With this week’s announcement that nRelate will shut down the end of the year, many WordPress users are looking for an alternative to the nRelate Related Content plugin.
Displaying related content at the end of your blog post allows your readers to find other content on your site they may find interesting. Providing related posts keeps your readers engaged and encourages readers to stay on your website longer and return again.
So where do you start looking for a new plugin?
Here’s what I discovered last summer when I was researching options for displaying related content.
My requirements for a related post plugin were:
- Display related posts quickly
- Option to display thumbnails with post title or a text list of post titles
- Plugin under active development
- Easy to style output
Given nRelate is no longer available after December 31 of this year, that leaves two options to consider.
Jetpack Related Posts Feature
Once you’ve installed the Jetpack plugin, you can easily enable the module by selecting the Activate button for Related Posts.
Related posts can be displayed as post titles with thumbnail images or as a list of post titles.
You also have the option to to customize the look of Related Posts through filters, which can be added to a your own functionality plugin or to your theme’s functions.php file.
An advantage of the Jetpack Related Posts feature is the analysis and processing of related posts is done on Jetpack’s servers, not your own web host server.
One of the biggest issues with related posts plugins is the increased amount of processing that needs to be done on the server. With Jetpack’s Related Posts feature, there’s no extra load on your server so your posts will be displayed quickly.
I liked the results from Jetpack’s Related Posts plugin, it was quick and displayed content that was related to the post. However, I ran into issues with how the thumbnail image was cropped and styling the output to closely match my theme. Depending on your content and requirements, you may not have any issues.
Keep in mind the Related Posts feature mirrors the content on WordPress.com for indexing. Also, if there’s no featured image associated with a post, the first image found in the post is used for the thumbnail (which may not be what you want).
Yet Another Related Post Plugin (YARPP)
The plugin I ended up choosing was the popular YARPP, which has been around for several years and has quite a following. YARPP has been downloaded over three million times, and offers a standard and premium option.
I liked the various options the standard plugin offers. You can display related posts by title, tag, category, or content within the body of the post. And you can choose to disallow specific tags or categories.
You can set the number of related posts to display and choose between showing a list or thumbnails.
The related posts can display below the post content or in a sidebar (using the the plugin’s Related Posts widget).
You also can restrict the timeframe for related posts by selecting Show only posts in past XX months in The Pool section of the plugin settings.
Styling the output from YARPP to match my theme was straightforward (though one update did cause some issues late last summer). I’ve been happy with the related content results.
I’ve heard from other web professional colleagues that YARPP has been problematic for performance, but I haven’t noticed any issues on my site. Your mileage may vary; use the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) plugin or another method for checking performance on your site.
Do you add related content to your posts? Share your experience in the comments.