Activating the comment system can significantly affect the value of your blog posts. In fact, comments are part of the article and are seen as such by search engines. This means that even a text which is not particularly long can be expanded to enormous proportions by means of comments left by users. Google likes it very much when there is a lot of content to index on an article page.
Comments section engages readers and allows them to interact with other people with similar interests and opinions. They can ask questions, discuss, joke and even share photos if the comment system you use allows it.
The comment system has been an integral part of WordPress' core since its earliest days - and for good reason. Comments are the perfect way to engage with your Readers.
Comments give you the chance to correct your content, e.g. if one of your readers notices a factual error. There may also be completely different points of view on the subject you are examining, which is also a value in itself. This is most evident in the case of newspaper articles.
Over time, you will find that many people enjoy reading the comments as much as the main body of your articles. Comments in part allow them to verify whether what you write about makes sense or not, and they can also learn about different perspectives on how other people view the same issue.
What possibilities the comments section of your website will offer depends on you and on the final system you decide on. In this article I will suggest a few solutions that are worth taking a closer look at.
But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let's summarise the pros and cons of implementing a comment system on your site.
Advantages of website comments
- Interaction - Through comments you can interact with your Readers and they with you. Sometimes the interaction between you, your readers or your readers can be more valuable than the article itself.
- Feedback - Thanks to comments you can find out what your readers like and dislike on your website. You can learn about their needs and thus better adapt and plan the development of your website. Let your readers guide you in a direction that is mutually beneficial. Many of them will write directly what articles they need and you will have topics ready to go 🙂 .
- SEO - You may not realise it, but comments left on your page can help you to achieve better search engine results. People who leave comments may often use phrases related to your topic, which will make your text more saturated with them. It will also be easier for you to generate traffic from the so-called long tail.
Here, however, one has to be careful and scrupulously moderate the activity of commentators. Negligence in this area can have the opposite effect. For example, your website will be flooded with junk entries - spam, to put it simply - with a mass of links to websites of dubious quality. This can result in a sharp drop in search engine rankings.
- Community - After some time you will notice that some commenters return and leave their comments under subsequent articles you publish. In this way, step by step, you build a community of loyal readers/customers around your site.
Disadvantages of website comments
- SPAM - From the moment you launch comments on your site you will become another target for spammers. Some will use automatons, which with the use of additional safeguards you will largely be able to filter out unattended, but many will see your site as a place to plant their links under the guise of a "natural" comment like "Really great article, helped me a lot." At first you will probably find many of these comments valuable, but over time you will notice that most of them contain links to other sites. In the native comment system there is an option to add a web address in addition to email and username. This creates a link from the commenting user's name leading to an external site. Most of the laconic comments not contributing anything relevant will certainly have such a link 🙂 .
- Moderation - This is actually closely related to the above. Unfortunately managing comments, replying, deleting rubbish, is sometimes a very time consuming job.
- Negatives - Many commentators tend to criticise everything and everyone for everything. They are just looking for an opportunity to stick a pin in your head and get a lot of satisfaction out of it. Unfortunately, this does not only affect you, but also other commenters, which can turn into fierce verbal clashes under your articles. There have been cases of large websites that have decided to delete comments because of the brawls that took place in them.
The best plugins for comments
So let's get down to specifics. We will look at a few solutions that allow you to run a commenting system, more or less advanced, on your website.
- Native WordPress commenting system
- Thrive Comments
Native WordPress commenting system
It is an extremely simple commenting system offering only basic features, but it is precisely because of this simplicity that it is highly valued by many popular sites. The native comment system works very quickly and is well indexed by search engines.
The biggest advantage of the built-in WordPress comment system is the usability of its frontend. To leave a comment, the Reader must enter their name/alias and email address, and optionally the URL of their site (a field readily used by spammers).
This pre-configured comments section is good for another reason too. First of all, it should not interfere with anything on your website, like themes or other plugins. I don't use this system myself and I'm just having a small compatibility issue at the moment, which I'll mention later 🙂
However, there are many drawbacks associated with using this solution, which by the way has not been changed in years. Users who comment will not receive notifications of replies, there is no support for feedback on contributions and social media integration is lacking.
Disqus is one of the most popular commenting platforms in the world, operating as a hosted system on the external servers of the solution provider.
