Due to how Contextly ingests content and builds recommendations, development and staging are not good environments to test the quality of Contextly's recommendations.
However, you can tweak the look and feel of Contextly, and get a sense of the curation tools with a few small changes on the test site.
1. Add live RSS feeds: Go to the control panel (In WP, that's Settings->Contextly->Big Settings Button).
Add live RSS feeds for each section. For instance, you can use: http://makezine.com/feed/ or a live feed from your site.
2. Change the default search site to a live site: In the same control panel, look for the Search Site tab. Add a new search site to something live. This can be your site or something else, like http://makezine.com/. Move this up in the list to be the default.
3. To see related posts, use the Add Related Posts button, and choose a few stories. It may take a few minutes to get the images, but, again, this is working on a site we haven't crawled yet.
This will let you try the Add Related Posts Button, the Sidebar button and the Single link button.
Why this is hard:
Contextly learns about new content via the headers of a published blog post, but if this is on localhost or a password-protected server, we can't learn the content.
Additionally, most staging servers set robots.txt to disallow, and our spider respects robots.txt.
We also use A/B testing to test related, and live traffic to figure out the interesting section (popular, evergreen and personalization.)
Let us know if you have any questions by writing us at firstname.lastname@example.org