Top 7 Best Related Posts Plugins for WordPress 2020

WordPress inline related posts plugin

Are you looking for the best free related posts plugin for WordPress? I’ve got you covered.

In this detailed related posts guide, I’m going to tell you what are related posts in WordPress, why they are important, and how to implement them in your WordPress site, using the top WordPress related posts plugins.

This isn’t yet another list post with links to the top related posts plugin at the WordPress repository. Instead, I’ve handpicked a few of the best plugins for your WordPress blogs, installed them on my test setup, and thoroughly checked them.

You want a plugin to auto implement related posts? or you want your related posts to be manually selected? everything is clearly mentioned.

I’ve also highlighted a basic set of features, which I believe should be available with any related post plugin for WordPress.

I’ve done all the hard work so that you don’t have to.

What are Related Posts in WordPress?

It all starts with the bounce rate of your site, a key factor that is determined by calculating the total number of visitors who abandon your site after visiting just one page on your site.

A higher bounce rate is considered as a negative impact on your SERPs, also any visitor that bounces from your WordPress site, which means they did not convert.

You can read more on bounce rate here, a guide at CXL. Or official definition by Google on Analytics help.

Now how those big websites with millions of daily visitors, tackles this issue of high bounce rate?

Simple! they keep their visitor engaged by suggesting more related content.

You might’ve seen those recommended posts or articles on several major websites, with the heading

  • Now trending,”
  • “The latest,”
  • “Popular now,”
  • You might also like”

And so on. 

In WordPress, we call it related posts.

What are the benefits of adding related posts in WordPress site?

It’s always recommended to use a good related posts plugin to reduce the bounce rate of your WordPress site. After all, who wants to show a mere single piece of his writing when, you can show an entire book, to a potential visitor of your WordPress site.

With related posts/articles, readers on your site will find more related content and you’ll keep them engaged to discover more of your content.

What are the best methods to show related posts in WordPress?

You can show related posts in many ways, such as:-

  1. Shows related posts automatically – this method uses various parameters such as related content, title, tags, taxonomy, popularity, etc.
  2. Show related posts by popularity – shows related posts by the total number of views.
  3. Show related posts by latest – shows most recent posts from your WordPress site.
  4. Show related posts by custom taxonomy/CPTs (Custom post type) – shows more posts from the same custom taxonomies or custom post type.
  5. Show related posts randomly – shows related posts from mixed options, like a custom taxonomy, CPTs, no of views, etc.
  6. Show related posts by the author – show related posts by the same authors.

It entirely depends upon your requirement, which way you want to show related posts on your WordPress website.

For instance –

If you run a WordPress Magazine site with news/articles related to specific topics,

Related Posts in sidebar widget at Forbes

You can show related posts by popularity/no of views in your widgets,

Inline related posts at Business Insider

You can also prefer to show the related articles in-line, which means between the posts.

List of more articles from same category at TheVerge

You can show “more articles” from the same category, after the post.

Related posts with thumbnails at Reuters

You can even show more articles, by the same author.

How to show related posts in WordPress?

It’s super easy, even for beginner WordPress users to add related posts functionality to their WordPress sites.

  1. Using a related posts plugin – The easiest and safest option
  2. Using WordPress Theme’s built-in related posts feature – Depends upon your theme, built-in theme features are often restrictive.
  3. Custom code to show related posts in WordPress – Requires coding skills, and need to be maintained with WordPress updates.

Some popular WordPress themes come with a built-in feature to display related posts, but the majority of people, like me prefer to use a separate plugin to display related posts from their respective blogs.

Why separate plugins for related posts?

  • Better control – It’s always a great idea to add any custom feature to your WordPress site, using a standalone plugin.
    In case if you’re switching the theme framework, then you can continue using your existing related posts plugin
  • More flexibility – In case, if required you can quickly turn off the related posts feature, by simply deactivating the plugin, instead of altering the code or deactivating your theme.
  • Easier updates – It’s easier to update a single plugin, over updating an entire theme for pushing any changes to the related posts feature on your site.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the best WordPress related posts plugins.

How WordPress Related posts plugin generate a list of related posts?

