Home > WordPress > Related Post Plugins For WordPress and Site Speed Test [case study]

Related Post Plugins For WordPress and Site Speed Test [case study]

by DiTesco

wordpress related posts plugin

What are related posts plugins?

Related posts plugins are tools that WordPress site owners can use to display, either in text or thumbnails, posts that are “similar” to the one users are currently reading. Most of the time, you will see at the end of each post something like, “you may also like”, “post related to …”, etc.

One thing that some people tend to forget is that often times, visitors do not generally land on our homepage, but rather on specific posts (or pages) in our site. This is especially true when they arrive via organic search, links clicked via social networks, etc. One of the reasons related posts are recommended is because it increases users engagement on our site and entices them to stay a while longer, because you offer more “options” for them to read about the subject they showed interest in. Here’s an example on how they look like on one of my other sites (clicking on the image takes you there) or towards the end of this post, you can see a text version.

nRelate related content

Now, and here’s the deal. Not all related posts plugins are created equal. While some may be fancy and all that, you should know that, using the “wrong” plugin or widget, can hamper your sites performance.

Occasionally, I like to run a performance test on my site. Nothing complicated, just a simple plugin performance test and page load evaluation. The tools I use for this purpose are P3 profiler (see previous link) and Pingdom. P3 profiler measures plugins performance and reveals those that are taking too much resources and Pingdom runs a test on page speed loading time. Both are highly recommended to test site speed and increase performance.

Best Related Post Plugins for WordPress

OK and you probably know this already. There are a lot of related posts plugins or widgets out there. Some are good, and well some are not so good. The problem with some of the plugins available is that they use too many server resources, and in this case, may hamper your sites performance.

The plugins I recommend here are those that I have experience with and in case you know of other alternatives, please do let me know.

First let me show you the first run of test I did this weekend.

related content test 1

You will notice from the above test that YARPP (Yet Another Related Post Plugin) was consuming 13% of my resources and although I have been a faithful user of this plugin for years, I was already thinking of changing it. Recently, a post from Jane of ProBloggingSuccess confirmed my suspicions about this plugin, and though I like it, I had to find other alternatives, that consumed less resources and preferably running off-server.

Don’t take me wrong about YARPP. I still think it is one of the best related content tool for WordPress. It really “filters” quite well related posts and returns good results. If you don’t use too many plugins, like I do, I still recommend its use. Now, if you have too many plugins you can’t live without, then YARPP may not be the right choice for you.

The next obvious question is what am I using now?

nRelatenRelated Related Content – I have been using nRelate for a while now on other sites and results have been quite good. I am still tweaking some things so that the returned “related posts” are more relevant. nRelate has several design options to choose from. You can choose text or thumbnails, the latter, with over 5 different options to set it up. Actually, nRelate has more to offer than just the related content. It also offers popular content (also configurable), the flyout, those boxes that popup on the right side under the post, and auto in-text linking, a service that automatically discovers the keywords within your content and creates in-text hyperlinks to your topics pages or a search of your site. And yes, it is free and available for other platforms too. Cool!

Also, and this may be the “decision point for you, nRelate does offer you ways to monetize your site by serving ads alongside the related content. Just turn the option on in the control panel and you are good to go. In addition, among its various settings, if you decide to use it, make sure to set the “version” to “NoJavascript” under the labs section of the panel, to ensure that they are visible to search engines.

Did my site improve?

After removingYARP and conducting two runs on Pingdom, page load time revealed an increase of nearly a second.

pingdom test 1

pingdom test run 2

Not bad and also confirmed by a rerun on P3.

What else?

LinkwithinLinkwithin – Like nRelate, LinkWithin also analyzes your content off-server and is equally a great plugin. Their context engine looks at categories, tags, keywords, and a few other aspects of your content in order to make the necessary recommendations. One of the things that I have not used this service before was because they used to redirect traffic through their site, but as I gather, it is no longer like that. You now get all the SEO juice from the links, which is good. Now taking it for a test drive on another site. An added observation, I have a client whose one of the top referrers for traffic is LinkWithin. Just a heads up and don’t ask me yet as I am figuring that one out.

