For WordPress users, there are lots of related post plugins to choose from. Unfortunately, in today’s online environment, information overload and the conflicting mission of advertisers can lead to distraction and irrelevant content suggestions. This can lead to a negative user experience and a high bounce rate from your site.
A relatively new player on the scene, Related Posts by Bibblio, aims to change that and separate itself from the pack through artificial intelligence that learns from content analysis and user behavior.
Bibblio—a company based in London, New York, and Cape Town—have a mission to deliver relevant and engaging content recommendations to WordPress users. They accomplish this through a machine learning algorithm that’s similar to recommendation technology used by companies like Netflix, The New York Times, Spotify, and Facebook.
With the Related Posts plugin, you can help visitors to your site easily sift through your content and access the most relevant post recommendations for their needs. In this way, you can increase user engagement, audience loyalty, and conversions.
Related Posts Main Features
Here are the main features of the Related Posts plugin:
• AI machine learning algorithm that adapts and continuously improves its content-based recommendations. This means your content is understood without you needing to manually tag your posts.
• It offers predesigned and fully responsive plug and play recommendation modules. These modules can easily be added through widgets, to specific posts with shortcodes, or to all posts with the click of a button.
• Recommendation modules are customizable with different layouts, tile ratios, and special effects. The plugin includes over 150 module combinations and can be further customized with CSS.
• Related Posts is a fast and lightweight plugin. All preprocessing and caching is handled on Bibblio’s servers and won’t slow down your site or get you in trouble with your host provider.
• Uses your posts featured images as thumbnails within the module displays. In the absence of any featured image for a post, the plugin can use attached post images.
• Supports custom post types and allows you to easily exclude posts from Bibblio’s recommendation engine.
• Allows you to add query strings to your post module URLs for tracking and analytics.
You’ll get metrics for the number of related posts served, click-through rates, related post storage, and more. Your content and audience behavior statistics are never shared with any third-party, and are securely stored with Amazon Web Services.
• Bibblio’s redundant infrastructure, extensive test coverage, and continuous integration help provide consistent and reliable delivery of content recommendations.
• Related Posts can improve visitor engagement and loyalty.
• Your current and future posts can be indexed automatically for possible recommendations.
Setting Up the Related Posts Plugin
To install the Related Posts plugin, you’ll first load and activate it. Then, you’ll need to create a free Bibblio account and connect the service to your WordPress site.
1. In WordPress, go to Plugins… Add New.
2. In the Keyword search field, type: bibblio
3. Click the Install Now button for the Related Posts plugin, and then click Activate.
4. After the plugin is installed and activated, you’ll need to click the Create an account button (to create an account with Bibblio) on the Get Started page.
5. On Bibblio’s website, they’ll offer you a free Starter plan. Go ahead and enter your details, including your email and a password. Then, click Get started!
6. Bibblio will send you a confirmation email. Go to your email and confirm your account.
7. Once you activate your account through your email, you’ll be sent to the Bibblio login page. Enter your email and password, and then click Log in.
8. When you log in, you’ll be greeted by the Bibblio Overview page. Here’s where you’ll need to retrieve your API credentials in order to connect Bibblio with your WordPress website. At the bottom of the page, click the My Credentials link.
9. On the next page, click the Access your Credentials here button.
You’ll see your Client ID and Client Secret numbers. You’ll want to copy and paste both of those numbers back in WordPress under Step 2. From there, click the Let’s go button.
Congratulations, you now have a Bibblio account that’s tied to your WordPress website! Bibblio can now automatically display related posts to your site wherever you add Related Posts modules.
Using the Related Posts Plugin
Now that you’ve created an account with Bibblio, and tied their API to your WordPress site, you can start using Related Posts.
First, click the Bibblio link in the WordPress admin sidebar. You’ll see these three main areas listed at the top of the page:
Let’s take a look at each section.
In this section, you determine how you want Bibblio to handle your posts for possible recommendations.
For example, you can choose whether you want your existing posts to be considered for recommendation, only new posts, or both.
