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The more of your content your audience consumes, the more likely they are to become loyal fans of your work — these people will be more likely to share your articles on social media, return to your website regularly, and, ultimately, convert into paying customers.
However, this raises a bigger question: ‘how do I get users to read more of my content?’
Top quality content is, of course, a big piece of the puzzle, but an easy to navigate website structure is just as important. After reading your article, a visitor will wonder what to do next — do they leave, or should they read more of your content?
I’m guessing you’d prefer the latter, right? Then it’s your job to make it as easy as possible for visitors to do so.
One of the best ways to move people around your website is to include related content links at the bottom of your articles — another great method is internal linking.
Related content links are an ideal way to encourage visitors to remain on your website. In doing so, this will improve your bounce rate, page views, and time on website statistics — all metrics with a positive influence on your website’s SEO performance. It’s also a fantastic way to inject life into some of your older articles, which have been pushed off your front page and no longer receive the traffic they deserve.
Today, I want to introduce you to seven of the best WordPress related content plugins, so that you can add the related content function to your WordPress website.
Automattic’s flagship WordPress plugin Jetpack offers features such as performance tools, analytics, writing tools, comment enhancement, and more.
Their related posts tool can be found under the traffic section of Jetpack settings. Related posts look great, but from a functionality point of view, there are few customisation options.
In the settings area you can choose to display a heading above related posts and whether thumbnail images are displayed.
Additional options can be found within the WordPress theme customiser.
You can define the heading text and enable and disable thumbnails, dates, categories and tags. The layout can also be changed from grid (horizontal) to list (vertical).
Jetpack’s related posts feature looks great and is easy to use. It is a good choice if you already have Jetpack activated and want a basic related posts solution, however it is limited.
With no control over the time period in which posts are shown, related posts are frequently outdated. On my personal blog, for example, Jetpack regularly shows articles that are five years old.
Contextual Related Posts (FREE)
If you are looking for more control over related posts, Contextual Related Posts is a fantastic solution.
The plugin allows you to to define a cutoff period for the related posts that are displayed. You can also randomise posts, select which post types are displayed, limit posts to the same post type, and exclude categories from results.
Contextual Related Posts offers many layout options too. You can customise the HTML that is used for your output and there are around a dozen options related to thumbnails.
The plugin can also display related posts in your RSS feed. The number of posts that are displayed, the location of the thumbnail, and the thumbail size, can all be adjusted for your feed.
The output that Contextual Related Posts generates from the default settings looks great, but where the WordPress plugin stands out is customisation. I highly recommend checking it out if you want to filter the results that are displayed on your website.
Related Posts Thumbnails Plugin for WordPress is another good plugin to check out. Its output is similar to Contextual Related Posts and it provides some useful filtering and styling options.
Yuzo Related Posts (FREE / $39)
A popular related plugin solution to consider is Yuzo Related Posts.
The plugin lets you define which pages related posts are displayed and the criteria for when related posts being displayed. Specific posts and pages can be excluded via tags and post IDs.
Four layout styles are available and the thumbnail size, shape, background colour, margins, and padding, can all be adjusted. Views are tracked too.
Yuzo Pro costs $39 per year. The developers claim that Yuzo Pro is 25% faster than the free version. It adds additional functionality such as advanced analytics and extra styling options for your output.
The pro version also lets you create your own relationship algorithm for the posts that are displayed. This is an important feature as in the free version there is no way to define which time period posts are retrieved from.
Yuzo Related Posts is a good related posts WordPress plugin to consider. It has many fantastic styling options and a widget is available for those that want to integrate related posts into sidebars.
WordPress Related Posts Plugin by AddThis (FREE)
AddThis gives website owners a host of social media tools and engagement tools. This includes social media sharing buttons, list building, and tip jars.
Their related posts WordPress plugin helps you integrate their related posts tool on your website.
In the advanced settings area you can enable sharing and click tracking and enter your Google Analytics ID and Twitter username. A variety of loading options are available too; such as the script location, which action hooks are used, and whether asynchronous loading is enabled. Custom JSON code can be added too.
Whilst the plugin website settings are defined in your WordPress admin area, you need to customise your related posts on the AddThis website.
Related posts can be inserted in one of three ways. You can display related posts as a slider, in the footer, or within your content area (inline).
Items can be displayed horizontally or vertically and you can define how many articles are displayed. There is an option to hide related posts on mobiles or desktops, but what I love is the ability to promote a speific page on the first related post slot.
Unfortunately, there are no filtering options to only show articles from a specific category or specific time period, so related posts are not as targeted as other related posts solutions in this list.
