When running a blog or magazine website, the importance of reader engagement becomes paramount. You just cannot expect your website to succeed if you overlook reader engagement.
And how does one achieve reader engagement? There are many ways, but one such way is to suggest relevant content to your website’s visitors.
Thus, if they are reading an article on Syntaxxx about free web fonts, it might make sense to suggest another article related to web typography, thereby retaining the visitor for an additional page visit (You can see this in action at the bottom of each article on Syntaxxx).
This functionality can be achieved by means of Related Posts. In this article, I will discuss some of the most popular methods to suggest related content to your website’s visitors.
Suggesting Related Content To Your Readers
nRelate is a popular web service that is used to suggest relevant content to website visitors. You can modify the look and feel of the widget, and even model it to suit your website.
Plus, you can make money by suggesting Sponsored Content right in the widget space — consider it to be another additional ad space at your service.
Zemanta is more of a writing helper and content ads platform. However, it also has its own related posts’ widget that you can use to showcase relevant content to your readers in an easy manner. While not as customizable as nRelate, Zemanta does make it easy to track user behavior on website and record statistics.
Outbrain is one of the industry leaders when it comes to content suggestions. Much like nRelate, Outbrain too can be used to promote your own website, or offer Sponsored Content. However, their free plugin for WordPress is lacking in many aspects, and does not fare as well as that of nRelate or Zemanta or other competitors.
4. Disqus Promoted/Internal Discovery
While Disqus is best known as a commenting solution, it also offers a content suggestion service known as Promoted Discovery. It serves a two-fold purpose: while Promoted Discovery is primarily used for showing sponsored content from other websites, the Internal Discovery module is used to show relevant content from your own website.
Thus, Disqus can be used to encourage your readers to not just check out other relevant articles but also leave comments on your posts and articles.
Content.ad is primarily a content promotion and sponsored content discovery service. However, you can also choose to turn off ads and just showcase content from your website using the Content.ad widget.
Contextly is, by far, one of the best content suggestion solutions out there! It offers detailed customization tweaks for your widgets, by means of CSS. Plus, it lets you create reusable sidebars that you can employ to showcase additional relevant content to your visitors.
Contextly can display links from your own blog, or from any other RSS feed that you specify. On the downside, though, all of this awesomeness comes at a price. Contextly is a paid service: unless your blog gets less than 10,000 page views per month (in which case Contextly is free), you will have to shell out a good deal of money (as much as $99 per month if your website is popular).
However, with all of its features and support options, Contextly can justify its pricing, though it might still appear overpriced to some users.
7. Jetpack Related Posts
If you are using a self-hosted version of WordPress, you can use the Jetpack plugin to showcase related posts on your blog. The plugin does a good job at doing that, though your customization options are limited. You can, at best, turn on/off the featured image display.
But if you are looking for a simple solution, Jetpack Related Posts is the way to go!
When it comes to showcasing related content on your blog, many people tend to go with plugins, especially if they are using. While the temptation of using a plugin in a simple and straightforward manner is very tempting, it is hardly worth it. Here is why:
- Most related posts’ plugins tend to rely heavily on database scanning, which is a drain on server resources and leaves your database in an ugly shape.
- Repeated database scans can slow down your website.
Don’t believe me? WP Engine, a very reputed WordPress web host, has banned several related posts’ WP plugins for this very reason.
Thus, using a third-party solution for showcasing relevant content to your readers is the better choice. And when it comes to such solutions, if you can spare the money and/or have under 10,000 monthly visitors, Contextly stands way above the rest!
However, if budget is a constraint, or you are seeking a simpler solution, nRelate and Jetpack Related Posts are well worth looking at. Outbrain is good if you wish to advertise or monetize your blog, whereas Content.ad and Zemanta seem to be less popular at the moment.
Which related posts’ service do you use on your website? Share your thoughts with us using the comments below!