I’ve not been happy with the default comment system for some time and have therefore been looking at alternatives. Specifically, I’ve been looking at a more convenient way for people to leave comments on WP Mods so that visitors are more inclined to start and join in discussions.
I’ve tried out external commenting systems like Disqus and Intense Debate. Both of these systems have great social media integration with Facebook and Twitter and boast many great features such as community profiles, great moderation tools and comment voting.
The social media integration isn’t perfect though. I don’t like the fact that the user has to grant access to an application in order to leave a comment. It’s a barrier; something that will discourage many people from leaving a comment.
I was also looking at complementing the existing WordPress comment system by letting people sign in with Facebook or Twitter; but users also had to grant access to your Facebook application or Twitter account in order to do so.
Facebook comments is something that I did strongly consider a few months ago as I saw more and more blogs and websites giving users the option leaving a comment via a Facebook comment box. The visitor does not need to grant access to any application; they can post directly if they are logged in to Facebook. This encourages more comments.
I still wasn’t happy with this setup though as the conversation was fragmented. Most of the websites who were using Facebook comments and the default WordPress comment system had two conversations going on in each article. It’s understandable when you place one type of comments at the top and another set of comments underneath.
Replacing The WordPress Comment System With Facebook Comments
Recently I’ve come across a few websites that are using Facebook exclusively as their comment system. At first I thought that this was perhaps a bold move however the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
That’s why I have decided to use Facebook comments on WP Mods exclusively. I considered using the WordPress comment system as well for a short period of time to see which got the most comments, but I didn’t it would change my opinion.
- The vast majority of people who use the internet have a Facebook account. Most Facebook users stay logged into Facebook when they browse the web.
- Unlike other commenting options, users don’t have to grant access to an application in order to leave a comment.
- You can also let visitors leave a comment using their Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail account. More applications may be added later.
- Less and less people are commenting on blogs. Perhaps people can’t be bothered entering their name, email address and website.
- Using Facebook is more personable. I’m sick of people leaving comments using their website name instead of their real name. I prefer to reply to someone by their name rather than some 5 word key phrase (don’t they understand that the nofollow tag means they get no PR juice so it’s a pointless venture anyway!).
- I’ve found that the the majority of comments which are left are spam (trackbacks were removed here a long time ago because of the same reason). Akismet isn’t full proof and the plugins I’ve used to combat spam are either ineffective or too effective i.e. blocking valid comments.
One of the main points I had to consider was outsourcing all comments from my site to an external service. This is something that put me off a lot of commenting solutions in the past. I believe however that using Facebook as your commenting system encourages more interaction with your readers and increases the chance of them joining your Facebook fan page. If you gain more Facebook fans, you will encourage more people to visit your website on a regular basis, so I don’t think you’re losing out.
I’m also aware that some people would prefer to keep business and pleasure separate therefore they could be discouraged from leaving a comment using their personal Facebook profile. They should of course have their profile protected though if they don’t want their name attached to a comment they could create an account with an alias specifically for commenting.
It’s actually very easy to moderate your Facebook comments too so you don’t have to be too concerned about people leaving racist comments or abuse on your website (I suspect there is less chance of this occurring when people are using their real name).
If moderation is a concern, you will be pleased to know that you can review every comment before it is posted. You can also set additional moderators to help you with this task blacklist swear words.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this change. Do you still like the default WordPress comment system or do you find leaving a comment using Facebook is more convenient?b Please feel free to share with us the comment system you use on your own websites.
Also, please stay tuned to WP Mods over the next few days as I will be showing you how you can add Facebook to your own site.