UPDATE: After a commenter informed me about Outbrain’s inblog links-only, I tried it and fell in love with it. It is now my suggested links provider!
One obvious way to generate more page views for your blog is to recommend content related to the post that brought a visitor to your site. I was formerly using Outbrain‘s widget: This widget pulls out related articles from its network of users and recommends those links at the end of your post. The widget also includes a (star-) rating system, which most probably plays a role in the article recommendation algo.
The good: The widget’s design is pretty pleasant, and finding that some readers take the time of a click to rate your stuff is rewarding.
The bad: My blog did not experience any observable change when Outbrain’s widget was installed, and recommended posts were often from the same source.
For a few weeks now – even a few months – I have been using Linkwithin. Linkwithin offers a “related posts widget with photo thumbnail“. Viewing an example is as simple as scrolling down to the end of this post (unless you’re reading this from your feed reader). Linkwithin does it right because if only fetches related posts from my blog. Hence, clicks generate page views.
The good: I stopped seeing traffic going away more than coming in through the recommendations widget. Also, it is nice to see more of your content on your site.
The bad: There is way less clicks on the Linkwithin recommendation widget than on the Outbrain’s widget. Whether my content is unattractive, whether Linkwithin recommendation algo still needs fine-tuning. Either way, it means that engagement on my site is going down. The design is a little basic, and beware of posts without an image thumbnail to display: it doesn’t look good !
After balancing out the pros and the cons, I have decided Linkwithin could stay on my blog. I really try to keep a minimal blog-bling philosophy, but Linkwithin’s internal recommendation system is so vital that it should be a default feature on any given blog. Linkwithin would start to really impress me if they had a custom-built Feedburner FeedFlare…