What is the average time a visitor spends on your website? If you use Google Analytics (GA), you can retrieve the data. Google Analytics tracks sessions, which is a group of user interactions with your website that takes place within a given time frame. When a user arrives on your site, Analytics starts counting from that moment. We should want to increase the time users spend at our sites to increase clicks, conversions, and sales.
Your bounce rate is another critical metric. As Google states, “A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.” You can think of your bounce rate as the percentage of users who come and go without performing any activities.
Between sessions and bounce rates, I considered ways to increase the time users spend on my site and how to decrease my bounce rate. One technique I shied away from for years was to showcase related posts at the bottom of my posts. Related posts can come across as spammy, useless click-bait. On the other hand, featuring associated articles can entice readers to stay on a website. For example, someone who reads my post about the best recurring affiliate programs might be interested in learning about top e-learning or bitcoin affiliate programs. Instead of hoping the user finds these posts, a related post plugin will highlight them to catch the reader’s attention. Secondly, showcasing related posts takes pressure off getting traffic from other sources.
If you’re interested in using a related posts plugin, there is one thing you should do first. I recommend reviewing your posts to ensure they are categorized (and tagged) correctly. By doing so, the plugin can better associate articles to posts.
I tried several related posts plugins and settled on Related Posts for WordPress by Never5. The plugin is frequently updated and has over 30,000 active installs and a 4.6 review average. It doesn’t feature images or thumbnails with related posts, which I like. Other features include the ability to add, edit, and remove posts manually, shortcodes to display related posts anywhere, and a widget to show related posts in sidebars. You can upgrade to get premium features including:
- Full control over your post display with their configurator
- Ability to exclude posts from being related
- Relate custom post types and taxonomies to each other
- Link posts at incredible speeds with their WP-CLI commands
- Only have relevant posts with a maximum age
- Keep manually created links
- Fully multisite compatible
- Email support
After installing the plugin, you will be taken to a wizard that will analyze your posts and link them to each other. The installation wizard worked effectively and quickly by caching then linking posts. It took roughly two minutes to complete. It did a good job of relating posts, but I went through my blogs to do manual updates. If you have many posts, perhaps you can review your high traffic and recent posts to adjust. I chose to link two posts because more could overwhelm readers and cause paralysis by analysis.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) by Adknowledge
YARPP displays pages, posts, and custom post types related to the current entry, introducing your readers to other relevant content on your site.
- Thumbnail or list view of related content.
- Related posts, pages, and custom post types.
- The templating system gives you advanced control over how your results are displayed.
- Uses a customizable algorithm that assesses post titles, content, tags, categories, and custom taxonomies.
- Display related posts in RSS feeds with custom display options.
Contextual Related Posts by WebberZone
Contextual Related Posts allows you to display a list of related posts on your website and in your feed. Relationships are based on the content of the title or content of the posts, which makes them more relevant and more likely to be of interest to your readers. CRP will start displaying related posts on your site and feed automatically after the content when you activate the plugin.
- Add related posts to widgets.
- Use shortcodes to display posts anywhere.
- Find relevant posts by title or content of the current post.
- Related posts output is automatically cached as visitors browse through your site.
- Exclude posts from being displayed by category or page ID.
- CRP will create a custom image size (crp_thumbnail) with the dimensions specified in the settings page.
Related Posts Yuzo by iLen
Related posts Yuzo has multiple features and customization options.
- Relate posts manually.
- Check the number of visits to your posts.
- Minimalist design with exciting effects.
- Customize the text in many ways, colors, etc.
- Widget available.
Similar Posts, Best Related Posts Plugin for WordPress by Shareaholic
Similar Posts displays a list of posts that are similar or related to the current post. Associations occur according to a post’s title, content, and tags, and you can adjust the settings to fit your site.
- Complete control over the display and layout of displayed posts
- Over 30 tags for display customization
- Match posts based on category, tags, content, and author
- Exclude a post by author, page ID, category, tags, and custom fields
Related Posts Thumbnails Plugin for WordPress by WPBrigade
Add related posts thumbnails after a post and customize thumbnail sizes, display settings, and type of relation. Thumbnails are arranged in columns under the post with related posts title/excerpt under each post thumbnail.
- Specify the number of related posts to display, start date, categories to show on and to include, top text, style settings, and default image URL.
- Select the type of relation using categories, tags, random or custom taxonomies.
- Specify where to display related posts, for example, page type, post type, and categories.
- Background, border, text, title, and excerpt length are customizable.
- Turn off automatic appending to the end of a post.
- Widget and shortcodes.
Inline Related Posts by IntellyWP gives users the ability to feature related posts in anywhere in a post.
Related Posts by Taxonomy is highly rated and gives users the ability to add related posts in sidebars and after post content. However, the process only allows for manual activities using a widget or shortcode in which case I do not recommend.