pre-made themes for your related content, include or exclude categories or posts, and that’s all.
Content.ad is a related posts plugin for users that are looking to monetize the related content module. It can do two different things: you can choose to showcase related content from your own site, or you can choose to showcase sponsored content suggestions and generate revenue.
Of course, you can do both as well: showcase your own content as well as sponsored recommendations. The plugin does have a lot of promise, but it is not as popular as the other plugins on this list.
The related posts module of Jetpack is a good fit for anyone looking for a simple solution. It lets you showcase related posts on your website served remotely via WP.com servers.
You can choose to display thumbnails, or just text-based links. Plus, the module works well with custom post types as well. However, that is all there is to it: there are no extra customization options or tweaks. If you are looking for something advanced, this particular module may not suffice for you.
Shareaholic is not a pure related posts plugin. It is a sharing and content promotion solution. Basically, it lets you add sharing buttons to your website, as well as show related content recommendations.
You can also choose to monetize your website by showing sponsored links. However, the monetization options provided by Shareaholic failed to impress me: almost all the ad options that I dislike, such as overlays on mobile device browsers, in-text “contextual” links, etc. That said, such options are popular, so they must be fetching good revenue for folks who do use them.
So there you have it! Ten of the best related posts plugins for WordPress. Which one is your favorite? Share your views in the comments below!