When my client asked about a new page on their WordPress website, a page that would display random content in two sections of the page, I had lots of questions about what they envisioned.
- What were the goals for the two sections?
- Was the content already available?
- Was the content images? Graphs? Videos? Text?
- Would the content be a mix of text and imagery?
- Would each piece of content link to another post or page on the client’s site? Or to an external site?
- What was the expected behavior for the two sections of content?
My client’s site is an academic site, showcasing their research and case studies.
We already had a research page, highlighting recent research and case studies, which directed readers to blog posts to delve deeper.
What I Learned from My Client
For this particular page, the client wanted to highlight student projects, courses, and other news that wasn’t research by professors.
Each time someone visited the page, they would view a random piece of content in the two page sections.
The content could be anything: video, imagery, graphs, text from external sites.
What had me concerned: my client didn’t have the content available for my review. The content was an unknown, a black box.
I needed to find a flexible solution, that would allow me to have random content in two sections on a page.
Without knowing what that content might be.
Read on to learn about the elegant solution I implemented, one that was flexible and easy-to-manage.
Random Content Plugin
It took some research and a few conversations with my fellow web colleagues to learn what was possible.
For my client’s needs, I found an excellent solution with the Random Content plugin.
- Display random content anywhere on your site using a shortcode or widget
- Organize your random content in groups, which allows you to display content in multiple locations (or on the same page) on your site
- Uses TinyMCE editor, which provides full customization options to add images, text, video, links, etc. to your random content
- Choose the number of posts you want to display
The plugin is free and has a five-star rating in the WordPress plugin repository.
Why I Like It
I needed a solution for randomly displaying specific content in two sections of the same page.
And I needed the flexibility to add any kind of content, without knowing what that content might be.
The Random Content plugin does exactly what I need. And it allows me to quickly edit the random content I’ve already created.
I found it easy to use.
How the Plugin Works
Once you’ve installed the Random Content plugin, you’ll find a new Random Content menu item in the Dashboard.
Select Random Content > Add and you’ll be presented with a familiar interface for entering title and content.
You can add a category for your random content in Group.
To use the shortcode on your site, add
[random-content] on a page or post. To add content from a specific group, add
If you want to specify how many random content items are displayed on a page or post, add
[random_content group_id="61" num_posts="3"].
To use the widget:
- Go to Appearance > Widgets
- Add the Random Content widget to a sidebar
- Select a group from the dropdown menu
- If there are no groups, or you don’t create a group, the widget uses all random content entries
Note: I’ve only used the Random Content plugin on sites using the Classic Editor plugin, not the Block editor.
When I started searching for a solution, I found several options for displaying random posts from your own site or displaying random content in sidebars.
But they didn’t fit my requirements.
Random Content was the only plugin I found that provided me the options I needed: content that could be any format, content that didn’t need to be hosted on the site, and content that could be added to posts or pages.
Quick to set up and straightforward for my client’s staff to use, Random Content has proven to be the ideal choice for my client.
Have you used the Random Content plugin? If yes, share your experience and tell me what you like best about the plugin in the comments.