If you are looking for a simple hosted related posts alternative to Jetpack, WordPress Related Posts Plugin by AddThis fits the bill. It is easy to use, gives you multiple ways to display related posts, and the output looks great.
The main downside is that it offers no control over which posts are displayed in your related posts box.
Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio (FREE / $19+)
Bibblio is a related content service that was designed to increase your website traffic. Their free plan allows up to 25,000 views per month and up to 500 articles to be stored. Their cheapest premium plan costs $19 per month and increases views to 50,000 and stored articles to 5,000.
Once you have signed up you will be given a client ID and client secret that will enable you to integrate their service on your website using their WordPress plugin. You will then be asked whether you want eisting posts and future posts to be recommended.
In the next tab you will be asked to set up your module. You can optimise your module for improved page views or for relevance only. Related posts can be displayed in showcase, grid, column, and row, layouts.
The title and headline can be modified too and you can change what information is displayed on the article thumbnail.
You can go back and adjust settings at any time. One of my favourite features in this area is the ability to change the time period for post recommendations.
Analytics are displayed in the main overview page, though you have to jump over to the main Bibblio website to see all statistics.
Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio is a versatile solution that offers many unique layout options. The main downside of the plugin is that the free plan is limited to one module and 25,000 views per month. Beyond that, you will need to sign up to one of their premium monthly plans.
Inline Related Posts (FREE / $27)
If you want to display related posts inside content, check out Inline Related Posts.
The plugin lets you insert up to three related posts boxes inside your posts. The word interval between each box can be set so that you can space boxes as you see fit.
You will be pleased to hear that related posts can be restricted to a defined number of days for posts.
Two basic styles are available in the free version. They look good, but unfortunately cannot display images from your posts.
The premium version, which retails from $27, adds three additional styles. These styles incoporate featured images. They look more professional and should increase page views.
Upgrading also lets you add an unlimited number of inline related posts to articles; though I believe most website owners will be content with three boxes.
Related Post By PickPlugins (FREE)
Another useful related posts plugin to consider is Related Post By PickPlugins. From a functionality point of view, it sits in between a basic solution like Jetpack and a feature rich solution such as Contextual Related Posts.
The plugin allows you to insert related posts into multiple post types via shortcodes or via a PHP function. Clicks can be tracked and you can change the headline and how many items are displayed.
Related posts can be displayed in a grid, in a list, or in a slider. For each item you can set the width, alignment, margin, and padding.
In the layout section you can define how the thumbnail, title, and excerpt look. A number of pre-defined thumbnail sizes are available and you can select a maximum height for images.
There is a dedicated page for slider settings.
The number of columns for desktops is set at four, tablets at three, and smartphones at 2. You can, of course, modify these. Slider speed, pagination, navigation, background colours, and other slider options, are available too.
Related Post By PickPlugins does not give you any control over the related posts that are displayed to visitors, but if you are looking for a simple solution with some cool styling options, it is a good choice.
For the purpose of this article I tested over 20 related posts WordPress plugins on my test website and on my personal blog (i.e. a live environment). In this section I would like to share with you some great related WordPress plugins that just missed the list.
Other Related Posts WordPress Plugins to Consider
If you are looking for control over your output, you may want to check out Similar Posts. The plugin allows you customise the HTML in your output template. Dozens of tags are available to help you control what posts are displayed and how it all looks. The nature of this plugin does mean that it is less user-friendly than alternatives, however advanced users will like it.
Related Posts by Taxonomy is an interesting related post solution that lets you insert related posts via widget or shortcodes. You can choose to display single or multiple taxonomies, exclude or include posts, and limit what is displayed by number or date.
If you are looking for a premium solution, check out Related Posts for Distinct Posts. Retailing at $30, the plugin supports thumbanils of different sizes and lets you select whether post meta information is displayed. The related posts that are displayed look professional.
Custom Related Posts is a basic related posts plugin, but it does have some cool features such as importing relations via XML format and native support for the Gutenberg Block Editor.
Another basis solution to check out is CP Related Posts. It’s quite unique in that it allows you to display how similar the related posts are using a star rating system or bar.
If you’re struggling to keep users on your website, adding related content function on your website is a proven way to get people to stick around — this will result in more page views, longer visitor duration, and reduced bounce rate. Perhaps even more importantly, when a user views more of your content, they’ll be better able to appreciate what your website is all about, which can also boost subscriptions, social shares, and even conversions — basically, all the good stuff!
All of the plugins featured today are capable of adding a fully-functional related content section to your website. However, they all look and work slightly different, with different strengths and weaknesses, so take your time, and pick a favorite.
Used/using any of these related posts plugins? Which do you think is best?