Linkwithin setup is really easy, just head over to their site and start by providing your URL. Then they give you some options to tweak the widget and after that it gives you a zip file where you upload to WordPress via the “install plugin” option. You can also use Linkwithin on different platforms.

That’s it! these are the related content plugins that I currently recommend (with the reservation on YARP). Just make sure that before you install plugins and run all the testings to backup your data files, just in case you need to perform a data recovery on a later stage. You never know.

How about you? What related posts or content plugin/widget are you using? Are you happy with it? Let me know so I too can take it for a test drive. I might include it here too, with due credits πŸ™‚

 

Article by

+DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone.com. iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Consulting Services.

Francisco has written 892 articles at iBlogzone.com

1 Jason Benway October 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

what did you use to test the time each plugin took? The image says runtime by plugin?
Thanks.
I switched to Nrelated a few months ago and love it.

2 DiTesco October 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Hi. I used P3 profiler, as I mentioned above. Click on the link “about site performance” to see more πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by

3

Paul Salmon

October 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I used to use YARPP as well, but I have had two incidents in the past two months where my host disabled my blog because of high CPU usage. Last month I disable YARPP (after the second disabling) to see if that caused the issue. Out of all the plugin I have enabled, it seems the likely cause of the high CPU usage, but only time will tell.

I’ll have to have a look at nRelate as I always like having some related posts at the bottom of my posts.

4 DiTesco October 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Hi Paul. Hmm, most likely the cause of your “high” usage of CPU was similar to that of Jane. I disabled YARPP for now due to not only that issue but also because it was in fact taking too much time to “process” on my blog. In addition to that, I may have to disable “other” plugins that are taking too much resources.. we’ll see. Thanks for stopping by

5

Rachel

May 26, 2013 at 7:47 am

YAARP is run on amazon.aws. Not only is amazon.aws a known spammer, so many sites have any traffic coming from amazon.aws blocked, YAARP also uses major resources and hangs for ages.

I ditched it from all my sites a few weeks ago and not only were less resources suddenly being used, but all my sites sped up quite drastically.

Wouldn’t recommend YAARP at all, unfortunately.

6

Robert

October 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm

What’s your current choice now? I love nRelate, but they are using external javascript files, so I am a little bit worry about it πŸ™

7 DiTesco October 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Hi. There is an option to disable the “javascript” on the nRelate settings. Scroll down towards the end and you’ll see it.

8 Jane October 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Plugins are both a blessing a curse in Wordpress. While they take a lot of load off your shoulders, they put the load somewhere else πŸ™‚

Thanks for writing this case study Fran, this is much useful, given my recent story πŸ™‚

9

Aditya

October 13, 2012 at 8:57 am

Did you overcame with your problem regarding the Plugin usage Jane?? I think using a post related plugin is pretty much effective then anything else.

10

Gilbert

October 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm

I like linkwithin as it is very easy to set up and all you need to do is fill in info and you are good to go. Thanks for the share Ditesco.

11

Bhushan

October 10, 2012 at 6:25 am

Hi,
I have never heard and used this plugin before but it seems something better.I found this post useful and make me very eager to use this plugin named n Relate.

12 Joseph October 10, 2012 at 6:45 am

I have been using nRelate for quite some time now and I find it very useful and handy. It offers you a lot more than other such plug-ins. I haven’t used p3 to check my load time but I believe it doesn’t take long. Also, apart from real time value, nRelate has also increased my blog traffic.

13 Chris Lynn October 10, 2012 at 6:50 am

DiTesco,

Thanks for sharing your experiences as a case study this will really help other newbie bloggers like me in improving the site performance.

