Getting people to your website is not easy, so once you have them, it is best to try to keep them. One way to do that is to have a widget that displays links to related posts. Let’s see how to do it.
1 Insert related links
The simplest way to keep visitors on your site is to show them links to other pages that might interest them. Ideally it would be a link to previous post on a similar topic and it might look at it from a different viewpoint or cover something related.
Suppose you are writing a post about the best chocolate cookie recipe, try to include a line something like this:
Related: How to bake the best peanut butter cookie
Both posts are about cookies and so they will appeal to the same audience.
If the reader clicks the link you get an extra page view and, if you use Google Analytics, Google will notice and give you a little SEO boost because people are spending more time on your site and are not bouncing off to a completely different site.
Of course, you can only insert links to past posts and not future ones.
2 Add a sidebar widget
The sidebar is a useful place to put links to other pages on your site and there are widgets that make it easy and automatic. You place the widget and links to other posts on your site are automatically displayed.
Go to Appearance > Widgets and look for a widget called Recent Posts. Drag it to the Sidebar and drop it where you want it. There is an option to choose the number of recent posts to display.
When someone is reading a post on your site, they will see a list of recent posts in the sidebar and may be tempted to click one.
Your theme may provide additional widgets or even better ones that can be placed in the sidebar to show recent posts or posts from a particular category.
3 Related posts after content
A common way to add related posts is by inserting a widget at the bottom of the page after the last paragraph of text. It is common to see this as a grid of thumbnail images, such as 4 x 2 rows, but sometimes it is a text listing.
There are several ways to do this and one is with the very popular Jetpack WordPress plugin. The free version is all you need. Go to Jetpack > Settings > Traffic tab and half way down the page is Related Posts.
Turn on the switch to enable it, then experiment with the two options – Show a ‘Related’ header and Use a large and visually striking layout.
Go and view a post on your site after enabling it. (It may take some time to appear.)
4 Use Google AdSense
Another way to create a related posts widget after the content is to use Google AdSense. A Matched Content ad shows a 4 x 2 grid of thumbnail images. Not only does it show related articles on your own website, if you allow it, it includes maybe three related articles on other websites.
Here is an example from rawinfopages.com and you can see 5 internal links to posts and 3 external links labelled Ad.
This might seem a bit counter-productive, but the items pointing to other sites are mini ads and you get paid when people click them. It is optional and you can either show all internal links to your own website or include external links and make money.
Go to your Google AdSense account and create a new ad unit called Matched Content.
There are a few customisation options, but generally the defaults are fine. Just get the code for the ad unit and copy it.
Does your theme have an option to insert code after a post? Some themes do and this one for example, has a widget position (Appearance > Widgets) that enables any widget to appear after a post. Add a Custom HTML widget and paste in the code.
Another place you may be able to insert code is when a theme is customised. Go to Appearance > Customise and check each section for an option to add code after a post. Some themes have it, but others don’t.
If there is no way to insert the Matched Content ad code after a post, use a plugin like Ad Inserter. It has options to insert code in a variety of places.
You can also place the Matched Content code in a sidebar widget too. Add a Custom HTML widget and paste in the code for a Matched Content ad.
This Google AdSense unit requires a lot of content on a site before it can be used. It isn’t clear how many posts are required, but probably at least 30 or 40.