Though the decision to enable comments on your WordPress website is often met with some harsh criticism, the truth is comments can have a positive impact on your blog. And honestly, there a really satisfying feeling that comes from your readers leaving comments on your blog, especially when you work hard to attract more comments to your blog.
Comments are a great way to interact with your readers, encourage healthy discussion, and expand your audience reach. They give you a way to hear what you readers have to say, and assure them that you are listening to them. They also foster a sense of community amongst your most loyal followers and even help spread the presence of your brand to other platforms.
That being said, deciding which commenting system plugin to use can be a difficult thing. There are so many to choose from, each having a distinct set of features, pros, and cons. Just thinking about which one is right for your website can be overwhelming.
Today we will be looking at one of the best WordPress commenting plugins available called de:comments. I will also take a look at some other popular commenting plugins and see how they match up to de:comments in the ultimate commenting showdown.
de:comments and What It Does
Brought to you by deco.agency, de:comments is a premium WordPress plugin built on top of the native WordPress commenting system that is meant to provide you and your visitors the ultimate commenting experience. It helps foster interaction between your readers with you in complete control at all times.
Here are some of the highlighted features de:comments provides WordPress users:
- Translatable – Using available .po files, you can translate this plugin into any language you wish. It is also worth noting the plugin itself comes in a variety of languages including English, Belarusian, Spanish, German, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Ukrainian, with more to come.
- Customizable – Using your CSS-file you can easily customize your commenting system to match your website’s look and feel.
- Social Login Feature – de:comments collects all of your users so they can access all social media platforms after only one login.
- Multisite Compatible – One license is all you need, just apply it to your entire network and let the commenting begin.
- Responsive – All comments are retina-ready and look great on any mobile device.
- Image Upload – Your readers can upload images (even GIFs) to their comments.
- Easy Setup – 2 clicks and you are ready to configure the settings.
Setting up de:comments
After purchasing de:comments simply install and activate the plugin via your WordPress dashboard. You will then notice in your WordPress admin sidebar under the Comments section a newly added menu bar appropriately named de:comments.
Step 1: Configure de:comments settings – Comments
Upon clicking on the de:comments menu item you will be prompted to configure the plugin’s settings.
In the Comments section the first option you have is to hide the de:comments logo that displays below the comment form on your website. This is something many third-party commenting plugins do not allow you to do. I find that removing the logo makes your site look more professional.
As a way to reference other people’s comments and encourage in-depth discussion, you can choose to allow readers to quote specific comments in their responses by selecting the appropriate box. You can also disable comment replies if you want to, though this would not be beneficial for reader interactions.
Next you can specify how much time a reader has to edit or delete their comments should they want to make a change. This is helpful for readers who may want to modify their response or delete a comment they may have made hastily.
The next, and arguably one of the most important configurations is the option to add dofollow or nofollow attributes to commentators links. By default, the WordPress commenting system automatically adds a nofollow attribute to any link added in a comment. In order to minimize spam comments, it is wise to click the nofollow option.
Here are some more essential comment configurations de:comments gives you control over:
- Whether to display the number of comments at the top of each post.
- If external media URL embedding is allowed.
- The maximum size of uploaded images to each comment.
- The comment pagination (“Show More” button, Previous/Next Pages, or Infinite Scroll via lazy loading).
Step 2: Configure de:comments settings – Social
The next section in the de:comments settings area is labeled Social. This is where you will configure the social media features of the plugin.
In order for your comment box to display social share buttons, you must first download the WordPress Social Login plugin. This plugin will allow you to create apps in each social media platform you want to include in your comment boxes.
This I found to be very confusing and time consuming (I have zero experience creating apps through my Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ accounts) and after following the steps to create my Twitter app and get it to integrate with my de:comments plugin, I failed miserably. I then chose to move on since this plugin is not the focus of this post.
Although the WordPress Social Login plugin is touted as easy to integrate, I certainly began to question that as I tried to wade through the process. Even the documentation for WordPress Social Login states this is not a simple social sharing button plugin giving me the impression there is lot more to it than meets the eye. If however you are able to integrate this plugin with de:comments (kudos to you!) your commenting box will look similar to this:
Step 3: Configure de:comments settings – Voting and Avatars
The Voting section in de:comments lets you enable a voting system for your website’s comments. Since this plugin allows readers to like/dislike comments you can set a required number of likes a comment must receive in order for it to be displayed at the top. That means popular comments will be seen first while highly disliked comments will be near the bottom. If you do not like this feature, simply disable it in. You can also choose to disable the dislike feature on your readers’ comments, the choice is yours.
With this plugin you also have the ability to enable your readers to display their avatars when they comment. You can upload a default avatar for those who do not have one, choose the side it is displayed on, and even whether to show round avatars.
