post

Which Commenting System Is Best To Build A Blog Community?

Commenting community

Find out how to build a community around your blog using your comments.

When you’re blogging for business it’s easy to get caught up in writing compelling content, ensuring you have proper calls to action on posts where it makes sense, and sharing your content on every social network you’re a part of.So how do you capture the attention of all those folks once they get to your website? You do that by fostering a community around your business. And that’s where commenting comes into play.

The question we’ll answer today is what commenting system is best to build a blog community? There are many out there to choose from, but what will help the most? Let’s take a look.

WordPress Comments

First up is WordPress comments. These comes standard out of the box. The pros of using WordPress comments are:

  • Nothing additional to install
  • People can fill out a name, email, and optionally a URL – no signing up for anything else
  • Lot’s of plugins can make these really powerful
  • If you’re using HitSniffer, which I highly suggest, you can then link that person’s history on your site to a name – very powerful

That does sound very good doesn’t it? There are two sides to every coin however, and here the cons are:

  • You need to install a number of plugins that make these comments usable, including anti-spam and others

Installing plugins for WordPress is a quick search and a click of a button away, so this con isn’t too large, but you do need to know what additional plugins to use.

Now let’s look at a few of the comment systems you can plug into WordPress and get even more features. First up one I’ve used before: Disqus.

Disqus

Disqus logo

Disqus was my go to commenting system for a long time. You can create an account and then comment on any blog with Disqus enabled. Some of the big pros are:

  • An entire community of users as your spam filter
  • Automatic replies to your comments go to your email
  • Like a comment
  • Subscribe to a comment stream using email or RSS – built in
  • People can see how many times you’ve commented and how many people like your comment
  • Manage multiple sites from a single place (in Disqus)
  • Follow people and they can follow you – comment stalking!
  • See who people you follow are replying to and follow them – uber comment stalking
  • Link to Twitter and Facebook and share a link to your comment there

That’s enough pros. Obviously there are a lot. Now for the flip side, the cons:

  • Adds additional code to your web page, potentially slowing it down a little
  • Without signing it you can’t link to your website

Back in the day you used to need an account on Disqus to comment but no longer. -1 from the cons side.

Disqus has had to stay on top of their game though as our next runner up put real-time commenting on the map. This is the commenting system I’m using here – Livefyre.

Livefyre

Livefyre logo

My friend Adam Teece introduced me to Livefyre a year ago. At the time I was using Disqus and thought it was real-time enough for me. I was incorrect.

Livefyre was the pioneer in real-time commenting on a site. You can literally keep a page open and it will notify you when someone posts a new comment. Every time I post a blog post I leave the page open, waiting for comments to arrive so I can respond.

Your comment section is now a full conversation spot. That is pure awesome.

So the obvious first pro is that you have real-time commenting with notification. Can it get better? It sure can with:

  • A user interface just for mobile users – no one is left out
  • Share your comments on social media sites
  • Live listener count – very cool to see how many people are hanging out on a page
  • User ratings and comment voting
  • Community moderation
  • Email notifications

And the list goes on.

The cons are pretty much the same as Disqus with one exception: you have to sign in to something to make it work. So you either create a (free) Livefyre account or connect with Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn, etc.

So those are three awesome comment systems you can use to build community on your blog. But what are the cool kids (aside from me) using? I went to Twitter to find out. Here’s a screenshot of the responses from some of my excellent Twitter community:

What the cool kids on Twitter using for comments on their blogs

What are the cool kids on Twitter using for comments on their blogs?

What Are You Using On Your Site?

Are you using the built-in comments of your blog or did you install Disqus or LiveFyre? What caused you to use that?

Let’s talk about it in real-time below!

I’ll see you there…

Links Mentioned And The Cool Kids On Twitter

Comments

  1. @Dempsey: Why did you finally switch back to WP commenting as I see now? Do disqus or livefyre offer guest commenting (without the need to log in) yet? Was lack of this a reason, or were there other considerations? Please elaborate! Thanks.

  2. I may be a bit bias when it comes to WordPress since I’m a fan of their consistent excellence. I’ve used disqus and I have to say that their biggest asset can be their biggest downfall, which is signing up for the account. Not many people are willing to be bothered by registering for an account. But it is still a nice commenting system.

  3. been using disqus and so far I still don’t see a reason to switch to other commenting systems

  4. i just hate disqus comments , thinking of switching to intense debate

    • Hi Ramandeep – why do you have Disqus comments? I’ve used many (as you can see) and came back to WordPress comments as I get the integration with HitSniffer and can add other stuff like CommentLuv.

  5. @3HatsComm @rdempsey Hey there, thanks for all the feedback about Livefyre. We are definitely taking all your thoughts to our product meetings and working to build in the features and fixes you’re asking for. I definitely agree that it all boils down to the community and how they adopt it. Remember we’re here to help! 🙂

  6. girlygrizzly says:

    Funny, funny, funny… If I didn’t know for sure you all aren’t even in the same country, I don’t know how you do it- bordering on freaky!! Every single time I have questions or hurdles to get over, you all or at least a few of you nail it! It is the next topic I wake up to! HA! I had a telephone meeting with the very smart and savy Erica Allison this morning and she asked me, “What commenting system do you use?” (Umm) I chatted with her about all I have been reading as many of the folks I follow and have learned so much from have been really raking this over… What to do, what to do?

