How To Socialize Your Blogs Commenting System (Day 10)

This is day 10 of the 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media. Yesterday Frank Barry talked about optimizing donations. Today we’ll talk about making your blogs commenting system more “social media friendly”

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You can tell a lot about the impact you have on  your readers by the number, diversity and quality of your comments. For example, if you get a flood of comments when you first publish a post, you know that your readers are highly responsive. You also can see how much they trust you by what they share in those comments. In this sense, comments are a a window into then soul of your readers – and guide for your blog strategy.

But what if you are unknowingly creating barriers to comments?

Common barriers to comments

CAPTCHAS – Get rid of these. Visual CAPTCHAs are “no blind people allowed” signs.

Requiring registration – I’ve seen a few blogs that require registration in order to comment. Don’t do this unless you have a very good reason – and I can’t think of one.

Blogging tools for better comments

Now that you’re removed a couple of barriers (you probably didn’t have the two I mentioned anyhow), you want to find ways of encouraging comments and making them more social. There are two ways blog technology can help:

  1. Get the right commenting system
  2. Get the right comment plugins

Get the right commenting system

Comment systems have come a long way over the past year to include social media conversations into your blogs comments. These are the four most popular commenting systems for WordPress bloggers:

1. WordPress Commenting System

WordPress comments (standard on all hosted WordPress blogs) are highly customizable and allow you to easily add functionality either with custom coding or with plugins (WordPress Thread Comment, Highlight Author Comments, Comment Redirect, Social ProfilesEmail Commenters, Subscribe To Comments, and WP Ajax Edit Comments and a few that enhance functionality) Themes also add features. For example, Headway allows for threaded comments.

How To Socialize Your Blogs Commenting System (Day 10)

2. DISQUS Commenting System

DISQUS is a commenting system that is easily installed on WordPress with a plugin (Blogger, Tumblr and Typepad are also supported). Commenters can log-in with Twitter Facebook or DISQUS and share their comments on multiple sites as well. You can also moderate comments via email or in a dashboard at the DISQUS home page. They also support over 40 languages. I’ve used this commenting system for a while and am impressed with it’s easy of use and responsive support (Note: some users have had difficulty with DISQUS and switched back to WordPress comments).

How To Socialize Your Blogs Commenting System (Day 10)

3. Intense Debate Commenting System

Intense Debate has similar functionality to DISQUS, but includes the ability to add functionality with widgets.  Also, they are owned by Automatic which might lessen any compatibility fears with WordPress (also owned by Automatic).

How To Socialize Your Blogs Commenting System (Day 10)

4. Echo Commenting System

The Echo commenting system, developed by a guy who recently claimed that “comments are dead”, allows you to pull in conversations on Digg, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo that people are having about your blog post. Commenters can also add video, photos and even use an HTML editer their comments.

How To Socialize Your Blogs Commenting System (Day 10)

Get the right comment plugins

Below are a few plugins that the WordPress development community has created that are designed to make your comments more social.

  • CommentLuv – This plugin will visit the site of the comment author while they type their comment and retrieves their last blog post, tweet or digg submissions and includes it at the bottom of their comment.
  • Top Commentators – A sidebar widget that shows the top commentators on your blog.
  • Get Recent Comments – This plugin shows excerpts of the latest comments and/or trackbacks in your sidebar.
  • Comment Plugger – Gives a list of that last people to comment on a post, with a link to their site.
  • Quote Comments – This allows commenters to easily copy contents of the previous comment and wrap it in blockquote tags.
  • Also see: 10 WordPress Plugins to Help Build Community

What’s the best commenting set-up?

So we have four major commenting systems and a bunch of plugins to choose from. Too many choices? What should you do?

The combination that’s right for your blog depends upon your blog strategy. For example, if you want to give props to your blog community, using plugins that showcase these folks would be a smart idea. If you want to make it easy for comments to be shared on Facebook and Twitter, looking at Intense Debate or DISQUS would be smart. If you want your visitors to see an overall social conversation about your post, Echo might be right.