You can also choose the post types that you would like to be considered for recommendation: standard posts, custom posts, or both.
After you make your selections, press the Next button. This will take you to the My Module page.
The My Module section is where you create and name your modules. Modules determine how your related posts are displayed, and can be placed on any part of your post pages.
In this section, you can design how your modules look, name the module, and also include tracking code to monitor their performance with a program like Google Analytics.
To add tracking for a module, click on the Manage Tracking dropdown, and click the Add new tracking parameter link to assign a name and value.
The majority of this section is dedicated to configuring your recommendation modules.
You can choose from different layout options (Showcase, Grid, Row, Column), pick a ratio for your images (4:3, Square, Widescreen), and any effects you might want (Reveal more on hover, Display title only, Using portrait images, Shine on hover, Separate text, Add Bibblio link). These options allow you to fit your recommendations into different theme layouts.
I like that the plugin gives you a preview of your choices in real time.
When you’re finished configuring your module, create a name for it click Next.
You can create as many modules as you wish, and any of them can be can be re-edited at any time.
The Add Module section displays information on how to add your modules to your posts.
This can be accomplished by:
• Automatically adding the module to all posts by clicking the switch to Automatically add this module to the end of your posts
• Using the widget to add the module to one of your theme’s widget areas
• Adding a shortcode to specific posts within the WordPress post editor
In this section, Bibblio also tells you that it needs to do some semantic analysis on your content and to please be patient. It takes a few minutes to initially generate recommendations for your posts.
Interestingly, once you leave these three sections, the Bibblio menu presents new section links for:
We’ll talk about these after taking a look at the two main methods for adding recommendation modules.
Adding Recommendation Modules to All Posts
Through the Add Module page (see above), you can easily add a recommendation module to the end of all posts on your site by clicking on the option to Automatically add this module to the end of your posts.
Adding Recommendation Modules with the Bibblio Related Posts Widget
1. To add related post recommendations to your website with the widget, in WordPress, go to Appearance… Widgets.
2. Find the Bibblio Related Posts widget and drag it into the widget area where you wish to display recommended posts (e.g., sidebar, footer).
3. If you’d like, you can give the widget a title (e.g., Recommended Posts).
4. From the Module type drop-down menu, you can choose from among the module configurations you’ve created. Click the Save button when finished.
Now, when you view that widget area on the frontend of your site, you should see the recommendation post module.
Adding Recommendation Modules with Shortcodes
1. To add related post modules using shortcodes, go to the Posts link in the WordPress admin sidebar.
2. For either an existing post or a new post, go to the WordPress post editor (Visual mode), and click where you’d like the recommended posts module to appear in your article.
3. From the icons above the post editor, click the Insert Bibblio Related Posts Shortcode icon. If you created more than one module, you can choose among them from the pop-up window’s menu.
4. After the shortcode is added, click the Publish button (if it’s a new article) or the Update button (if it’s an existing article).
Through the Bibblio API, the Related Posts plugin will automatically choose your most relevant content and reveal them as recommended posts for that article.
After testing the plugin on a number of posts, I was impressed with how well the plugin provided recommendations that were relevant to the article.
Now let’s talk about the new Bibblio menu items.
After you’ve inserted some recommendation modules within your site and have gotten a few visitors to your articles, you can go to Bibblio… Overview and see some basic metrics for your account.
For example, under Post Storage, you can see how many of your posts are stored on Bibblio’s servers for analysis and possible recommendation. For the free Starter plan, Bibblio allows you to import up to 500 articles to their servers, which is more than adequate for small to medium-sized sites.
They also let you know the number of Recommendations (calls) that have been used for the month. The free Starter plan lets you have up to 25,000 recommendation calls every month, for as long as you keep the plan.
For more in-depth analytics, the Overview page also provides a link to your Bibblio Dashboard Overview section. There, you can see metrics such as the number of page calls in a month, the number of module views in a month, module views as a percentage of page calls, module clicks, and click-through rate percentage.
Your Bibblio Dashboard also shows you your stored content, the metadata that’s generated for that content, best recommendations, information about the Bibblio API, and links to different demos.
