If you look at the bottom of any of the posts on any of the Voxeo blogs, including this post, you’ll see that there is now a “Related posts” section that promotes other blog posts that are deemed relevant to the topic of the post. The idea being, of course, that you can expose readers who land on a blog post as a result of search (or tweets or other links) to other posts you have on your site. Keep the readers on your site and learning about your content… and potentially then moving them to take some action or engage with you at a deeper level.
After evaluating a good number of WordPress plugins that provide this functionality, I wound up choosing Michael Erlewine’s Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP), based primarily on the number of recommendations I saw for it, the extensibility that it has (although I’m admittedly using hardly any of its power right now), and also the fact that it put relevant posts out to both the web page and the RSS feed. Here’s a view of what the RSS feed looks like for the same post as shown in the image to the right:
Now, I set the plugin to only show 3 related posts in RSS and 5 for the web site. ALL of that is configurable, including the text that appears above the related posts, the HTML used, styles, etc. There are so many options, in fact, that I could easily see burning up a chunk of time just experimenting with it all. Me? I’m using mostly the default settings right now and it’s working fine.
WordPress MU Issues
I installed the YARPP plugin in the “plugins” directory and then activated it site-wide. I chose “plugins” vs “mu-plugins” purely because I wanted the option to not use it on some blogs… I don’t actually know if it would work in mu-plugins. It all worked fine.
There are just two issues from a WPMU point-of-view:
- Related posts only from the SINGLE blog – The YARPP plugin works with only a single blog, which is probably what you want 99% of the time. However, in a tightly controlled WPMU environment like this corporate blog portal, it would be interesting to try seeing related posts from across ALL blogs on this site. I could see that helping send traffic across the different blogs.
- Related posts NOT appearing in the all-blogs RSS feed – As I mentioned earlier, YARPP nicely puts related posts into the RSS blog for each individual blog. However, we’re generating an “All Voxeo Blogs” RSS feed to which the majority of people subscribe. That feed also goes out to our Facebook page and is delivered by email to subscribers. YARPP does not add posts to this AllVoxeoBlogs feed, largely because we’re generating this feed using another WPMU plugin. At some point I need to look into how I can add in hooks or somehow get related posts there.
Given that YARPP isn’t targeted at WPMU, I wouldn’t expect it to do these things, but they would be wonderful enhancements… or a reason to have a YARPP-MU plugin.
Those issues aside, I’ve been very pleased with the plugin thus far and have to really applaud Michael Erlewine for his great work and for making the plugin available.
Have any of you reading this tried other “related posts” plugins with WPMU?