5 Best Popular Posts Plugins for WordPress

Have you noticed that, when you stumble upon a website that has a popular posts section on their site, you tend to read more of their content?

It’s like you’re instantly drawn into the brand’s world and before you know it, you’ve already become engaged with the site.

So how can you take advantage of this effortless tactic?

The answer: you need to use popular posts plugins for WordPress.

Your goal is to make any visitor that arrives on your site take a look at other pages as well. So if you’ve invested a lot of time writing some great posts, you definitely need to use any opportunity you get to drive traffic to those pages.

When a visitor browses more than one page on your site, they will be more likely to sign up to your mailing list, follow your social media profiles, or even purchase a product/service from you in the future.

If you’re new to WordPress, or simply haven’t figured out how to show your most popular articles in the sidebar, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll take a look at five popular posts plugins for WordPress. 

What’s great about them is that you can choose which popular articles you’d like to show – all-time most popular articles, trending articles for that week or month, or the posts that have the most comments.

Here are the best plugins you can use for your WordPress site to display your most popular content.

1. WordPress Popular Posts

WordPress Popular Posts is a free plugin and right now it has over 300,000 installs and more than 1 million downloads.

It is highly customizable, which means you can use several widgets to show your most popular posts.

The main features allow you to:

  • List the posts that are the most popular within a specific time range (last 24 hours, last week, last month, etc.);
  • Showcase custom posts as well – not just posts – and pages;
  • Display thumbnails for your posts;
  • See statistics for your most popular posts;
  • Order the popular posts list based on comments or views;
  • List your popular posts based on how many comments you have on Disqus;
  • WPML and WordPress Multisite support;
  • Use shortcodes so you can add the popular posts list to pages as well.

This is a great plugin with plenty of options when it comes to choosing how you want to display the popular posts.

2. Jetpack by WordPress.com

Jetpack is one of the most popular posts plugins for WordPress.

It has a free and a paid version. However, you can use the free version because it has all the functionalities you need to show your most popular posts. At the moment, Jetpack has over 4 million installs, and Top Posts & Pages Widget is one of its main features.

You can:

  • Add a title for the widget;
  • Choose how many popular articles you want in your sidebar (you can select no more than 10);
  • Select what type of pages to include in the sidebar (pages, posts, or media);
  • Choose how you want the widget to be displayed (text list, image list, image grid).

As you can see, Jetpack doesn’t have that many customization options for showing popular posts but it can be helpful if you’re just getting started with WordPress.

3. Top 10 – Popular Posts Plugin For WordPress

Even though Top 10 has only 30,000 installs, it comes with all the features included in WordPress Popular Posts and more. Moreover, it’s free as well.

Here are its features:

  • Counts the page views on posts, pages, custom posts once per hour, and the views can be displayed using shortcodes or functions;
  • You can customize the list of popular posts, from how many you want to show (you can select more than 10), to what you want to display in the list;
  • Allows you to display the image of a post as a thumbnail;
  • You can exclude certain posts if you don’t want to include them;
  • You can use custom CSS to style the list;
  • Compatible with caching plugins.

This plugin can be used by developers as well, thanks to the fact that you can add more functionalities through filters and actions.

4. WP Tab Widget

WP Tab Widget provides a selection of tabs you can use to show your most popular posts in the sidebar. The developers used AJAX, which means that the content will load only on demand. This gives the plugin a great loading speed.

These are the features it provides:

  • Select between popular, recent, comments, or tags tab;
  • Fully responsive;
  • Change the order and the number of the tabs;
  • Select how many posts you want to show;
  • In-built caching and pagination system;
  • Modify the CSS to fit your theme;
  • Choose between three types of thumbnails;
  • Show/hide post date, the number of comments, post excerpt.

If you’re looking for a lightweight plugin to show your popular posts, then WP Tab Widget is a good choice.

5. Popular Widget

Popular Widget is a free plugin, and currently, it has more than 8,000 active installs, according to the WordPress directory.

Here’s what you can do with this popular posts plugin:

  • Similar to WP Tab Widget, this plugin allows you to display popular posts or the most commented ones in the same widget;
  • For the popular posts tab, you can specify the date range;
  • You can also choose how many posts to display for each tab, as well as a thumbnail or the page views number;
  • Decide if you want to include an excerpt from the article or the comments;
  • Exclude certain articles from being displayed.

Popular Widget is a simple and easy-to-use plugin. It has all the functionalities you would need to display your popular posts using a tab format.

Final Thoughts on Popular Posts Plugins for WordPress

As you can see, you can choose between two main styles when it comes to displaying your popular posts:

  • A widget that simply shows a list of your popular posts;
  • A widget that has a tab format which can display multiple types of popular posts.

It’s all up to you to decide which one will work for your site.

We highly recommend having a posts plugin because this is how you’re going to keep your readers on your site for longer.

Don’t miss the opportunity to showcase your best content and to transform visitors into leads.

April Todds
I am anEditor

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