WordPress comment systems act as powerful performance indicators for your website. A large number of comments across your blog typically correlate with high traffic figures and content that resonates well with your audience; in contrast, a low comment count could indicate that your blog posts are missing the mark.
The commenting system that you use can play a major role in the level of interaction your blog gets. A fast, engaging, and user-friendly system will invite discussion, whereas a clunky and visually displeasing layout may stifle your readers’ urge to share.
In short, if you’re looking for more interaction on your blog posts, switching up comment systems might just do the trick.
To streamline your search, in this article we compare our top four choices when it comes to WordPress comment systems: Disqus, Facebook Comments, Spot.IM, and Postmatic. With this four-way comparison, we’re pitting the big name players against the young upstart Spot.IM and the unique one Postmatic – by the time we’re done, you’ll know which system to opt for:
Disqus vs Facebook Comments vs Spot.IM vs Postmatic
|Get it if:||You have a large number of visitors who will enjoy both real-time conversations, and real-time messages that alert visitors when others are typing.||You like the idea of your visitors publishing comments from their public Facebook profiles, and you have an audience that will enjoy using Facebook over other platforms.||You want to create a site-wide community, rather than just allow comments on individual pages.||You like the native WordPress comment system, but want to get bonus unique features to make it more powerful + enable commenting via email.|
However, it’s not all roses. We here at CodeinWP have personally seen the ugly side of Disqus. For months on end, our affiliate links were being switched without our permission, resulting in a hefty loss of earnings – perhaps something to consider if you’re planning on utilizing it. Main features
- Real-time discussions.
- Visitors can sign in using Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live, and more.
- Comments can be imported and exported.
- Alerts visitors when others are typing up comments.
- The Discovery feature allows users to find further content on your website
- @mentions are broad, enabling visitors to mention Twitter users and other Disqus members.
- Comments are easy to edit.
- Includes threaded comments.
- Integrates with Akismet, WordPress’ default spam filtration tool.
- Moderation of comments can be done via email.
- They seem to have issues with switching people’s affiliate links.
- Sports a relatively complicated interface that may spook some visitors.
- No way to @mention Facebook friends or pages.
- Analytics only available to premium users.
- Have an audience that is tech-savvy, and won’t mind the relatively complex interface.
- Have a large number of visitors who will enjoy both real-time conversations, and real-time messages that alert visitors when others are typing.
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Furthermore, Facebook Comments will be ideal for audiences who enjoy the familiarity of Facebook’s design – the elements beneath your content will definitely be reassuring to heavy users of the world’s largest social network. Main features
- Logged in Facebook users can comment immediately.
- Threaded comments.
- Like and Reply options built-in.
- Visitors can sign in using Facebook, Yahoo, and Microsoft Live.
- Higher chance of social virality, as visitors are likely to tag their Facebook friends.
- Analytics offered for free.
- Facebook uses its own algorithm to weed out spammers.
- Comments are automatically ordered by their number of likes.
- No login options for Twitter and Google.
- Only allows you to @mention your Facebook friends.
- No way to edit a comment.
- Comments are not in real-time.
- Like the idea of your visitors publishing comments from their public Facebook profiles.
- Have an audience that will enjoy using Facebook over other platforms.
The Newsfeed feature is what sets it apart from Disqus and Facebook, as it provides an interface that collates comments from across your blog posts. Visitors can scroll through these comments, visit the page they were made on, receive alerts, and follow other members. In essence, it turns websites into mini social networks. Main features
- Real-time conversations.
- Newsfeed feature unites site-wide comments and encourages user engagement.
- On-site alerts for new comments.
- Visitors can turn their comments into reviews, along with adding star ratings.
- Spot.IM is unique in its approach of using comments to breed a site-wide community.
- Unregistered users are automatically given random, anonymous credentials to begin engaging right away.
- Visitors can log in using Facebook, Twitter, Google, and email.
- Includes threaded comments.
- You can only @mention other Spot.IM users.
- The Newsfeed section may seem overwhelming to some visitors.
- Want to create a site-wide community, rather than just allow comments on individual pages.
- Have a large number of visitors who will make use of real-time conversations, real-time comment alerts, and the Newsfeed section.
We really felt that we should introduce another player into the game … and that’s even though – or maybe because of – it being a really unique solution among WordPress comment systems:
But the magic is all in what happens under the hood. Postmatic takes your posts, and then sends them to your email subscribers automatically (there are integrations in place). Then – the key feature of Postmatic – your subscribers can comment on the post by simply replying to the email. Postmatic then takes that email reply and translates it into a live comment.
There’s Postmatic Basic, which is free, and Postmatic – the main premium plan. The pricing is based on your posting frequency. The list of brands that have trusted Postmatic already is quite impressive too. WP Tavern, Elegant Themes, and iThemes are just the tip of the iceberg. Main features
- Uses the native WordPress comment system.
- Enables your audience to comment via email.
- Sends your posts to subscribers via email.
- Sends comment notifications and replies.
- Integrates with OptinMonster, Gravity Forms, and others.
- MailChimp and MailPoet integrations in place.
- Great way to enable people to comment via email.
- Takes care of notifying your audience whenever there’s a new post, comment, and reply.
- Can satisfy your comment + email newsletter needs at the same time.
- Premium options rather expensive; $50 / month if you’re sending newsletters weekly, $95 if daily.
- Not an alternative WordPress comment system per se.
- Like the native WordPress comment system, but just want to get bonus unique features to make it even more powerful.
- Want to increase the number of comments you’re getting by enabling email comments.
Conclusion: WordPress Comment Systems Compared
Looking at WordPress comment systems, the default/native one is pretty basic by design. The four solutions we’ve presented offer rich additional functionality in their own unique ways, making them ideal for different audiences.
Although we may have had our issues with Disqus from an affiliate standpoint, it remains a solid comment system alongside Facebook Comments. However, the community-building power of Spot.IM shouldn’t be discounted.
To recap, if you’re looking to switch up your default WordPress comment system, check out:
- Disqus: For high traffic websites with tech-savvy visitors.
- Facebook Comments: For maximum visitor convenience and familiarity.
- Spot.IM: For functionality that helps breed a more rounded community across your website.
- Postmatic: For keeping the native WordPress comment system, but making it more community-friendly.
Have your tried any of these four alternative WordPress comment systems, or do you have another suggestion? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below!
Layout and presentation by Karol K.