One of the simplest ways you can decrease the bounce rate of your blog is by helping your readers to take action after reading the post. In simple words, make your readers stick to your blog by giving them the option to what to read next. Think of related posts as the 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 ways 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.
Moreover, 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.
Best Related posts WordPress Plugins with thumbnail
There are third-party services that does this job pretty well and without the requirement of coding knowledge, but it gives very less or negligible SEO value, as all your related posts are not directly linked. Here are a few plugins, which you can use to show related posts with thumbnail after your blog posts and are SEO friendly too. These related posts improve your internal linking and improve your ranking.
Update May 2020: 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!
1. ShareaHolic plugin
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.
2. 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 a 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.
YARPP a.k.a Yet another related post plugin uses many factors to show related posts and this is a plus and play WordPress plugin.
YARPP can be also configured to show related posts in feed which is very useful to get extra clicks from your feed readers.
Especially for huge blog, this is one of the best related post plugin for WordPress as it uses the caching mechanism. This means, plugins will not keep generating related posts on the fly, instead once related post is generated for a post, it will show it from cache, which stops this plugin from increasing php calls.
Once you are done installing YARPP plugin, you can access it’s setting panel under Settings > Related posts(YARPP)
You can automatically enable to show related posts or you can use custom code to show related posts at specific place. YARPP can also be configured to show related posts with thumbnail by using custom template.
You can scroll down further on the setting page, you can configure various options for showing related posts in feed. I will highly suggest to keep description off as it makes related post looks like little busy.
In case, if you maintain one such category or tags which you don’t want your readers to see again in related posts, you can exclude such categories or tags. I would suggest you to create a specific tags for outdated content and exclude it using this plugin.
This way, your readers will see only updated and useful content. You can also exclude pages to show as your related posts. One more reason that this is one of the best-related post plugins because in the last 1 and a half years, this plugin has gone under lots of iteration and this is constantly updates and compatible with the latest WordPress version.
Showing related posts below blog post is one of the most easiest way to decrease bounce rate of your blog and if you are running a WordPress blog, YARPP is one of the easiest way to add related posts to your WordPress blog.
Now, many premium WordPress themes come with the in-built feature of showing related posts along with a thumbnail, but when you are using free themes, such plugins are a life saver. Optionally, if you are good with PHP and CSS, you can look for some resources and tutorials on the Internet to code it yourself.
I’m stilling looking for one such related posts which work with custom post types and can be configured to show related posts from specific custom post type only. If you know of such a plugin, let me know via comments. If you enjoyed reading this resource, do share with other WordPress bloggers.
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