Jan Leow's Press Blog

Popular Post Widget for WordPress Websites

I’ve been looking around for a widget that will display for example the top ten most popular posts in a WordPress websites blog. The only widget I found was the “Popularity Contest” widget in the WordPress.org website. Unfortunately many users complained about it being buggy, not working with fatal error or not reporting posts that are actually popularly visited by visitors.

The way it calculates post popularity is rather complicated; it keeps a count of your post, category and archive views, comments, trackbacks, etc. and uses them to determine which of your posts are most popular. Then it assigns a numerical score and determines which posts are the most popular and list them down accordingly.

I think the problem with this is that it does not use any analytics to find out which posts were having good hits from the internet. An alternate solution would be to do it manually by using say Google Analytics or other analytic software and look at the pages that are listed as the top content pages visited by visitors. This may not be the best option as it is not automatic, but until a good working popular post widget has been crafted, this seems to be the best way so far to show your best post to visitors visiting your WordPress websites blog.

Doing it manually has one drawback, in that you will need to check your analytics every once in awhile to update which are your top content posts in your WordPress websites and manually update the list accordingly. With the new WordPress versions from 2.5.x upwards, the new widget features is very convenient to use, and it works even for WordPress themes that are not optimized for widgetizing.

The way to go about listing your top popular content list require some HTML know how on your side.

  1. Goto the Widgets section in your WordPress “Design” tab
  2. Add the “Text” to your sidebar
  3. Edit your “Text” by clicking edit, the widget will expand to show blank space for keying in your text. There are two blank space, the top one is for writing your title header for your widget, it will show up on your WordPress websites sidebar as header title. The bigger blank space is where you will key in your HTML to manually list down your popular pages.
  4. Proceed to key in one by one the popular posts that is listed in your analytics. For those who don’t know, the HTML codes as follows:
    • <a href=”http://yourdomain.com/your_post_url.html”>You Post Title</a >
  5. After you have done, click the “Change” button to shrink the box
  6. Very important! Click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the widget list to save your changes permanently

That’s it! Check your handiwork by visiting your site and see your popular post list. You may want to readjust the position of the popular post box by going back to the widget list and drag it around the sidebar.

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