I talk about how important it is to show related posts on your blog to help promote your site in my article here. So which one should you use? Why should you use them to begin with? What shouldn’t you do with them? Take a look as I go through and answer all that and more!
Why Have Related Posts to Begin With?
There are a few reasons why you want Related Posts to be displayed on your blog or website. Of course you want a visitor to read what they were looking for and like your content. Then you hope that they go looking for more. Unfortunately if you don’t have an easy way for them to do this? They will most likely look elsewhere. Below are a few of the reasons as to why its important to have Related Posts:
- Time on Site – This keeps the visitor on your website which is great! This gives you a better chance at turning visitors into subscribers or future customers.
- Bounce Rate – You want people to not only read your content but check out more of what you have to offer. This helps keep your Bounce Rate down – which provides Google a signal that you have a great website.
- The More they Read – The better chance that they turn from a Visitor into a Follower of your site!
- Good for SEO – All of the above show great signals to Google that your content is important! The longer someone stays reading your content the more juice you start getting and it will help you place higher in the SERP results.
Popular Related Posts Plugins
Below is a list of common related posts plugins. I’ll go through the basic functionality and what I liked and didn’t like about each one of these. There are a lot out there though so which one should you choose? There are a few factors to consider here. Features, Performance, and Functionality all come into play here
Outbrain is a popular Related Posts plugin. They state if you have popular articles they will share them on some of their top publishers such as CNN. Although there are some caveats nor could I personally vouch for that statement. Its still a great plugin for displaying Related Posts on your site.
To setup your Outbrain plugin you will first need to download and install it through your WordPress Admin panel. After doing that you will then be sent to the Outbrain website where you will have to register for an account. From there you can setup your plugin on how you wish to display related posts on your site. When I used Outbrain I selected thumbnails and had it display only on posts I had published. You can opt to have it display on Pages as well. You can see an example of how it would look if I still ran the plugin today.
Outbrain does a great job with reporting as well. You can see your Page Views/CTR by Day or Month and if you have other sites displaying your content what Publishers brought you visitors as well.
Amplify Content through Paid Advertising
You can also Advertise with Outbrain to promote your content for as low as $10.00 a day. Although I did not test this service if you are trying to reach a broader audience on a budget this might be they way to do it!
Monetization for Charity
One of the great features of Outbrain? If you decide to monetize your Related Posts with Outbrain? You can opt to give the proceeds to charity such as Make-A-Wish and more.
What I Like?
- Easy to Setup and Use
- Monetization Options – Especially the donate to Charity option.
What I Don’t Like?
- The Related Posts… weren’t that related to content.
- Unless you get a LOT of traffic Outbrain will most likely never share your content with other publications.
- Will have to pay using their Amplify option in order to get articles promoted.
I used Outbrain for awhile in 2012. Although I liked the idea of the service. It never really benefited me or added real value.
nRelate has a few plugins they offer. I used to use their ‘Flyout’ plugin as well to display related content. But it was just a bit too much and after the novelty of it wore off I stopped using it. I still use their Related Posts plugin though here at avgjoegeek.
You install this easily and quickly through the WordPress plugin page. Just do a search for nRelate Related Posts and you can quickly install the plugin in a matter of seconds. After installation you will be asked to have it Index your website. This can take some time especially if you have a lot of posts.
The nRelate dashboard allows you to quickly setup and choose where you display your Related Posts. It provides options for you to display it from just about anywhere on your website. Although I recommend only using it for your posts. The other great feature is the ability to have it NOT display specific categories.
What I really like about nRelate is the ability to customize the way the Related Posts are displayed. They have a page that provides a list of pre-configured templates you can use. Or if you want you can style your own. This is how it currently looks here on avgjoegeek. I like it simple.
nRelate does offer advertising just like Outbrain. You will have to jump through a few more hoops in order to sign up with them. They have CPC campaigns that will display your content onto other websites and possibly major publications related to the topics they have available. I did not test how it works though I am going to be looking into this at a future date.
You can opt to display articles from other sites to monetize your Related Posts area. Read below on my thoughts about advertising in your Related Posts area though before you decide to use this feature.
I don’t know if I’d call it that. It is more a trial in frustration when attempting to login and use their website to view reports. Although they do offer reports for Advertising and Earnings when you sign up. They do not list any type of clicks/engagement type reporting either through your WordPress Admin or online.
This is where nRelate really shines. They have a great FAQ and Support area. Here you can find out answers from styling to troubleshooting or if you have questions you can sign up for their online forums.
What I Like:
- Great overall platform to work with a lot of options to make sure it displays what you want it to on your site.
- Lots of customization options on how to display your Related Posts on your blog or website.
- It actually lists related content in relation to the article being displayed.
What I Don’t Like
- I don’t like their online reporting.
- Setting up advertising with them is confusing at best.
LinkWithin is probably the simplest of the Related Posts plugins mentioned. You go to their website fill out a form and select the number of boxes you want displayed. Then download the plugin and upload/install to WordPress.
It will then put the Related Posts information down on the bottom of your posts. It isn’t fancy and it typically works great even with Genesis themes. As with the other two plugins mentioned they will store your sites data on their servers to help figure out how to display it on your site.
I know technically DISQUS is a Commenting system. But they do offer related posts as well. Even though I went back to using CommentLuv you can check out the review I did below to see if maybe it is something that will work for your website!
Monetization of Related Posts?
Most of the services I listed offer ways to Monetize your Related Posts. By offering to display content from other websites you earn from people clicking on those articles. For most sites I do not recommend doing this. The ideas is for visitors to stay on your site and read more of your content! If they click on the paid advertisements you most likely lost that visitor for good.
Plus, unless you get obscene amounts of traffic to your site already? It just isn’t worth the time and effort. You want people to convert – not run away 🙂
Besides – Do you want to display the latest Miley Cyrus twerk fiasco on your website? I know I don’t.
Relying on 3rd Parties With Your Data
Break out the Tinfoil hats! The one thing to keep in mind here with all of the Related Post plugins. These services will all have your website’s information on there servers. For me its not a big deal. To you it might though. This is the only way for them to quickly determine and then display the related posts to display.
I hope this helps you when deciding to use Related Posts plugins on your site. As you can see by using them you gain opportunities for your visitors to stay on your site longer as well as getting an opportunity to turn visitors into long time readers.
Personally I think nRelate is the best solution to use (besides coding your own..) What do you think though? Have other suggestions that I didn’t mention? Give me your thoughts about Related Posts on your own blog in the comments below.