I received a free subscription to Disqus Pro in exchange for writing a review on my blog. All opinions are my own.
When it comes to comments on your WordPress blog, you want to strike the right balance for you and your readers, right?
That means it's easy for them to leave a comment but you have full control over moderation and spam amongst other things.
The native WordPress commenting system is good but I always feel like there's something missing - almost like it's become an afterthought.
And it's why I use a third party commenting system instead - Disqus.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Disqus?
Seriously Good Spam Filter
Before I used a third party commenting system I had Akismet installed to keep spam at bay.
It did a good enough job but it often gave false positives and I'd have to keep checking the spam folder every few days.
I've also had problems with Akismet marking my own comments as spam in the past.
With Disqus, I've not had any issues with spam at all or false positives. It just works.
It's correctly identified spam and stopped it in its tracks.
You can set up ban lists and word filters to further protect your blog against spammers.
Commenters on Disqus are also given a reputation score so you can easily see if they have a low reputation and take appropriate action.
For me, a big failing of native WordPress comments is the lack of a notification system.
If you leave a comment on a blog, you usually want to know if there's a response.
It doesn't do that out of the box so you'll have to keep checking if your comment has a reply.
Disqus, on the other hand, has this functionality built in unless the commenter was not logged in or was a guest.
By default when you respond to a comment, a notification will be sent to the person who left the comment.
Social Media Engagement
Have you ever had an awesome comment on a post and thought about sharing it with others?
Well, Disqus lets you do just that.
You can share a discussion or an individual comment on Twitter or Facebook.
There's also a comment link URL so you can share them just about anywhere else you can think of.
Discussions In Real-time
The world is in a big hurry and people don't want to wait around for stuff to happen.
It's good then that you can have a discussion in real-time using Disqus.
Visitors to your blog can upvote or downvote a comment depending on their stance on a subject.
Your filter settings will then determine the order in which comments show to visitors.
It also has threaded comments to make it easier to follow individual conversations.
Site moderators can make a comment featured which will highlight it above the comments section.
Your comments will always look great whatever device they're being viewed on.
Disqus is fully responsive and adapts to whatever screen size you're using.
As I tend to moderate comments on a laptop or a desktop it's not an issue for me.
Responding to comments via mobile browser also works well though so I don't miss an app on Android.
Support For Photos And Videos
If you want, you can enable the option to allow images and videos in the comments section.
In theory, I think this is a great idea, especially if your blog is humour-orientated or about arts and crafts.
With my current settings I don't pre-moderate comments however, or at least only those that contain links.
I don't think that would allow me to scrutinise images and videos added into the comments section.
Moderating everything would seem like overkill so for the time-being I have this option turned off.
If I could moderate all images and videos added into the comments in a similar way to links then I'd be up for turning this option on.
Opportunity To Monetise
Disqus is free to use but it is an ad-supported business.
For personal blogs, educational sites, non-profits and small sites not running any other advertising, there is no requirement to use Reveal.
But if you want to then it gives you an opportunity to monetise your comments section.
Ads come in various formats and they are responsive. Personally, I'm not convinced about the ads Reveal shows.
I use Google Adsense on my site and I'm happy to because I can control many aspects of the content that appears.
The content of ads shown by Reveal at this stage can't be controlled so I'm wary to turn them on because some are them are unsuitable for my blog.
It's something to consider for the future however depending on the future development of Reveal.
Whilst your comments are held on a third party server somewhere, you don't need to worry that you'll lose them.
With Disqus comments are automatically imported back to your WordPress database.
That means should the service ever disappear that your comments are safely held in your site's WordPress database.
Should you decide to remove the plugin, the comments will automatically appear on your posts using the native WordPress commenting system.
You can turn this feature off if you wish to cut down on the database size.
It's possible to sync Disqus manually with WordPress at any time if you decide that's what you want to do.
Another useful feature you can enable from your Admin dashboard is Discovery.
It's a recommendation engine which shows suggested links from within your site.
It's like a related articles widget and helps to drive traffic to other pages on your site.
Hopefully it will encourage visitors to stick around on your site and consequently you'll have a lower bounce rate!
Are There Any Drawbacks To Using Disqus?
I know some people will feel frustrated that they have to register to comment.
It's not that I want to discourage them but it does filter out those people who were just seeking a backlink (even if it's nofollow).
It's easy to register with your social media login or with your email address.
I also allow guest commenters on my blog should they not wish to register with Disqus.
The thing is, once you're registered and logged in, the process runs smoothly.
You don't have to keep logging in every time you want to leave a comment.
The Spinning Disqus Icon
In the past I've experienced the spinning icon where the comments don't load and the spinning never stops.
It's a rarity these days though as most of the files are loaded asynchronously.
It can also occur where there's a plugin conflict that stops Disqus working properly.
Activating and deactivating plugins should help you determine if that's the case and which plugin is the culprit.
If you're using lots of resource heavy plugins then you might also see a slowdown on your site.
But I suspect for many people that will be negligible.
Take It To The Next Level With Disqus Pro
Now you can take your blog's comments to another level with the introduction of Disqus Pro.
With a Pro account you get even more powerful moderation tools, help with audience development and greater customisation.
Comments from users with a high probability of being a troll or a spammer based on reputation will automatically get flagged.
You can combat trolls and spammers by banning users without them knowing.
Understand how your readers engage with content with advanced audience metrics and insights to optimise engagement and content strategy.
Your users will be able to log in to your site and seamlessly use Disqus with the same account.
Branding And Styling Options
You'll be able to customise the styling of the comment widget and remove any branding.
For those sites using the platform for free and ads are activated, you can choose to turn these off.
Unlimited API Access
You'll be able to use the API without restriction to build your own applications such as user profiles, leaderboards and other custom widgets.
Over To You
Please leave a comment below sharing your thoughts on this topic.
Do you currently using the native WordPress commenting system and are looking to switch over?
How do you feel about having to log in to leave a comment?
If you're already using Disqus on your blog, how are you finding it? Has it improved the engagement of the visitors to your blog?
What do you think about the new Pro account which is going live in a few weeks time?
Does your site fall into the category of having ads activated automatically and how do you feel about that?
I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please join in the conversation below.
Latest posts by Tim Bonner (see all)
- 9 Reasons Why I Absolutely Won’t Follow You On Twitter - April 26, 2017
- Do You Ever Actually Remove Your Wedding Ring? - April 23, 2017
- How To Save Time And Effort With My Personalized Socks - April 19, 2017