Comments on your website: why and how?

Scattered Autumn Leaves

Are your comments scattered?

If you use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Blogger you probably take it for granted that readers can interact with your content via comments. You might choose not to allow comments, and heavily moderate them, but you know it is easy to deal with whatever comes your way.

Recently one of my clients has been hit hard by spammers. We often see this go in cycles. I use Askimet on all my WordPress client sites and it does cut down the spam to nearly zero. Most of the time. But occasionally we will be targeted and have to suffer through the inconvenience of multiple spam messages appearing, waiting to be moderated.

I usually advise clients to have the WordPress ‘Discussion Settings’ as shown below because it is a fairly easy to do this, it encourages more people to comment, and any unwanted comments are screened before they appear.

Wordpress Discussion Settings

For the client in question, we closed comments on older articles, and the spam stopped clogging up inboxes. A few days later we were able to open the comments on older posts and no more spam.

Why allow comments at all?
You want people to read your site, and you want them to come back. One way of encouraging that is to allow comments. People can ask questions about your company, or the post you have written, and that dialogue is the first step in building a relationship. Yes, it does also give people a platform to leave negative comments. But isn’t it better to deal with that in a controlled way rather than ignoring a potential problem? Sometimes your critics can become your best advocates. A well-handled

What if you are not using a CMS?
This has always been a problem. You have a lovely HTML/CSS website but no CMS behind and no wish to add databases or any of that malarkey. So you are left with a site where no one can interact with you unless you funnel them off to somewhere like Twitter or Facebook. What can you do? Well, it looks like Disqus has come up with a solution that might just be the ticket.

Disqus has been around for a long time and the idea you can comment around the Internet and keep track of all your conversations is a very powerful idea. Now you can add this directly to your website even if you aren’t using a CMS. Once you have registered your website with Disqus (which is free) you can simply copy and paste the code onto your pages and away you go. There are various ways to track and moderate comments and the implementation appears to be straightforward and seamless.

How good is it?
I haven’t started using it, but I’d love to hear from anyone who is. Is this the solution HTML/CSS implementers have been looking for?

UPDATE:
I decided to try it out with a spare domain I had (don’t ask…) and it took less than 5 minutes to get it set up here:

Everything Cow screenshot

No comments yet, but the implementation was very easy. If you have a website and you want to allow comments, this could be the answer you’ve been looking for!

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