Let’s be honest, the standard comments section for any blog platform stinks, which is why most site administrators turn to an external plugin like the Disqus comments platform.
WordPress, for example, has a very tedious and restrictive comment platform that opens the doors to quite extensive amounts of spam. It also integrates poorly with most social media networks and return users as they are required to insert the same information and data every time they comment.
Some of the best blogs and news sites out there use a custom commenting platform that allows a wide variety of options and features. But instead of designing or programming a completely new commenting platform, the easiest option is to integrate an external plugin with your site.
Queue in Disqus.
Disqus is an external comment platform that integrates an entire community and full social networking support all via one install. The Disqus comments platform also includes more advanced administration and moderation options than standard blog platforms; meaning site owners and admins gain even more control over what content appears on a particular site.
Disqus is plugged into a very large community that can participate and contribute on any site using the platform. This ultimately means smaller blogs and websites using Disqus comments have an increased opportunity at gaining more exposure.
But all of this begs the question; sure all of these Disqus features are great, but is it really a good comment platform to use for a blog or website?
Disqus Comments Platform Review
As with anything else in the technology world, there are definitely pros and cons when concerning the external Disqus comments platform.
Disqus as a whole is a great platform and feature rich community builder that would benefit a lot of small and independent blogs. That’s not to say however, that a much larger or more exposed blog should stay away. In fact lots of big name social blogging sites utilize Disqus as a central comment platform; examples include Engadget, IGN, Fox News, and even CNN.
Disqus works basically as a centralized database that allows visitors and readers to login using a common account. The account is then synchronized through the entire Disqus database, meaning any comments or participation on a linked blog (Disqus comments enabled) will be recorded and socially connected. This enables a user to login once and keep commenting continuously without having to enter additional info and pesky data every single time they comment. Simplicity will always encourage people to participate more frequently.
Disqus includes additional support such as social networking integration and embedded media support, which means any links to videos, websites or social media pages are automatically updated with the proper images and information (instead of just appearing as a boring link). There is also a user based notification system that notifies participants when they’ve received a response or answer in contribution to a personal comment.
The Disqus website even claims to support mobile site commenting while on-the-go, which means anyone browsing a site or blog via a mobile device can still participate with the rest of the community.
Disqus Comments Platform Pros
The Disqus comments platform includes various positive features that make it a great external platform to implement on any blog or website.
In the past there was no integrated support between Akismet and Disqus, which meant that spam still showed up like crazy on a WordPress comment admin page.
If you’re not entirely familiar with Akismet, it is a pre-installed plugin that comes with any WordPress install and is designed to completely filter out any spam or junk comments on a blog.
However Disqus now supports Akismet internally, which means that all Disqus comments are automatically moderated and filtered just as a standard WordPress comment platform would be. Does that in turn mean that Disqus never has spam or junk comments slip through the filter and show up on a blog? No, it still happens; but thankfully there is less need to moderate spam comments which is always a welcome feature.
Participating viewers can login to post a Disqus comment any number of ways, such as using a Facebook ID, Twitter ID, OpenID, or a standard e-mail address (registered with Disqus). This ultimately encourages viewers to partake simply because submitting a comment is easy and accessible.
After a comment is posted the site admin can organize and customize comments using a number of different methods. Comments can be customized to match a blog by changing gravatar sizes, pagination, font sizes, font colors and type, and more. As an added customization feature the text that appears when no comments have been made can also be changed; so instead of showing “0 Comments”, the text can be changed to something more socially acceptable. For example the text could be changed to “Be the First to Comment!” instead.
Disqus also integrates completely with WordPress and allows a full backup of all comments posted, which can be done directly within the WordPress application. Considering all comments are hosted externally via the Disqus servers this is a great feature. Anytime Disqus is down, WordPress comments still can be moderated in a similar fashion and there is always a backup if something goes awry.
Disqus Comments Platform Cons
Even with all the positive features above, there are still some cons to using the Disqus platform.
Disqus is not compatible with WordPress comment plugins; which means if the admin has completely tailored and customized any comments section to their liking using external plugins; they will have to start all over from scratch. It also means that any preferred external plugins will be rendered useless, and will no longer be of any particular use on a Disqus enabled blog.
Because Disqus stores all comments externally via company wide servers (not in the WordPress database) some users are a bit weary of posting on related blogs. This is not necessarily a giant problem, but it’s worth noting since a lot of site admins may not be comfortable hosting their comments elsewhere.
Disqus is quite difficult to integrate with a third party Blogger or WordPress template. Because a lot of templates are designed to work with the standard comment platform this can pose some overwhelming issues when trying to utilize the Disqus platform. Of course, all of these issues can be overcome, it just takes a bit of reworking as far as the active theme is concerned.
Disqus Comments Platform Review Conclusion
Disqus is a great external platform that can be used to enhance any blog or website because it adds an all inclusive comment section. It includes the support of a very large community and social networking tools to greater expose and advertise any website.
Disqus is without a doubt, a big step up from the standard WordPress and Blogger comment platforms. But as with anything in this world, Disqus is not without its cons.
The platform does store all data and comments on external servers which means the entire comment database is not stored internally using the related blog or website. This can be a hindrance if the official Disqus servers are experiencing issues, and can even scare off users not interested in externally hosted data.
Disqus also renders all previous comment plugins useless, which can harm some very uniquely crafted blogs and can also throw hours of custom design work down the drain.
Besides its shortcomings, the Disqus comments platform is a great alternative to the boring and rather limited default comment platforms for any blogging application. Disqus also opens the doors wide to a very large community, and can contribute quite a bit of exposure and public support for any website.
If you’re looking for an all inclusive and easy to use external comment platform, Disqus is the way to go.
Source: Disqus Official Website
Quick Step Tutorial- Installing Disqus
In order to install Disqus to any website or blog the site admin must first create an account and register on the official site.
Account setup can be completed by visiting this link.
After registering an admin account users must then navigate to the install page and choose the correct platform they wish to integrate Disqus with. The install page can be found here.
If the related site or blog is running a custom theme it is recommended users choose the “Universal Code” method to manually insert the proper code where it belongs. This will allow the blog or website to run the custom theme without being broken or altered thanks to the new code.
After choosing the correct blogging platform follow the instructions (listed on the install page) to integrate Disqus comments with the related site or blog.