(Update: 5th March 2017 – I no longer use Disqus – After three and a half years, I’ve decided to disable Disqus from this website. The plugin is still an amazing piece of kit and I continue recommending it to bloggers. For me, however, I removed it because it didn’t fit in with my blogging goals. Thank you in advance). You may continue reading the post if you wish.
Many moons ago, I made the decision to stop using the native WordPress comment system on this blog. Instead, I opted in to install and use Disqus.
now run two blogs that use Disqus comments.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your WordPress blog from the default comment system to Disqus too, first let me share with you some of the pros and cons of using either of the two commenting platforms.
Now, I am well aware of the downfalls of using a third party commenting system plugin in WordPress.
Yes, Disqus may throw up some challenges for new users. It takes time to get used to.
And, yes, page response and loading time might increase ever so slightly, but I discovered that the benefits of using a complete comment plugin like Disqus certainly outweigh the downfalls.
Increased engagement, really?
One of the things that I immediately noticed within a few weeks of installing and using Disqus on this blog, was the level and depth of engagement it was recieving.
As we all know, interaction and engagement are critical for any blog to grow and thrive, and I was pleased to see increased engagement and interaction on my blog since starting to use Disqus.
As well as seeing an increase in engagement, I was also able to eliminate my spam problem –
Zero spam (Almost)!
Immediately after installing Disqus, my spam problem came to an end.
Now, once again, I’m well aware that spam comments were probably still trying to get through, however, Disqus simply wasn’t picking up a great deal of it.
And, as I continued to moderate comments, whitelisting the ham from the trusted folks in my community, and blacklisting the spam, the platform recognized, over the course of time, what I considered to be spam and what I didn’t.
Clearly, I could see that using Disqus simply got better with enough time active on your site.
A very useful and clever ‘machine learning’ feature you’d have to agree, right?
OK, so I’ve shared with you some of the reasons why I personally loved using Disqus based on my personal experiences. So now let’s look at a list of other benefits and pitfalls of using either Disqus or the native WordPress comment system.
The benefits of using the native WP comment system
1. Simple layout and easy to use, that’s a big plus!
2. Encourages more people to comment with their email address and URL, since they’re getting some kind of link back to their website, regardless whether it’s worth anything or not.
3. Features can be extended with the use of various plugins (i.e. CommentLuv, GrowMap anti-spam, TwitterLink, Akismet)
4. Comments are indexed by search engines.
5. Responsive (mobile friendly)
6. Comments are saved inside your WP database.
The common pitfalls of using native WP comment system
1. Invites a ton of spammy, poor quality comments, bots, and shameless link droppers.
2. Need to use various other additional plugins to add features that Disqus already has built-in. More plugins mean more weight on page load times, CPU usage and all the rest of it!
3. No social media integration.
4. No comment highlight feature.
Benefits of using Disqus comment system
1. Compatible with most web platforms.
2. Clean and professional look.
3. Smart at detecting spam, no need for additional plugins (Since integrating Disqus on my blogs, spam have been almost non-existent.)
4. Integrates social media engagement into your blog, a very big plus point.
5. Built-in ‘reply to comment’ email notification.
6. Google indexing of comments.
7. Mobile responsive.
8. Comments are backed up to your WP database.
9. Users don’t need to have a Gravatar account to use a Gravatar image!
10. Other fantastic built-in engagement features such as share comments, vote for comments, make a comment featured.
11. Related articles widget at bottom of comments allows users to explore more of your content or should you prefer, other content from around the web.
12. Ability to monetize (Make money).
13. Have I missed anything out?
14. Oh, I almost forgot… Ability to upload and share images in comments!
15. And the biggest plus point… it’s Free!!!
Pitfalls of using Disqus Comment System
1. Occasionally slows page loading, however, check out this amazing tutorial I found on TechGlimpse.
2. The fact that you have to register to leave a comment might frustrate and discourage some users, however, users can register with their social media profiles. (Disqus supports Twitter, Facebook or Google+)
3. Known errors with loading from time to time, this admittedly has frustrated me at best of times. (Update 14/04/2016: in the last 12 months of running Disqus, I’ve not had any problems with slow loading or comments not loading at all).
Disqus vs WordPress Comment System, the verdict!
Changing from native WordPress comments to Disqus or anything else is a big decision to make, especially if you’ve built up a decent community on your blog where your audience is used to what you already have in place.
In an ideal situation, you might want to get their thoughts first before making such a change. Simply send out an email asking for feedback on whether a change over to Disqus would benefit them.
There are some pitfalls of using Disqus as I’ve outlined above, however, this hasn’t stopped the drones of bloggers and website owners who have already made the switch from the native WordPress comment system to Disqus.
Of course, I’m not saying just because everyone else is switching over so should you, I’m saying that Disqus could work for you.
It’s a complete solution, and probably the best alternative solution to the current limited WordPress native comments.
I understand that Disqus isn’t for everyone, but if you were to ask me for my honest opinion, I’d say give it a try, at least, you have nothing to lose.
And, if you or your readers can’t get used to it, you can always just switch back to the native WordPress comment system at any time.
I used Disqus for almost 3 years before stopping. My experience with it has been great.
You can find the Disqus plugin for WordPress here. I’ll leave you to check out the short video below highlighting some of the amazing features in Disqus for WordPress.
What are your thoughts?
Do let me know your thoughts.
Are you currently using the default comment setup in WordPress? And, are you looking to switch to Disqus or anything else? Maybe something more conversion focused, like Thrive Comments?
Perhaps you’re already using Disqus right now!
If you are, do let me know here how you’re finding it and whether it’s improved engagement on your blog, or not!
The best of luck.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links to products or services that I use in my business and therefore recommend. This means if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase of a product or service, I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.