Immediately after enabling Jetpack Related Posts, the Albuquerque Journal — a newspaper with 580k paid print subscribers and three million monthly page views — increased traffic by four percent. To uncover some of the hidden benefits of this powerful plugin, I interviewed power user Tyler Green, Data Analyst and Developer at the Journal.
At the paper for nearly five years, Tyler’s led development and oversees integrating new tools and features into the site.
How long have you been using Jetpack and specifically Related Posts?
We installed Jetpack on the Journal in 2015 after a conversation with Sam Hotchkiss, who introduced us to Related Posts at a local WordPress meetup. Before adopting Jetpack we had to disable another popular related posts plugin that was negatively affecting infrastructure costs and uptime.
What was happening? Were you experiencing actual downtime?
We had major infrastructure issues at the time with the theme and plugin we were using. It took over 1,600 queries just to build the homepage! The Journal would go down any time we had over 1,200 concurrent sessions. We abandoned that plugin and I rebuilt our theme. We went without Related Posts until I was introduced to Jetpack.
That’s great! Jetpack returned the Related Post functionality you needed without overloading your servers. What other benefits has Related Posts brought?
Jetpack Related Posts has increased retention while minimizing our server load. In total, enabling Related Posts has increased our engagement and increased our overall traffic by nearly four percent, which I think is astonishing considering all we did was enable and configure a plugin.
That’s amazing! How has Related Posts performed with the enormous amount of content on the Journal?
We have over 190,000 posts which Jetpack Related Posts indexed in, as I recall, about two days. We publish, on average, around 130 posts every day. Most of these new posts are indexed and related within 24 hours.
As a developer, I enjoy working with Jetpack thanks to their well-thought-out-code, notably useful filters and actions that allow us to easily tailor the plugin to our theme. As the sole developer at the Journal, I was very impressed with how simple it was to enable the plugin. The fact that we can offload the [indexing] process to their servers is extremely valuable as well. In addition, the relationship between stories has been impressive. We have a couple of stories about an independent film director whose stories are related by what, I assume, must be very specific keywords within each story.
To me, the most impressive aspect of Jetpack and all it’s features is that it is free and available for anyone to enable on their site.
It was great to learn how Related Posts saves development and infrastructure costs and increases visitor engagement for the Albuquerque Journal. While this story is about a very large website with big traffic, it’s important to note that Related Posts can help sites of all size to increase engagement:
“Links that follow up on the user’s current interest encourage site exploration and reduce bounce rates. With the proper invitation, people will stay longer on your site.” —Nielsen Norman Group
How has Jetpack helped you meet your site’s goals? Tell us in a comment below or email us — we’d love to share your story!