We all want our audience to spend as much time on our websites as possible.
One way that you can keep visitors on your website is by displaying a list of related posts at the end of each post, so when a visitor has finished reading one post, they can move on to another one that they might also find useful or interesting.
I’ve tried a number of WordPress plugins for automatically generating a list of related posts, but my favourite one is called Contextual Related Posts.
In this post, I’ll show you how to display related posts at the end of each post or page on your WordPress website. I’ll also show you how you can customise your lists.
Click on the links below to help you navigate through this post:
- How to install Contextual Related Posts
- How to customise your related posts list
- Choosing where to display your related posts list
- Choosing how many items to display in a list
- Choosing what to display in your related posts list
- Changing the style of your list
- Customising the thumbnails used within your list
- Controlling the related posts list on a specific post
How to install Contextual Related Posts
Hover over Plugins in the left-hand menu and click on Add New.
On the plugins page, search for a plugin called “Contextual Related Posts”. It looks like this:
Click Install Now and then Activate when prompted to. And that’s it! Contextual Related Posts is now installed on your WordPress website.
What I recommend you do next is take a look at what your related posts list looks like on your website. So pick a post or page and scroll to the bottom.
This is what the related posts list looks like on a demo website I have set up using the Twenty Seventeen theme:
How to customise your related posts list
The chances are you aren’t going to like what you see when you view your list and you are going to want to customise it.
To customise your related posts list, hover over Settings in the left menu and click on the new item called Related Posts.
The Contextual Related Posts settings page has many, many settings. I’m not going to go through all of these settings in this post but I will talk you through the most important ones.
You can use the links at the top of the page to jump to specific sections of this settings page.
Choosing where to display your related posts list
A list of related posts will display on your posts and pages by default, but you have the option to change this.
In the General options section, you will see a setting called Automatically add related posts to. Here you can choose where exactly you want to display your related posts lists automatically.
Choosing how many items to display in a list
By default, 6 items will be displayed in your list, but you can change this if you wish.
In the List tuning options section, you will see a setting called Number of related posts to display. Here you can change the number of posts you want to display.
Customising what to display in your related posts list
As you may have seen when you previewed the related posts on the front-end of your website, by default the plugin is set to display posts and pages. However, you can change what is displayed here.
In the List tuning options section, you will see a setting called Post types to include in results. Here you can select what you actually want to display in your related posts section. So if you don’t want to show pages, just untick this option
Changing the style of your list
As you will have seen, your related posts list features the title of your post and the featured image (if you have assigned one) all in a rounded thumbnail format. But if you don’t like that style you can always change it!
Head down to the Styles section where you will see the options to change this formatting. If you don’t want to apply any styling because you want to use your own, choose No styles. If you only want to display the title of the post rather than displaying the image and the title, just choose Text only.
You’ll also find a box where you can add in your custom CSS styling if you wish.
Customising the thumbnails used within your list
If you choose to display thumbnails within your list then you may want to customise their size, their location within the list, how the images are cropped, etc.
All this can be done within the Thumbnail options section.
You can even change the default image that is used when a post doesn’t have a feature image.
Controlling the related posts list on a specific post
Sometimes, you might not want to display a list of related posts on a certain post. If this is the case, navigate to that specific post and scroll down until you see the Contextual Related Posts box.
To turn off related posts on this post, just tick the box next to Disable Related Posts display.
Alternatively, if you want to exclude a certain post from appearing in lists, tick the box next to Exclude this post from the related posts list.
Within this box, you can also manually set the related posts for this particular post by entering the IDs of the posts you want to feature. You can also choose a different thumbnail image for this post to use by entering the URL of the image you want to use.
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