How to get Related Posts Plugin to work

by Yin on October 23, 2009

in Blogging

Benefits of Having a Related Posts plugin

Related Posts plugin is one of important plugin that every well planned self hosted WordPress blog should have. I realised this during the days when I was hosting with blogger- and during the time, I actually manually added the Related Posts myself at the end of every post as Blogger does not have this plugin. The advantage: You get to customise and add posts that you see as relevant.

The disadvantage of manually adding the posts:

  • >>>it’s very painful because you have to do it for every single blog post manually. You gotta have a comprehensive list of your blog posts with the links and manually link them, using bullets, colour effects and all…
  • >>>takes away valuable time when you could have spend your time coming up with more masterpiece and killer posts- but your energy is depleted with the copy and paste stuff.
  • >>>you have to go in and manually relink your most recent awesome post at the ‘related posts’ links of your older posts. Again, time would have been better spent doing more productive stuff.

The solution? Well, get your own domain name, hosting and use a WordPress theme. Then look for “Related Post” plugin.

Note: If you host your blog using the free wordpress.com, ie your blog url ends with yourname.wordpress.com, you cannot install any plugin.

Assuming that you’ve already been running your blog for a while, there is a lot of benefits to have an automated “Related Posts”  function at the end of every post just like what you see in this blog.

Benefits:

  • >>>the plugin will automatically generated a set of related posts based on the TAGS you have assigned to every posts (more on this later)
  • >>>your reader gets to read other similar posts that you’ve written. Especially if you have a blog like this that talks about various topics, your visitors will not have time to scroll through the archives. So make it easier for their visitor
  • >>>But as they finish reading your article, an interesting article that you have written could catch their eye before they decide to leave your site. So the plugin helps to make your site more sticky and enable them to discover the hidden treasures buried under all that Archives.

My initial experience with the “Related Posts” plugin

I really appreciate that Denis had came up with the Related Posts plugin for WordPress. Initially, I’ve downloaded and activated the plugin on my site. However, I was puzzled as instead of “Related Posts”, random and unrelated posts were selected. I’ve just recently figured out the blunder that I’ve made and want to share on what I’ve found out.

The reasons why “Related Posts” were not showing at the end of my posts:

1. I did not realise that after activating the plugin, I need to go to “Settings” to “WordPress Related Posts plugin” to define the requirements.

2. In order for the related posts to work, you must create TAG CATEGORIES for everyone of your posts.

You Must Using Tags

Previously, I’ve never used tags- I only label my posts under “Categories”. I’ve discovered that Tags are useful- I can put in relevant keywords, instead of previously putting in Categories- and having it grown too long.

However, you must remember that the plugin will search for the same tags- it does not look for keywords in your posts. The plugin is not psychic- so you have to feed in keywords in order for the correct type of  “Related Posts” to appear. Therefore, those posts that appear under “Related Posts” at the end of your article would be other articles that carries similar tags as your current articles.

If the plugin could not find any other articles with the same tags, it will either display Random Posts or you can define via Settings to have “most commented posts” appearing. If you have never used the tags, then do a one time painful cleanup- go in and create tag keywords for each article- you can use general or more specific tags. It will be worth your while.

Specific tags work well if you want to group certain articles together. Remember, stick to the same tags- for instance, if you use “business” in an article, do not tag “businesses” – just use the same word and stick to it.  

Still not sure? Then see the tags I use in my articles. Sometimes in blogs you see “tag clouds” – the bigger words showed that the blog contained more articles with that bigger tag word than a smaller one. 

By the way, I’ve also tried the “Yet Another Related Post plugin“.  The plugin is quite sophisticated but I find it:

  • >>>make my blog load slower
  • >>>the link to the developer is shown on every Related Posts.

In the end, I’ve deactivated this plugin. Now, I am very happy with the “Related Posts plugin” by Denis.

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{ 1 comment }

Sarah November 18, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Exactly what I was thinking, thank you!

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