The goal of blogging is to offer value to your readers. If you don’t give your readers what they want, well, to put it bluntly: they’ll go find it somewhere else. You want to be a resource for those scouring the web for information. Creating easy ways for your readers to navigate your site and find that information will not only boost your traffic, subscriptions and clout – but also improve the trust your readers have in you to give them the info they need. If you run a niche blog (meaning a blog that focuses specifically on one topic – the more specific, the better), having your most relevant, important posts should be readily available.
There are tons of fancy, complex plugins that are allegedly supposed to help you direct your readers around your site… But in my experience, the simplest plugins are often the most effective.
A self-explanatory plugin – this will display your most popular plugins in a widget in the sidebar. It has multi-instance capabilities, and individual setting options (exclude categories, time range, sort by comments, display attributes, etc.) so you can customize each widget to show a specific niche of you popular posts.
Oftentimes, the best content generates a lot of discussion. Also, if you have many retweets or trackbacks, showing your “most commented posts” may really prove to be an asset to you. This plugin, basic as it is, displays your most commented posts in a widget in the sidebar.
Related Posts Plugin
This plugin generates a list of topically-related posts by scouring your blog for similar tags and pulling the most seemingly relevant posts into a list, displayed in your feed. It also has the capability for customization, as you can choose to exclude categories, and manipulate how many post links show in your list. It is designed to keep visitors on your site for longer, with the added benefit of offering more relevant information to those seeking answers. For added aesthetic value, you can also select to display a thumbnail from each post, which may attract people to the lists more.