One of the biggest problems on WordPress blogs is a lack of conversation in the comments section. Most WordPress blogs don’t have an easy way to get notified of followup comments and replies. Often readers leave a comment intending to start a conversation with other readers but are then forced to return to the site multiple times to check for followups.
While Blogger appears to have this functionality baked in, WordPress leaves much to be desired out of the box.
When I see huge 120 comment threads on Google+ posts I’m reminded of how awesome a good discussion can be. Comment conversations should be quick, easy, and almost invisible to the user. Most importantly you should know when the conversation continues.
After reviewing a few solutions I decided on a comment platform called Disqus. I’m writing this post while installing Disqus on The Functioning Fishaholics so that you can have an (almost) un-edited view of what I had to go through to implement this solution.
So you want to use Disqus?
The first thing you’ll have to do is signup for an account
The Disqus page has two buttons, signup and learn more. If you trust me click the green button now. Otherwise…
The orange learn more button will give you an intro to all of the features Disqus has to offer. You can do a lot of neat things with this plugin so make sure you check out all of the features!
Signing up for Disqus is done via a simple form and should take less than 10 seconds to do.
The next step already has you configuring your account. I gotta give the folks from Disqus props for keeping things simple.
The only item that might throw you for a loop here is adding your Akismet key. For those that haven’t been introduced, Akismet is a plugin that acts like a spam filter for your comments. If you haven’t installed Akismet yet you should it works.
In case you have no idea where your Akismet API key is, the link is under your plugins in the WordPress Control Panel. I’ll admit this one took me more than 15 seconds to find. Once you click the Akismet Configuration link the key is in a box in the middle of the plugin page.
Wow. Disqus works with a lot of different blogging platforms! I could post this under general blogging but let’s keep this a secret for our WordPress blogger buddies. (:
Click the WordPress button now.
At this point Disqus says: “Hey you, go find our plugin on your own”.
Hop on over to your WordPress Control Panel, go to Plugins and click add new. Search for “Disqus Comment System” on your Install Plugins page. Once you find the plugin click install.
In the spirit of full disclosure
At this point in the process I received a fatal error due to an Amazon short code plugin I had installed. I ignored the error and activated the Disqus plugin again. The 2nd time around everything worked perfectly.
After installing the plugin select Comments from your WordPress Control Panel menu.
Login to Disqus using the username and password you created while setting up your Disqus account.
Once you log in click the radio button next to the website you set up. Hit Next.
At this point you’ll receive a message letting you know everything is set up. Click the link to export your comments to Disqus. Click the export button on the following page.
It took a little while to pull all of my comments into Disqus. I received an error here too so I exported twice and the 2nd time around it was error free.
Once the export is complete you can check out your new comments Control Panel section. Disqus adds new features and a new layout to help you better manage your comments.
You’ll also notice that the comments on your posts are now Disqus comments.
Since this is a post about how to install and setup Disqus I’m going to end it here.
Now that Disqus is installed on your site, your readers have a link to subscribe to the comments they leave. These notifications can help your readers know when to come back and continue the conversation.
Disqus has many other amazing features that I’m still exploring. Once I have a firm grasp on how everything works I’ll circle back around with a full review so stay tuned!
The whole process of signing up for Disqus and setting it up on my page took about 20 minutes. For such a major imporovement to the blog, this was a pretty painless upgrade.
I’ve placed some links to other solutions below in case Disqus doesn’t work for you.
Subscribe to comments plugin http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/subscribe-to-comments/
Have you tried Disqus? Let us know in the comments below!