Each of us at some point has had that selfish feeling of wanting to keep our readers on our site for hours at a time. We hope to be so inspiring and useful, every visitor will read every word we write and hang onto those words for years to come. While this is not realistic, there are ways to ensure we can easily provide value to our audience beyond the initial post that brought them to our site — Related Posts.
Related posts are references and recommendations you see at the bottom or in a sidebar of blog post. They encourage you to learn more. Related post links can be to other articles on the current site or to external expert sources.
Including a related posts capability on your site can increase time on site by up to 14.4%, according to a study by QuickSprout.
As you develop your expertise around a particular subject, it would make sense that you would develop different ideas that evolve over time. You would also reference peers and other experts in that particular field. As you go through your learning process via the Internet, you gain knowledge by absorbing information from others and reading the different views and perspectives that make the web such a useful learning tool.
At the end, when you write to educate others, if you provide a better experience for acquiring knowledge in far less time, your readers will reward you with loyalty. And those experts you reference will embrace you as part of a community and become ambassadors of your work.
Related posts can be the bridge to
- having visitors read more than one of your posts and
- engaging other experts in your industry
Typically, related posts to other articles on the same site are given more prominence than external links, as sites want to keep you on their site and increase the number of pages you view. To maximize engagement and grow your audience, it’s important to understand how related posts on both your site and on external sites deliver value.
Related posts on your site
When digging into your analytics, are your users leaving your site after reading the first post? The pressure on developers and bloggers to increase page views and reduce bounce rate is an ongoing battle. Highlighting related articles on your site is great way to keep visitors sticking around longer. In fact, including a related posts capability on your site can increase time on site by up to 14.4%, according to a study by QuickSprout. The longer you keep them around through education, the greater the chance you will be able to market products and services to them.
Use the psychology of audience members who are seeking to learn as an advantage. When visitors finish reading your post, they are likely looking for what else they need to know. You are trying to reach those visitors who are not quite ready to sign up through your opt-in form to stay on your site. You can do this by enticing them to read more posts.
Related posts on external sites
Just as your readers have a life outside of your blog, you have other things to do besides write for them. Linking to external posts that take a different perspective or dive deeper into what you’re writing about can be an excellent way to provide more value to your audience without needing to write it yourself. When researching a topic, if someone else’s post “couldn’t be said better yourself,” then don’t try. Give them their due, and share some link love. This can free you up to focus on other areas and further the education of your audience.
If you have a WordPress site, there are several plugins that can assist with sharing related posts on your site. In keeping with the spirit of this article, Eric Hauck from Followistic wrote the post I found to be most useful in evaluating various WordPress plugins for Related Posts.
After reading this post, select the plugin right for you, install and activate. You’ll quickly be able to increase engagement, time-on-site and page views — all while increasing the loyalty of your readers.