First a disclaimer:
If you’re looking for the absolute best comment system for your blog, the Cadillac, the Crème-de-la-crème comment system that voraciously encourages your visitors to express their views and opinions of your content… This is NOT the post for you.
Download CommentLuv Premium and enjoy.
I’ve written this post for the cheapskates out there.
Yeah, you know who you are; don’t deny it.
You want all the benefits of quality blog products and resources, but you hate paying for them.
You’re a cheapskate… Own it.
So if you’re a cheapskate and you don’t want to pay for a fantastic premium comment plugin like CommentLuv Premium, what options are available for creating a great looking comment system without paying a dime?
Non-Wordpress Comment Systems
A very simple solution is choosing one of the free non-Wordpress comment systems such as Disqus, IntenseDebate or Livefyre.
The reason these platforms are referred to as non-Wordpress is because comments are managed off your WordPress site.
This isn’t a terribly big deal, but something to be aware of.
With each of these comment platforms you install a plugin and then sign-up for the comment management service on the platforms website – nothing complicated.
Of course, each system has advantages and disadvantages.
For you cheapskates that also like to be told what to do, if I had to choose one of the comment systems listed above, I’d would go with Disqus.
In full disclosure, I used Disqus for about three years.
It’s clean and extremely easy to use and customize. There are also social sharing and comment tracking features that made Disqus very attractive to me when I was a newbie blogger and super cheapskate myself.
However, I wanted to be able to customize the experience a little more than Disqus was able to do.
Additionally anyone who isn’t registered with Disqus has to register to comment… That’s a lot of work to leave a comment.
I also wanted to give commentors the ability to leave a link to a piece of writing they were proud of as a reward for adding value to blog (Because that’s what comments are… Value).
You simply can’t do that on Disqus.
Additional Resources from Ana
If you are still considering a non-Wordpress comment system, here are some posts that might encourage/discourage you:
- Why Livefyre is Here and How It Helps You – AriHerzog.com (Ari wrote this post when he switched to Livefyre from the native WP comment system)
- How Commentluv Premium Promotes Your Blog – AriHerzog.com (after he returned to the WP comment system)
- Welcoming Livefyre Comments Back to the Blog – DannyBrown.me (Danny went back and forth between LiveFyre and the native system, and is currently powered by the WP comment system and CommentLuv Premium)
- Comment Systems Face Off! LiveFyre Vs DisqUs – DIYBlogger.net (Dino Dogan, founder of Triberr.come, is currently using Disqus as his comment system of choice)
- Really Seeing LiveFire in Action vs CommentLuv – DragonBlogger.com (Justin Germino loves CommentLuv Premium, but is sticking with LiveFyre. Take a look at the comment section; much food for thought from different bloggers)
Here’s an opinion from Kimberly Castleberry taken from the comments on DragonBlogger.com post above:
Unfortunately there is plenty to be said (negatively) about bloggers that use dofollow and commentluv to build their communities and then switch away from it and backhand their communities with lost linkluv and linkjuice when they get big enough.
I just can’t bring myself to join those ranks.
I’d gladly implement livefyre if it integrated CommentLuv Premium, but at this time my community means more to me than that next big push forward.
I can’t help but agree.
Despite the fact that I recently had to take several days to clean the comments on my blog, I have no intention parting with WP system and CommentLuv Premium.
Thanks for letting me butt in, Ryan, and back to your post.
6 Plugins that Almost Give You CommentLuv Premium
I know what you’ve been waiting for…
You’ve been waiting for me to tell you the series of FREE plugins you can install that will give you the same functionality as CommentLuv Premium without the Premium.
Well I’m going to disappoint you a little.
You cannot replicate the functionality and blogger benefits of CommentLuv Premium through the free comment plugins listed below.
However, you can get close and that’s what I’m about to show you.
First download the Cheapo (aka free) version of CommentLuv.
It automatically adds a link from a commentor’s last blog post to the end of their comment encouraging blog visitors to share their thoughts.
Next you want to give people who comment on your blog (now invested in your site after commenting) the opportunity to subscribe to your newsletter.
This is what Ana’s check box looks like:
If you use a different service, I’m sure there is a similar plugin.
A simple check box right after the comment submit button that protects your blog from automated spambots and other spamming software.
This plugin is a comment system must and also a preferred product by CommentLuv creator Andy Bailey.
Note from Ana: and please disable Akismet; it’s killing many valid comments on your blog, including mine.
This plugin allows anyone who comments on your site the ability to sign-up to receive notification in the event there are future comments.
This is a great plugin for recurring traffic.
Commentators will return to your blog to continue the conversation.
This is a simple, but powerful plugin that sends a special email when someone responds to a comment.
This entices the original commentator to return and re-engage in your site.
You might be asking what the difference between this plugin and “Subscribe to Comments” is.
Subscribe to Comments will send notifications about ALL comments and ReplyMe is only replies.
An even simpler, yet very powerful plugin that redirects all first-time commentators on your blog to a special Thank You page (Or whatever page you want them to go to).
A Lot of Work for Free
Free may sound great, but as you can see from the list above “Free” is also a lot of work.
However, if you’re a cheapskate, you’re used to doing extra work in order to not have to pay for something.
In all seriousness though, you want the commenting experience to be as pleasant and easy and valuable as possible for the visitors of your blog.
The comment section of your blog is where relationships are built.
I wouldn’t be writing this Guest Post for you today if I hadn’t engaged Ana in the comment section of The Café and felt welcome and satisfied with the experience.
I was encouraged to return and continue engaging with the fantastic members of this community and adding value to the content wherever I could.
Now I’m here explaining to all you cheapskates how you can beat the system and create a fantastic comment system on your blog without paying for it…
Well… almost fantastic.
A comment system powered by CommentLuv Premium is pretty much the Tips and you just can’t get all that value from any other single plugin.
I’m giving you a hard time about being cheap and it’s possible it’s started to get annoying…
I’m sure it’s a sensitive subject.
But the truth is I don’t care if you’re cheap or not, it is of the utmost importance that you ensure anyone who comments on your blog enjoys the experience.
Otherwise they’re not going to comment again.
And a silent blog is a lonely blog.
Don’t have a lonely blog.
Have an awesome commenting system.
Ryan Hanley is the Director of Marketing for the Murray Group Insurance Services, Inc, located in Albany, NY. You can connect with Ryan on Google+ or find Ryan at his content marketing blog where discusses the marketing methods he implements at the Murray Group.”
Image credit: incredible photography by Kira Rozanov