Not surprisingly, I visit many blogs during the day and read some great posts. If I really enjoy what I read, want to ask a question, or want to add to the discussion, I will comment on a blog post. Or, I should say, I TRY to comment. What do I mean? Well, it turns out that many bloggers don’t make it very easy for readers to comment.
Don’t ask your readers to give up their first born to comment
Some bloggers make you jump through hoops to contribute to the discussion. Although they may not ask for your first born, they may ask you to sign-up for a commenting system, do a math problem, or even require you to join a social media site to comment. Why do they do this? I’m sure most of them do it because they would like to prevent spam on their sites.
These ideas may prevent the spam, but they may also prevent real readers from commenting. Have you been asking yourself why more people don’t comment on your blog? Or do you only get comments from other bloggers in a reciprocal relationship? You may be making it too difficult for your readers to comment.
How to make it easy for readers to comment
If you are on WordPress, the simplest way for readers to comment is through the comment system provided by WordPress. This will usually require that a reader fill out their name and email before they comment (see my comment system below… and why not comment while you’re there?). Easy enough! So easy, that spammers find this type of comment system irresistible. This is why a good spam plugin like Akismet is essential for your WordPress blog. Akismet will weed out most of the spam and put it in a nice little folder waiting to be deleted!
How to allow guest comments in Disqus
Disqus is a commenting system that keeps track of where your readers comment and notifies them of any responses to their comments. This can create a community and bring people back to your site to read responses. However, some people may not want to sign up for Disqus and may just skip commenting. Or, they may register and then not like getting the email notifications, which will keep them from coming back to your site.
This doesn’t mean you need to get rid of Disqus. You can turn on guest commenting by going to Disqus admin > Settings > General page in the Guest Commenting setting. This will allow people to comment without creating an account. They will still need to provide a name and email.
How to allow guest comments in Jetpack
If you are on WordPress.com or you are using Jetpack, you may have the Jetpack commenting system. This system allows people to comment using their WordPress.com login, Twitter, Facebook or Google+. It also allows guest comments. If you are using Jetpack comments and don’t see a way to leave a comment with just a name/email, check in WordPress under Settings > Discussion and make sure guest commenting is allowed.
How to allow guest comments in Blogger
If you are on Blogger, you can allow guest commenting by going to Settings > Posts and Comments and for the question “Who can comment?” choose Anyone.
- But how do I prevent spam? The answer is through moderation. You can set it up so that all comments need to be moderated before going up live.
- But this can be time consuming isn’t there anything else I can do? The answer is yes. You can install Disqus on your Blogger blog. Just make sure that you allow guest commenting so you don’t lose out on comments!
How to allow guest comments in Comments Evolved Plugin
The Comments Evolved plugin (formerly Google+ Comments for WordPress) organizes your options for commenting into nice, neat tabs. To make sure that anyone can comment, allow WordPress commenting within the plugin. This adds a tab with the WordPress ‘W’ to the options. If you use this plugin, make sure that you make it obvious to your readers that they can comment using any of the tabs, not just the one that is currently showing. Although it may be obvious to you, it won’t be obvious to everyone.
What about social commenting?
Some blogs only allow readers to comment using Facebook. Or, they may only allow comments when logged into Google+. This means that not everyone can comment. Although most people will have either a Facebook or Google+ account, they may not feel comfortable leaving a comment using their actual name (which is required for FB and G+). This is especially true for posts of a very personal nature.
Give readers an option. If you want to include Facebook or Google+ commenting, also allow WordPress comments. Just make sure that you let your readers know they can comment in multiple ways. Some may not scroll below the FB comments to see they can comment without a FB account, and you miss out on comments.
Lastly, I want to address captcha boxes. This is when you require a reader to enter the word (or numbers) shown, or provide an answer to a simple question to prevent spam. This is a big deterrent for many would-be blog commenters. If you want more protection than Akismet provides, consider adding G.A.S.P. (or Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin). This plugin allows you to add a simple checkbox that must be checked prior to a comment being submitted. Readers are much more likely to check a box than to decipher letters.
If you make it easy for your readers to comment, they will be more likely to do it. It is also helpful if you ask them a question and then ask them to respond in the comments. It really works!
What is your favorite, or least favorite blog comment system? Share in the comments below. (see what I did there?)