When I met J L Gatewood, he mentioned something about consolidating blog comments with social media comments and drawing them back to the blog post. That did sound like an interesting idea to me and after reading his post about federating comments I have decided to look into this myself.
Wordbooker and Twitoaster seem to be nice, but only focused on a particular platform, while I was looking for something more universal. Ideally a solution where I don’t need to rely on several different plugins (and get in trouble when the plugin author decides to discontinue the updates), also possibly something more platform independent which would still work if I decided to move my blog from WordPress in the future. Hmm perhaps I want too much?
I had a quick look at Backtype, which seems great and supports Twitter, Reddit, Digg … but it does not seem to support some other major platforms and currently is only at the version 0.2.5.
Echo (previously JS Kit) is a particularly appealing one, well supported and established. Definitely worth exploring.
In the end I have however decided for Disqus, as it’s one of the biggest and most popular commenting “services” and also platform independent. It works on WordPress, MovableType, Tumblr, Drupal, anything really… Also it allows importing old WP comments, and apparently pulls out comments from social media back to your blog post.
Well that sounds bloody good. I have decided to give it a go and did install it in my WP blog.
How Does Disqus Work?
There are available several plugins for different blogging platforms, which make the integration within your site easy. One has to create also a Disqus account and register the website. The Disqus commenting form then replaces the default form giving options to comment using Facebook, Twitter, Open ID etc. The comment then can be displayed on your Facebook Wall, Twitter and other services as well as the blog itself. There are some great options giving lots of control over the commenting settings, including email notifications, blacklisting items, restricting certain words etc. What I was most curious about is the ability to consolidate comments from social media drawing them back to the site. This seems to be as an option in the settings:
However so far I wasn’t able to draw any past comments about my posts on social media. I will be testing this feature and post a short report afterwards.
Disqus and SEO?
OK, here comes the update:
After using Disqus for 2 months some additional thoughts:
- Drawing comments from Facebook and displaying these on the website still not supported.
- Disqus is absolutely priceless when it comes to managing comments across a network of blogs.
- Disqus doesn’t have the option (as opposed to the default WP comments) of letting people comment without entering their email, I had cases when I had to disable Disqus when such option was required. The great thing is, the comments still work as per normal with the default WP setup even after Disqus has been uninstalled.
- Sexy and easy to use new interface.
- Quick to setup and people love the slick design of the comment “area”.
- Has some great features like restricted words, blacklist items, whitelist items…
- As opposed to the default comments, it gives your site more of a “community” feel, as you can read info about each comment author and his/her activities.
- It’s not everything I would like it to be yet, but it’s popularity is growing rapidly ( http://www.google.com/trends?q=disqus ) which should give it more opportunities for improvements and new additions in the near future.