Have you ever had the need to add random items to your WordPress blog?
Perhaps you want to run a variety of different banner ads in the same slot, or you want to have a cycle of images appear at the top of the screen each time a visitor opens a different page. On the other hand, you might wish to display a selection of random posts.
There are various advantages to this. In the first instance, you might have limited advertising space on your blog but a relationship with multiple advertisers. Rotating space using a random script is one answer to this. If you’re simply interested in a variety of images being displayed, however, this too can be achieved with a random script. Random posts, meanwhile, can draw your readers into your blog with items that they may not have seen before.
Different random content plugins can be used in WordPress, each with a slightly different purpose.
Cycle Random Images
There are many advantages to using random images. They bring an interesting new dimension to the layout of your blog, for instance, and can be used to give extra value to your readers.
If there is not already a facility provided in your WordPress theme to add this functionality, it can be introduced with the minimum of pain thanks to Garee’s Random Image plugin.
Once installed, images can be assigned to the random image shortcode, which can then be placed anywhere in your blog theme. Once introduced, the random image will then change each time your blog is refreshed/reloaded.
Run Random Adverts
If displaying random text – perhaps quotations or catchphrases – is something that you’re interested in doing on your blog but you’re not keen on editing raw text files, then a dedicated plugin is of course the answer.
One of the top options for this sort of thing is Random Text, a plugin with an easy user interface and plenty of options. To use this plugin you’ll first need to create a few lines of random text, assigning them categories if necessary (useful if you plan to have a lot of quotes) and then configure your chosen random quotes using the options screen. Random Text displays items within the template or in a sidebar.
Adding Random Posts
If you would like to add a sidebar widget or other feature that displays random posts from your blog, there are several useful plugins that you can choose from.
Probably the most popular is the Random Posts Within Date Range Widget (still works with WP3.5+), designed to display posts (including title, date, excerpt) from within a particular date range, left open-ended if necessary if no range is required.
These posts can be limited to a particular category if necessary, and are an excellent way of highlighting content that might have been missed.
Are These Random Enough For You?
Often there is more than enough going on in a basic WordPress installation to need to rely on any random content generators such as these, but if you have been looking for a way to get a particular type of information to display with little or no input from yourself, a random content plugin that displays posts, images, adverts/scripts or even quotes is probably what you’re looking for.
Do you already use a random content tool? If so, let us know which one, and what you think of it!