As I’m working towards making my sites “stickier”, I’ve been looking around for a good plugin to show the post popular posts in the sidebar. I found an excellent plugin/widget combination that has been easy to use and has provided me with a lot of really interesting information.

The first piece to install is Alex King’s Popularity Contest plugin this sets up the table that holds the stats and will display the popularity ranking of each post below the content (unless you turn it off in the PHP, which I did). The plugin populates the table with number of views, comments, trackbacks, etc. and calculates a score for the post based on a weighted formula, which you can edit in the options. Being very analytical by nature, I especially like the reporting screen that shows all the stats for all of your posts. Lots of interesting information there.

The second piece, that makes it easy to display the most popular posts in the sidebar, is the JAW Popular Posts Widget . This one is pretty straightforward. You can specify the number of posts you want to display in the widget options.