There are many factors often referred as “the algorithm” for the developers and “the secret sauce” for an ordinary WordPress user, which is used by a WordPress related posts plugin to display related posts on your WordPress sites including:-

  • Relation based on another post title/content – In this method, the plugin uses related or common keywords to generate a list of related posts.
  • Relation based on custom taxonomy/tags –  In this method, the plugin generates a list of related posts, which shares the same custom taxonomy.
  • Relation based on custom post types – In this method, the plugin makes a list of related posts from the same custom post type.
  • Relation based on many factors – In this type of method, the plugin uses various factors combined to generate a list of related posts including, title keywords, content body keywords, tags, categories, no of views, etc to generate a highly relative list of related posts.

Top 9 WordPress Related Posts plugin 2020

1. Jetpack by WordPress.com

Shows related posts automatically allow selecting manual posts by filters.

jetpack related posts wordpress
  • Built-in cache – Yes, serves the results from cloud
  • Posts relation type supported – No; automatically generates the list based on the content of the post, tags, and categories.
  • Manually add related posts – No
  • Related posts display support on – By default (Posts); Pages, Custom Post Types are supported via filter and functions.
  • Automatic append – Yes
  • Custom location – Yes, via Shortcode
  • Built-in styling – Yes
  • Custom styling support – No
  • Control no of related posts to display – Yes, via a custom filter
  • Default post-thumbnail – No
  • Widget support – No
  • Short-code support – Yes

The super-popular Jetpack plugin by WordPress.com is known to all and with over 4 million+ downloads, chances are high that you’re already using Jetpack on your WordPress blog. I personally like Jetpack a lot, because of the range of features and services it offers as a single plugin.

That’s the reason I’ve added it on the top of the list because this way you won’t need to install a separate plugin to show related posts

The related posts feature offered by Jetpack are pretty neat, it allows you to –

  • Show related posts beneath the single posts in Grid and lists layouts
  • Ability to customize, the layouts of the related posts to display thumbnails, date, and category.

Surely, Jetpack’s related posts can’t be customized much, with the settings area. However, for advanced WordPress users, there are filters to customize the related posts.

Blogosense uses Jetpack to show related posts.

2. Related Posts Thumbnails Plugin by WPBrigade

Shows related posts by custom taxonomy, related posts randomly.

Related posts by WPbrigade
  • Built-in cache – No
  • Posts relation type supported – Yes; via post, tags, and categories.
  • Manually add related posts – No
  • Related posts display support on – By default (Posts);
  • Automatic append – Yes
  • Custom location – Yes, via PHP Code
  • Built-in styling – Yes
  • Custom styling support – Yes
  • Control no of related posts to display – Yes
  • Default post-thumbnail – Yes
  • Widget support – Yes
  • Short-code support – Yes

Related Posts by WPBrigade is another popular plugin to display related posts on your WordPress site. If you’re like me, who likes to configure things in your way, then this plugin is for you.

It comes with a wide set of options to configure, including support for custom post types, configure thumbnails, styling, and most importantly it allows you to choose the relation between related posts, on the basis of categories, tags, etc.

3. Contextual Related Posts

Shows related posts by Post Title, Context

Contextual related posts plugin
  • Built-in cache – Yes
  • Posts relation type supported – Yes; via post, tags, categories. custom taxonomy, custom post types
  • Manually add related posts – Yes
  • Related posts display support on – Posts, Custom Posts types
  • Automatic append – Yes
  • Custom location – Yes, via PHP Code
  • Built-in styling – Yes
  • Custom styling support – Yes
  • Control no of related posts to display – Yes
  • Default post-thumbnail – Yes
  • Widget support – Yes
  • Short-code support – Yes

Contextual related posts, as the name suggests is a WordPress plugin that displays related posts on the basis of context and hence shows more relevant posts. It uses the title and/or content of the posts to generate the list of related posts.

The plugin is feature-rich, which means it supports thumbnails, shortcodes, widgets, CPTs, and CSS styles, plus comes with a built-in cache functionality that reduces the load on your server.

contextual related posts plugin

It also has extensive widget support for related posts, with many options to configure including no of posts to display, include an excerpt, author name, date, thumbnails, as well as post types selection.