    I am with HubSpot and the platform is already there. I am wondering if I should be using something like Livefyre, how hard it would be to work with HubSpot, how easy for folks to use (some have even less experience than I do!). I want to believe that I will actually have a reason to be ready for comments some day! LOL Seriously, though, I’d love some advice if anyone has experience with HubSpot and their platforms. ~Amber-Lee

  7. girlygrizzly says:

    @Marcus_Sheridan Marcus, Hey there! I wondered, I may go ask at your house too… Can I use and install (Oh lordy) Livefyre with HubSpot? How? (that’s the real biggie!) ~Amber-Lee

  8. @rdempsey Your mileage will vary, everyone’s will. I’m watching and paying attention to a lot of the trends, seeing what’s out there. I like some of the social aspects but then, it can also get a little spammy with all the mentions and auto-tweets. Not saying never, but I just want total (or as much) control over everything; if I new how to write plugins to mix-and-match my own features, I’d be set. 😉

  9. @3HatsComm great points Davina and I agree it comes down to the community you’re trying to create and your goals. Nothing is perfect so we’ve got the pros/cons list to deal with.

    I’ve been considering going back, again, to WP comments as LiveFyre requires an account. One of the reasons I switched was as a test to see if the number of comments on a per-post basis went down. I’m happy to report they didn’t, so it’s still on my happy list.

  10. This topic has been on my mind lately Robert, agree with your run down of the 3 big options. “Comment Stalking!” – heh, maybe they should use that in their marketing? 😉 IMO you missed a few cons with these, mostly format issues like nesting comments, layout and control. I also think real-time has its downside.. there’s a rush to the discussions that sometimes doesn’t always spark a better conversation, just a longer one.

    My biggest issue with any of these, the lack of control for both blog owner AND the commenter. It’s why I’ve stuck with WP as – once I’ve learned which ones to use – I control the plugins and how they function. I can’t tell Disqus to let someone w/ out an account login the old fashioned way and still get their URL per THEIR choice; I can’t tell Livefyre to not murder my inbox with 285 updates an hour; and that’s on the ‘occasional’ setting. Might be slightly exaggerating.. but then my readers would have to go in and unfollow a conversation and not get their own replies (which thanks to @Marcus_Sheridan I know is changing, along with the CommentLuv add).

    Think it’ll all come down to the community you have, the one you want and the nature of the blog itself and how important or unimportant these features are to you as blog owner, and to your readers. FWIW.

  11. @AdamTeece hi Adam I’m pretty sure it was you that told me about it more than a year ago. If you use it let us know how it goes.

  12. I’m definitely looking at Livefyre. I enjoy using it on other people’s sites and the fact that they are coming out with some SEO features makes me very happy.

  13. @TheNerdyNurse Coming soon 🙂

  14. @jennalanger is there a way to comment anonymously?

    Because of the nature of some of my blog topics, that would be a nice feature.

  15. @jennalanger you may have just convinced me that this should be my new comment companion!

  16. @TheNerdyNurse Yes, these links will be do follow so they get the SEO credit as well.

  17. @darrensproat @FrankDickinson I am also interested in causing less server and cpu load since sometimes my blog seems like it just crawls.

  18. @jennalanger so these will be dofollow links?

    I want to give people incentive an easy way to comment.

    I also want their blog to be prominent in their comment to reward them for taking the time to jot a note on my little corner of the web.

  19. @jennalanger that’s what I’ve been doing, but I’m lazy…

  20. @rdempsey We’ll be adding the ability to select which you display – username or real name. For now, if you click on a user’s avatar you will get their first/last name and their username.

  21. @jennalanger @patricksplace hi Jenna that makes sense. It would be cool though to see someone’s name on their comment instead of a username. I find myself constantly clicking through to the profiles of new commenters, and unless they’ve put in their Twitter account and have their name there, I don’t know what it is. Hard to build a relationship with someone when you don’t know their actual name.

  22. @TheNerdyNurse Hey there, Livefyre will be adding our own version of CommentLuv in the near future. It’s super simple to install it on your site, just search for “livefyre” in your WP Admin. We import all of your comments and write new ones back to your WP database, so you still keep all the data. Let me know if you have any questions!

  23. @patricksplace @rdempsey Hey there, love hearing that Livefyre increases your comment count 🙂 We find that creating accounts actually helps with the viral loop – people get email notifications, love the points system, and keep coming back to leave more comments. it’s all about building community on your site.

  24. TheNerdyNurse says:

    thinking of switching backk to wordpress comments to give people more link love with comment love.

    is it s difficult transition to make? Should I just stay with disqus?

    I want t to encourage more comments

    -The Nerdy Nurse

    htt://www.thnerdynurse.com

  25. @darrensproat hi Darren, what were the quirks by chance?

