When it comes to your blog, the decision whether or not to allow comments is a big one. And if decide to go with comments, you then have to decide which commenting system you’ll use. WordPress by default comes with a great commenting system, but maybe you’re looking for additional features.
That’s where a third party commenting system comes in. Systems such as Disqus and Facebook comments provide a different experience for you and your commenters. Whether or not you use such a third-party commenting system is up to you and what you’re looking for. Below I’ve outlined the pros and cons of the default WordPress system, in addition to Disqus, and Facebook comments so you can make a choice that’s right for you.
Default WordPress Comments
The default comment system that comes with WordPress is the most popular choice and for good reason. It’s already built into your site and it’s ready to go right out of the box. But it is lacking some features that you can get from other comment systems.
Easy to setup – The default WordPress commenting system is already there, so it requires no additional work on your end.
Can be customized – You have complete control over how your comments are displayed, so they’ll blend seamlessly with your site.
No additional accounts required – Commenters don’t need to sign up for an account just to leave a comment on your site. They just need to leave their name and email, that’s it.
Fast loading – Because WordPress comments are part of your site, they don’t require external calls to load your comments, so they’ll load quickly.
No reply notification – When a comment is replied to, a commenter has no idea unless they return to your site. This can be remedied by installing a plugin like Comment Reply Notification, but it’s not standard right out of the box.
Requires commenters to leave info each time – Every time a commenter wants to comment on your site, they have to enter their info, which can quickly get annoying if they’re commenting on multiple sites/posts.
Lots of spam – Because a person is only required to enter their name and email, it’s quite easy for spammers (and trolls) to take over your comment section.
Pronounced “discuss,” Disqus is a third-party commenting system that allows you to build a community around your site. It has a bunch of great features that makes it better than the default WordPress comment system, but like every system, it’s not perfect.
Reduces spam comments – Because Disqus requires commenters to sign up for an account or sign in via another network, spam comments are slim.
Reply notifications – Commenters receive notifications when their comments are replied to, which encourages continued discussion.
Various sign in options – Commenters are offered a variety of sign in options, so they can quickly sign in using Twitter or Facebook.
Moderation via email – Odds are you check your email more frequently than you do your site. Disqus allows you to moderate and reply to comments right from your inbox so you can keep the discussion going while you’re on the go.
Syncs with WordPress database – If you decide to stop using Disqus or if they stop their service, your blog’s comments are saved to your database so you won’t lose any discussions.
Not easy to click through to site – Unlike your site’s default commenting system, a commenter’s name isn’t linked to their site. Instead, you’ll have to click over to their profile just to pay them a visit.
Few customization options – The customization options for Disqus are limited. You only have a choice between a light or dark theme Disqus comments should inherit some styles from your site, such as link colors, but that’s about as good as it gets.
Requires an account – In order to leave a comment you must either create a Disqus account or sign in via another social network.
The Facebook commenting system allows commenters to quickly leave comments on your site via their Facebook profile, which makes commenting ridiculously quick and easy. However, there are quite a bit of cons, so definitely make sure this system meets your needs before making a decision.
Higher quality comments – Since each comment is tied to the commenter’s full name and Facebook profile, odds are you’ll get better comments. That also means the amount of trolls and spam comments will be reduced.
Easy to comment – People are likely already signed into Facebook, which makes commenting a breeze.
Encourages sharing – Every comment provides an opportunity for your post to be shared on Facebook, which is always a good thing.
Reply notifications – When a commenter is replied to, they’ll be notified, which encourages the discussion to continue.
Discourages non-Facebook users – Since you’re required to login via Facebook, those without Facebook accounts won’t be able to comment.
Discourages other users – Some people just aren’t comfortable leaving comments and having them linked to their Facebook account, regardless of the quality of the comment.
Won’t match your site’s design – Facebook comments include Facebook’s branding, and while that makes it instantly recognizable as being related to Facebook, it won’t match your site’s design. And there’s no way to customize it to make it match.
Requires some tech savviness to setup – Unlike the default commenting system, you’ll have to configure Facebook comments in order for them to work properly. This involves going to the Facebook developer site and creating an app, then installing code or using a plugin to display the comments on your site.
Not easy to click through to site – Most people who comment on blogs have a blog of their own, but with Facebook comments, you probably won’t know that as their names are linked to their Facebook profiles, not their website.
The future of your comments is in Facebook’s hands – What happens if Facebook goes the way of MySpace or they decide to no longer support comments? Say goodbye to your comments.
What commenting system do you use? Why? As a commenter, are there any commenting systems you simply will not use? Why?