5 ways to get more from Bibblio's Related Posts for WordPress plugin

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Bibblio’s content recommendation plugin has a raft of game-changing features designed to help online publishers. Here are 5 of the most powerful…

1. Mix a bit of popularity into your content suggestions

The Related Posts plugin will always prioritize the most relevant content, based on the post you’re on, when it's choosing recommendations. This is a core principle of Bibblio’s AI, ensuring users always receive appropriate suggestions. We know that engagement is crucial to publishers too though, so you can influence which recommendations are returned by weighting them based on how popular they are with your audience. This can help to improve your page views, as your audience are more likely to engage with popular articles.

Weight your recommendations based on their popularity as well as relevance
Weight your recommendations based on their popularity as well as relevance

In the Modules tab of your Bibblio plugin admin, under the My Modules section, pick the module that you wish to be influenced by popularity. Click Module Settings in the blue bar to reveal the Recommendation Type panel. Set the dropdown to Improved page views and click Update in the blue bar.

If pure relevance is more important to you, as you want the recommended posts to be suitable based on subject matter alone, you can stay on Relevance only.

As you can set this on a module-by-module basis, you can have two modules on one post, each with different suggestions, for maximum impact. For example, you could have a Relevance only module row beneath your posts for those that read to the bottom and are interested in the guts of the subject, whilst on your side bar you could have an Improved traffic module column that draws the attention of users who are browsing with a lighter touch. Both sets of users are catered for!

 

2. Recommend posts that are more recent

If your site has lots of content but only the most recent stuff is likely to be relevant to your audience (such as a news site), you can prioritize recency so that posts published within a chosen time span are more likely to appear as recommendations. (Older articles may still appear, but only if they're extremely relevant.)

Alter the recency slider to prioritize newer posts
Alter the recency slider to prioritize newer posts

There is a time-based slider in the Bibblio plugin admin that sets this across all of your modules. Go to the Settings tab, under Handle Existing Posts the Prioritize recency slider can be dragged as far back in time as two years (great for magazines, journals, travelogues etc.) or brought forward as recently as one day (for current affairs, showbiz/fashion news, latest tech etc.) and anything in between. The slider auto-saves and the changes take effect 24 hours after new items are added.

If you do not wish to control your recommendations based on recency you can leave it set to OFF.

 

3. Highlight authors and the dates their posts were published

In addition to displaying the post title, description and your amazing Featured Image on each Related Post tile in your module, you can also show the post’s author and the date it was published.

Choose to display the post author and date
Choose to display the post author and date

If you have a team of writers who contribute to your site, and some of them have a bit of a following, mentioning their name on content recommendations could encourage users who are familiar with them to click and read on. It also injects an element of personality to your Related Posts, reminding visitors that real people are behind your stories, creating connections between writer and reader.

By mentioning the date published, the user can also see more easily if they think that the post will be relevant to them.

To switch the author or date display on, go to the Modules tab of your Bibblio plugin admin, under the My Modules section, pick the module that you wish to edit. In the Display Options panel toggle Display author and Display date on and off.

 

4. Make the module look and feel at home on your site

Our default 'out-of-the-box' related posts module looks great, if we do say so ourselves, and fits into the majority of websites nicely. The clean Arial font sits on top of each Featured Image with a dark gradient to ensure legibility. You can click Separate text in the Display Options panel of the module editor to have the text appear on a white background too.

Display the text on a white background with your Featured Image just above it
Display the text on a white background with your Featured Image just above it

You can also change the font and text size of the titles by choosing from dropdowns of system fonts and several pre-set sizes in the Headline Style panel of the module editor. These system fonts are the ones most likely to be installed as standard on recent Windows and Apple operating systems, so you can be sure how your module will look across different platforms.

However, we realise that you might have your own specific font that you use for headlines across your site which you would prefer to use instead. This can be easily applied by adding some CSS to one of your pre-existing stylesheets or by creating a new one. Be sure your stylesheet loads after the Related Posts plugin’s stylesheet (bib-related-content.css) so that it overwrites the plugin’s default class properly.

For example, we at Bibblio use the font Roboto. We can make our related posts module display it’s headlines in this font using the following class to override the defaults:

.bib__title {
    font-family: "Roboto" !important;
}

The !important rule can be used to be sure this font overrides any properties that have preceded it. Don't forget that this font change is for the headline within a related post tile only and does not change the font used for the author, date or description. This is considered body text and is kept as Arial to guarantee legibility. You can of course override this too - we would suggest a simple sans-serif font for clarity.

In fact, use your stylesheet to override anything you like. Using Separate text but have a grey page background? Change the white panels the text sits on to grey by targeting the .bib__info class. Want curved corners on each tile to match the rest of your site? Use the border-radius property in the .bib__link class. Anything is possible!

 

5. Understand what works

The journey doesn’t end the moment you put your modules on your posts. You can use your Bibblio dashboard to monitor the effectiveness of your plugin. It allows you to see how many times a module has appeared on your post (we call these recommendation calls), how many times a related post has been clicked and the click-through rate (CTR).

The two click-through rates
The two click-through rates

The CTR is the ratio of users who click on a related post, compared to the number of times a module has appeared on a page. A lot of sites use CTR to measure how well the elements of their page are performing. If they find the CTR is too low (typically under the industry benchmark of 0.5-1%) they might move the element to another part of the page to improve the percentage. This is why it’s important to put yourself in the user’s shoes and consider at which point in your page would a user want to receive suggestions to related content, and insert your modules accordingly.

Additionally, some users might not scroll through your post and ever reach your module, but if they did they might be inspired to explore more content. So, although CTR is an industry standard it is a bit of a blunt instrument, since you can’t be sure that those who didn’t click on your related posts even saw the module in the first place!

This is why we also include in-view CTR in our dashboard. In-view CTR is the ratio of users who click on a related post, compared to the number of times people saw the related posts module. This shows whether or not the module is doing it’s job in enticing users to click around your site from one relevant post to another. The in-view CTR therefore tends to be higher, as it refers to engaged users - a much more accurate reflection of how the module is performing.

Add tracking parameters to your module links
Add tracking parameters to your module links

You can also track your click performance precisely by adding your own analytics parameters to the links in your module. This is useful if you want Google Analytics etc. to report this activity. In the Modules tab of your Bibblio plugin admin, under the My Modules section, pick the module that you wish to be tracked. Click on the Module Settings button. Under Manage Tracking, click Add new tracking parameter and assign a name and value (such as a utm_source or the type/location of the module). Do this for as many parameters as you want. When done, be sure to click Update. You can then set up campaigns in Google Analytics to monitor your related posts traffic.

 

Conclusion

If you grab Related Posts for WordPress by Bibblio from the plugin store, running with it out of the box will be simple and effective. You will see continuously improving, relevant content suggestions thanks to the same AI tech that’s used by big players such as Netflix and Spotify. You’ll also see a more engaged audience and improvements in your page views.

There are plenty of ways to go further in making sure that your module looks and performs at it’s best though. These five methods will take your related posts modules to the next level. Try them out and let us know how you get on. We love hearing the stories we receive from sites that have super-charged their posts!

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