It took me some time to start writing this post because one of the most traditional and natural ways to increase engagement is to suggest other content from the blog. And anyone can find WordPress-related posts plugins on the Internet. Seems nothing new can be invented in this field and no need to create another relatable posts plugin for WordPress.
However, none of the existing plugins solve all the tasks I would like to solve with this kind of plugin. So, I decided to spend some time and write a new one – SuggestionToolkit, which actually consists of a set of plugins that extend basic functionality.
Improving Engagement with WordPress Related Posts
To my mind, the best way to find relevant content on a blog or website is to use WordPress search. Especially if some advanced search engine like Relevanssi, SearchWP, or ElasticPress is installed. So, looks like it would be quite interesting to use the search engine to form a recommendations block. That is what this plugin does – it uses an installed search engine to form the recommendations and only if there are not enough recommendations are found it updates recommendations with recommendations from the same category or just random items.
As far as there are a lot of different WordPress post editing interfaces on the market, it was important for me to support at least some of the popular ones. So, now it supports Gutenberg, Elementor, WordPress widget, and shortcode. Shortcode also allows adding blocks in unsupported editors. Let me know if you think it will be useful to support some other WordPress editor.
The high relevance of the suggestions should have a positive influence on website visitor engagement. To improve the targeting of the suggestions each block has settings that allow to include or exclude some specific posts from the recommendations. You can learn more about suggestion block settings from the knowledge base.
The following example mixes products and posts in a single suggestion block. This requires the Suggestion Toolkit plugin to be installed to enable product suggestions. And the following block is created using shortcode (read more about shortcode parameters), but we also provide Gutenberg block, Elementor widget, and WordPress widget.
[rel_posts keyword="plugin" num="post=2&product=2" align="left" exclude="617,596"][/rel_posts]
Sales Process with WordPress Related Products
All we are familiar with is the purchase funnel conception and blogs can be and are an important part of the sale process. That is why it was important for me to implement the ability to recommend WooCommerce products on the pages. This feature requires the Suggestion Toolkit – Advanced extension to be installed. However, this extension also allows to recommend any other post types also and includes automatic recommendations that can be enabled on certain post types, but this is going to be described in another post.
Extensions – Other Things to Recommend
The other thing that I always missed in recommendation plugins is extensibility. There are many things that can be and should be recommended on the blog. Sure, are not all features are implemented yet. However, many more possibilities going to be implemented soon, and it will be possible to install them through the “Extensions” section of the plugin. All free and premium extensions are available through this interface.