Ladies and gentlemen, let the battle of the WordPress commenting systems begin..
Is it best to use the built in “comments” option or is there a plugin that works better? Such as Disqus, CommentLuv etc
First, here’s a list of some available third party WordPress commenting systems:
Why the built-in WordPress commenting system beats all of these…
I personally think the built-in commenting system is the absolute best, and here’s why:
When people see interfaces like Disqus and Livefyre they freak out a little. When I first started blogging, I did too. Questions spring up like:
Disqus? What’s that?
Do I have to create a new account?
Do I have to register on a third party site?
How do I just enter my name and URL?
What do I do if I don’t want to create an account?
Where the heck is the freaking “login” button?
Ugh, how the hell do I navigate this thing on my mobile phone??
It’s a little… overwhelming. Sure, when you figure it out, it’s not so bad. But to someone who hasn’t done it a million times on other blogs, it can be a bit freaky.
People can link their comment to their website
With the normal WordPress commenting system, it’s SO easy for people to link their comment to their blog. Their username becomes “clickable” so that it takes you directly to their blog. Or, if the person has the free CommentLuv plugin installed, it will automatically leave a link to their latest blog post, making it super easy for people to go to their blog!
Although with some third party plugins it is possible to leave your URL, it’s never displayed in an obvious way. If you click on someone’s name on Disqus, you don’t get taken to their website; you get taken to their Disqus profile! Now, that profile may have a link to their website URL, but it’s an extra hoop to jump through to even get there.
I often feel like the Disqus and Livefyre commenting systems are bulky and a bit loud. They all use the same interface, which means it doesn’t blend into your design. By using the built-in commenting system, you can style it to properly match your theme, or at least just blend in a bit better. It won’t look as loud and obtrusive as Disqus or Livefyre.
You can customize it
This won’t apply to non-coders I guess, but if you use the built-in WordPress commenting system, you can add extra features. For example, I added the ability to rate posts to my commenting system. So when you leave a comment, you can also rate the post (or show me what you rated that particular book, if it’s on a review post). Adding in extra features like this is not possible if you use a third party plugin.
I don’t think the built-in system is lacking in any way
These are some of the main reasons I think people go to a third party plugin:
- Third party plugins prevent spam from being posted on your blog.
- Third party plugins will alert you if someone replies to your comment.
But, both of those points can be covered by the built-in WordPress commenting system.
Spam prevention: Akismet is your friend
Akismet is a WordPress plugin that will block 99% of spam from your blog. The spam will be filtered into a separate spam section, which you can then mass delete at any time. Sure, a spam comment may slip through now and then, but it doesn’t happen often at all. I think Akismet works just as well as any third party’s spam prevention methods.
Comment Reply Notification will rock your world
This one plugin will change discussion on your blog: Comment Reply Notification. Seriously. If you don’t have it, get it. This plugin will e-mail commenters on your blog if someone replies to them. This will increase discussions on your blog tenfold! You don’t need a system like Disqus or Livefyre if you want comment reply notifications. This plugin will do the job just as well.
The built-in system is always fastest
Last year, Pingdom did a speed analysis of all the popular commenting systems. The built-in WordPress system always came out on top. Although their results didn’t show that the third party plugins were SUPER slow, they were always a bit slower. To some, that may not matter much. But if you keep piling on features that are “just a little slower”, soon your website becomes super slow to load.
There’s honestly just nothing that draws me to the third party plugins. They don’t offer any features I want. Sure they may have a few extras like “liking” comments or tagging people, but do commenters actually use those? Do they mean anything? In my experience: no.
For me, the third party plugins have no benefits, but the WordPress built-in system has many. Of course, this is just my opinion, and some people may be drawn in by some of the third party plugins’ snazzy features. Ultimately, I think the biggest factor is personal preference.