The 10 Best Related Posts Plugins for WordPress

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Plugins for related posts or content for WordPress are very useful, but there is a myriad of these available. So we took it upon ourselves to check them all out for you. Here’s an overview of the best ones, what they have to offer and how you can get them for your own WordPress blog.

 

You have been there, you have seen it.

Actually, you could go as far to say that every internet user has. Whatever you do online, whether it is reading your favourite news site or browsing through some blogs you like, you cannot help but notice one thing at the end of almost any article: thumbnail pictures and article headlines usually with a heading along the lines of “you might also be interested in“, “related posts” or, more simply, “we recommend“.

 

Related posts plugin - Example

 

And there is ample reason why so many publishers show you related posts or articles: You as a visitor will spend more time on their website, increasing the number of page views. And some of the articles previewed are often not even related articles of the publisher but sponsored posts (read: ads). So besides increasing the time a visitor spends on a website the related posts widget can actually make the website owner some money as well.

Sounds pretty good?

Now, we agree. The question is: How do you get those article recommendations below your blog posts? You could go through older posts manually, search for matching ones and then add thumbnails and links at the end of each new posts. But surely there must be a simpler solution?

Luckily, there is: You can actually install a variety of WordPress related post plugins which automatically link the related articles below any new post, doing all the work for you. So, time to go straight to the WordPress plugin directory to find one.

Well… not so fast!

 

The bigger the selection, the harder it is to choose

More than 1,000 search results certainly is a lot to choose from. Especially when there is no easy way to compare the  plugins and find out which one is best suited to your requirements.

 

Related posts plugin - Results WordPress plugin directory

 

But fear not: After comparing the many plugins we decided to share our results so that you don’t have to do. So without further ado I present to you, in no particular order, the 10 best related posts plugins for WordPress:

We cannot rank these top 10 plugins as each plugin has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on your requirements. That’s why we came up with the following (terrific) table.

 

The results, scientifically proven (more or less)

As you can see above we did what every fairly organised individual would have done facing the task of comparing the vast array of plugins: We identified a number of key features, put them in a table and then checked each plugin for these features. The idea here, of course, is to give you all the information at a glance. On the detailed review pages (see list with links above) we also give you a hands-on impression and more detailed info on each plugin.

 

Features explained

In order for you to better understand the comparison table here is a small explanation detailing each feature:

1. Custom positioning: Can you decide where you’d like the widget to be placed or does the plugin only allow the placement at a fixed position, e.g. end of article?

2. Self hosted/External: All plugins have some sort of algorithm deciding which posts are related. Computing this algorithm requires resource. Depending on the type of widget you choose, the computation is either done on the servers of the plugin publisher (External) or on your own server (Self hosted). Also, thumbnail images will be hosted on your server or externally.

3. Custom layouts: Say you are quite the design wizard and want the related posts to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your website. Comes in handy then if the plugin allows you to customise the layout.

4. Revenue generation: Since the rise of native advertising, more and more publishers of related content plugins have started to offer the option of including sponsored posts. Revenues are shared with you as the website owner.

5. Requirements: Some plugins can only be used by websites with a certain reach, but this was in the minority for all plugins we checked.

6. Automated post selection: Will the related posts plugin automatically select the related posts?

7. Manual post selection: Linked to point 6. If you are unhappy with the automatically selected related post, can you override the related content?

8. Text links/Thumbnail links: Can you choose between text links and thumbnails for the related post?

9. Price: Always a hot topic: How much does it cost? The good news is that just one plugin in our top 10 costs money.

10. Multi language support: Related post plugins do their job, at least if they automatically choose related content, based on language. Therefore, for a publisher to add multi language support to a plugin is not as trivial as it might seem. That’s why not all of the plugins have it.

11. Registration: For some of the plugins, especially with external hosting, registration may be required. If you place ads in the sponsored posts registration will be required to receive your cut.

 

It’s all about the numbers

Related posts plugin - Page impression results

 

Now that we gave you an overview of the best plugins and their features, let’s get a bit more concrete here as to what results you can actually expect. How many more page impressions does a WordPress related posts plugin generate?
Well, we hate to say it, but it depends. It depends on the placement of the widget, on its layout, on the quality of content on your site and last but not least it depends on how good the recommendation algorithm of the plugin works with the content on your site.

So, you see, there is no simple answer here. And that’s one of the reasons why we don’t simply say “This is the winner plugin, pick that one!”.
Having said that, it is possible to get an increase of around 10% in page views with a plugin that works properly with your content and blends in well with your layout (some even improved our page views by over 10%). Hence, the prize is there and it absolutely makes sense for you to try different plugins, different layouts and different placement and find out what works best for you.

One more thing, (yep, Steve Jobs-style), and something that’s very important: Besides an immediate increase in page views a related posts plugin can substantially help in building up a larger base of return visitors in the long term. How so you ask?
Chartbeat, famous for its real time analytics, did some great research and found out that there is a 54% chance for a visitor coming from Facebook or Twitter to come back to your site if he reads more than one article on your page. For visitors coming from Google the likelihood of the visitor coming back is 51%, again only if  he reads more than one article.

