The smart people at Limk sent me an email pointing out that nRelate, the related content plugin we use, was shutting down their public tools. Limk offered their new related content plugin.This was smart because I hadn’t known this was going to happen, so it was useful news. Also, if I had just lost nRelate and gone to their website, I’d have seen a completely different set of plugins offered. Since Limk reached out to me with useful information, I was naturally more inclined to visit their site and try their plugin.
We never used nRelate as an advertising platform, but we have used it for years to provide suggested similar posts at our websites. nRelate automatically made nice little boxes at the bottom of our posts suggesting other posts visitors might enjoy reading, and while its ideas of related content were fairly robotic, we liked it the best of all the related content plugins we had tried.
nRelate is no longer an option, so we’re trying out Limk. It isn’t really fair to compare Limk to nRelate because nRelate is not available. Comparing current plugins to nRelate would be like comparing current suitors to your ex who dumped you — it’s easy to let nostalgia get in the way of accuracy, if nothing else.
However, I would like to show the screenshots of the two as the first step, because you can configure Limk to replace nRelate pretty closely if, like me, you see that as your best-case scenario. It’s branded, as you can see from the little “limk” notice above, and the thumbnails are less crisp than nRelate’s. They’re horizontal rectangles rather than squares, which might not matter to your design — or it might. It doesn’t provide borders, which can affect the effectiveness of some thumbnails, like the white one above. However, limk offers styling options which I have not yet explored. This is just an out of the box comparison of the two.
Having done that, let’s look at Limk on its own merits.
Limk will fetch related content from your website and place it into a horizontal widget under your article, as shown here, or in a vertical sidebar widget. There is also a separate responsive widget. Limk is currently showing pretty much the same “related content” on every blog post I’ve checked, back to 2009, regardless of the topic, so it doesn’t appear to be very smart. It hasn’t been installed for very long, though, so it is possible that it might improve.
You start with Limk not just by installing the plugin, but by signing up at limk.com, where you will provide a little bit of information and your RSS feed. They will, in turn, generate the code you need, offering several different versions depending on the CMS you use.
It’s automatic, but if there is an error in the process, then you may have content suggestions from Limk rather than from your own website:
I contacted Limk about this and they fixed it for me very quickly and emailed to make sure that I was having no further difficulties. Limk is very helpful; they help you copy the code and offer to send it to your web firm for you, they have many pop-ups offering to help you out, and they are super quick to respond with support.
If you’re using WordPress, you install the plugin and it shows up nicely in the lefthand sidebar in your admin area. Click on that and you will be given a box into which you should copy the code Limk has provided for you. There are simple instructions and you can always go back to the website for further help if needed.
You should go back to the website in any case, because Limk also offers you analytics.
You can see impressions and clicks, and you will be able to see change over time. This is less than 48 hours, so I don’t yet know what value the analytics might have for me.
I figure if your goal is to have people click through the related content more frequently — and you can see that there isn’t a whole lot of clicking through going on here so far — you could experiment with different kinds of titles and images to find the most alluring ones. This could increase the number of pages your visitors see during a visit and reduce your blog’s bounce rate.
If you need to replace nRelate, Limk looks like a good choice. If you haven’t previously used related content plugins, it’s a very easy and supportive one to try.