Friday, December 31, 2010

Link Within - A Related Posts Widget

This post is more of a blogging tip than it is about a teaching resource.

Some of you have noticed that for the last couple of years I've manually posted a short list of related items at the end of most posts here on Free Technology for Teachers. There are widgets and blog plugins that will do that automatically, but all of the ones that I've tested resulted in significantly slower page load times or didn't work quite the way I wanted it to. That practice could be changing if Link Within works as well as I've heard it does.

What does it do?
Link Within is a free plugin (widget) for Blogger, WordPress, and Type Pad that will post a short list of related posts below each of your blog posts. The related posts come from your blog's archives. Each item in the list is displayed with text and a small image from your previous posts (if you used an image).

Why am I trying it?
Linking to related posts from your own blog is a good way to show visitors, especially first time visitors, some other work that you've done and keeps them on your site a little longer. It also helps readers find some more content that they may find useful. For example, if I write a post about "product X" but you've already tried "product X" you might be interested in a post I previously wrote about "product Y" that performs a similar function. Finally, for me this is the best benefit, using a product like Link Within saves the time of searching through the archives to manually generate a list of related items. If you're trying to produce 4-5 new posts a day, every minute counts.

Have you tried Link Within? Do you like it or hate it? Please let me know.