Displaying a list of popular posts in your WordPress site’s sidebar is a great way to encourage readers to visit the other pages on your website. Not only does this mean you get more time to engage with your readers and form a relationship, but it can also help reduce the bounce rate on your site which can have many additional benefits.
So to help you start displaying your most popular posts in the sidebar of your WordPress site, here are some of the top plugins that add this feature to your site.
WordPress Popular Post Widget Plugins
Here are three great options for displaying links to your most popular content in the sidebar or footer area of your WordPress site. With free and premium options to choose from, there is no reason why you can’t start using this method for displaying your best content to your visitors today.
WordPress Popular Posts
This free plugin does what is says on the tin and enables you to display your top posts in the sidebar or other widget areas of your site. The plugin counts the page views of each post on your site to determine which of your content is the most popular. However, you can also use the number of comments per post to determine their popularity.
While the concept of displaying a list of popular posts is simple, this plugin is packed with settings that give you a lot of control over how those lists are generated and displayed. What’s more, with the WordPress Popular Posts plugin, you can display multiple lists, each with their own settings. This would allow you to have a list of popular posts for a sidebar widget area, and then perhaps another list of popular posts, with different settings, in a footer widget area.
If you are using a plugin that allows you to create multiple sidebars which are displayed depending on the content of the post, then you can really get a lot of use from the ability to create multiple popular post lists with different settings.
Through the settings of this plugin you can define how the popular lists are generated, including:
- Time Range: popular posts from a set time range (24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, etc.)
- Custom-Post Type Support: include custom post types on the list of popular content
- Display a Thumbnail Image: either the featured image or first image in the post
- Customise the Layout: enter your own custom HTML markup
- Check the Statistics: through the admin area you can see which of your posts are the most popular
Another useful feature of this plugin includes the ability to use a shortcode to display a list of popular posts within your post or page content, as opposed to the widget areas.
This is a popular plugin with over 700,000 downloads and a user rating of 4.1 out of 5, making it a great choice for anyone who wants a quick and easy way to start showing a list of their most popular posts in the widget area of the their website.
This plugin allows you to display an eye catching list of posts and other content in your sidebar that aims to increase page views, click through rates, and even sales, depending on what you are linking to in your sidebar.
The lists of content are colourfully decorated and can include images to ensure that they stand out and grab the attention of your readers. With PostSkin you aren’t restricted by where you can display these lists, as they can be inserted anywhere on your site, including in-content, or in the header and footer areas.
With PostSkin you can create multiple lists for the different areas on your site, and then get useful stats on each list. These stats show how many clicks each link is getting, allowing you to optimize your lists by removing unpopular links, changing the colours and images, or reordering the content.
The plugin also includes a visual editor for customising how the lists look. This allows you to change the colours, the link descriptions, and the thumbnail images.
While this is a premium plugin, it does contain a lot of features that allow you to make your lists of posts or other links really stand out. This isn’t something that is seen on many sites, or included in themes so it’s still a great opportunity to make your sidebars stand out from the crowd and get more clicks for your featured links by doing something different.
Jetpack Post Views
This free plugin works in combination with the also free Jetpack plugin from WordPress.com. If you are using Jetpack already on your site, or plan to do so, then this is a good choice for displaying a list of the most popular content on your site.
Once this plugin is installed on your site, you will get access to a new widget. This widget displays a list of the most popular posts on your site, based on the data collected by the Jetpack plugin. While Jetpack is already collecting this data, it doesn’t provide a way for you to display it to your visitors.
Through the widget settings, you can choose whether or not to display the number of page views for each post, set the time interval for counting the page views, set the number of posts to list, and also exclude any posts from the list.
Now, with the Jetpack Post Views plugin, you can use the data from Jetpack to make your sidebar more useful, make it easier for your visitors to find your most read content, and hopefully, increase your page views and time on site, while also reducing your bounce rate.
Here you have three different plugins that allow you to display a list of popular posts as a widget in your sidebar or other widget areas.
The first option, WordPress Popular Posts, is the perfect choice for anyone who wants a well-specified free option. The premium PostSkin plugin is ideal for anyone who doesn’t mind paying to ensure that their sidebar links really stand out and get more clicks. The third option, Jetpack Post Views is a good match for anyone that is already using the Jetpack plugin and wants to get some more use from it and start displaying a list of their most viewed content in the sidebar.
Hopefully one of these options will suit your needs and allow you to start making it easier for your readers to find your best content before leaving your site.