In this article, we will see how we can improve the comment system that WordPress includes by default, with a selection of the best plugins to manage comments that make it easier for users to leave their comments and for you to receive more engagement.
Why do we need a comment plugin in WordPress?
A comments section adds real value to our blog posts, and WordPress facilitates these comments with a default system.
However, its functionality is quite limited, so you may want to use a comment plugin to improve or replace it to get even more user participation.
We should not underestimate the importance of comments, not only for users but for ourselves.
Let’s face it; it’s discouraging when we put effort into creating quality content, but we don’t get the recognition we expect. Therefore, comments are a kind of confirmation of the quality of the content, expressed directly by users.
Comments can also improve the content, as users often leave comments that delve into a particular aspect or provide another point of view.
Many readers often find even the comments section as useful as the content itself, for all the additional information it provides and the ability to exchange opinions with other users, not just the website owner.
However, for a blog to receive a lot of comments, it’s not only necessary to publish quality content, but it’s also essential to offer a comment system that facilitates this interaction. It offers more features than WordPress’s default comments.
Next, we will review the advantages and disadvantages of the default comment system in WordPress.
Advantages of comments in WordPress
- SEO positioning. I put it first because the impact that comments can have on positioning is rarely taken into account. When users make useful comments, they expand the information in the article, using keywords related to the main topic, which reinforces the positioning of our post for those keywords.
- New content. With their feedback, users can refer to the content to either expand something or ask a specific question.
- Everything can help us choose a topic for a new post to delve into points that have generated more interest or deal with other related topics that users have asked the most about.
- Community feeling. Through the comments, users create a link not only with the website but between them. Regular users of a site, who leave comments with a specific frequency, end up interacting with each other, through the comment threads, discussing the subject of the post.
- This feeling of community increases the user’s loyalty, who will tend to visit us more times.
- Post evaluation. A post with few comments usually means that this topic, or how it has been raised, is not in the interest of users and that we should not repeat too much. On the other hand, a post with many comments means that it’s a topic that has much interested users or that it has been exposed in a very attractive way. This allows us to determine if certain formats are more suitable for our audience than others.
Disadvantages of comments in WordPress
- Comments moderation. Perhaps the part that for many bloggers can be negative: spend time reading and answering comments. It’s unnecessary to answer all of them, but we must maintain a reasonably active attitude in this regard. There is nothing more demotivating for a user than leaving a comment with a particular question or doubt but that the blogger doesn’t read or answer.
Having a comment system implies a commitment on our part: interacting with users.
- Link “search engines.” Many users leave comments that contribute nothing to a post, only to leave their name and a link to their website in a vain attempt to get some benefit in their positioning.
The blogger can moderate them, of course, but at the cost of spending valuable time.
- Spam comments. These comments add absolutely nothing to the post, which has nothing to do with its content or explicit commercial nature. They are usually generated automatically by bots and are relatively easy to distinguish (a plugin like Akismet can help us control them).
The comment system in WordPress
The most significant advantage of the WordPress comment system is the ease of use. To leave a comment, visitors only need to leave their name and email address and, optionally, the URL of their website. In this way, users will be more likely to leave a comment.
However, there are quite a few drawbacks to using this system.
For example, users who comment are not notified of responses, user comments cannot be voted, and cannot be shared on social media. The spam filter is also not very effective.
Despite these limitations, it may be enough for small blogs, so before we see what the best plugins to manage comments in WordPress are, let’s see what the WordPress comment system is like and how we can use it.
The commenting system is activated in WordPress through the option “Allows comments to be published in new articles,” within the Settings-> Comments menu in the control panel:
Once activated, we can configure various aspects, such as:
- Whether or not the user is required to register to leave a comment and leave their name and email (this measure usually limits spam a little).
- Receive email notifications when someone leaves a comment on our posts.
- The possibility that the posts of the known users are published automatically, without the need for us to moderate them.
We can’t do much more with the WordPress comment system, but you should ask yourself if it’s good enough for your blog.
The six best plugins to manage comments in WordPress
Here you have a selection of the six best, with a list of their most outstanding characteristics, so you can decide which one best suits your website.
It has a very friendly and easy to use design, with advantageous display options that make it more pleasant for users.
Features include nested comments, social login, comment response notifications, or including images and videos in comments. Its spam control is also very useful.
Users can also comment through their Disqus account and the blog, which increases the feeling of community and collaboration, since Disqus users can follow other users and see their comment history, including those who have done on other blogs.
This makes it a great way for like-minded users to come across new resources relevant to them.
From the blogger’s perspective, you can moderate comments from the website itself, the Disqus dashboard, and even your email inbox, directly from the comment notifications, without having to log in and identify yourself.
However, all of these benefits come at a cost: by default, it requires visitors to log in before commenting. Although there are many options for quick logins (for example, with Twitter, Facebook, or Disqus itself), this additional step may inconvenience some users who choose not to comment.
Although it is a free plugin, Disqus monetizes it by selling user data, which can also be inconvenient for many users and desist from leaving their comments.
JetPack surely has the most extensive functionality of all WordPress plugins, with a suite of modules with all kinds of features and functionalities, which includes Jetpack’s comments module: JetPack Comments.
