COMMENTING SYSTEMS – WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
For as long as I can remember bloggers have been debating commenting systems. Which one is the best? Which one is the easiest? Which one does the most cool stuff? It’s a minefield out there. And probably the reason why this is so hotly debated is because out of all of the things that bloggers care about the most, comments would rank pretty highly. Sure, some people switch off comments. But if you switch off comments, is it really a blog? The answer is probably not, unless you are Seth Godin in which case you get to do as you please. But for most of us, comments are the life-blood of a blog. They let us know when something has struck a chord or elicited a passionate response.
But which one do you pick? Well, that depends.
You are stuck with the WordPress commenting system which is pretty fantastic, with the added bonus of people being able to sign in with their social media accounts.
WORDPRESS SELF HOSTED
The pitfalls of the blogger commenting system means that the vast majority of people on Blogspot will use a third party system. The pros are that you can login with google or you can comment using a name/url or even anonymously. But the cons are it often takes more than one step to login and as there is no option for spam control, many people are forced to use captcha as a deterrent which unfortunately also deters people from commenting.
You get the best out of native WordPress comments if you use a couple of plugins. One is Akismet which will moderate your spam for you and the other one is a reply comment notification so that people whose comments are replied to will receive an email letting them know. This is inbuilt in Disqus, Intense Debate and LiveFyre.
The pros of WordPress comments is that they are hosted on your own site, it doesn’t require any script so you aren’t going to have any additional load time and it’s easy for the non-tech savvy to navigate. It also allows for people to leave their website address so people can click through to it.
Disqus is probably the most widely used third party comment system and it does allow for your comments to be backed up on your WordPress self-hosted blog so you don’t lose them. You can comment as a guest or login with a variety of accounts. You do lose the ability to leave a name and url which many commenters like. You can also post photos as part of your comment which is a really cool feature. In the past Disqus has had issues with mobile devices but they have done a lot of work to improve this. However, occasionally Disqus will stop the website from loading and this can be frustrating for users.
Pros are that comments stay on your own blog rather than being third-party hosted and you can comment as a guest or use a whole range of other profiles to login. Cons are load time of websites and that it can be a bit buggy.
Pros are it is realtime commenting, it promotes users to reply to one another and like one another’s comments. But the cons are that it doesn’t allow for guests to comment. You can either login with a LiveFyre account or with a social media profile but this often means that the ability for people to leave a link to their blog or website is taken away.
SO WHAT DOES ALL OF THAT MEAN?
The commenting system you choose will depend on your own preferences as well as your type of audience. My preference is for WordPress commenting because I think it makes it as user-friendly as possible for people to comment. But, every now and then I look at how well Disqus and LiveFyre are doing at promoting conversations among their readers and I get a twinge of interest in jumping ship. The best thing you can do in deciding on a commenting system is to create a profile of your reader and see which one they would like the best. It’s about them, not you.