You see, beyond a short term boost in page impressions it is really in your long term interest to make visitors read more than one article during their visit. Who does not dream of turning drive-by Google, Twitter and Facebook visitors into loyal readers? Well, a related posts plugin is a start.

 

Do you have any questions regarding our comparison? Or other great plugins that you use? We’d love to hear your about your experiences!

 

>> Next: Outbrain

 



Eric

Eric co-founded Followistic and is usually busy with talking to customers and our developer team alike, trying to get everything running smoothly. Besides that he is crafting content for the blog of course.



  • Barry Kooij

    I’m wondering why you left out Related Posts for WP? https://wordpress.org/plugins/related-posts-for-wp/

    • followistic

      Hi Barry,

      thanks for pointing that one out. Looks cool! I’m gonna collect some more suggestions and then I’ll update the article.

      • Barry Kooij

        Hey there,

        Any update on this? I’d love to hear your opinion on it :)

        Kind Regards,

        Barry Kooij

  • redcrew

    Hi Eric,

    Thank you for the in-depth analysis of the different related posts plugins. I loved the table comparing the features for each option. With nRelate closing down, I’ve discovered monetization, personalization, and performance are three key factors people are looking at for related posts.

    • followistic

      Hi Deborah,

      thanks for the kind words. The post was a lot of work and it’s great to know you appreciate it :)
      I hope I can update the post in the future whenever there are new and interesting related content plugins, so that it’s always up to date.

  • http://www.fiz-x.com/ FizX

    Outbrain show more outbound links than links from your site. So you are doing FREE service to them to send outbound traffic to them and NO you cannot OPT out from it. So bottom line you will show 6 of their links and 4 of yours.. If you are lucky..

  • http://newlocalmedia.com Dan Knauss

    I think you’re understating the performance issues with the plugins that have been banned with some hosts. This is a serious issue. It’s not just about the size of your site, it’s about visits/users, especially concurrent users. These plugins do not do well under load. Benchmarking them for performance would probably be the single most useful selection criterion.

  • Ivan M
  • Isabell Gr

    Is this only available at the bottom in posts? Is it possible to get it at the top of the first page?

  • http://www.themommycity.co.za/ Sarah

    Thanks for this, decision made, Zemanta it is for my blog.

  • James Montgomery

    Great list, you should try out Related Posts Pro, it has a really cool “post pool” visualization – https://99robots.com/products/related-posts-pro/

  • http://mtasuandi.com M Teguh A Suandi

    Hi Eric,

    I just published my related posts plugin on WordPress.org. You may want to check this https://wordpress.org/plugins/sebar/. Hopefully it can help someone out there.

  • http://cockshowcase.com CockShowcase

    Thanks for the post

  • Vladimir Unguru

    Hi Eric,

    Thank you very much for your in-depth article. The table helped me to compare the plugins very eficiently. After playing around with YARPP for a week or so, based on your post I definitely would choose Zemanta.

    A small clarification: YARPP is in fact a 2 in 1 plugin. The standard one is self hosted with no registration, whereas the pro is external with registration.

  • http://Limk.com Ozer from Limk

    Hey Eric,

    First, thanks for great article. We built Limk as related posts widget for WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger.

    Launched early in this year and the platform served over 500 million recommendations with hundreds of happy publishers.

    Key advantages of Limk:

    – Limk related posts widget is using the direct internal URLs, no redirection urls. Good for SEO juice.

    – Mobile ready, looks great on mobile phones and tablets

    – Stats panel gives all the data you need.

    – Optional monetization is available for publishers.

    Bloggers can give it a shot (it’s free by the way):

    https://app.limk.com/auth/signup?utm_source=register

    Would love to help anyone to try our platform: [email protected]

  • Clement Chau

    Thanks for such detailed analysis Eric. Speaking about plugins, usually I will try out all of them first from http://www.socialambush.com and if it works well and great, i’ll then only purchase from the official develop, lower risk and they do really have hell lot of extensions and plugins and even themes =)

  • Gerald Stade

    Really helpful, well-sructured article for getting a profound good overview about related-post-Tools. Good work.

  • Rahmat Alamin

    World’s largest collection of free plr wordpress themes for every need, you can find it here http://www.0pr.net/

  • http://www.wordsuccor.com/ kate sheren

    I have only heard and use the Outbrain plugin, But these all are new for me. I will definitely try them to see which works best for me.

  • Pankaj kadam

    Hi Eric,

    Many thanks for opening our vision towards such plugins. I would definitely explore them.

  • http://www.abiwrites.com abiwrites

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing these resources.

    Related post plugins are really important for bloggers because it helps them retain their readers, gives their readers option what to do next when they have finished reading your content, and improves the bounce rate of your website – very important for SEO.

    I have also included other related post plugins in my blog post:
    http://www.abiwrites.com/best-wordpress-related-posts-plugin-for-2016

  • Johnny Seamore

    My children were searching for a form earlier this week and encountered a document management site that hosts a ton of fillable forms . If you require it too , here’s http://goo.gl/Vlc7Sk

  • Simon Harold

    Practical comments . BTW if people have been needing a a form , my colleague used a fillable form here http://goo.gl/YDZIB1

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