Unlike most comment plugins, Jetpack Comments is not a comment system per se, but an update to the WordPress comment system.
As a result, Jetpack addresses several of WordPress’s most apparent shortcomings while retaining its strengths, making it one of the most widely used plugins.
For example, users should only leave their name and email address and optional their website to comment, streamlining the commenting process we had with WordPress.
However, Jetpack also offers the ability to log in to social accounts, such as WordPress.com, Twitter, or Facebook, to access a single click with the same account.
Users can choose whether or not to receive email notifications of any follow-up comments, allowing the comment to evolve into something more meaningful, as part of a conversation between users, further enriching the post and their comments.
It’s effortless to install: it only requires synchronizing it with a WordPress.com account and then activating the Jetpack Comments module. By integrating with WordPress, you don’t have complicated configuration options.
However, Jetpack’s main drawback is that it’s a suite of modules, more than 20, which means that if we are only going to use the comments module, we will include a lot of unnecessary code. Therefore, it is the right choice if we are already using some of its modules for other functions.
ReplyBox is an independent comment system straightforward to configure with WordPress thanks to its integration plugin.
Unlike Disqus, ReplyBox doesn’t monetize user data, which means you don’t have to track users, making it more attractive for users to use who are especially careful about their privacy.
This is not the only advantage over Disqus. According to the plugin developer, it has a much lower impact on page load speed than Disqus.
For spam filtering, use the Akismet plugin, but it also reduces spam by requiring users to sign in to a ReplyBox account or log in with Google to leave a comment.
Additional options users have are the ability to edit their comments after sending them, subscribe to new comments in WordPress, use markup language when writing comments, highlight snippets of text, and receive email notifications of responses to their comments.
ReplyBox is free for up to 10,000 monthly page views. It offers payment plans for a more significant number of visits, starting at $ 10 per month.
It has all the standard features that we expect from such a plugin: an intuitive user interface, nested comments, and various methods to sort comments (newest, oldest, and most voted).
A highlight of this plugin is its speed. The plugin uses the lazy loading technique, so the comments section only loads when necessary; that is when the user reaches the end of the page, where comments are usually placed.
wpDiscuz is compatible with the main plugins against spam, such as Akismet, and allows users to obtain the profiles of plugin users such as BuddyPress and logging in through social media accounts. However, it also allows for the possibility of anonymous comments.
Along with the Postmatic plugin, wpDiscuz allows users to reply to comments from their email inbox by sending an email, which helps encourage conversations between users and thus have a more active comments section.
CommentLuv is an update to the basic functionality of the WordPress built-in comment system; that is, it doesn’t work independently but instead expands its functions and configuration options.
The developers of this plugin start from a premise: users must be given an incentive to comment. Thus, when users enter their website address in the comments section, CommentLuv automatically adds a link to the latest blog post.
The plugin offers an additional motivation for registered users: choosing which publication they want to link to.
Since many bloggers comment only to get an external link, this measure can make the comment section of our blog much more active. This will also make many users go the extra mile to get their comments to attract clicks to their respective blogs.
However, this incentive is also a double-edged sword. We will be able to have a comment section with a lot of activity, but with the risk that most of them are self-congratulating.
Therefore, we will have to put a little more effort into moderation to avoid this excess behavior and encourage us to leave relevant comments.
All the plugins that we have seen previously are free or have an open plan. To cover all the possibilities, we will now see a paid plugin: Thrive Comments.
Thrive Comments adds an option for visitors to vote for and against other users’ comments, as can be done in most forums.
Depending on the votes in favor, you can choose to show the best comments in the first position, although you can also manually select which one to show.
To encourage users to leave their comments, you can assign badges, widely used in gamification, to identify and recognize users more involved. Special. Another measure that encourages interaction between users is the possibility of interweaving responses between them.
Thrive Comments is specially designed to make it as easy as possible for users to leave their comments, with measures such as:
- Include a ‘Leave Comment’ button at the top and bottom of the comments section, so you don’t have to search for the form at the end of the entire list of comments.
- Log in through social networks.
- Subscribe to comments to receive email notifications of responses.
- Respond to other users’ responses via email.
Thrive Comments offers a unique feature compared to other plugins: the ability to generate conversions by interacting with users after leaving a comment. Therefore, it allows us to:
- Show you a personalized message.
- Redirect them to another page.
- Ask them to share on social networks.
- Give you personalized attention according to your activity level.
As it is a substitute for the WordPress comment system, all comments are stored in the WordPress database itself, respecting its structure.
If we decided to stop using Thrive Comments, comments would still be available with the default WordPress comment system, although without the plugin functionality.
For bloggers with little WordPress experience and who don’t want any complications with comments or multiple configuration options, the WordPress comment system works perfectly.
The next step would be to extend the default WordPress system functionalities with plugins like Jetpack, wpDiscuz or CommentLuv, which maintain the same operation, but with more options to edit and manage comments, without having to use an external hosting service.
For even more advanced functions, which include an interaction between users and different blogs, comments can be hosted on an external platform like in the case of Disqus or ReplyBox.
There is no “perfect” choice. Each blog has its own needs, and each blogger its priorities.