Step 4: Configure de:comments settings – Subscriptions, Badges, and Notifications
One nice feature de:comments allows your readers to do when commenting is subscribe to comments whether they be new comments or replies.
Another interesting feature that de:comments includes is the ability to add badges for user achievements. Right now you can assign a badge to those who receive a pre-defined number of likes, a pre-defined number of dislikes, or for posting a certain number of comments. This is a fun way to upload a cool looking badge and reward your readers for engaging with others and reading your content.
The last section in the de:comments settings is Notifications. This is where you can customize the emails sent out by the plugin to those who subscribe to comments. Although the default notifications are sufficient, it is worth noting you are able to customize how you see fit.
A Commenting System Comparison
Since there are so many commenting systems options available for use on your WordPress website, I thought I would test de: comments up against two of the most popular commenting plugins around, Disqus Comment System and Facebook Comments. Let’s take a look at how each one fared so that you can decide which one is the highest performer.
Disqus Comment System is a popular third-party commenting system (utilizing its own server for your comments) for WordPress designed to make commenting easier and more interactive while also connecting a large community of users across a large platform. This free WordPress plugin, found in the WordPress Repository, has many functions including threaded comments, comment notifications, subscriptions options, built-in spam, and malware filters.
Pros: Since Disqus is so popular, it was expected that there would be many excellent features provided to its users. Here is a roundup of the very best features I feel Disqus provides:
- It’s free from the WordPress Repository.
- One user account can link a reader to any website using Disqus.
- Disqus server takes load off your server.
- The spam and malware filters help comment moderation.
- Readers easily subscribe to comments.
- Login to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ from your Disqus account.
- One time login for an extended period of time.
- Tweets are listed below comments as social proof that your content is engaging.
- Up and down voting system for comments.
- Multisite compatible.
Cons: Although popular, Disqus comes with its fair share of cons. Here are the ones I feel would discourage someone from using this plugin:
- It’s a third-party plugin meaning you lose control over many aspects including all customization.
- Support can be hard to get ahold of despite the available forums (common with free plugins).
- It has been suggested some default settings are easily missed and not configured correctly.
- No anonymous commenting allowed so many readers may choose not to comment.
- Compatibility issues with popular plugins such as Awber and WPCache.
- Switching to another commenting system leaves excess metadata on your site and wipes out all previous comments.
- If you choose to sync with WordPress to save your comments, expect a huge server overload and decreased site speed.
Facebook Comments is another free WordPress plugin that sets your website’s commenting system up like you would find on Facebook. This plugin replaces your native WordPress commenting area and has your readers leave comments using their Facebook profile.
Pros: As another very popular commenting I again suspected some very nice features to be available to those using this plugin:
- It’s free from the WordPress Repository
- Anonymous comments are not allowed since Facebook login is required.
- Very little to manage saving website owners time.
- A reader’s comment left on your website also shows on their Facebook wall increasing your site’s exposure.
Cons: On the other hand, here are some definite flaws I noticed with Facebook Comments:
- Not everyone has a Facebook profile to log into to make comments.
- Not everyone is comfortable logging with their Facebook account to leave comments.
- Some may not want to share comments left on your website with their Facebook Friends.
- Facebook owns and controls all comments so they are not indexed by search engines and can be deleted at any time.
In the end, though Disqus Comment System and Facebook Comments have some worthy advantages, de:comments either matches or exceed them in terms of flexibility, control, and ease of use:
- Not a third-party plugin so you are in control.
- Works with the default WordPress commenting system rather than replacing it so reverting back is easier and no comments are lost.
- No login to an external account is required.
- Customization is available by CSS-file changes.
- Multisite compatible.
- No heavy server load.
- Easy subscribing to comments.
- Social media access.
- Voting System and Like/Dislike features.
- Easy setting configuration.
- Available to anyone who wants to comment.
As you can see, based on both Discus Comment System and Facebook Comments’ BEST features, de:comments has them matched feature for feature.
The only thing de:comments does not provide website owners is the use of this plugin for free.
Although this plugin is not available for free, clearly the benefits outweigh the issues some of the most popular free commenting system plugins will give you. In the end, hassling with hard to reach support, a heavy server load and decreased speed times, and the alienation of some readers simply for not having the correct account setup to comment is just not worth saving a couple bucks.
If you are looking to improve your WordPress website’s commenting system and want a quality plugin that comes with frequent updates and solid support, consider using de:comments. Even better, click here for an additional 30% off your purchase of de:comments and give your readers the ultimate commenting experience today!
Have you tried de:comments on your WordPress website yet? How do you think it matches up to other commenting systems available? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!