Your WordPress blog comes with its own comments system, but adding a plug-in can increase visitor interactions, increase your referrals or boost the crawlable nature of your blog, depending on which system you choose. Two of the most popular options are the Facebook Comments plug-in and the Disqus system.
So which is actually better for your WordPress-based blog? Which one allows the greatest flexibility and functionality when viewers comment on your posts? In this article, I’ll share some insight into the workings of Disqus and Facebook related to WordPress, and cover some advantages of each.
Before answering Disqus vs. Facebook: Why are WordPress comments important?
The comments you receive serve as excellent indicators of the performance of your blog. Are you achieving plenty of responses and engagement from viewers? You’re probably drawing plenty of traffic, and as long as the comments are positive, you should keep going in the same direction, noting the posts that get the highest number of interactions and modeling future posts after those.
On the flip side, if you’re not getting many comments, you could be missing an opportunity to truly engage with your target audience. Something about the content is not speaking to your intended customers, and it may be time to re-evaluate your company’s blogging strategy.
Since comments are so vital to ascertaining the health of your blog, it is equally vital to ensure that viewers can comment freely and easily. Your choice of comment plug-in on WordPress can discourage or encourage commenters, depending on how quickly they can move through the comment process.
In fact, when I was in college a friend of mine purchased a popular domain name for $20,000. My friend didn’t have any experience in the industry that this domain name would serve, but he put up a WordPress blog on the domain and started to write. He would write regularly and would write on topics that were sometimes controversial in the industry. The controversial nature of his posts drew people to his site to leave comments that supported or attacked a given side of the argument.
Because of the comments, his website became a sort of water cooler in the industry. After 18 months of managing this website and instigating comments, he sold his website and domain name to one of the key industry players for well over $300,000 — an exceptional investment for a college student. He attributes much of his success in this venture to the comment section of his blog.
Disqus comments review
As a comment system, Disqus is fairly popular on WordPress. It allows users to post using either their Twitter or Google accounts; however, people have to create an account and go through the extra step of email verification before they post a comment. This may discourage some users who just want to comment quickly and don’t have the extra time to check their email and confirm it. Once that step is complete, however, it’s very easy for people to understand the user interface and post comments. The email verification process is also helpful for eliminating spam comments.
Disqus functionality and security
Disqus acts similar to a social network. It enables users to view every comment they have posted, as well as replies to their comments. A person can respond to replies from their Disqus dashboard, without having to go back to the blog post or page where they originally made the comment.
As the one creating the content or supervising the blog, you can view analytic information that is valuable for the future direction of your blog. Disqus is also designed to curb spam, and it quickly recognizes and removes spam accounts or comments. Any comments made through Disqus are crawlable, meaning that search engines can see them.
Disqus looks the way it does, and there’s not much you can do to change it; so if your business values aesthetics highly, you may find the lack of flexibility frustrating. There are a few modifications you can make, but for an image-conscious company, those changes may not go far enough, and Disqus may look jarringly different from the rest of your blog.
Blog owners find Disqus a bit slow sometimes; it’s an external plug-in, so comments may take a bit of extra time to load. Disqus also runs its own ads on your blog, and you can’t eliminate those. There also have been reports of affiliate links being altered without the permission of the blog owner, resulting in thousands of dollars of lost revenue.
Facebook Comments review
Facebook has an advantage over Disqus from the get-go because it is so very familiar to many users. Facebook feels comfortable and friendly because it’s the space where people go to share about their lives and to get updates from friends and family. For businesses, Facebook is a space to effectively connect and build a relevant network. Plus, Facebook has a built-in audience of over a billion people. That’s a lot of users who already have a profile that allows them to comment on your blog — no registration or verification required.
Facebook functionality and security
Since users comment through their Facebook accounts, which are already vetted, your blog is shielded from most spammers. When users are on Facebook, they can see their replies to their comments through Facebook, so they are still linked to your blog and its activity even if they’re just scrolling through their news feed.
Thanks to the development of new frames within the comment plug-in, Facebook comments made on your blog are findable by search engines — a huge advantage in today’s digital marketplace.
In some cases, using Facebook to comment will turn away users. Perhaps a user would prefer to comment anonymously using a false name or a username that cannot be connected to his or her real identity. The Facebook comment system makes that impossible. Plus, keep in mind that you will be eliminating the option to comment for users who prefer not to have a Facebook page. If your company caters to an offbeat, individualistic or non-tech-savvy market that rejects mainstream social media like Facebook, this isn’t the right system for you.
Like Disqus, the Facebook Comments plug-in doesn’t gel very well with some blog designs. It includes some elementary options for adjusting the theme, but those changes do not go very far. There’s also the issue of slower load times due to Facebook’s external plug-in status.
The right audience for the Disqus comment plug-in
Disqus works well for the in-the-moment user, the one who likes to feel directly engaged in real time. These people like to know when someone else is typing a comment. They leave a comment of their own and wait with bated breath for the next comment from another user to appear in the comment conversation. They like to communicate with others about your products or services in real time. This type of engagement is great to have unless it devolves into inappropriately controversial conversation, in which case you may have to close comments on a particular post.
The ideal users for the Facebook Comments plug-in
Commenting via the Facebook Comments plug-in is the right recipe for loyal Facebook users. These individuals spend a lot of time on their preferred social network, and they like sharing anything and everything with their friends and followers.
If you want your customers to be able to publish their comments on your blog to their profiles on Facebook, the Facebook plug-in is the ideal solution. You’ll likely gain more views and awareness for your company using this comment method.
According to a number of WordPress bloggers, Disqus has a slight advantage due to its analytics potential and flexibility for non-Facebook users. However, depending on your target audience, you may find more value in the Facebook plug-in as an access point to a broader social media platform.
Still haven’t decided the best for you, Disqus vs. Facebook? If you’re not sure which one to choose, try one plug-in for a while and test its performance for your business’s blog, knowing that the switching costs aren’t too high as long as you make the switch early on, before you already have too many comments left.