One of the simplest way you can decrease the bounce rate of your blog is by helping your readers to take an action after reading the post. In simple words, make your readers stick to your blog by giving them option to what to read next. Think of related posts as next course of action for your readers. When a reader is done reading your article, he needs something more to read and it works best when it’s related to your topic only.
One of the easiest way to achieve this is by adding a related post widget after your blog posts. There are many options available in WordPress plugin repo, and I have listed down best one from my experience. You can use any one of these and you can notice a considerable amount of decrease in your blog bounce rate.
More over most of these plugins have options to configure how your related posts should be shown. You can show them with or without thumbnails, and can also pick the related posts option from different design options.
WordPress plugins to show Automatic Related posts with thumbnail
There are third party services like Linkwithin which does this job pretty well and without requirement of coding knowledge, but it gives very less or negligible SEO value, as all your related posts are not directly linked. Here are few plugins, which you can use to show related posts with thumbnail after your blog posts and are SEO friendly too. These related posts improves your internal linking and improve your ranking.
Update May 2016: I’m updating this post with new plugins suggestion. For now, here are new direct links for suggested related posts plugin. Will update the details about them in coming days. Apologies for the delay!
Shareaholic was initially a social media sharing button plugin and recently they have revamped the plugin to add related post feature. Surprisingly their algorithm is quite accurate in suggesting related post which is relevant to the post itself. I have tested this plugin on ShoutMeLoud and it looks pretty awesome. To enable the feature, you need to download the free plugin from WordPress repo over here and go to Shareasholid plugin settings and enable the feature. You can show related posts with thumbnail below posts, pages, category and index page. Every option can be configured manually and you can also customise the look of related posts to match your blog design. You can also exclude certain posts, pages to be shown from related post. The exclusion feature also supports wildcard, so you can quickly remove any existing category or tag posts to be shown from related posts.
You can also use Shareaholic plugin to add social sharing button below post or floating buttons. More over, this is a good plugin when you need both the features of social sharing and related posts.
Zementa related posts
Another good plugin is related post by Zementa which lets you edit related posts. By default it will automatically show the related posts but you will also get an option to edit the related posts. You can edit the related content of your top performing posts to make it more relevant to the article. This way you can reduce the bounce rate. The plugin also offers various template for showing related posts with thumbnails, so you can select one which matches your blog design. You can download the free plugin from WordPress repo here.
Now, many premium WordPress themes come with in-built feature of showing related posts along with thumbnail, but when you are using free themes, such plugins are life saver. Optionally, if you are good with PHP and CSS, you can look for some resources and tutorials on Internet to code it yourself.
I’m stilling looking for one such related posts which works with custom post types and can be configured to show related posts from specific custom post type only. If you know of such plugin, let me know via comments. If you enjoyed reading this resource, do share with other WordPress bloggers.