Why do we blog? If it was solely about writing, a journal (or a bathroom wall) would suffice. But we want to interact with people, spark a reaction, invite conversation. Getting your readers’ opinions are part of the fun.
And that’s when it is time to look at what commenting system you use. The following article will give a brief overview of several popular options, plus a few thoughts on the advantages of each.
By far the most popular 3rd party commenting system on the Internet, Disqus makes it easy to interact with your readers. Here are some of its features.
1. People can log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google +, a name and email, or their personalized Disqus account. I hear a lot of bloggers moan that Disqus doesn’t allow comments to backlink to the other blogger’s website, but if they’ve set up a Disqus profile, it does!
2. Disqus automatically adds a related-posts widget underneath the comments section. Want to earn some pennies? If you sign up for the Discovery program, you earn money when people click on promoted posts in the related content area. Or, if you prefer, you can have it so it shows only YOUR related content.
3. Disqus allows people to follow commenters all around the web. When you click on a gravatar, you can see comments made on other blogs. It’s one long chain of telephone!
4. Disqus sends out emails to anyone with a Disqus account who comments.
5. You can easily nest comments with the reply button.
6. You can set your comments to show oldest first, newest first, or– BEST as first. That is what the vote up and vote down buttons are for.
7. Moderating your comments is easy in the WordPress dashboard.
Are there any disadvantages?
Sure. For one, it requires you to import your old comments. This can take a couple of days, and not all imports are seamless. Secondly, some browsers and devices have trouble loading the comment system. It is meant to work on tablets and phones though!
Despite those flaws, if you run on Blogger– it is the best system (in my opinion) to install. It doesn’t require coding in your template either!
Are you having trouble getting your Facebook activity to migrate to your blog? The Facebook social plugin allows you to connect your FB page and your blog. There are some advantages.
1. Facebook is very well known and most people know how the system works.
2. The checkbox is set to automatically post the comment on your page wall and their profile wall– giving you mucho exposure!
3. The “like” button is a nice feature to add to your blog.
4. You can use this in addition to another commenting system. Pretty cool eh?
The biggest disadvantage has to do with backlinks. A lot of commenters like to leave a backlink to their site and Facebook doesn’t allow for this. Plus, all your comments are stored on Facebook, not really on your blog.
I recommend the Facebook social plugin to go along with another commenting system.
*Google Plus has a commenting system as well. It’s fairly new, so I’m not going to review it extensively yet. But if you want to check it out in action, go to Pictimilitude.com. It works just like the Facebook social plugin.
There’s a reason it has the word “luv” in front of it. Bloggers love it! It’s easy to install, super simple, and can be used with virtually any WordPress commenting system. It allows people to pull their latest post at the bottom of their comment, plus a host of other options (like encouraging people to subscribe to your site in order to link up other posts at the end of their comment). There is no importing necessary on comment luv.
Comment Luv looks different depending on your site or your commenting system.
There really are no disadvantages to Comment Luv, except with Blogger. In order to get it on your site, you must go through Intense Debate commenting system. Installing it requires modifying your html, which may be scary for beginning bloggers to do.
It does lack some of the advanced features that Disqus has (i.e. related content) and so you are forced to install yet another plugin to make up for it. Every plugin slows down your site just a bit more.
Comment Luv also has a premium service that unlocks other features.
The one I’ve used the least is Livefyre, though many people swear by it. It works similarly to Disqus, giving people the chance to log in with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or a Livefyre account. You can tag and follow commenters, making your blog a social hub for the topic you’ve written about. It is a 3rd party commenting system so you’ll need to import your old comments into it if you switch.
The WordPress commenting system isn’t so bad now that Jetpack has a commenting plugin that integrates social profiles. Just go to Jetpack and click “activate” for your commenting system. You have a simple reply area, with the option to login with Twitter, Facebook, or WordPress. The WordPress commenting system does nest comments– another nice feature.
What about Blogger?
It sucks. The default commenting system is horrid. The captcha is infuriating. The pop-up box is annoying. I’m really surprised that Google hasn’t come up with something better (though I won’t be the least bit surprised if the G+ plugin gets migrated over soon). If you are using the Blogger default, do everyone a favor and get a 3rd party commenting system running.
Here are some other thoughts about commenting systems…
To captcha or not to captcha?
Whenever possible, keep your spam blocking systems annoyance free. In other words, don’t make people check boxes, fill out math problems, or decipher numbers. It’s hard enough getting people to comment…why make it harder? Use askimet, spamfree wordpress, etc.
Moderate every comment?
It doesn’t really matter to your readers– unless of course it takes you hours to approve them. That isn’t cool. Unless you’re right there to okay it, just set it to auto-approve. You can always delete later when it’s time to check up on your site.
If you aren’t using a 3rd party commenting system like Disqus or LiveFyre, I would forgo the avatars. They slllloooowww down your loading time.
Reply to comments?
If someone asks a question– yes. Otherwise, only do it if you feel it necessary. It’s far better use of your time to visit their blog or tweet one of their links, then to respond on your own blog to commenters. If you can, great. If you can’t – don’t sweat it! Besides, how often do you go to check and see if there was a response back?
What do I use?
I’ve used Comment Luv, Jetpack, and Disqus. My preference is Jetpack. I find that I love to comment on blogs that use it. There is no extra typing necessary and that makes a difference to me.
Which one do you like and why?