I will give profiler a try and see what all are the plugins consuming more resources on my blog.

Thank you.

14 Melissa October 10, 2012 at 9:20 am

Hi DiTesco,
Awesome comparison.
I never used nRelate in my blogs.
You pave me a way to bolster my confidence.

15 DiTesco October 11, 2012 at 9:44 am

Good to know. Let me know how it goes for you

16

Juan

October 10, 2012 at 10:03 am

before this i’m using linkwithin and after that i change to Yarpp. Yarpp is simple. Linkwithin using too much bandwitdh

17 DiTesco October 11, 2012 at 9:44 am

That’s interesting Juan. If YARPP works for you, that’s good. The plugin provides great results …

18 Harsh Agrawal October 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm

DiTesco
Nice explanation and I have not yet tested the difference between both these plugins, but I’m sure YARPP must be consuming more resources because of their sophisticated but complicated query to show related posts…
What I like about YARPP is, related posts shown via it are very accurate and there are many configuration change…

I’m using nRelate on wpfreesetup.com and so far results are good but I guess I have to take the way of custom styling to make related posts much better and work along with my design…

19 DiTesco October 11, 2012 at 9:43 am

Hi Harsh. I agree with you on YARPP, it really provides good and pretty accurate results. Sadly, I had to part from it (for now), because of the resources it was consuming. nRelate works pretty good, but as I have mentioned on comment to Chris, it is not as accurate as YARPP. Guess, trading a bit of accuracy for speed is what I must let go of. We’ll see. Thanks for stopping by

20

Anton Koekemoer

October 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Hi DiTesco,

Thanks for mentioning the plugins. Will be sure to check it out. Hopefully it’s as accurate as It looks / sounds in the post.

21 Chris October 11, 2012 at 8:12 am

Hi DiTesco,
I used some of mentioned plugins, but I stayed with nrelate Related Content.
All of them work almost with the same speed, and this plugin works very well for me.
Thanks for sharing.
Chris

22 DiTesco October 11, 2012 at 9:38 am

Hi Chris. Thanks for your thoughts. I have been on nRelate on this blog for nearly three weeks and so far, I like how it works. Just having a bit of problem trying to make it show more relevant results. I guess tweaking the “number of days” or adjusting relevancy would do the trick, or wait a bit until nRelate’s algos better index my site.

23 Chris October 11, 2012 at 10:20 am

Yes, there is relevance problem with this tool. But I also use related post feature (probably it’s build in my blog theme) and there are fewer related posts… So there are pros and cons of using it.

24

erda

October 11, 2012 at 10:41 am

Both good choices for alternative plugins, although I usually find the best method for related posts is to train users to categorise and tag posts properly- then you can do queries with much less of an overhead.

25

jzeek

October 11, 2012 at 11:53 am

i don’t know about Linkwithin but i am using n relate on two of my blogs and is working great if i suggest a plugin to some one that would be n relate anyway great post DiTesco thanks and keep up the good work…

26

Krishna Parmar

October 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm

According to me, LinkWithIn is the best one available, As I use this on my Blogger blog and it works like the WordPress Plugin when installed, btw! I use nRelated and its also nice plugin, must try!

27

Derek

October 11, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I prefer nrelate to most of this plugins, it runs off server and thats a thing i need for my kind of hosting, i’m gonna check out the auto linking stuff, so i can disable seo smart links.

28 Peter October 12, 2012 at 2:58 am

I was using YARPP but recently shifted to nRelate. I must say I find this plugin much better. Not to say YARPP was bad. It did link my posts very effectively. But I find the performance level of nRelate a higher than those of YARPP. I haven’t checked out LinkWithin yet. But for now I am happy with nRelate.

29 Ravi Ahuja October 12, 2012 at 5:51 am

I am using nRelate on all my blog and not found any problem related to speed. Its a great plugin with lot of customization options.
You have explained it very well thank you.

