One of the beautiful things about the Internet is how it enables users from all across the world to engage and enter a dialogue on your site. To get people talking, though, you need a space where users can interact.
By default, WordPress offers this space in the comments section. It’s barebones, but it works. But barebones is no fun, so let’s take a look at 16 plugins you can install to evolve your comment section from barebones to awesome.
Sprucing up your comment section will take away the fear of 0-comment posts. You put time and effort into your content, so why not make sure you get that much-sought-after engagement from your audience? These plugins will encourage your users to comment while also making it easier for you or other administrators to manage your comments section.
If you’ve previously made the decision to disable your comments section, maybe some of these plugins can convince you to bring it back! They’ll create a space for users to engage while also limiting the administrative work necessary to oversee your comment section
Let’s dive in:
Plugins Which Totally Upgrade Your Comments Section
All these plugins instantly provide multi-faceted upgrades to your comments section.
1. Disqus Comment System
Disqus Comment System is a popular plugin that completely replaces the base WordPress comments section with comments powered by Disqus. When installing Disqus, you’re completely outsourcing your comment system to the Disqus platform. Comments will be stored and processed on Disqus’ platform and then automatically displayed on your site. If your site is especially popular, this has the advantage of giving your server a break.
Disqus also brings many community benefits like threaded comments, notifications and reply by email, social mentions, moderation, and much more.
If you only want to install one plugin, then you certainly won’t go wrong with the one-stop-shop offered by Disqus Comment System.
2. Jetpack by Automattic
Jetpack isn’t just about commenting, but it does include a heavy-duty comment module among its 20 other functionality options. Sidenote - these other modules alone make it worth installing Jetpack - the comments module is just a bonus!
Jetpack’s comments module adds some much-needed features to WordPress’ base commenting system like social media logins and follow-up notifications.
3. Facebook Comments
The Facebook Comments plugin lets you easily put a real name to a real face by integrating Facebook comments directly into your WordPress site. It makes user verification easy, can help cut down on spam, and real names/faces may just make your comments section more civil (for those with civility problems!).
These features do come with a slight downside of alienating anyone who doesn’t have a Facebook account. If you think that description may fit your audience, you might want to consider one of the other plugins.
Postmatic adds some awesome engagement driven functions to your comments. It allows users to subscribe to comments by email and also comment on your blog directly via email. If you make commenting easier (like Postmatic does), you can increase the engagement of your users.
Users can click a button to subscribe to the post they commented on. Then, whenever a new comment is added to the discussion, the subscribed user will receive an email alerting them. That user can directly respond to the email to add their voice to the discussion. Comments sent via email are added to your site almost instantaneously (less than six seconds!).
In their own words, wpDiscuz offers “supercharged native comments.” It adds deep functionality in a similar vein to Disqus Comment System but keeps everything hosted on your own site, giving you full control.
wpDiscuz offers live comment updates, integration with social logins, ajax editable comments, and many, many other features. They also have some paid add-ons, like ReCaptcha and a media uploader, that help round out the feature set.
It’s definitely a great option for anyone who wants to massively upgrade WordPress’ native comment system while still maintaining full control.
6. Yoast Comment Hacks
You’ve probably heard of Yoast’s popular SEO plugin. The same guys also have a nifty commenting plugin called Yoast Comment Hacks. The plugin adds a bunch of small “hacks” that will greatly improve WordPress’ native comment system.
Installing Yoast Comment Hacks allows you to do things like disallowing comments under a certain length, redirecting first-time commenters to a thank-you page, offering subscribe to comments functionality, and more.
Plugins Which Give Users Specific Commenting Abilities
These plugins add specific, limited features to your comment section. When possible, they’re great to use in combination with some of the more multi-featured plugins listed above.
CommentLuv rewards those who comment on your site by automatically placing a link to their most recent blog post at the end of their comment. This is a great incentive for websites whose users are more tech savvy and likely to have their own blog. Users will feel they’re getting something in return for contributing to your site, which makes them more likely to comment.
Be careful - as you might expect, this can have a negative side effect of potentially increasing spam. It’s a good practice to only use CommentLuv on a site where you moderate comments.
8. WP Ajax Edit Comments
We’ve all clicked “send” on an email only to instantly spot a massive typo the next second. WordPress commenters are not immune to this situation. Create a more forgiving comment section by installing WP Ajax Edit Comments. This plugin gives commenters a limited time window in which they can edit their comments after submission.
9. Comment Images
By default, WordPress commenters are not allowed to upload any media to their comments. The Comment Images plugin changes that by allowing uploads of PNG, GIF, JPG, and JPEG images.
This plugin won’t fit every situation, but if you want to give your readers some multimedia options, it’s a great solution.
10. Comment Popularity
Comment Popularity adds some user control to your comments section by allowing your readers to vote comments up and down. Sites like Reddit have used such a crowdsourced system to great success. Comments with the highest score are displayed at the top of the comments section.
Frequent commenters can also gain some recognition through the plugin’s “expert” label. Site administrators can assign the “expert” label to users and it will be displayed next to their name in the comments section.
Plugins Which Let You Easily Moderate, Manage, and Promote Comments
Akismet is the gold standard of spam prevention and a necessity for any WordPress site. It works behind the scenes to check all incoming comments for spam. Install it and enjoy knowing you’ll be protected from the worst spammers without lifting a finger.
12. DX Unanswered Comments
DX Unanswered Comments makes it easy to ensure you interact with all comments on your site. Interacting with comments is a necessary part of building user engagement, so this plugin adds a small, but very helpful, feature to your dashboard. After installing the plugin, you can filter comments to find only those comments which haven’t received a response yet.
13. Moderator Role
Moderator Role does just what the name says - it lets you assign any user the role of “Moderator”. This user can moderate comments, but not make any other changes to your dashboard. It’s a great way to distribute the burden of moderation without adding any security risks.
14. Tako Movable Comments
Tako Movable Comments allows you to easily move comments from one post to another, or from a post to a page. It removes a lot of the mundane work of moving comments by letting you easily do it from a drop-down box.
Not everyone will encounter this problem, but if you do, Tako Movable Comments makes administration a whole lot easier.
15. Comment Approved
Comment Approved is a simple plugin that lets you automatically notify users as soon as their comment passes moderation. You can let users know their voice is actually being published and bring them back to interact more.
16. WordPress SEO Comments
WordPress SEO Comments helps with the promotion of your site (and its comments section) by giving each comment/author its own indexable page. These indexable pages can increase the organic reach of your site.
You should consider the issue of potential duplicate content created by the plugin, but some users have reported increasing their organic traffic through the plugin, so it’s definitely something worth trying.
Comments sections are a great way to drive engagement with your website visitors. They give users a place to interact with your content, share ideas, and feel more connected. However, given the barebones nature of WordPress’ basic commenting system, you should definitely take some time to look over these plugins and install the ones you think your readers will most love.
Take some time now to awesomize your comments section, and your website will reap the rewards in increased user engagement for the rest of its life.
Did I miss a plugin? Do you have a comment about WPLift’s comments section? Let us know in the comments below!