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In search of the Best Related Posts Plugin for WordPress

2010
23
February

If you are anything like me you tend to read quite a few blogs and in doing so you have likely come across a blog article that at the bottom had links to other articles that were somehow related to the one you just read. In order to have that feature on a WordPress blog, a plugin must be installed. This post is about my search for such a plugin and the solution I finally adopted. If you have a blog and would like to add such functionality to it, then keep reading.

The Quest

A few days ago I set out to find a related posts plugin for Gomiworld. Searching the WordPress plugin repository and googling the subject yielded a short list of candidates that seemed alright. My plan at this point was to try them out one by one to see which one I liked the most.

It didn't take long for me to realize that the current offerings out there left much to be desired. Most plugins I tried didn't work at all, possibly because they weren't compatible with the latest version of WordPress. Some of the plugins offered posts that in my opinion weren't the least bit related to each other, the logic was clearly flawed. The few that did work had one of two issues, 1) their logic were too basic, i.e. regarding only tags and categories. Or 2) they were horribly inefficient.

Now since my blog is new and very small both in terms of articles and traffic the latter might not have been a problem for me had it not been for the fact that this blog is run on a shared system. But even then I doubt I'd run in to any performance related problems in the near future. Well then whats the problem you ask? I did say that I set out to find the best plugin, not a plugin.

The Guidance

Not finding what I wanted I put that quest aside and continued with my daily routine of reading interesting blogs. By accident or perhaps sheer luck, I stumbled upon a blog about SEO, which in itself isn't unusual in any way as I often read about SEO, but one of the articles piqued my interest.

The article was titled "Using Arkayne To Build Highly Targetted Links". Building targeted links is what a related posts plugin should do so this was right on the money. The article recommended using the Arkayne service for building related content links, so the next step was to figure out the answer to the question, 'What is Arkayne?'.

So what is Arkayne then? In short Arkayne is a social network of blogs.
The concept of Arkayne is to increase exposure to potential readers by cross-linking related content from within your own site as well as from other blogs within the network. In other words if I post an article about football other articles about football, on my site and on other blogs in my network, will automatically be linked. The linking process is limited by a recommendation system, meaning that only content from blogs that you recommend will be added. If you don't want related posts from other blogs, simply don't recommend any.

The Struggle

So now that I had found a service to work with, all I needed was a way to integrate it with Gomiworld.

Arkayne Inc. has released a WordPress plugin that just works out of the box. All you need is an Arkayne account. Perfect… or is it? While the Arkayne service does an excellent job generating the related posts, their plugin leaves much to be desired. Starting to see a pattern here?

The problems I had with the plugin were all related to customization. In your Arkayne profile you can customize some aspects of the plugins output such as what tags to use for headlines and the amount of links to show. I wanted my related links in a specific place on my template and this unfortunately was not an option with the Arkayne plugin.

The Resolution

One of the upsides of open source is that you can change things that you don't like, if you have the right skill set that is. Fortunately for me, I do. Rather than just modify the original Arkayne plugin I decided to rewrite it from scratch. Since I'm only using the very latest version of WordPress, I skipped compatibility with older versions in favor of a slick object oriented thing of beauty.

So after a few hours of hacking I'm now happy to present you with Arkayne+ the Best Related Posts Plugin for WordPress.

  • Arkayne+ features:
  • A template tag to output your related posts anywhere on your template
  • Ability to remove the "Recommend me on Arkayne" link from the bottom of your related posts list.
  • A template tag to output the "Recommend me on Arkayne" link anywhere you choose.

The Reward

Because of the way Arkayne works, as an added bonus your inbound traffic should increase as your Arkayne network grows larger. We set out to find a good related posts plugin and found not only a great related posts service but a white hat SEO way of increasing your sites traffic. And the best part of it is, it's free!

Now download and install Arkayne+, the Best Related Posts Plugin for WordPress and watch as your site and it's group of followers, steadily grow. Arkayne+ has been submitted to wordpress.org and will be available in the plugin repository in the near future.

Disclaimer: Note that Arkayne+ might not be the best related posts plugin for WordPress. In my opinion it is, but this is just my biased opinion.

Update: I was asked nicely by Arkayne Inc, to stop the distribution of Arkayne+. Since they asked nicely and because I like the service they provide I decided to comply with their request.