If you’ve been a part of the blogosphere for a while or if you’ve had your website for a while, you probably noticed that comment sections on many sites are quite empty. People tend to engage and be more active on social media nowadays which is one reason why some sites even completely disabled comments. However, encouraging comments on your sites has a couple of benefits.
In this post, I’ll explain why you might want to leave comments on as well as point out the reasons why you should disable them. I’ll also share the best comment plugins for WordPress that will help you not only improve the default comments but also disable them completely, have an easier time managing comments, and making them more engaging for your visitors.
Comments are a great way to engage with your community. Your comment section can be a place to initiate conversations and get your visitor’s insight on a particular topic. They can also further establish your credibility.
Another reason why you should have comments enabled is the fact that you can use them to find more content ideas for your blog posts. Your website visitors may ask more questions about a particular topic and you can use turn around and use those questions to create more posts your audience is interested in.
As useful as comments are, there is a disadvantage to having them. For starters, you have to moderate comments to ensure spam comments don’t go through. Unfortunately, even the best anti-spam comments will occasionally miss a spam comment so reviewing comments is a must.
But, moderating comments can be time-consuming which is why many website owners choose to disable them. If you’re limited on time, you might want to consider following in their footsteps and disabling comments on your site.
Now that I’ve covered reasons for both having comments and disabling them on your website, let’s go over the best comment plugins for WordPress that make it easier to manage comments and make the comment section more engaging.
Let’s start this list off with one of the most popular anti-spam comments for WordPress, Akismet Anti-Spam plugin. Unfortunately, if you have a blog, you’re bound to attract spam comments as well. However, Akismet Anti-Spam catches those spam comments and puts them in a special folder for you to review or immediately deletes them from your site.
The plugin is free for personal use which means if you’re not making money from your website, you don’t have to pay for the plugin. However, if you run an online store or monetize your site in any other way, you will have to purchase a commercial license.
Pricing starts at $5/month per site for business and commercial sites and $50/month per site for large networks and multisite installations.
WordPress comes with a native comment system but it leaves a lot to be desired. For starters, it doesn’t encourage users to start a conversation. As such, you might want to look into an alternative comment system. A great alternative is Disqus Comments.
Disqus Comments was designed to to increase reader engagement, grow your audience and to help you get more traffic. For starters, visitors can leave comments on your site by using their existing login such as Facebook, WordPress or Twitter.
The plugin also includes fun discussion interactions such as voting, photo and video upload, rich media embed, spoiler tags, mentions, and more. Once visitors start commenting on your site, they will get instant activity notifications which encourages them to come back and reply.
In addition to that, Disqus makes it easy to show related content below your posts to keep visitors on your site longer. Disqus is free to download and use but if you want more advanced moderation features, you can upgrade to one of their paid plans that start at $10/month.
If you’re active on one of the largest social media sites and want to improve the comments on your site, consider the WP Facebook Comments plugin. This plugin replaces the native WordPress comment system with Facebook comments. This means your visitors can leave comments with Facebook profile instead of having to create an account with WordPress.
They can also share their comment activity with their friends. This can lead to more traffic to your site, not to mention you are making it easier for your audience to engage with your content by using a platform they are already familiar with.
WP Facebook Comments also has a pro version which offers more advanced features such as the ability to moderate comments with your Facebook profile, shortcodes that allow you to embed Facebook Comments on any page or post, and more. Pro version is available for $20.
If you want to encourage visitors to keep coming back to your site, try the Subscribe to Comments Reloaded plugin. This plugin adds a small checkbox to the comments area that allows your visitors and readers to subscribe to comments and get notified when new replies are added. They can subscribe to as many posts as they want and easily manage their subscription.
On top of that, the plugin comes with the ability to enable double-optin so visitors can confirm they want to subscribe before their subscription is activated. They can also unsubscribe using a one-click unsubscribe link. This plugin is free to download and use.
When it comes to your website, speed matters. A great way to speed up your site is to use the lazy loading technique on media elements and comments. However, doing it manually can be quite tricky if you’re not code-savvy.
This plugin makes it easy to lazy load your comments which means the comment section will appear only when the readers scrolls down to that part of the page.
The plugin works straight out of the box so all you have to do is install it and activate it. LazyLoad for Comments plugin is free.
Lastly, if you want to disable comments completely on your site, the Disable Comments plugin comes in handy. The plugin allows you to globally disable comments on posts and pages so they can’t be overridden on a per page or post basis as it would happen if you use the native comment disabling feature in WordPress.
The plugin also removes all comment-related fields from edit and quick-edit screens and you can even use it on multisite installations to disable comments on the entire network.
If you decide to use this plugin, it is recommended to delete existing comments first, otherwise, they will still be visible on your site and will confuse your readers.
The Disable Comments plugin is free to use.
Comments are a great way to engage with your readers but they can also be one of the more time-consuming aspects of managing a website. The plugins on this list will help you manage your comments more efficiently and encourage your readers to engage with your content.
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