October 24, 2014

Advantages and Disadvantages of Comment Plugins

comment plugins

If you run a small business blog, one of the most important areas is the comment section. Interaction and audience participation plays a big role in the success of your blog, with direct comments as well as social media sharing.

But should you switch from your blog’s native comment platform to a third-party plugin system?

Popular third-party comment hosting services like Disqus and Livefyre come with a lot of additional features. They vary from platform to platform, but some of the most common features include:

  • Real-time commenting systems that show both posted and updated comments in real time.
  • Threaded comments, which groups discussions within the comment area into nested threads, so it’s easier to follow different conversations.
  • Notification tools for both commenters and administrators.
  • Social media integration that lets users sign in through various social network profiles.
  • Like systems similar to Facebook that lets readers like comments.
  • Smartphone compatibility for most platforms.
  • Anti-spam technology with varying degrees of effectiveness.

But are these comment systems better for your blog or more trouble than they’re worth? Let’s explore.

Pros and Cons of Comment Plugins

Advantages of Comment Plugins

There are quite a few pros for both readers and bloggers when it comes to third-party comments. Readers can choose whether or not they’d like to receive notifications when a post they’re participating on gets new comments, or replies to their comments. They can also reply to comment notifications right from their inbox.

Logging into commenting systems like Disqus and Livefyre is often a simple matter of clicking on whatever social media network the reader is currently logged into. Typically, readers also have the option of signing in as a guest by entering a name, email and/or URL. Multiple login options can be an advantage for these systems.

For bloggers and administrators, the pros are often more options for displaying and managing comments. The big third-party systems allow you to display links when a post is shared on social media, usually in an area beneath the comments. You’ll also have more choices on what order to display comments. For example, Livefyre can sort by oldest or newest, and Disqus lets you sort by newest/oldest, most popular or best rated comments.

For behind-the-scenes control, third party comment systems let you blacklist spam or unwanted users and commenters. In some cases, you can blacklist specific words you want left out of the comments (such as profanity for a family-focused blog). You can also stop conversations that take a wrong turn by closing threads for comments, which still leaves the previous comments displayed.

Disadvantages of Comment Plugins

The major cons of third-party comment systems have to do with familiarity, and changing platforms. One problem that surfaces is that frequent blog readers prefer to use their Google, WordPress or Blogger profiles to comment, because they’re automatically signed in. You may lose some commenters this way.

Another common issue is importing or exporting comments with varying platforms. For example, adding the Disqus comment system to a Blogger-based site requires you to export your blog template and upload it through Disqus, so the template can be modified with the right code.

Other problems include shifting to WordPress, which can involve transferring all of your comments between one or more platforms before the third-party system can be used. Changing your domain name can also result in some complicated comment migration, and sometimes loss of comments.

There’s also an issue with spam comments, in that while automated spam is usually filtered out well, third-party comment systems typically have no way to catch spam comments with links that are entered manually.

When considering the advantages against the disadvantages, for the most part, third-party comment systems have a lot to offer for small business bloggers.

Are you using a comment plugin system?

Comment Concept Photo via Shutterstock

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Megan Totka


Megan Totka Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for Chamber of Commerce. Chamber specializes in helping SMB's grow their business on the Web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources and provides advice through her column on the Chamber blog.

21 Reactions

  1. The issues that arise in comments cannot be removed.
    Comments are various people interacting with the author and each other to provide their own views.
    Different people have different personalities, different perspectives and hence different views.
    There will be clash of opinions but that is the factor which can either make or break and article.
    The rest I believe are just ease of use features.

  2. One of the issues I find in these plugins is the need to sign up just to be able to comment. Because of this, most people just ditch the idea of posting some comments. Also, it does not include a link which further discourages people from commenting.

    • I think perhaps there should be the ability to leave a straightforward comment without logging on, then if that person makes, say more than 3 or 4 comments, they should be prompted to register. At 3 or 4 comments, it shows the person has an interest in the blog.

      • Thanks for the input and ideas, ladies! There is definitely a fine line between making commenting a user-friendly process and protecting the site from spambots.

      • A fine line I can imagine is often tested (and tightened, as a result).

        I have a blog, but I’m not likely to install a comment plug-in, maybe because I’m used to making comments, so can see things from the other side (as a reader).

        I’m happy to do what I can to manage bad bots on my blog, but also leave users to make comments as easily as possible (in my case, name, site, comment).

        I moderate comments, I have Akismet and I’m looking into the Bad Behavior WP plug-in for bad bots.

  3. For bloggers and administrators, the pros are often more options for displaying and managing comments. This is the flexibility of using comment plugins.

  4. I prefer the simple comment plugins which just give readers the option to add their name , email and url. I really hate it when I have to register somewhere to let a comment, that kind of comment plugins just discourage readers to leave comments…

    • Yup. Having to sign in to comment is a big turn-off for me. I only make the exception if it’s a blog where I can foresee myself making more than a few comments. Rarely do I do so though.

      I guess, in a way, it could possibly be argued that the ones that register are the ones that’ll stay committed. Perhaps. Or not.

      • I agree – most users will be hesitant to make the commitment of creating an account if they’re only leaving a one-off comment.

  5. Hi Megan,

    I’ve been using Disqus for years, and have been very happy.

    The only thing I worry about is website speed…even though the folks at Disqus claim that their plugin doesn’t affect speed, it does seem like a drain.

    Franchise King®

    • Joel,

      Ditto – I’m gonna say that Disqus is better than, say, WordPress’ own commenting system. Much less spam, and with Disqus, you can get included in their vast network automatically: Displaying others (and sponsors’) post links below the comments, which mean that your posts are also on others’ blogs.

      • Thanks for the input on the potential drawbacks and benefits of Disqus, guys! It’s always good to hear about individual user experiences.

  6. As long as I can moderate the comments and filter out all of the spam, I am good with using the comment plug ins that are available to me. :)

  7. The easier it is for me to make a comment, the better. I prefer that it’s as straightforward as possible. If I have to log-in to do so, I’m often less likely to.

    • Agreed, Ebele! :)

      • I can see it from the blog owner’s point of view as to why he/she would set things up that way (re: logging in to comment). However, I guess it’s down to them to decide if it’s worth the good comments their posts could potentially miss out on.

  8. CommentLuv used to be good, then I moved to Disqus, I’d love to a new plugin to take the blogging world by force.

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