  26. darrensproat says:

    I am using the standard WordPress commenting system again. I have used the ‘big three’ – IntenseDebate, LiveFyre, and Disqus – but all had little annoying quirks that I just couldn’t seem to get around. Knowing, however, that LiveFyre is a lower drag on CPU will make me take a closer look. I am certain @FrankDickinson would be interested in this discussion.

    Thank you,

    Darren Sproat

  27. @carnellm @livefyre I’m very happy with my move to LifeFyre. The lower CPU usage (which will make your site run faster) is a very nice byproduct.

  28. carnellm says:

    I have been monitoring the CPU usage on a friend’s site, and I have to say that @LiveFyre helped drop the levels of spam and that CPU usage. On my sites, I have used Disqus, IntenseDebate, WordPress’s native comments, and have just installed LiveFyre. Am liking LiveFyre very much over the others. At the moment I am really becoming a believer in it.

  29. @mike_kon the gold is in the comments Mike, both for the blog owner, people in the community, and those of us researching too. It’s just a huge win all around.

  30. @johnfalchetto hey John thanks for your comment. I’m looking forward to your new design. Tasty.

  31. @Marcus_Sheridan hey Marcus – I’m fully on board with CommentLuv being added to LiveFyre. That’s one thing I missed the most from moving away from WordPress comments. It’s great to give commenters link love, and encourages even more comments. I’m really looking forward to that feature being added.

  32. mike_kon says:

    Robert,

    Great write up on the three commenting systems! I never thought about the importance of commenting systems before I read your article. You’re right, it plays an important role in the overall experience of a site.

    I hope livefyre is giving you some love because you got me thinking about switching!

  33. Hi Robert

    I will probably make the jump to LF once I get my new design up and running. As @Marcus_Sheridan said I still would love to see CommentLuv but they are working on their CL system now and they are a very dedicated team.

    Great post, and thanks for sharing your insights on using one rather than the other.

  34. Robert, awesome post and a great topic (nice long tail too 😉 )

    Speaking of that smiley face I just wrote, when will Livefyre allow emoticons?? I just gotta have ’em 🙂

    The fact that LF is introducing commentLuv and ReplyMe to the fold, they are now seriously on my radar, and I’m very impressed with their vision, staff, and innovations.

    Although there are still a few things I’m concerned about, I do think LF is changing the world of blog commenting as we know it, and I’m sure I’ll be writing a post on this as well soon too.

    Notwithstanding, I did learn some technical stuff by reading this and really appreciate the comparison that you’ve made here— something every blogger should read.

    Have a great weekend my friend.

    Marcus

  35. @patricksplace that’s a reason to test if I ever heard one. Logic – doesn’t always make sense 🙂

  36. @rdempsey You’re welcome. I’m very surprised to see more comments coming in with this system than with the basic WordPress comment system, especially with Livefyre requiring some kind of login. It almost goes against logic. But I’m not complaining at all, especially if it increases interaction and exchange on my blog!

  37. @stephsammons When I looked at Facebook Comments a while back, it appeared that using it was either the only way someone could then comment, or that its presence on your blog overshadowed an alternate comment option (like WordPress’s built-in system, for example) to the point that it appeared that Facebook was the only way one could leave a comment.

    I think this is a bad option, because there are people who’d be much more willing to comment without leaving their whole name, as Facebook generally does, but would be willing to use their Twitter handle instead. There are also those who reserve their Facebook accounts to people they actually know, and wouldn’t want attention on their presence on that site for that reason.

    Livefyre allows people to use their Facebook account as a login, but also gives several other options, and I’m told by Livefyre staff that they’ll soon offer site owners the option of letting people leave comments anonymously. With that in mind, just a week and a half or so into my one-month test run with Livefyre, I feel like it’s the only comment system you’d need.

  38. @patricksplace hey Patrick thanks for adding your experience. I used Disqus before but went to WordPress comments and now using LiveFyre. I’m surprised too that despite the login requirement the comment count is high. I’ve also met even more interesting people using LiveFyre (meaning more than I’ve already met :).

    Thanks for your comments and adding your experience.

  39. @stephsammons hi Stephanie. As you already know I use LiveFyre here and love it. I think the choice to move to Facebook comments depends on your business and goals. So if your customers are on Facebook, and you want to increase the likelihood that they will see and engage with you, it could prove a very lucrative move. If they aren’t there though, I don’t see any added benefit.

    Perhaps someone else that reads this post can add some additional advice.

  40. I just moved to livefyre and so far I like it a lot. Was using disqus but it kept conflicting with another plugin. Also thinking about Facebook comments, any feedback on that? Stephanie

  41. I’ve used Disqus before and I really, really liked it. What I didn’t like was that it wouldn’t maintain its connection to my WordPress database, which meant comment counts on my page weren’t ever accurate, and they didn’t seem to be able to do anything about it.

    I’m using Livefyre now, which I like much better. In Livefyre’s case, there’s a lag between the time someone posts a comment and that count gets updated in the carousel on the front page, but the count is accurate further down the page in the main loop. And Livefyre is actually working on a fix for me. The delay is already improving. I’ve definitely seen more comments since using Livefyre, which really surprised me because of the login requirement. I’d recommend it for sure.

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