Give Your WordPress Comments A Makeover With Disqus

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disqus wordpressComments have become an essential component to blogging. Comments allow readers to communicate directly with the blog author and the other readers of that blog. They enhance the value of the information provided in articles without authors having to constantly update posts. The Disqus comment system for WordPress takes commenting to another level with a host of great features.

When you integrate Disqus (pronounced “discuss”) with your WordPress blog, you create a new Disqus community that mirrors the post/comment activity on the blog. The blog post becomes the start of a new discussion and the comments are the subsequent thread. Members can also post to the community that you create. This is a great way for readers of your blog to start discussions with you and all of your readers.

As a Disqus user, all the comments you post to other Disqus-enabled blogs will appear on your profile page (you don’t need a blog to have a Disqus account). This is a nice way for others to see all your words of wisdom that you have shared on other blogs. It is also a good method for finding other users and communities you may be interested in following.

Disqus also plays nice with the built-in WordPress commenting system. Existing comments will be imported into Disqus and when comments are posted onto Disqus they are kept in sync with your WordPress blog. If you change your mind later and you no longer want to use Disqus, you can simply uninstall it. You don’t have to worry about losing comments that were posted through Disqus.

To install Disqus on your WordPress blog:

  • Create an account on Disqus.
  • Download the Disqus for WordPress plugin.
  • Place the contents of the archive in your WordPress plugins directory.
  • Activate the plugin and navigate to Comments > DISQUS.
  • Enter your Disqus login credentials and proceed with the installation process.

  • If you would like to import your existing WordPress comments into Disqus, select Advanced Options and click Import.
  • blog commenting system

For further installation details, you can visit the Disqus integration page and view the Disqus documentation for WordPress.

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When a blog is converted to use Disqus, individuals that commented on the blog prior to the conversion can claim their imported comments. When users claim comments, verification links are sent to the email addresses used to post the comments. The Disqus users can click the verification links to associate comments on the converted blog with their profiles.

Disqus also automatically subscribes commenters to any responses to their comments. They will receive the responses at the email address they provided with the comment. The best part of this feature is that they can respond via email! There’s no need to revisit the blog post and respond there, as it can all be done by replying to the email.

Disqus also allows non-Disqus members to post comments just as they would normally on any WordPress blog. Users just provide their name, email address, and post the comment. Responses to their comments are sent to their email address and they can reply by email just the same as Disqus users.  Comments by non-Disqus comments are basically treated the same as imported comments.  If non-Disqus commenters do eventually sign up for Disqus accounts, they can also claim their comments to associate them with their new account.

Disqus Thread Screenshot

Unfortunately, WordPress is the only well-documented platform for Disqus at this time. The Disqus help page states that MovableType, Tumblr, Blogger, and TypePad are also supported, but the help links just go to a “coming soon” page.  They also have a JavaScript interface in the works (which would allow you to integrate with any platform), but again there is no documentation for it yet.

Fortunately, there is a well-documented Disqus API. That means that developers can integrate Disqus on other platforms that are not officially supported, which is good news for users (and potential users) on the following platforms:

If your blog does not use one of these platforms or uses one of the undocumented platforms that Disqus claims to support, then IntenseDebate might be a better option for you. IntenseDebate can use JavaScript to display comments, so it can be easily integrated into any blog.

However, IntenseDebate does not have the community features and profile pages are only limited to the last 5 comments posted. Disqus makes all comments you’ve made available from your profile, not just the last five. If you’d like to see Disqus comments in action, here are a few blogs that implement them:

You might want to also check out some Disqus profile pages:

What do you think of Disqus and other commenting systems?   Which one do you prefer?  Do you use Disqus on your blog?

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