It works using API, so it can be used on other websites such as Blogger, Joomla, Drupal or the simplest website written in HTML. Integration with WordPress is done through a plugin, or actually many plugins because you can choose between those written by the system provider and other independent developers.
It's one of the most feature-rich commenting systems out there, and by all accounts one of the more aesthetically pleasing. It supports nested comments, social media login, reply notifications and much more. Commenters can also add media in their comments with videos included.
Disqus is not perfect, however. In fact, by default it requires users to log in before posting a comment. Of course, there are multiple login options (Twitter, Facebook or a Disqus account), but this can annoy some visitors, many of whom will simply let go of commenting. I've experienced this myself so I know what I'm writing 🙂 Yes a user can tick the option to comment as a guest, but not everyone will see this option. This is a disadvantage, but also an advantage because taka policy keeps spam to a minimum.
Furthermore, Disqus makes money, because why should it make its tools available for free and get nothing out of it. It makes money from its users, including building profiles and selling that data. For this reason, many privacy-focused webmasters do not accept it.
The company behind Disqus also makes money from advertising. In the early days of development, the system did not broadcast any ads unless you wanted to. However, the company decided to change that in the free basic plan. You can remove them for $9 per month and get additional direct customer support from the Disqus team. The $89 per month Pro plan, on the other hand, includes options such as priority support, background banning and email subscriptions.
The wpDiscuz plugin is known for its speed, stability and modern design. Ratings for this extension are high and the support forum is vibrant. Comments are stored in your site's database, not on external servers like Disqus. So there is no problem switching to another comment system.
Furthermore, the extension can be integrated with a wide range of popular plugins such as BuddyPress, UserPro or Akismet to combat the scourge of spam. The default comment form is responsive and works quite well on screens of different sizes.
For many years JZS hosted Disqus with a small break for Facebook, which in my case did not work at all. Currently, wpDisquz is running on JZS and is very stable indeed. There is only a small problem, because Disquz uses Font Awesome library version 5, while Elementor is still on version 4, which means that I have to style some small details manually. That's how it goes. Fortunately, this will change soon, because Elementor version 2.6 will support Font Awesome 5. The problem will disappear.
Another advantage of wpDiscuz is that the plugin in its basic version is completely free. You don't have to worry about a monthly or annual fee, and the forum support is great. There are also some add-ons that extend the capabilities of wpDiscuz that you have to pay for - after all, the developer has to live on something and have an incentive to develop the extension.
You may need a comment search tool or a subscription manager, in which case paid extensions are at your disposal. You'll pay (if you need them) $99 for the full suite of extensions. You can also buy individual extensions.
Generally the native functionality of this system provides you with everything you need. You even have a free comment form builder, which you can enrich with your own fields if needed.
Thrive Comments is a plugin that completely replaces the native WordPress comment system with its own interface.
It is equipped with many improvements both on the front and the back. Firstly, Thrive Comments allows you to rank comments by moving them up or down. It's like you're giving a like or subtracting a like. Those comments that have the most land at the top, those with the worst scores at the bottom.
To encourage users to leave comments, you can use gamification so that active commenters can receive special badges.
Thrive Comments dalso provides a "Leave a comment" button at both the top and bottom - so there is no longer any need to scroll through a long list of comments just to leave a new comment.
Users can log in via social media and can also subscribe to comments and receive email notifications of new replies.
Another unique feature of Thrive Comments is its focus on increasing conversions by allowing you to interact with users after they leave a comment. You can, for example:
- display a custom message or trigger a popup using the Thrive Leads plugin
- display different calls to action (CTAs) after leaving a comment, depending on whether the user has commented before or not.
That's all on the front end, but Thrive Comments also has its own moderation panel, making it easy to manage your comments, along with plenty of keyboard shortcuts. Oj convenienceaaa 🙂
If I wanted to briefly summarise the extension I would write that the idea behind Thrive Comments is to encourage conversation through motivational mechanisms. The premise is simple. You can't expect a user to submit a comment if you don't get anything in return 🙂 .
Thrive Comments works similarly to a social network, where customers and readers can "like or dislike" other comments and even get badges based on their activity, as I mentioned above. Overall, this mechanism encourages more comments and ensures that only high quality ones are displayed first. This has a positive impact on the reception of the main article.
The plug-in isn't free, but it doesn't ruin your wallet either. The cost of a license for one site is $39.
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