In WordPress, the Bibblio… Settings page is where you decide whether you want the Bibblio service to recommend your existing and future posts.
This is also where you go to import your existing posts to Bibblio for analysis. To do so, just click the Import published posts button.
I found that Bibblio quickly imported most of my existing posts, but unfortunately, they weren’t able to import posts that I had created with a page builder plugin.
Bibblio is very fast. Unless you have something like 10,000-20,000 + existing posts, importing posts will likely take no more than 10 minutes to generate recommendations the first time around. Once it does that, recommendations are instantaneous.
This section also displays a breakdown of how many of your standard posts and custom posts are being considered for related post recommendation.
If you wish to exclude individual posts from being recommended, you need to go to the article’s Edit page, and uncheck the box below Import to Bibblio (lower right-hand corner of the page).
Finally, this page gives you the option to disconnect from the service by clicking the Disconnect button. Doing so will log you out and detach all of your posts from the service. All of your modules will disappear, and you’ll need to recreate them if you choose to undo this.
Go to the Bibblio…Modules page to automatically feature a specific module at the end of all posts, create new related post modules, and edit any existing modules. You can learn more about this page by reading the My Module section above.
When you go to the Bibblio… Support page, you’ll find basic information about the Related Posts plugin, as well as links to the plugin’s user guide and troubleshooting guide. You’ll also see a contact form for getting in touch with their support team.
Support & Documentation
Bibblio does a great job of incorporating tips, user guides, and contact information throughout the plugin’s user interface.
Here’s a look at the other support and documentation options that are available:
• All Related Posts plans (free and paid) offer full support from plugin integration onward, including support through email and extensive documentation and FAQ.
• The free Starter plan allows up to 500 content items, 25,000 recommendation calls/month, and full technical support.
• Dedicated support for Enterprise customers, including dedicated infrastructure and data index options. Pro plans (and higher) get UX guidance and advice.
• Platform and Enterprise plans can take advantage of personal technology workshops tailored to their needs.
• Bibblio offers an active helpdesk with a guaranteed response time of 24 hours.
• The Graph (Bibblio’s blog publication)
• Email newsletter
Bibblio offers various monthly subscription plans. Cost is based on the number of recommendation calls your website makes each month. A recommendation call is one set of recommendations that are delivered to your webpage through Bibblio’s API.
Bibblio uses a sliding scale on their pricing page so that you can see their monthly pricing based on the number of recommendation calls you want.
Their Starter plan is free and allows up to 25,000 recommendation calls per month, for as long as you wish.
Paid plans start at $19/month for 50,000 recommendation calls/month, and scale upward from there. For example, $29/month will get you 100,000 recommendation calls each month.
Conclusions & Recommendations
Many recommendation plugins and systems focus on obtaining clicks and increasing dwell time, often serving irrelevant advertising and distracting content to the detriment of the user experience.
Bibblio’s Related Posts plugin seeks to change this by offering high-quality and relevant content recommendations to visitors, for increased user satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.
After having taken the plugin for a test run, I found a lot to like about it. Here’s a few of my favorite features:
• The plugin is powered by the same type of AI used by companies such as Netflix and Facebook. It uses machine learning to analyze both your content and the behavior of your users in order to improve its recommendation results over time. This lessens the need for manual human input (e.g., no content tagging needed).
• It can increase module click-through rates, posts views, page views per session, and visitor time spent on site. It will also help you revive older content that is still relevant.
• It’s extremely easy it is to set up and customize different recommendation module layouts.
• Unlike most recommendation plugins—the Related Posts plugin offers a variety of real-time analytics.
• Bibblio did a great job incorporating many support features throughout the user interface.
• It takes just one click to add a specific module to the end of all posts on your site.
In the end, Bibblio’s recommendation engine gives you enterprise-level content recommendations that help you build trust and value with your visitors. And these days, when it comes to garnering online attention from your audience, you need every weapon you can get.
If you’d like to find out more about Bibblio and the Related Posts WordPress plugin, you can visit their site here.