The best thing about all of these options is that they’re easy to implement, which means you can try various options to see what works. Once you do make a choice though, give it a couple of months before make any major conclusions.

Homework: Read this post again and make notes about what might work for your blog.

If you don’t want to miss out on the 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media, please sign up here.

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Comments

  1. As you know, John, I switched back to WordPress comments after using Disqus for a while. I just found it to be too temperamental (social media reactions wouldn't show, the servers would go down, etc). It's a great idea, and if they can iron out some bugs I may revisit.

    I absolutely hate the Echo system. That's way too noisy with its social media/network comments dropping in beside the normal ones. I also dislike the fact that you're stuck with a small font, unless you dip into the CSS coding for it.

    CommentLuv is a fantastic plugin (and another reason not to use Disqus as they don't support it, unlike IntenseDebate) and I'm happy it's back on my blog.

    Cheers fella, looking forward to the rest of the posts. :)

    1. The one thing I do like about comment systems (as opposed to just
      using WordPress) is that you have a team of developers making
      commenting more social, instead of trying to figure out which plugins
      to use. Also, I like the built-in credential services (Facebook,
      Twitter…).

      Thanks for stopping by, Danny!

    2. Yet another day when I was already doing what John suggested already. Two for two.

      Question to John & Danny – How do you get to see social media reactions without something like Disqus?

      While I am at it – I am looking for a guest blogger for every Friday morning and the two of you are on list to ask. If you'd be interested drop me a line please at patrick.allmond at gmail. I have a list of questions prepare.

          1. Correct – both BackType plug-ins are for when you don't have Disqus installed.

            Another thing with Disqus is that if you do install it, and then change your system, any threaded conversations don't continue that way. They revert back to single comments as opposed to conversations, and that can be pretty messy and confusing for new readers.

    3. If you click my name to visit my blog, scroll to Saturday's roundup post of 15 bloggers who regularly use CommentLuv…and who I (in)directly found from one who evangelizes it.

  2. I, too have Disqus on my blog. Whilst I had problems with it intially, everything is running okay now.

    I've seen CommentLuv on other blogs and i've been impressed with it. Thanks Danny for making me aware of it's incompatability with Disqus.

    1. Hey there Paul, no worries. Andy Bailey (the CommentLuv developer) said that it has something to do with the way Disqus calls comments, but that's too techy for me :)

  3. Hi John.

    Nice tips on optimize your comments for Social Media.

    I use Disqus myself, and really like it. Get many back links, and comments seems to do ok also for SEO true Disqus. And earlier this week there was temporary issue with Disqus, and just minutes after I put a tweet on this issue the service team at Disqus got back to me. Really great service.

    One question for you John. I signed up for your training on Thursday, and have received day 8,9 and 10 in my email. Would like to have the previous days also if possible. I store all my training sessions in email folders so I can return back to them for reference.

    Cheers.. Are

        1. Thanks John. Did see that when I browsed around here.

          Now I got so busy putting all your suggestions into effect. Made me discover a minor issue on my Title that I have never seen before. For some reason a special character in my title is converted to HTML character code when I check my source code…

          Hopefully I figure the cause of that little bump in the road detail.. tehe..

          Cheers.. Are

  4. The main thing we have to do as bloggers is to not put up any roadblocks for our readers to comment. What I am liking about Disqus is not just the threaded comments, which we can get with WordPress anyway. I love how easy it is to moderate and reply.

    Disqus also does a great job of extending our blog post to twitter. Any tool that can bring the blog community to the other social media tools is an ideal tool to use.

    Finally, while all the tools may be great, as bloggers we have to engage our readers and participate in the conversations we start on our blogs. Don't expect comments on your post if you are not going to comment yourself on your own blog.

    Remember, blogging was social media before social media was social media. And it is the ability to communicate directly with our readers that gives blogging such power over static websites and even tools like twitter.

    1. Funnily enough, I've actually found the comments have gone up since moving back to WordPress comments via Headway. There were a few folks that mentioned it looked like you had to log-in to post a comment (both with Disqus and IntenseDebate). We know that's not the case, but it wasn't always clear for readers. :)

      1. @Grant, I thought I read on the Headway forum that it doesn’t play nice with Discus?

