In an earlier article on the importance of comments for a blog I summarized studies about blog comments, concluding that blog comments lead to more traffic, better search engine optimization (SEO), apart from being personally rewarding to the blog writer. I worked on many optimizations for this blog to make commenting more attractive. Recently I made a major change on this blog and changed the commenting system. My blog continues to be a "do-follow" blog and I am positive this blog will benefit from the change both in terms of SEO and comment quality. In this post I explain my motivation and reasoning behind this change.
Image credit: My Comment Line, Call me! By greggoconnell.
The best comment systems for blogs in my opinion are echo, disqus, coComment, and Intense Debate. There are many other systems, for example on earlier occasion I showed integration of google wave as a discussion forum, which was also quite feature-rich, however, I think these four are the best for bloggers. They provide integration with the most popular blogging platforms, comfortable editing, moderation and editing of comments, integration with social networks, threaded comments, social reactions (trackbacks), and many other features. All except Echo offer a basic subscription free of charge with an offer of additional paid features as a business model.
In contrast, the blogger commenting system is uncomfortable and clunky, and misses out on many features that other comment systems have, for example, I've written before about a workaround to correct the blogger comment count and if you really want to export all your blog posts as a single file, edit this file, and re-import, is possible to change comments. I think the commenting system in blogger is one of the biggest drawbacks of the blogger platform and this was one of my motivations to review alternative blogging platforms.
I am concerned a lot about effectiveness in social networking and I've written before about how to add social networking features for blogs and how to install and customize a social networking toolbar. I am therefore very glad that that another advantage of third-party commenting tools is that they integrate with social networks. Readers of this blog will now be able to log in using facebook, twitter, yahoo, disqus, and openid. Facebook, Twitter are two of the most used social networking sites. As of December 2010, Facebook holds a share of 44 percent among services supported by addthis and twitter holds around 9 percent, and login via these two makes it much faster for people to leave a comment. In fact, according to data by gigya, when given a choice of different ID providers for login, 46 percent of users tend to choose facebook, 17 percent google, 14 percent twitter, 13 percent yahoo, 7 percent myspace. With the new login options I think I can offer a better match to what people want. Furthermore comments can now be syndicated over twitter if the commentator wants to.
I am positively surprised at the speed of the loading of comments. People from disqus did a great job in optimizing page loading. I also got rid of some other code, so I am not so much worried about the speed.
Enjoy. Please test out my new comment system below, tell me of your experiences, and give me some feedback.