Have you ever wanted to create a page to display your most popular posts? A popular posts page is a great way to direct your readers to posts that you want them to see. Find out how to create your own visual popular posts page with a simple plugin!
I remember the days where I could sit and scroll through the most recent 20 posts from a new blog I found and liked. These days, when I find a new blog I think seems interesting I look for one thing. A popular posts or “start here” page. Why? Truthfully, I don’t have time to scroll through the last 15 blog posts to find out if I want to follow along. I need the reader’s digest version. That’s exactly why a popular posts page is essential for grabbing new readers.
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Before I switched over to WordPress, I would have had to create a visual popular posts page with coding instead of being able to use a simple plugin to create it for me. I love that WordPress allows me to have that freedom to create a fancy looking page without having to spend time on any coding. There are many ways and plugins to create this type of post in WordPress, but my favorite that I use is called Content Views.
If you’re not familiar with installing plugins on WordPress, all you need to do is go to “Plugins” on your left hand sidebar menu when you’re logged into your WordPress Dashboard for your site. From there, you want to select “Add new” and search “Content Views.” Once you find the correct one (author of the plugin is PT Guy), click install now!
How to Create a Visual Popular Posts Page in WordPress (using Content Views)
Before you begin: the free version of this plugin ONLY works if you’ve selected a “featured image” for your posts. If you have not, you’ll have to add a featured image before your grid will look right!
Now that your plugin is installed, you need to figure out which posts you want to showcase as your popular posts. You can do this by checking which of your posts are most popular with you readers according to Google Analytics and by deciding which posts you may want to make sure your readers see! These posts might be posts that are monetized, posts that share your story, etc. For now, I recommend making a list (digital or with pen and paper) of the post names you want to include. I recommend 4-12 posts.
Once you have your list, you need to add them to a view through Content View. Now that the plugin is installed, you’ll see a “Content Views” icon on your dashboard sidebar. Click that icon to open up the content views menu! Click add new to create a new view and get started.
One way you could organize your popular posts is by adding a “popular” category and adding the popular posts on your list to that category. I personally prefer a more manual method of adding popular posts, so that’s how I’m going to explain it to you! First, add a title to your new view. This is a title you’ll want to recognize so you can go back in and edit your view in the future. Simply naming the view “Popular Posts” is sufficient.
Now it’s time to add your posts. To add your posts you need to add the post ID of each post to the “include only” section.
To find the post ID for your posts, go to your posts tab on your dashboard to open all of your posts. Now, search the title of one of the posts you want to include. Once you’ve pulled it up, click “edit” to open the post editor. The post ID is a part of the URL when you are editing a post. It’s automatically generated from WordPress, so it’s not something you would know without going into the edit section of a post. Here’s where you can find it:
The number may be less than four digits, depending on your site. Copy the number and add it into the view under the “include only” field. You’ll repeat this step for every post you want to include. If you’re displaying more than 10, be sure to change the “limit” to be the same or larger than the amount of posts you’re displaying. Don’t worry if you update the preview and nothing shows up yet, we’ll work on that in the next step!
Now it’s time to style your popular posts page. Go to the “Display Settings” tab within the Content Views settings.
My settings are the following: Grid, 4 items per row, 1 column layout, Show Thumbnail and Show Title, Thumbnail size 400×400
You can play with these settings to achieve the look you want! Under you size options, these sizes are dictated by your theme, so you may not have the same that I have. Pick whichever you like best! You can use “show preview” to see what it will look like.
A word of caution, if your featured images are not all the same size and you are not using a hard crop size like a square, your grid may not be spaced equally. This is where trial and error comes in!
After you have your view set up the way you like it, it’s time to add it to a page. Before you navigate away from your view, copy the code at the top that looks something like this: [ pt_view id=”3242f061ce” ]. If you want a separate popular posts page, create a new page and name it “Popular Posts” or whatever title you want. Once you’ve created your page, paste the code directly into the post editor. Just like this:
Then just click “publish” and your new popular posts page is live! If it doesn’t look the way you want it to, just go back into your display settings and tweak the settings until it looks right.
Now you have a page that you can direct new readers to and you can showcase your best posts! This is a great way to show a snapshot of what readers can expect from your blog. If you can get a reader to dive more than 2 pages into your blog, they’re much more likely to stick around.