4. Related Posts by Taxonomy

Shows related posts by tags, categories, custom taxonomy, random. Detailed documentation and active support.

related posts by taxonomy wordpress plugin
  • Built-in cache – Yes
  • Posts relation type supported – Yes; via post, tags, categories. custom taxonomy, custom post types
  • Manually add related posts – Yes
  • Related posts display support on – Posts, Custom Posts types
  • Automatic append – Yes, via filters
  • Custom location – Yes
  • Built-in styling – Minimal
  • Custom styling support – Yes, via theme’s stylesheet
  • Control no of related posts to display – Yes
  • Default post-thumbnail – No
  • Widget support – Yes
  • Short-code support – Yes

I’ve personally used Related posts by taxonomy a few years ago, back then it was the only plugin available with the ability to show conditional related posts from specific custom taxonomy types into a custom post type. Needless to say, this plugin is great if you need a robust plugin to display related posts using shortcodes at any place on your WordPress site.

The only cons are that there’s no GUI for configuring the related posts, except for the widget area. However, the shortcodes are the primary way to display the related posts with this plugin and comes with a wide variety of attributes for the shortcodes. Custom styling is supported using your own theme’s stylesheet.

5. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

Shows related posts by tags, categories, custom taxonomy. One of the Oldest and actively maintained related posts plugin for WordPress since 2008.

yet another related plugin slow wordpress performance
  • Built-in cache – Yes
  • Posts relation type supported – Yes; via post, tags, categories. custom taxonomy, and custom post
  • types
  • Manually add related posts – No
  • Related posts display support on – Posts, Custom Posts types
  • Automatic append – Yes
  • Custom location – Yes
  • Built-in styling – Yes
  • Custom styling support – Yes, via custom templates
  • Control no of related posts to display – Yes
  • Default post-thumbnail – No
  • Widget support – Yes
  • Short-code support – Yes

The list of the best-related posts plugin for WordPress won’t be completed without any mention of YARPP. Available since 2008, Yet Another Related Posts Plugin could be easily the oldest related posts plugin for WordPress, which is actively maintained and updated regularly.

In the past, the plugin was known to slow down your WordPress sites, however, starting with version 3.5 the performance is now optimized but it still resources intensive, plus it has compatibility issues with few of the known plugins including DISQUS, Pagebar 2, WPML and a few more.

YARPP offers related posts by category, tags, and custom taxonomies into a list of text-based and thumbnails based layouts. The plugin allows you to create your own post relation threshold by matching titles, body content, categories, and tags.

6. Inline Related Posts

Shows related posts by tags, categories. Intelligently adds related posts in the post content area.

wordpress inline related posts plugin
  • Built-in cache – Unknown
  • Posts relation type supported – Yes; via tags, categories
  • Manually add related posts – No
  • Related posts display support on – Posts, Pages
  • Automatic append – Yes
  • Custom location – Yes, via Shortcodes
  • Built-in styling – Yes
  • Custom styling support – Yes
  • Control no of related posts to display – Yes
  • Default post-thumbnail – Yes (only Paid version)
  • Widget support – No
  • Short-code support – Yes

As the name suggests, the Inline Related Posts plugin for WordPress cleverly displays related posts from your website right in your post content area, all automatically. Popular websites such as Entrepreneur, BBC, Business Insider, Financial Times, etc use the same method to improve the page views by many folds.

The free version comes with up to 3 related boxes, with free themes to display related posts and no support for features images. However, with the pro version (paid starts @ $27/year for a single site), you will be able to get unlimited related boxes, a number of premium themes and support for featured images.

7. Custom Related Posts

Shows related posts manually, lightweight WordPress related posts plugin

how to add custom manual related posts in wordpress
  • Built-in cache – Unknown
  • Posts relation type supported – Yes; via tags, categories, post types
  • Manually add related posts – Yes
  • Related posts display support on – Posts, Pages, Custom Post Types
  • Automatic append – No
  • Custom location – Yes, via Shortcodes
  • Built-in styling – Yes
  • Custom styling support – Yes
  • Control no of related posts to display – Yes
  • Default post-thumbnail – No
  • Widget support – Yes
  • Short-code support – Yes

If you just want complete control on the list of related posts in each post, pages or any custom post type of your WordPress site, then look no plugin other than Custom Related Posts.

The plugin comes with Gutenberg support and allows you to display related posts in the blocks or using shortcodes, all manually. You can select each and every link beneath your posts or pages, all handpicked by you.

Conclusion

Surely, writing original content should always be our number one priority. However, by showcasing more great content to your readers on his first visit will keep him engaged.

Adding Related posts to your WordPress site isn’t the only way to reduce the bounce rate of your site, but I would like to end this post with the final words, Related posts are important!

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