My journey with related posts widgets has been very diverse. I first started out with an excellent native WordPress related posts plugin called YARRP. However, I had to get rid of it because of the massive database overhead it had and had to go with LinkWithin, which I quickly ditched for Outbrain.
I have come to love Outbrain a lot, however, over the time that I have been using it, I have found a major problem with it. Relevancy. The Outbrain related posts are not as relevant to the article as I would want them to be.
For example, take this post. The related posts widget continues to show you posts which are mostly unrelated to the article, thus resulting in lesser clickthroughs. After all, doesn’t related posts have to be related contextually to the content you are reading?
As usual, I had to find an alternative for Outbrain which really did the relevancy job well. I could always have used one of the related posts plugins available for WordPress, but for a high traffic blog, database overhead is really unwanted. You might ask “Don’t widgets add site overhead?”. Well it does, but I would trade a little bit of site overhead with database overhead any day.
So, did I find anything? Yes, indeed. I found an excellent related posts service called nRelate, which not only does the job well, but is astonishingly accurate at providing relevant content for the article people are reading. The screenshot below you the related posts nRelate served for the same post that Outbrain did.
I am thinking of switching to nRelate completely, but I still like Outbrain for the ratings widget it provides and will continue to use it. I am still making a transition to completely make the switch for all related content to nRelate, till then I will continue using Outbrain.
One thing I liked about both Outbrain and nRelate is the support team is awesome and always respond to my queries. It is definitely a great team to work with.
If you are interested in trying out nRelate, you can do so by visiting their website at http://nRelate.com/. Big thumbs up to them for the awesome job they did with their widgets. They also have some other things they are working on, including popular posts and more. I definitely look forward to them completing those and using them.