30

Kersti

October 12, 2012 at 8:37 am

I have been using YARPP for quite some time now. I think it works fine for me. However, I wouldn’t mind trying the nRelate. It sounds like a good option and the things that it offers are great. Thanks for sharing this.

31

akhilendra

October 12, 2012 at 8:49 am

Did you noticed any performance related issues with nrelate? Though you have mentioned that it’s good but often related plugins do cause performance issues.

32 DiTesco October 12, 2012 at 9:28 am

Hi. Yes, nRelate sometimes gives some hiccups especially if you are using the “most popular” plugin. They are relatively new and are constantly improving their algorithms. I think it is an acceptable issue, and lately I have not noticed any performance issues

33

Naina

October 13, 2012 at 10:43 am

nRelate is the plugin to go for if one needs to take advantage.I am using YAARP before but found nRelate more impressive in the services it provide.

34

Kimberly

October 15, 2012 at 5:59 am

I recently added nRelate for linking similar posts on my blog. I did not have any other such plug-in before. This was part of my blog re-vamp strategy. This plug-in has been working just fine for me. In fact it has added a lot of value to my blog. I haven’t come across any hiccups yet as you mentioned in one of your comments. Thanks for sharing this post.

35

James

October 16, 2012 at 4:13 am

I think you’ve mentioned quite a few good plug-ins there. I recently started a new blog and have been using nRelate. A friend of mine told me about this plug-in. He thinks it works well for him and is one of the reasons why his readers stay on his site for long. Your post confirms that it is indeed a great plug-in. Thanks for sharing.

36

Matthew

October 16, 2012 at 5:49 am

I disabled YARP after reading your post for a test run and adopted the other plug in. And yeah, it did show positive results by reducing the loading time considerably. So, thumbs up for the post! Good job! πŸ™‚

37 Thomas October 16, 2012 at 7:34 am

Hey thanks for sharing this. I haven’t been using any “related posts” plug-in. But having read your post and the following comments, I have realized that my readers would spend more time on my blog if I give them related content to read. From what it looks like, nRelate seems the preferred choice. I’ll try that one myself. Thanks again.

38

Jack

October 17, 2012 at 4:15 am

I have been using LinkWithin and I am glad to see it featured on your list. It is a good plug-in and it is easy to install as well. It has enhanced my blog and I have been effectively linking posts that are related.

39

Danny

October 17, 2012 at 6:04 am

Nice clearly written post, Francisco…

I went through a mountain)okay, maybe a mole hill) of related post plugins, before I came across nRelate a few months back, and I haven’t looked back, since…

The versatility and variety that NRelate offers(and the fact that it actually works)…sold me…

In contrast, some of the other related post plugins seemed to have some ” bug” issues, that just would not go away after fresh installs(updates, etc)…

Francisco, nice catch on the P3 Profiler plugin…looks very useful….(and time saving)…

40 David October 17, 2012 at 6:51 am

I have been using YARPP for sometime now. I have been on the lookout for a plug-in that performs better. I will be checking both LinkWithin and nRelate to see which suits my needs. Another thing that I wasn’t aware of was the P3 profiler. I didn’t know I could check page load time with it. So, I am going to try and use that as well to determine the plug-in performance. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

41

Smith

October 18, 2012 at 3:32 am

I have been using nRelate for my blog and I am very happy with its performance. However, the new thing that I learned from this post was about the P3 Profiler. I haven’t used it before but I’d like to try to check my page load performance. That way I can make any changes required to increase my page load speed.

42 Alex October 19, 2012 at 3:49 am

Hi, I have been planning a site revamp and have been on the lookout for new features that I can add to this site. Your post has helped me find two new things that I would like to add. One is the P3 Profiler as it would help me determine what plugin enhances the performance of my blog or slows down its performance. The second is the related link plug-in. I haven’t used any and I would like to try one of these. From your comment nRelate does seem the popular choice. Thanks a lot for sharing this.

