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How To Show Related Posts Without Impacting Server Load

Last Updated on June 1, 2016  

 

This is Day 9 of the 30 Days, 30 Killer WordPress Plug-ins Series.

There are a number of plug-ins out there for displaying related posts at the bottom of any blog post. So many of them, in fact, that one of the better known ones is called “Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in” (or YARPP).

YARPP is a good plug-in, but the problem with plug-ins like this is that they can be performance heavy on your site. It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes database crunching to come up with a list of related posts, so many people would end up disabling such plug-ins if they found their site slowing down.

Well, another option that is really nice is called nRelate Related Content. And, here is the MAIN thing which sets this one apart…

It is effectively OUTSOURCING the crunching to nRelate servers. See, the company (nRelate) is a content discovery company similar to companies like Outbrain. This means that the scanning and indexing takes place on their servers, using “patent-pending technology”. This will be especially convenient if you’re using shared hosting.

The way nRelate works is that it CAN do cross-promotion between sites in the network. So, you can choose to have ads show up in your related posts. But, you’re not forced to do that and you can choose to only show your own content.

The style options which this plug-in can deliver is really great.

You can show post thumbnails, which pull right out of the built-in Feature Image functionality of WordPress.
You can show post thumbnails, which pull right out of the built-in Feature Image functionality of WordPress.

You can also display this “Engadget style” option, similar to what the PostSkin plug-in can do. You’ll have less overall control as what PostSkin can do, but the output is pretty similar.

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Of course, you can also show straight text links as your related posts, so you don’t have to get fancy unless you feel like it.

I was using nRelate for awhile before I ended up disabling it. You may ask… why did I disable it?

Well, it wasn’t anything wrong with nRelate itself. I simply decided I wanted to do other things with the real estate at the end of my blog posts (i.e. an opt-in form and call to action).

But, there is a time and place for related posts. Having related posts on your blog can help you reduce your bounce rate, for example.

One thing to keep in mind… when you set up this plug-in, you ARE tapping into a third-party service. You are allowing nRelate to spider and index your content. Also, because they are inherently a cross-promotion engine, they will be tracking things. They do drop a cookie on your reader’s computer. It isn’t anything bad at all, but it may be the kind of thing you want to modify your privacy policy for. If you want to keep it all in-house, then that’s where something like YARPP comes in.

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