My blog is growing by leaps and bounds, so thank you to all of you who visit my site. However, even though my views are growing, people seem to leave my site very quickly. There is a lot of great content on my site, so in order to make it easier to find, I have tried out two different related posts plugins.
Related post plugins are great because they let viewers know that you have other information that might be of interest to them. I try to do this with the categories separated in my top menu bar and then even more choices on my sidebar, but sometimes people don’t look there when Google has brought them to a certain page. The related posts plugins allow them to see the titles of other articles so they know specifically other topics that I cover. I chose two plugins that allowed thumbnail images with the article titles because I think images make a big impact, and my site is pretty text heavy. Note: these thumbnail images are pulled from your featured image for each post, so if you are not using featured images, having the thumbnail is pointless. If you are not familiar with featured images, take a look at my article here.
Related Posts by Zemanta
The first plugin I tried was Related Posts by Zemanta. This plugin was certainly easy to configure. My only problem with it was that the images it displayed didn’t always go with the post. Here is an example of how it looks at the bottom of my posts:
You’ll notice that the thumbnail for the Siteground post should have a Siteground logo there, but instead has some unknown image. I haven’t been able to investigate where it’s coming from yet. But otherwise, I’m fairly happy with the plugin.
It has more settings than I originally thought, but they are hidden under these arrows which I did not even see in the beginning.
I guess it’s a good thing that it works simply by activating the plugin. I like that is has some stats to show you that it’s working. Ignore the actual numbers since I wasn’t using it full time. I’ll have to do an update later, but at least this gives you an idea of the stats you can see.
Finally, the advanced settings are pretty thorough. Here’s what the options are:
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
The second plugin I tried was Yet Another Related Posts Plugin. This plugin had more settings options but still only took 5 mins to configure. However, I was disappointed when I first checked it because for many of my articles it was showing “No related posts.” or a post link with a broken image. I later realized that this was due to a setting that I had misunderstood. Here where you see “Post types considered:”
I assumed that I should check all the categories that I wanted to include, but this produced the “No related posts” outcome. Once I unchecked them all, the related posts began to show, however I was still having problems with broken image links for some reason. I found this especially strange since it gives you the option for a default thumbnail in case you don’t have a featured image selected.
I liked the next option which allows you to add weight to how it chooses the related articles. You can chose “do not consider”, “consider”, or “consider with extra weight”. For me, categories and tags are very important, so I wanted to make sure people were given options in the same category.
Another set of options allowed you to set up how the posts were displayed.
I found all these options great and especially liked that they were all set to default when installed so I didn’t have to do anything but activate the plugin for it to work. The only problem is that if the image links were broken, it didn’t really work, did it?
I checked the support forum for answers to the image problem and the plugin author wanted me to move plugin files – which is more than I have the energy to do and more than most novices would be able to do. I want to install the plugin and have it work. For this reason, I went back to Zemanta, which although it didn’t always show the correct image, at least there was some image there.
Hope you have found this information useful and that you will start using a related posts plugin as well. I’m interested to hear your experiences.