Contextly Review

Contextly Review


Contextly was founded in 2010 by Ryan Singel and Ben Autrey in San Francisco, USA. Contextly is a SaaS (Software as a Service) company that recommends relevant, related content (on the same website) that readers may be interested in. Being hosted outwith the designated website the Contextly API can be incorporated into any CMS (content management system).

The idea behind the software is to keep people browsing a website by showing them other “related content” that they might be interested in by the same author or on a similar theme on the same website.

Keeping Readers on the Same Site

When browsing a website, a whole lot of related content is hidden in other sections of the site. Therefore readers may remain unaware of entire sections of content that they might be interested in. That is where the Contextly content discovery platform fits in!

Contextly provides a great solution for webmasters, bloggers and website owners to decrease the bounce rate on their website, increase personalization and increase engagement.  They also enhance the end user experience by personalization.

How does Contextly Work?

The way that Contextly works is by using algorithms and formulas to show readers information that will build upon what they have been reading about, rather than just showing popular information (like some other plugins do).  Unlike other plugins like Outbrain or Taboola, Contextly works by showing only internal links, to keep users on the site.

Meaning that readers can be taken on a unique user journey and read further into sections of the website that would otherwise remain hidden to them. Moreover, Contextly does not slow down your website in any way because it is hosted on their own servers. This is also great for updates because they are done outwith WordPress (or relevant CMS) there is no need to update the plugins.

The Key Aim of Contextly

The key aim of Contextly is to increase loyalty, increase traffic and increase the time of a website visitor. Allowing publishers to build their readership and keep users on their website for longer. Thus decreasing your site’s bounce rate, boosting your SEO and pageviews per reader and it also turns visitors into return readers or customers. Additionally, Contextly allows you to increase click-through rates,  promote e-mail lists, videos, events and products.

How to Get Started with Contextly

Contextly is incredibly simple to install and offers some really great features. Contextly is primarily a WordPress plugin, however it can also be added to other CMS. Below is a brief guide to getting started with Contextly on WordPress:

Firstly you need to install the WordPress plugin. To do this you must go to your WP admin and go to Plugins > Add New. When you are over there, search for “Related Links by Contextly”. Then you navigate to the “Contextly” search result and click “Install Now”.

Once the plugin has been installed then you must activate the Contextly plugin by clicking “Activate Plugin”. Et Voila! you have now successfully installed Contextly on your website.

You then must get your Secret Key from Contextly to show you recommendations to customize your plugin. WordPress will guide you in doing this by providing a “Secret Key” link. You will then be presented with two options “Customize Contextly and Get API Key” or “Save API” key. You must configure the settings and then Contextly is all set up on our website!

To configure Contextly you must access the Contextly dashboard and input the appropriate settings for your website, Pretty simple.

Contextly: Pricing Model

Contextly charges users monthly, depending on the number of monthly page users that the site receives. This model offers a low barrier to entry, with lower traffic sites being charged just $9 per month for up to 50,000 monthly page views. Additionally, for committed users, Contextly offers a 10% discount when the service is paid for annually. If you want to give Contextly a try, then they offer a 21-day free trial.

Contextly Features & Benefits

Contextly offers the following features:

  • Recommendations – Automatic recommendations of content, videos, events or products are presented to your users based on the content they are currently reading. Publishers can highlight content that might have been missed.
  • Display – Here you select how you want your recommended posts to be displayed.  You have a choice of “Main Modules”, “Siderails or “In-story sidebars”.
  • Analytics – review the statistics on how Contextly has helped improve the loyalty of your readers. Contextly will send daily, weekly or monthly reports directly to the registered email address.
  • FollowUp – A button presented to readers on your site to reveal a timeline of related content.
  • Social – Contextly monitors Twitter for reactions to particular posts on your site.

Contextly: The Opening in the Market

The need for Contextly was discovered when Ryan was working as a writer at “Wired”. He found that they always wanted to link back to original articles and provide related links. This proved to be a laborious “cut and paste” exercise that needed to be overhauled and automated. The idea for Contextly developed from a basic HTML form to analyzing content relationships from the database. Wired actually became the first company to adopt Contextly in the initial stages, becoming their first customer.

Email Followups with Contextly

Contextly offers smart solutions to really build loyalty and enhance the user experience on any website. One way this is done is via their Followup button where readers can subscribe to any story on a website and be sent related content and recently published articles on that particular theme via email.

The whole Followup system is completely automated and will send recommendations and related posts to the reader without any intervention from the publisher. The way that this works is by constructing Channels breaking all of the articles into themes, then readers in effect subscribe to those themes.

Who is Contextly Designed for?

Contextly was originally created for a published magazine and lends itself well these sorts of websites like news sites that require increased loyalty. Additionally, Contextly works well for those wanting to delve into a particular niche blog or site.

Contextly is currently being used by a wide variety of international websites, with the majority of them in the US.  Some of their biggest clients are Dallas Morning News, Haymarket Media (health sites), World Health Organization, and Gatehouse Media.

In Conclusion

Contextly is a pretty exciting piece of software that would work with almost any website to help people navigate related content. I love the automated “followup” feature and think that is something that will seriously drive traffic to a website and enhance brand awareness. The pricing structure works even for smaller websites and the free trial is easily set up to show the benefits of the software without any commitment. A really exciting SaaS solution to increase the experience and deliver more results to all websites.

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