Allowing your readers to express their opinion through comments is a great way to boost engagement, and with different website builders using different systems to handle comments (like in our Wix vs Squarespace comparison), we thought it would be good to see what options WordPress can offer outside of the default commenting system. By default, WordPress comes with an extensible, free and easy to use system. It allows you to define filter preferences, control what info your readers need to enter in order to comment and moderate newly posted comments.
The only downside is that the WordPress comment system hasn’t been updated in a long time. It lacks social media integration and sometimes spam passes through Akismet – the plugin that handles spam filtration. Luckily, there are a number of 3rd party comment systems that overcome these issues. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones, and see how you can add them to your WordPress blog.
Disqus is one of the most popular comment systems out there, offering social media integration, interactive content (video and images) and strong spam protection. It revolves around a large discussion community that supports 40 languages worldwide. More than 3.5 million websites are using Disqus!
Here why bloggers like Disqus:
- Community features. Disqus provides real-time discussions and displays the most recent comments at the top. It sends activity notifications to keep readers engaged and allows users to follow each other. Also, the comments box is fully responsive and it works great on mobile devices.
- Great social media integration. This comment system provides great social media integration by allowing users to share comments and reactions on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc. People can also use social mentions to tag friends that might find the content useful or interesting.
- Powerful moderation tools. Disqus has a powerful dashboard form where you can control every aspect of your comment system. You can approve or remove comments directly from the dashboard or through your email. Disqus makes it easy to manage blacklists, spam settings and word filters.
- Reader engagement. Disqus helps you to keep your readers engaged by allowing upvotes, downvotes and recommended threads. One cool feature is the discovery box, which brings traffic by suggesting articles and comments within your website. On top of that, the system enables users to subscribe to threads and get email notifications when someone comments or replies to a discussion.
- Syncing. Disqus syncs with the WordPress database. This means you can always go back to using the default WordPress system without losing your comments.
- Flexible login and registering options. Disqus makes it easy and straightforward to log in or create a new account. You can use your email, Facebook, Twitter or Google account.
Although it looks perfect on the eye, Disqus has some disadvantages that mainly relate to user experience and performance. To be able to post a comment, you have to register on Disqus – which sounds a bit too much for most of the people. Plus, there have been complaints about bad performance and slow load times of the comment section.
How to Add to WordPress
If you’ve decided to give Disqus a try, the installation process is pretty straightforward. Follow these simple steps:
- Go to Disqus official website and sign up.
- Navigate to “Add Disqus to your site” and fill in the info about your website. Once done, click on the Finish registration button.
- Choose WordPress as your platform, and check out the instructions on how to set up Disqus.
- Download the Disqus Comment System plugin, install it and activate it.
- From your admin panel, go to Comments -> Disqus, and log in with the Disqus account that you created from Step 1.
- Once logged in, select the website that you registered from Step 2 and click on the Next button.
- That’s it. Disqus has been successfully activated. The next time you open a post, it will show Disqus instead of WordPress comments.
Facebook comments is another great alternative to the default WordPress comment system. This system features great social media integration and a bullet-proof spam system. It has a very familiar user interface, and many popular websites like BuzzFeed and TechCrunch use it for their blogs. Let’s find out what out the pros and cons of using Facebook comments.
Facebook Comments: Pros
Here are a few things that make this comment system popular among bloggers:
- Increased outreach on Facebook. If you install this system on your blog, it will increase your presence on Facebook. When your readers post comments, they can choose to share the comments with their friends on the network – which can bring additional traffic to your blog. This type of share is more powerful than a “like”, because it involves a personal opinion that can motivate the reader’s friends to read the article and join the discussion.
- True identity. Facebook Comments completely removes the anonymity factor and naturally lowers the number of spam posts. Why? Because users are tied to their Facebook profile when they comment on your blog. And, because creating fake accounts just to post spammy content seems like a lot of work.
- Ease of use. Chances are that your readers will actively use Facebook. This means that it will be easier for them to comment on the article. It is more likely for a person to log into Facebook than to register on Disqus. This can increase the number of comments you receive.
Facebook Comments: Cons
One of the biggest disadvantages of using Facebook comments is that you can’t go back and switch to another comment system. You can, but you’ll lose your old comments. Unlike Disqus, Facebook comments are not synced to your WordPress database. Other than that, there are some people who don’t use Facebook, or who don’t want to reveal their real identity – even though they’re not posting anything against the rules.
How to Add to WordPress
So, is this comment system the best fit for your audience? If so, here is a set of steps you can follow to add Facebook Comments to your WordPress blog:
- First, install the Facebook Comments plugin and activate it.
- If you don’t have already, create a Facebook App to get an Application ID number. Fill in the Display Name, Namespace and Category, and click on the Create App ID.
- Facebook will create a new app and redirect you to the App dashboard.
- From the left menu, go to Settings, and then click on the +Add Platform.
- Select Website as your platform, and enter your URL. Click on Save Changes.
- Go back to WordPress. Navigate to Settings -> Facebook Comments and insert your App ID to configure the plugin. Hit Save Changes.
- That’s it! Login to your Facebook account to start receiving notifications for new comments.
- To moderate your comments, go to the plugin’s settings to find the link for Facebook’s Comment Moderation Tool.
LiveFyre is another real-time commenting system that’s been growing popularity. It is very similar to Disqus in features. Entrepreneur.com is one of the most popular websites that uses this system for managing its comments. Let’s find out what are the pros and cons of this comment system.
- Social media integration. Once you login to your LiveFyre account, the SocialSync feature can display Twitter and Facebook content to your article within the comments section. The system allows users to mention friends and followers, and add media in comments.
- Real-time discussions. LiveFyre provides a chat-like commenting experience that boosts engagement. The system features gravatar support, live listener count, comment threading and mobile UI. One other great features is the latest commented post link that shows bellow the comment, which can generate additional traffic to your website.
- Flexible options for logging in. Users can log in using Facebook, Google, LinkedIn or with their LiveFyre account.
- Syncing, import and export. The system syncs with your WordPress database, and it allows import/export of comments. LiveFyre makes it very easy to migrate your comments from the default WordPress comment system. If you ever want to switch back, rest assured that your comments won’t be lost.
- Great tools for moderating comments. The admin dashboard provides great tools for real-time comments management and monitoring interactions on your website. Using filters, you are able to always keep your discussions spam-free.
Although LiveFyre is free, you get the most basic version of the system. To get extended functionality, you have to purchase some of their plans. And, there’s the extra-step registration process – the disadvantage that applies to all 3rd party comment systems.
How to Add to WordPress
Adding LiveFyre to WordPress is very simple. In fact, we don’t even need steps for this process. All you have to do is install the official LiveFyre plugin for WordPress and activate it. Once you do that, the plugin will ask you to create an account. Follow the steps, and there you have it! Your new comment system is installed and configured within minutes.