Throughout my journey here at AnotherWindowsBlog, I’ve used about three to four different ‘related post’ widget/plugin methods. Incorporating a related post area on your pages is very important if you want to give your visitors something to read after they are finished with the current article. This allows a visitor to view your past articles in hopes of keeping them on your site a little longer. Have enough content to spark the reader’s interest and you’ll eventually earn a regular follower of your site. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. If a reader landed on one of your articles talking about how to backup their computers, it would seem courteous sort of speak, to also let the reader know about past articles you have written that also involves that subject matter. This is what a related post widget does. After using so many different methods, I think I may have found the one that I’ll be sticking to from now on.
In the past, I’ve used LinkWithin, OutBrain, and Yet Another Related Post Plugin for WordPress (YARPP). LinkWithin was awesome, until I found out later that each click would temporarily redirect the user to LinkWithin’s own server before sending them back to the original site. Basically, they are stealing your internal “link juice” with this redirection. This is not good where SEO is concerned. So next I tried OutBrain. It was easy to implement and it definitely looked very nice. Initially, I only wanted Outbrain because at that time Blogger didn’t have a star rating system for a post and Outbrain provided one. I then used both the star ratings and the related content feature. It worked great until it wanted to play hide and seek with me. Some days it would show and some days it would just completely disappear. Also, when I opted in for the display of advertisements, it displayed vulgar and borderline pornographic ad spaces. I next tried various scripts created by other brilliant programmers that did away with the widget/plugin method. These worked but customization was a pain if you didn’t know what you were doing. When I moved to WordPress, I instantly installed YARPP as it is very popular. It works great but it was a little too simple. YARPP provides you with different templates to work with but again, if you didn’t know what you were doing, you had to settle for the default text links.
nrelate Related Contentnrelate also has a plugin similar to posting your related content but instead, it helps you post your most popular articles instead! Also, they have a advertising system for in-text linking.
Installation and Customization
Installing nrelate is just like installing any other WordPress plugin. Download, install and activate. nrelate will then tell you that you should wait at a minimum of 2 hours before seeing related content show up on your website. This is so that nrelate can archive your website before first use. Once this initial archiving has completed, nrelate will continue to monitor your site for changes. So, don’t panic if initially you don’t see any changes after first activating the plugin!
The fun part with nrelate is playing with the customization options. Everything is point and click so you really can’t mess up here. Before configuring the general settings, you’ll want to first head into the “Thumbnails Gallery” section first. Here, you get to pick which of the pre-configured layout nrelate provides you with to display on your blog. This is a very powerful option because nrelate has already done all the work for you. All you have to do is literally select which theme best suits the layout of your blog! If you aren’t satisfied with any of the pre-configured themes, you can easily add your own custom CSS.
Once you’ve chosen the theme, it’s time to customize the general settings. First you get to choose how big each thumbnail icon should be. Once again, nrelate gives you a lot of choices to work with.
Next you get to specify a default thumbnail picture should nrelate not be able to find one for a specific post. For example, you can supply a picture of a question mark or your website’s logo. It’s up to you. Under that you get to type out the title. You can use whatever you want to but usually, people stick with the default of Related Content, Things You Might Also Like, etc. Next, specify the maximum number of of related posts nrelate should display. With the relevancy value, the higher you go the more specific nrelate gets in choosing the related posts. With a lower relevancy setting, nrelate will show more posts but they may not be completely related to the original article.
Moving on, nrelate gives you the option of picking how far back into your posts you want for your related content. For example, the default is 10 years so all posts you’ve written within the past 10 years will be displayed, if chosen. If you want to exclude a certain category from showing in your related posts, you can configure it in the next setting. Next is whether or not to show the post title for each related post and what is the maximum amount of characters should nrelate use. It’s definitely possible to disable showing the post title and show only thumbnails instead. Finally, you get to choose whether or not to display post excerpts for each related post and how many words should nrelate use. This option goes best with the Huffington Post theme.
The rest of the other options are pretty self-explanatory so I won’t go over it here. You can even have nrelate show related content for websites in your Blogroll! By default, nrelate will show the related post content at the end of each post. However, you can easily as well place it at the top instead. If you’re not satisfied with either, use the included PHP code to inject it wherever you wish to in your template.
Here is currently how my nrelate plugin looks like on my site. I’m still new to this so I’m still playing around with the different layouts to see how best to get nrelate to blend in with my site.
Support with nrelate is tremendous. When I first activated nrelate, nothing showed up on my site even after a couple of hours. I decided to write on the forum and my problem was resolved the very next day by an employee by the name of Neil. He politely informed me that nrelate initially couldn’t contact my site and therefore was not able to archive it. He did a reset on his end and everything should be working. Immediately after, I checked my site and indeed, I now see my related content.
As far as advertisement goes, you can partner up with nrelate to have them show custom ad supported spaces within your related content. The awesome part is that you actually get to configure not just how many ad spaces to include but also the location such as before and after your own related post content or have the location randomized. Currently, not much advertisement is available to be displayed. I contacted nrelate about this issue via email and once again, Neil politely answered that nrelate is currently recruiting more advertisers to get on board and within a short time, more ads will appear. That is definitely good news to hear because so far, I am loving nrelate! My only hope is that nrelate will only show ads relevant to my site and nothing else.