Why You Need a Popular Post Section

When I had Unique Blog Design redesigned my blog last month, one of the things I wanted to have was a popular articles section. Not only did I wanted such a feature but I wanted it to standout and be very highly visible to the readers. The reason I wanted a popular articles feature is not only to highlight some of my best and most popular posts. If done correctly, a popular articles section can make you money.

Popular Posts Help Sell Post Level Text Link Ads

Popular posts tend to be older posts so chances are good they will have Google PageRank. If that is the case, the pages will be listed for Post Level Text Link sales by Text Link Ads. If you’re not a TLA publisher, then you have to sign up before selling post level links.

The fact that I had highlighted some posts in the popular articles section will be an extra incentive for an advertiser to order a post level link in those posts because of the extra traffic they get. CashQuests purchased three post level links that were listed in the popular articles and received over 750 clicks for their $17 investment. If the three posts were not listed in the popular articles section, they would not have received so much traffic.

Knowing this to be the case, you can arrange it so all popular articles are posts with high PageRank. If you’re evil, you can change the posts to something else once the post level links are sold. However, I like to leave the post up in the popular section for at least a month.

Popular Posts Help Promote Affiliate Deals

A reader with a sharp eye will noticed that four of the current popular posts promote some kind of affiliate deal. Using a popular section is a good way to extend your affiliate sales. Generally, once a post goes off the front page, it will no longer makes you money. When I first posted the review of the SEO book, I sold a dozen copies within the first two days of the post going live. Since then, sales has been zero – until I added the post to the popular articles.

Unfortunately, the only way to add a popular articles section to your blog is by a redesign or modifying your current template. I do not believe there is a user adjustable popular post plugin for WordPress. It would be great if someone made one. I would blog about it.

If you don’t want to pay the cost of a redesign, then you should enter my RSS contest. One of the prizes is a $750 complete WordPress blog redesign by Adriann Pienaar of Adii. The winner will get a custom, unique blog design (unlimited revisions by the client). The design will be supplied to the winner as a widget-ready WordPress theme. You can see some of Adriann’s work here. Make sure you have him add a popular articles section!

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71 thoughts on “Why You Need a Popular Post Section”

  1. What’s the best way to incorporate the Popular Posts feature? Any well known plugins for it?

    1. I use a plugin called Top Posts By Category from (macalua.com), which will rate popular posts by number of views or number of comments.

      Those are really valid and evil reasons why to use the top popular posts, I tried to push some posts where I had affiliates but heck, users picked that other posts should remain there, and I don’t feel like tricking them πŸ˜›

      1. John needs to make another post outlining all his plugins

      2. Wahlau.NET says:

        thanks…..i am looking for the plugins too

    2. JC: “but I wanted it to standout and be very highly visible to the readers”

      I noticed it right after your redesign and spent the last few weeks wondering why you removed it, when it was selling ad space well.

      Then I looked, and I found it.

      You’d think it’d be really obvious given it’s above every post, but I think I must’ve just been blind to anything above the post title (which is quite obvious to see). Maybe you have too many ads so we’re just ignoring half of the screen! πŸ˜€

    1. WarriorBlog says:

      I tried this but couldn’t get it to work, I don’t think it work on the WP 2.3 πŸ™

      I was thinking of doing it manually but no way.

      1. I was going to do it manually based on Analytics and comments but it looks like too much work to keep up to date.

      2. Teejay says:

        that’s too bad. I really hope all the other plugins would be updated to work on 2.3

  2. Neil Duckett says:

    Such a simple concept … thanks for bringing it to my attention. As for the first 2 comments, do you guys actually read the post or are you just trying to be first to comment??? Both comments prove the latter.

    1. After re-reading the post I still don’t see Chow mention how popular posts is integrated into his blog. Don’t blame me for having subscribed to his RSS feed and being the first on here asking a question. The question would have been asked regardless of commenting position.

      1. I think he’s just annoyed he’s not first πŸ˜€

        And I think he was just replying to an early comment to make his comment appear further up πŸ˜‰

        That’s why I don’t have threaded comments on my site πŸ˜€

    2. KingJacob says:

      Do I read the post? Yah I do and in it clearly says
      “I do not believe there is a user adjustable popular post plugin for WordPress. It would be great if someone made one. I would blog about it.”
      which is why I posted alex’s popular post plugin that works well with any theme.

      Also “both comments prove the latter” what does my comment prove? that I think before I comment 😐

      1. Well if you have a block where you would want the popular posts to appear, you could manually link to those posts. So, why the need of such plugin? But i still feel those would no longer be popular posts, instead would become “Posts I recommend to read” …

      2. Neil Duckett says:

        `The Popularity contest plugin` is not a popular post plugin was my point.

        1. KingJacob says:

          Then I guess my point is, it is, as my friend uses it for that specific reason see rashy.org

    3. Compared to a lot of John’s first comments these are very on topic.

  3. shy guy says:

    Such a good contest .. This is good for who want to redesign their website..

  4. Good idea John. I had a “Featured Article” table right now, but a Popular Post section would work more nicely.

  5. I agree with the idea of having a ‘top posts’ directory but I keep on having trouble understanding what is ‘Selling Post Level Text Link Ads’ and how does it work. Can someone help me πŸ˜›

    1. Cash Quests says:

      It’s where you sell a text link ad on a single post instead of a sitewide link.

      1. soccer dvd says:

        i’m with TLA and have opted for post ads but my post doesn’t seem to be showing in TLA offer page. do you know why kumiko?

        1. Cash Quests says:

          Most likely that the page is PR0

  6. Andrew says:

    I’m a big fan of Alex King (http://alexking.org). His plugins are some of the most useful πŸ˜€

    1. Yup hes plugins rock. The popular posts of alex also interacts with the Google sitemap Generator, and gives higher level (in the XML sitemal) to those posts that have more views and/or comments.

