Related Posts Plugins. Do they increase dwell time?

For all the bloggers out there (that’s most of you participating here), it’s always worth learning from our successes and failures with blog design and maintenance, and sharing any plugins that are particularly useful.

However what I haven’t found useful are related posts plugins. I’ve been using Efficient Related Posts, which is a very easy to use and very powerful plugin, but if you look at just some stats from the other day below, you’ll see that only 1 of the 5 recommended posts had much traffic, and that was because it was the post from the day before:

wp-content-uploads-2010-10-relatedposts.png

Plugins like this catch me – I always open up the related posts in other tabs – but the stats here are saying that they aren’t working.

I do wonder whether having it as a sidebar widget with pictures would work better. I have this plugin ready to go, so I’ll try it and let you know how it fares.

You’ll also notice I’ve left my pageviews in. I’ve done this to show that whilst I get very bad traffic but most people’s standards, even with that traffic I get about 20 – 30 comments a day. That is the value of a value based blogging.

Your Leading Thoughts

  • Do you use related post plugins, and if so, what success have you found with them?
  • Is there a better way to increase dwell time? (That is, the amount of time someone stays on your site for.)

Archived Comments

  • I seem to be getting some traffic from my related posts plugin – not as much on my primary blog but more on welivesimply.info.

    It seems to work best on posts that are visited via StumbleUpon. Regular visitors and search engine visitors don’t seem to pay as much attention to them.

  • / Scott Gould

    Ok – glad you have tracked this with more care than I have. I’ve just lazily thought it doesn’t work!

    Have fixed the search engine – thanks for the heads up on that

    Scott

  • “Related posts” boxes like that one, Scott, come across to me as a sure sign that I’ve reached the end of the post I was reading. It’s almost like reading your way down a cul de sac – nothing to do but turn around. Could the heading in the box be working against you?

    There’s a lesson here about writing headlines, but we’ve all taken that class. ;)

    Contextual matching is something I’d really like to implement on my site(s), but I’ve yet to find anything out there that really stands out as being worth trying. (I’m also looking to contextually match posts by tag across multiple sites – bupkus!)

    No need to defend numbers, either. People who focus on numbers are not focused on people.

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Brian

    Good points. I’ve often felt that those boxes mark the end of the post too. So if I scrap it, hopefully it means people are more encouraged to comment too?

    Scott

  • It might, but what if you closed with a personal comment suggesting the current post was inspired by one previous post, where concepts like A, B, and C were discussed, then offer readers an alternate advance call to action between leaving a comment on the current post or moving on to the older one.

    Could be interesting. Plugins make our lives easier, but they’re not perfect.

  • / Scott Gould

    “Plugins make our lives easier, but they’re not perfect.”

    Amen. Will become more personal in how I do this :-)

  • I use the following two plugins: LinkWithin and Popular Posts.

    I’m not entirely sure what the referral traffic looks like as I don’t check my stats daily but I have noticed that people are in fact clicking and reading those articles because every now and then, I”ll get a comment on an old article as featured by those plugins.

  • / Scott Gould

    I’ll check em out Ricardo – good to catch you briefly BTW.

    How are you?

    Scott

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