Looking for your most popular posts?
This information can be incredibly valuable.
When you see your posts sorted by views, you can tell which topics and formats appeal most to your readers.
You can then use this data to write posts that are more likely to succeed in the future.
Even better, you can display a list of these posts on your site. These are the posts your visitors are most interested in, so you can get them to read more when they visit by featuring these articles on your site.
Now that you understand how valuable it is to find and display your most viewed WordPress posts, let’s talk about how to discover this data on your site.
How to find your most viewed posts
To find your most popular posts, you need to record every visit to your site.
In other words, you need analytics.
If you don’t already have an analytics plugin running on your site, check out our plugin, Independent Analytics.
Independent Analytics is a simple, free, and privacy-friendly solution to track how many visitors your site gets. It also includes your top traffic sources and visitor geolocations.
Once installed, it will count each view and visitor, and you’ll see these metrics in the analytics page added to your WordPress dashboard.
In the analytics menu, you can plainly see which posts received the most views because that’s how they’re sorted.
It’s a good idea to install an analytics plugin ASAP because you won’t have any of this data until the plugin starts tracking visits.
Now that you know how to find your most viewed posts, let’s talk about how to promote them on your site.
How to display your most popular posts
Since you know which posts are most popular, all you have to do is create a list of their titles linked to their URLs.
There are lots of ways to do this, but the smartest way is to create a reusable block.
Create your own popular posts block
Creating your own reusable block is simple.
Inside the post editor, add a heading block and give it a title like “Most popular posts.” Then add a list block and include the titles of your most viewed posts, linked to their respective URLs.
Once you’ve created these two blocks, select them both and click the Group button in the toolbar to combine them.
Lastly, select the Group block, click the options button (three dots) on the right side, and then choose the Create reusable block button in the dropdown menu.
You can name it something like “Popular Posts” to make it simple to find in the future.
Now that you’ve created this reusable block, you can add it to any post or page you want.
In the editor, type a forward slash to open the block explorer, and as you begin to type “popular,” you’ll see it show up like this:
Since the widgets are already block-powered, you can also use this block in any widget area on your site.
Creating a popular posts widget
If you’re using the Gutenberg editor and the Classic Widgets plugin, you can add a Block widget and copy and paste the contents of the reusable widget into it like this:
If you’re using the Classic Editor, you can use the Custom HTML widget instead.
Here’s a template you can copy and paste to speed things up:
<ul> <li><a href="https://mywebsite.com/article-title/">Article Title</a></li> <li><a href="https://mywebsite.com/article-title/">Article Title</a></li> <li><a href="https://mywebsite.com/article-title/">Article Title</a></li> <li><a href="https://mywebsite.com/article-title/">Article Title</a></li> <li><a href="https://mywebsite.com/article-title/">Article Title</a></li> </ul>
That will create a list with five list items, each containing a link. All you have to do is replace each instance of “Article Title” with the title of one of your posts and then change the URL to match the post’s URL.
It will take a few minutes, and then you’ll have a finished widget you can place anywhere on your site.
It doesn’t update automatically?
I have a feeling that some people who read this will be disappointed because their list of popular posts doesn’t update automatically.
But I think it’s better this way, and here’s why.
On most blogs, many of the popular posts stay the same for weeks or even years at a time. It’s not something that changes every day, so it doesn’t have to be updated often.
Furthermore, you will probably want to customize the list. For instance, there may be an article that generates a lot of affiliate revenue and email signups, but it wasn’t one of the five most popular posts. When you create the list yourself, you can add the post wherever you want.
With that said, there is an alternative way to approach this and generate the list automatically.
How to make the popular posts list dynamic
If you’d still prefer to have the list generated dynamically, I’d recommend the WordPress Popular Posts plugin.
If you have tons of user-generated content or want to use specific date ranges like a daily top posts widget, you’ll appreciate this plugin.
To display these posts, it needs to count visitors on its own, but it doesn’t give you a full analytics dashboard. For this reason, you’ll want to run it alongside Independent Analytics so you can get all the data in one place and a dynamic list of your most viewed articles.
BONUS: How to find trending posts
If you’re using Independent Analytics to record your post views, here’s one more trick.
After you’ve collected data for a while, use the Edit Columns button to toggle on the Visitors Growth column.
Then click on the Visitors Growth column heading in the table to sort the pages by those with the biggest increase in visitors.
Now you have a list of your pages that have grown the most in terms of popularity, AKA your trending pages.
You can repeat the steps above if you’d like to create another block or widget for showcasing your trending posts.
Show off your best posts
If you want to find your most viewed posts, you need analytics, and when it comes to WordPress and analytics, there’s no better solution than the Independent Analytics plugin.
Installation takes seconds, and then your site will record every new view and visitor. You can then find your popular posts and use them to manually create a widget or block to showcase them on your site.
If you’d like to add dynamically updating widgets for your most viewed posts, you can also install the WordPress Popular Posts plugin.
I hope this guide on finding and displaying your most popular WordPress posts helped you out, and please feel free to post any questions you have below.