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I’ve only been using the nRelate suite of plugins for a couple months now, but since my first install I’ve probably added them to the majority of my sites. I’ve found they’re a great way to share some existing content in a more distinct way.

The functionality of these plugins is certainly nothing new. We’ve seen the most popular widgets and the related post plugins before, so what makes these so special? It’s all in the presentation. The plugins have the ability to display your posts first image, your post title, and even a short excerpt to keep your readers on your site and engaged in your other content.

My favorite part is the possibility of earning revenue from advertising. For example, if you display five related stories beneath each one of your posts, you can also select to include some nRelate network ads as well that look very similar to another one of your posts. I understand that this somewhat goes against the point of the plugin which is to keep your readers interested in staying on your site, but I figure if they are going to leave, I may as well get paid for visitors exiting through an ad link.

Notice I said the “possibility” of earning revenue. I’m still new to being an nRelate Publisher, so as you can see, I’ve yet to cash in on this potential income. Yep, I make serious nRelate bank. Ha!

The first plugin is the Related Content product. With this plugin you can control the location within a post (top of bottom) as well as where the related content is displayed (posts, pages, archives, etc.), the size of the thumbnails, the number of links, relevancy, exclusions, gallery style, and more. Check out some style options below.

The second plugin is the Most Popular product. The options for it are nearly identical to the related content plugin above, but for the most popular plugin I use the text option instead of the thumbnail choice. If you take a peek over to the right hand side bar, you’ll see a number of this sites most popular posts displayed using the nRelate plugin.

The third plugin in the Flyout box product. This handy tool slides out a banner type display from the side of your screen to entice readers further with additional content. Some of the more notable options are your ability to select the width of the flyout box, which side of the screen it originates from, where in the page it will fly out vertically, and the style of the flyout. At the time of this post, I have the Flyout plugin installed but I’m not currently using it. I figure I’m choosing between six and eight related articles at the foot of every post, so the Flyout might be overkill at the moment.

Maybe I’ll offer the flyout as an available advertisement to pitch to others at some point. It might be a nice way to utilize the plugin while not inundating visitors with duplicate content from the relate content display.

What I just noticed when doing some post reconnaissance at the nRelate site is that there is a fourth product that I was not aware of called In-Text Linking. I haven’t used it, and at first read I’m not too fond of the idea either. It reminds me of those awfully intrusive text ads on some sites that pop up an ad when you hover over them (on purpose or accidentally). I can’t say for sure that’s how they operate without trying them first, but I think I’ll pass on implementing this one for now anyway.

I’ve been pretty pleased with these plugins so far with one exception. Around the time when Sandy touched down and for about a week after, the plugins did not work. I have no idea if the two were related, but during this time the plugins displayed no data on any site. The forum moderators were quite busy responding to frustrated users and stated they were having issues across the board and were working on the issue. This is one of the downfalls of having the plugins do the work on external servers instead of on your local (hosting) server.

I’d still recommend giving one or more of these plugins a try. You can either keep your visitors on your site a bit longer or earn a little revenue for sending them elsewhere. It sounds fairly win-win to me. To check out another example of these nRelate plugins in action, just look below this post a bit for the “Related Articles” block and see if there’s anything else that peaks your interest.

So…did it work?