        @Danny, that’s a useful point. Thanks for mentioning. I’m researching this for a client right now.

        @John, thanks for a very timely and useful article. I’m surprised LiveFyre isn’t included in the mix. Was it too new when you wrote this or is there something bad I should know about it?

  5. What a great post and discussion.

    I have been using DISQUS on my Reiki blog for almost a year and truly do like it. My concern is, as I start my new blog, is it's incompatibility with CommentLuv. I Luv (wink) CommentLuv when I use it on various blogs and I really think my readers would appreciate it. The “share the love” idea, in my opinion, is a community builder among bloggers and their readers.

    I'm thinking: WordPress comments – Headway's features – and CommentLuv

    1. That's the way I've gone, Franks, with a couple of others thrown in (Subscribe to Comments and TwitterLinks to let you show your Twitter username). Love the simplicity and feel of the standard comments :)

      1. The nice thing is that there are enough options out there for trial and error. The most important thing is making the “conversation” accessible and convenient for the reader.

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  6. Great post.

    I recently moved all by Blogger blogs over to Disqus after having ECHO/Js-Kit installed on them for about 6 months. I had so many issues with JS-Kit/Echo that in the end my patience ran out.

    I now wish I'd gone straight with Disqus…. been super impressed with them so far. My readers love using it and comments have increased 5 fold.

  7. I do think it's less about which tool you use (there are so many out there) and more about the two tips in the top – a) get rid of Captcha and b) don't require registration. Yeah! I won't comment anymore on blogs that require a separate registration.

  8. I agree with Sue Anne… I hate it when people make you sign up for anything. Especially if they require your entire life story. Grrr. ICK! I don't mind the Captcha as much though.

  9. Great advice on how to effectively comment as a blog owner I immediately delete irrelevant comments…they key is to add to the post!

  10. Thanks for the link back to the Top Commentators widget. I'll probably agree with you on removing CAPTCHAs, if not for the fact that having CAPTCHAs made my spam counts go down by more than 90%, from ten-ish spam comments a day (even with Akismet activated) to only 1 or 2 a week. It's a matter of balancing between wanting more comments/participation vs. spam management, and I'm more concerned with the latter.

  11. Thank you for this great article. I love the way you show visually the differences between the commenting systems. Often I've commented on a blog, liked some of the features, but didn't know how to implement it for my blog.

    Thank you very much,

    Julia

  12. I use Disqus myself, and really like it. Get many back links, and comments seems to do ok also for SEO true Disqus. And earlier this week there was temporary issue with Disqus, and just minutes after I put a tweet on this issue the service team at Disqus got back to me.

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  14. Thank for sharing all of these. So far I have a lot of difficulty using Intense Debate and I can only find few blogs that are using this kind of plugin. I guess that commenting system should be improved.

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  18. Great! Very interesting post! I come back to the site! We found interesting articles here. Thanks man!…….

    Now I Know that what is the important of Blog Commenting

  19. Thanks. Make sure you subscribe to Johns updates. He provide some awesome info. John provides some of the best information for non-profit organizations. You learn a great deal here that will add some great value to your own efforts..

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    Cheers.. Are

  20. Including social media like Facebook and Twitter even hotter, you can get the collection online. Join the forum too and get to talk to those who have similar interests – is by far the easiest way to reach the public.

  21. Is there a way to use Facebook Comments, Intense Debate and Disqus simultaneously? I would like to provide all three options to the commenter. Thanks:)

  22. Blog commenting should be properly organized. well mostly i saw many sites that takes alot of time in approving comments it lessen the trust between your blog/site to the new visitor.

  23. I really like to use Disqus for commenting because it attaches you socially your post on social websites when commenter will comment through social website and second thing is respond lively.

  24. Blog commenting should be appropriately organized. I can alone acquisition few blogs that are application this affectionate of plug-in. I accept been application DISQUS on my blog for about a year and absolutely do like it.

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