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.
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 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.
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 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…