A Commenting System to Rule them All: Why Choosing the Right Comment System can Make or Break your Blog

pexels-photoThis is a guest contribution from writer Lauren Sirt.

Writers leave their mark on the world through their words.

Whether you’re a journalist, author, blogger, or anything else–your words have power. People read your work and start to think differently. They may begin to avidly follow your writing or oppose your statements altogether. But either way, the fact that they even have an opinion regarding your work is tremendous.

Essentially, your audience is looking for a similar opportunity. While they may not have time to invest in writing themselves, they too have experiences which can add to the conversation you initiate – and they want their input to be heard. That’s where comments come in.

Although we often take comments for granted as a feature that is generally present at the bottom of most articles and blog posts, considering what a powerful tool it is for UGC (User Generated Content), it’s important for online publishers, community managers and everyone else to invest in the right comment system to maximize its full potential.

So read on for the lowdown on these top-notch commenting systems, so you can make the best decision for your publication.

The Basics

Most popular CMS platforms have their own commenting systems. As a whole, the biggest benefit of these commenting systems are that there is no need to install them separately, they are simple to use, and cover all the bases when it comes to what users expect from comments.

If you plan on using one of these commenting systems, your blog comments will be covered in one simple step. But even if your needs are relatively basic, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of these native commenting systems so you can make your choice count.

Here are the most popular:

WordPress Comments

We can’t talk CMS without talking WordPress. With over 76.5 million people using WordPress, the CMS powers 25% all websites worldwide. So it makes sense to say that WordPress knows a thing or two about commenting systems.

If you have a WordPress site already, all you have to do is simply enable the comments feature and watch your comments spring into action. WordPress Comments allows you to adjust your moderation settings so you can ensure only comments you feel comfortable with appear on your site. In addition, you can also post regulations such as requiring commenters to fill out their name and email, further reducing the likelihood of pervasive spam.

For discussion purposes, WordPress Comments has a “nested comments” feature, which allows users to respond to each individual commenter, as opposed to simply posting a new comment in a thread. You can also choose to display comments based on most recent so the newest part of the discussion is shown first.

Blogger Comments

Another popular CMS for bloggers, Google’s Blogger offers their own comment system featuring simple solutions for bloggers to manage discussions on their site. Blogger Comment’s biggest advantage is the array of security features which enables moderators to reject comments and filter out the spam. Moderators can also prevent spam by requiring all commenters to fill out a specific code, ensuring bots are unable to leave their mark.

If you happen to get a spammy comment however, there’s no need to worry. You can still mark posted comments as spam in order to filter them out.

Beyond Native Comment Systems

Disqus

Disqus was created as a platform to cultivate online dialog on a variety of subjects such as sports, tech, entertainment, and more. Through browsing their website, users can follow any topic of interest, helping them to connect to others with similar passions.  

Online publishers are getting in on the action as well by transporting their comments onto the

Disqus platform. For example, The Atlantic has their own channel on Disqus’s site, providing an external means for users to discuss their opinions on various articles.

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One of the major benefits of Disqus is its strong moderation features. Because users have to sign in through social media or email accounts, it’s easier to filter out spam and prevent people from trolling. The moderation features enable publishers to have control over which comments actually appear on the site. You can prevent any unapproved comments from being posted, helping to keep your comments section clean.

In addition, because it is associated with an email account, users get notified via email when their comments get responses and likes. This encourages the conversation to continue, increasing engagement and overall retention.

Livefyre

Like Disqus, Livefyre has the goal of boosting user engagement through promoting conversation and delivering a better social experience. The two tools are alike in that they require users to sign up with their social media accounts. What sets this particular comment system apart from your run-of-the-mill discussion platforms is its ability for users to chat in real-time. As a result, conversations are natural and flowing, encouraging users to stay on for longer and truly interact with the content they read. In addition to the comments themselves, Livefyre also blends tweets and other social media content for a more robust discussion.

Numbers don’t lie. According to the company’s research, publishers using Livefyre’s commenting system saw 10 times more engagement post installation. In addition, clients such as Mashable generated nearly 40 times more comments after implementing Livefyre.

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Spot.IM

As we know commenting systems are great for UGC. But in order to attain all of the benefits of a flourishing online community, publishers have to think big. In this instance, it means going beyond comments and catering your site to the needs of the social user.

Spot.IM provides the complete package. Not only is it an active, real-time discussion platform, but it also utilizes social features such as notifications, newsfeeds, and even private messaging. Taking it a step further, their social profile system allows users to create a profile picture, cover photo, and and add personal interests as well as view each user’s previous comments. With all of these features combined, publishers are able to instantly turn their site into their very own social network.

That’s why leading online publishers such as EW make Spot.IM their comment system of choice. By using the tool, EW was able to cultivate their own mini social network which has increased user engagement and solidified their place as the fourth most visited newsite in the arts and entertainment category.

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Facebook Comments

Just as it sounds, Facebook Comments allows users to sign in on Facebook and comment through their account. The plugin is used by over 1.04 billion active daily users as of December 2014 due to its ability to merge with the popular social media giant in regards to both the appearance of comments as well as notifications. This means, when a user comments on a post, he or she will get a notification on their Facebook account when another user likes or responds to their original comment.  In addition, users can also easily share their comments to Facebook using this tool.

Publishers too can benefit. By using Facebook Comments, they are able to gather vital information on commenters such as where they live, occupation, age and more. This helps them gage who their active users are in order to gear content towards them.

Despite the many benefits, Facebook Comments  is only worthwhile when your audience is made up of active Facebook users who don’t mind their identities being tied to their comments. If your audience prefers other social media accounts such as Twitter, Linkedin or Instagram, this would not be an effective comments system for your blog.

So as you can see, choosing the right comment system is no easy feat. There are an enormous amount to choose from, many of which may seem to be extremely similar. But by using one that empowers your users and promotes community, your blog will stand out from the crowd and continue to thrive for years to come.

Lauren is an avid writer, passionate about the world of high-tech and innovation. She loves to keep up with trending topics and write all about the startup world.

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