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How to Display Popular Posts in WordPress?

How to Display Popular Posts in WordPress?

Besides utilizing some common tips and tricks for increasing blog readership and traffic, many site owners as well as operators nowadays have a section for showing off their most popular posts to attract more attention from the visitors’ side.

After all, the potential benefits here are fairly clear. By sharing the popular posts of your website, you encourage visitors to readily consume as much of their time as possible, which will probably result in more loyal readership, higher conversions, better search engine rankings, and more.

Of course, there is no guarantee that you can get all the things above simply by integrating such a section with your own WordPress site. However, it is never wrong to have a try. In this article, we will carefully introduce two excellent plugins along with their usage to help you display popular posts in WordPress. Besides, we will provide several other alternative plugins for you to choose.

Option 1 – WordPress Popular Posts

With more than 200,000 active installs, WordPress Popular Posts is the most popular plugin of its kind. It comes with a clean and highly customizable widget for you to embed into different areas of your WordPress site.

WordPress Popular Posts Plugin

To get started, you need to login to your WordPress dashboard, search for the plugin, and activate it in accordance with the procedures of initializing any other plugins in WordPress. Since the plugin is also available on GitHub, you can download its ZIP file and upload it via an FTP client.

After that, WordPress Popular Posts will start working right off the bat. Then, you can locate the plugin’s widget under the “Appearance” menu, add it to any area of your site’s sidebar, and configure how it will function with multiple options.

Firstly, you can set the title of the widget as well as define the number of posts that you want to show on your website. Moreover, you can decide to sort the popular posts by their comments, daily reviews, or total reviews according to your preference.

Define the Widget Title

In the “Filters” section, you can enable the plugin to retrieve the most popular posts, pages, or any other custom post types published within a certain period. If you want to exclude some contents from the popular posts section, then, simply specify the post, category, and author ID (s) in the corresponding fields.

The Filter Section

The plugin also grants you with the full control over the layout of your most popular posts. For example, you can choose to show a thumbnail next to a post’s title. Also, you can use a custom HTML markup or stats tag to make the popular posts listing more unique.

Customize the Layout

When you are done with the configuration above, simply click the “Save” button to make the widget work alright and create several other popular post widgets following the same process if there is a need.

Popular Posts Widget in Action

If you do not like widgets, then, you can insert the shortcode [wpp] to a post (page) or embed the template tag wpp_get_mostpopular() into your theme to showcase the most popular posts on your WordPress site.

Another thing to mention is that you can visit “Settings” > “WordPress Popular Posts” to view the stats of your popular posts, get more customization tools, as well as find answers to some FAQs here.

View the Popular Posts Stats

Option 2 – Popular Widget

Popular Widget is another candidate that we would like to recommend. This plugin helps you create a tabbed popular posts widget, enabling your visitors to access various contents on your website by switching between the tabs that you have created here.

Popular Widget Plugin

After installing the plugin and dragging its widget to the sidebar of your WordPress site, you will be provided with a number of configuration options to do almost all the things that you can do with the former plugin, such as defining how many posts to show, filtering certain posts, adding a thumbnail to the title of a post, and more.

However, there are some exclusive highlights with this plugin, making it different from the one we’ve introduced before. For example, it enables you to add a custom field to a post to calculate its view count. Also, it allows you to arrange, disable, and rename the tabs that will be displayed on your website to make them more sophisticated.

Popular Widget Options

Once you have finished the configuration process, hit the “Save” button to store all your changes. Then, you can visit your website to see Popular Widget functioning as below.

Popular Widget Functioning

Other Options for Displaying Popular Posts

To sum up, it is a good practice to integrate a section showing the most popular posts on your WordPress site. You can achieve this goal with the help of WordPress Popular Posts, the plugin that is highly customizable and easy-to-use. If you want to display various contents, such as the most popular, commended, viewed posts, within a section, then, the Popular Widget plugin will be a good choice.

Nevertheless, if you think that the plugins introduced above cannot sufficiently meet your expectations, you can consider the following three alternatives, among which the first plugin will cost you a minimum of $15 while the latter two are available for free.


Zoe is a freelance writer who has a deep knowledge about WordPress. She loves everything related to website building and loves to share her experience with people all over all the world. In the daily life, Zoe loves detective novels as it can train her logical thinking and creativity.