43 Kasper October 25, 2012 at 7:37 am

I use Microkid’s Related Posts plugin. I haven’t given performance of the plugin a thought however. I think I will try nRelate. And for sure I will begin to do some performance checks of my site and plugsins. Thanks for a nice post.

44

Naziman

December 14, 2012 at 4:12 am

I have run this test by using 6 related post plugin that i know work, best and using thumbnail. I create other subdomain,without widget and activate only related post plugin and p3.

The plugin i try :

1. Contextual Related Posts
2. LinkWithin
3. nrelate Related Content
4. SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
5. WordPress Related Posts
6. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

For speed test result by fastest to slowest :
1. Linkwithin (doesn’t show in p3)
2. WordPress Related Posts
3. Contextual Related Posts
4. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
5. SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
6. nrelate Related Content

After i test it i don’t know how to choose. In my list after the test only Wordpress related post, Yarpp, SEO alrp. At the end i choose Wordpress related post. I like using Wordpress popular post but this plugin have disadvantages, related via tags not via content and disadvantage for site speed the plugin using css from cloudfront.

45 DiTesco December 14, 2012 at 11:26 am

That’s a lot of plugin. To serve as reference, I am using nRelate. YARPP is good but I had to get rid of it because it uses way too much resources. In the end, you should which one works best for you, because the overall performance of your site will be determined not only by the plugins you mentioned, but as a whole.

46

Naziman

December 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I agree with you because overall performance not only because some plugin i try but whole plugin i use.

After i comment your post, i saw it wordpress related post adding some extra table and the table make many row than YARPP.

47 Arye January 21, 2013 at 10:02 am

Hi DiTesco,
Just wanted to inform you of a brand new related content plugin called engageya.
It shows related posts on your site,
It show related posts on other similar websites, and for every user that leaves your site to another related content, you are getting another targeted reader back to your site,
It allows tracking of readers’ use of the plugin (views, CTR and etc.).
And more..
And the plugin is for FREE of course πŸ™‚
You’re welcome to check us out on http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/cross-promotion-content-recommendations/
and on http://www.engageya.com for more advanced features (free as well).
Looking forward to adding value to your website! πŸ™‚

48 DiTesco January 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Hi Arye. Thanks for letting me know about the plugin. I’m always on the look out for good stuff and this one does sound quite promising. Will definitely take it for a test drive. BTW, have you tested the plugin for performance? Does it consume a lot of resources? Thanks..

Ok, I just went there but having problems downloading the widget zip file. Should I install the plugin from the WordPress repository?

49 Arye January 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Hey DiTesco, first of all, thanks for welcoming me here.
I’ve actually just tested it now with P3 (thanks for that, I wasn’t aware of that cool plugin), and was very pleased to find us in the legend area, above the alternatives πŸ™‚
Regarding the download – I highly encourage to download it from the website at the moment (http://www.engageya.com) because only by signing there you can choose from the various layouts and monitor your readers engagement and usage of the plugin ( we added more layouts today, a few hours back, perhaps that’s what caused you some trouble).
Currently, downloading it directly from wordpress.org will feature only the default display and no access to stats. The WP dashboard tab is on its way, might take some more time though..
If you still encounter difficulties, you have my email on the comment.

Looking forward to hearing your impressions πŸ™‚

Cheers,

50

SuryaDewa Bangsat

April 5, 2013 at 10:15 am

i want to try one from above but am to scared for trying πŸ˜€ ..

51 DiTesco April 5, 2013 at 10:51 am

Scared of what, lol.. Seriously, they pose no problems and could help you retain your readers a while longer. I can help if you if you want. Shoot me an email.

52

Pranjal

April 18, 2013 at 4:10 pm

The best way I found to show related posts on my blog is via Manual related posts plugin, it works without a flaw and allows easy way to select related posts manually and the most amazing part is that it doesn’t consumes high server resources.

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