Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why I Decided To Go #DoFollow and Switch to #CommentLuv via @esimplestudios

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Our comments panel
The weakest link in my blogging crusade, the one I noticed immediately when, ages ago, I started to be curious about blogs in general, was the commenting system. Back then, most blogs still required you to complete a full-fledged registration process in order to be able to comment on one of their articles, a process so tedious one was discouraged to post his opinion in first place.
That’s why the first thing I did when I decided to put up a corporate blog for my company was to do some research on how to encourage comments, by making it simple enough to feel like second nature.

Disqus was the answer to all of my problems, and I have to say it’s a pretty freaking impressive piece of work. Considering I used to be a web developer, I feel like I can really appreciate it to its full extent.

So why did abandon it?

It was no easy decision at all, and I am not excluding I’ll consider it again in the future. But well, it’s actually a purpose problem. In my opinion, Disqus is designed more around people than around content.
Why? Well, to sum it up, and in case you’re not aware of how it works, Disqus is a commenting platform designed to allow one to post under the same identity in every blog that uses their plugin, so to have a centralized profile. People can view a commenter’s profile, their picture, bio, rating (every comment can be rated positive or negative, contributing to build your “social image”, so to say) and generally follow them across all the blogs (using Disqus) they comment on.
CommentLuv for WordPress
I love CommentLuv’s feature to show one’s latest blog post directly below any comment he posts in CommentLuv-enabled blogs. It’s a direct, quick encouragement for content sharing, you read an interesting blog post and you are naturally inclined to go there and check it out.

That’s actually how I came to know several blogs that now fills up my Google Reader account.
Here’s a quick pro/con list so you can see more clearly what I mean:
  • PRO: totally content-friendly, centered about it, easy to visit your commenters’ blogs and find new food for your brain to love and share (which, after all, is the good thing behind social media).

CON: unlike Disqus, where a commenter is a real, distinct user with a login and all, it’s not possible through CommentLuv to keep sure track of who’s who, and know if he posted somewhere else.
  • Wow I was so wrong in this! As Ileane kindly pointed out in the comments below, CommentLuv indeed allows you to keep track of who’s who across various comments and blog posts:
At the end of registered CommentLuv user’s comment, you can hover over the profile panel (where you see the plus sign over the heart) with a complete profile including their Gravatar, recent posts, and other blogs they commented on.
I believe Disqus is a perfect choice for blogs that already reached a certain critical mass of users, while CommentLuv, paired with the DoFollow plugin (I’ll talk about this in a bit) is very indicated for newer blogs to get in the radar of as many people as possible in a very simple way.

What about DoFollow?

I won’t lie here or beat around the bush, it’s obvious DoFollow (the ability for search engines to consider your commenter’s URL links as backlinks to their own blog/website) attracts far more visitors than the standard NoFollow policy, so you know, I just decided to fire up the “Do Follow” plugin and give it a try. I understand it will also attract considerably more spam (both automatic and manual), but for now I think the load is very bearable, especially since the superawesome Akismet anti-spam does all the hard work for me.
I don’t know if I will stick to this combo forever, as far as I know it already had positive results, and I already met two interesting people through the CommentLuv community, so I am naturally inclined to say “yes it’s a definitive choice”, but only time can tell.
And to Disqus people out there (developers and users), please bear in mind I do love your plugin, it really is a piece of art, I am just trying out new ways, that’s all ;)
What kind of commenting system (if any) do you use in your blog?
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