  7. I’m getting a site not running on WP redesigned in WP with the popular posts. Definitely needed

    1. soccer dvd says:

      “not running on WP redesigned in WP”

      that’s a mouthful … good luck πŸ™‚

  8. John, can I ask…

    How many plugins do you run on your blog? I’ve been having trouble with too many plugins… So I need a comparison to figure out what’s wrong.

  9. Lori says:

    I tried to use popularity contest plugin on my blog and it wouldn’t work. I kept getting some table error and I couldn’t even access my blog or wp admin. I had to go to my host and delete the plugin in from there. I wish I could get it to work though.

    1. soccer dvd says:

      hi, maybe you’re running on a different required WP version perhaps?

      anyway i don’t get the popularity plugin …. to me its kinda pointless

      a list of popular post is much better imo

  10. John, what criteria is used to determine what articles are popular?

    1. lyricsreg says:

      Number of views or number of comments. Seems reasonable.

      1. Except as he says – 4 of them are promoting affiliate programs. I’d put money on him picking them manually πŸ˜‰

  11. A lack of a Popular Posts section is one of the glaring omissions currently in my theme.

  12. Cash Quests says:

    Maybe I read the article differently, but wasn’t the point that you *shouldn’t* put the popular posts in a popular posts section if you want to make money?

    Instead, you should put posts with high PR or affiliate deals – hence the need for an adjustable plugin. All this talk about the ‘popularity contest’ plugin and what makes a post popular won’t make you money.

    1. That’s why I was thinking of doing it manually but it seems like a lot of work to keep updated. Are there any plugins that allow you to “weight” certain posts?

  13. Rob Schultz says:

    How ironic that you’re writing about this…I’m scouring the web right now looking for a popular post plugin.

    1. Well, there is popularity contest. But it doesn’t allow you to set them yourself.

  14. soccer dvd says:

    wow! $750. that really can support me for a long time

    yeah i have a popular page myself, inspired by your blog. in fact many of my wordpress blogs stuff is a copy from yours. a good case study john

    keep up the ‘evil’ tips 😈

  15. whydowork says:

    I use the “Top Posts By Category Plugin” it will rank the top 5 and change them up depending on the view count. It’s easy because its automated, and encourages good writing so your list isnt remaining static.

    Its not evil realm πŸ‘Ώ but you could always just manually throw up a link above it if you wanted to pitch the latest IM junk. πŸ™‚

    1. soccer dvd says:

      ahak good tip there! evil too πŸ‘Ώ

  16. Karthik says:

    All you need to do is to use your Blogroll! You can add and delete links sitting in WP’s ACP! Of course, you’d have to rename the Blogroll to whatever you want to call it. It is rather simple isn’t it?

    1. loredan says:

      Sounds like a good idea but honestly I would preffer something automated

      1. Why? That way you can’t fudge it to put profitable posts at the top! πŸ‘Ώ

  17. paidtoclick says:

    Can i use your posts on this website with my blog?

  18. JimmY says:

    The email subscription its the best, to make your readers to come back, when you post somethink. The top posts is also good, you will get more readers on that interesting articles!

    1. soccer dvd says:

      but if you blog daily, you get daily updates from feedburner. kinda like spam in your inbox. it has its good & bad factors

  19. Mike Panic says:

    Problogger.net just ran through a huge list submitted by readers of the WP plugins that everyone was using. One that I tried was Daily top 10 posts. It adds a little blip on each article published at the top indicating how many times that particular article has been read that day and total and code to add to your sidebar. From the dashboard, it will show you what your top read articles for that day are, really nice plugin.

    I think just as important as that one is Similar Posts. It will add a user defined set of related posts to any article, wherever you want to place it, I chose at the end of my articles. Within hours of installing both of these plugins, secondary traffic increased.

  20. Health says:

    Great post,I have a popular posts section in some time,and i have to say it really raises the aff sales ,plus some inbound linking

  21. Scoot says:

    I use the wp-PostViews plugin, and I like it because it shows me what people who visit my site want to read. And it shows the number of views on the top ten posts.

  22. I wish I had the capability to take up your challenge. It would be interesting to see if some one does and goes away with the fees!

    1. Michael says:

      Did you just think of that?

  23. Missylicious says:

    Just a question, as a textlinkads publisher, how do I sell this Post Level Text Link sales? I cant find this option in my account. It would be great if anyone can guide me on this.

    1. Googlelady says:

      Is automatic if you are not selling “words” you are able to sell “posts”.

  24. Popular posts is good. some stats like how many peeople favoured would be even nicer.

  25. Ognjen says:

    Good advice. Thanks.

  26. Googlelady says:

    I totally agree with you John Chow, I think I saw that plugin once but I didn’t liked and prefered to make it manually. But with so many articles in Googlelady I think should hire a programmer or try to find something similar (I am sure there is one but don’t remember where).

  27. UniqMan says:

    I think you have not only 6 popular posts, why others are not in top?

  28. I must express my disappointment that King Jacob has switched off. The discussions were getting to be really interesting!

  29. This tip is great! A Popular post section will help you gain a lot of attention to the new users that are just visiting your website, and will make them interested about your blog. It’s also good to reduce your current bounce rate!

  30. It’s not very hard to implement. It took me 30 minutes to put it on the side bar.

  31. Good article. I had copied your popular posts page a little while back just because I thought it was good practice. I had gone to yours once when I first started reading your site as a good way to catch up on articles I had probably missed. Anyhow, this page receives a few hits a day now and has definitely been worth it.
    Never thought about the advertising aspect with TLA though. Those guys still won’t approve me for advertising. I am PageRank 2 and clear 5000 hits a month.

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