Back To Blogging Basics: Disqus

Since tossing the forum at Symbian-Guru.com, we’ve gone back to using the default comment system that comes with WordPress. We’ve seen a healthy increase in the number of comments left, which is fantastic. There’s nothing wrong with this system – indeed, it works well for most people. Unfortunately, there were line break issues with our new theme, and it wasn’t really all that easy for readers to leave comments. The other problem is that I currently run three sites, all of which get comments. Moderating those comments is a big hassle, and not something I can easily do via email without clicking a link to get back to my site (which doesn’t work well from my phone, unfortunately).

I’ve had numerous friends recommend Disqus, and I resisted, mainly due to an unfounded belief that they completely replaced my blog’s comment system, which meant that if Disqus went down (or stopped working) then my site would be comment-less. After some investigation, it appears as though Disqus has now cleverly integrated itself with your WordPress database, both importing your existing comments to kick-start things, and also constantly synchronizing new comments back to your database. This means, essentially, that if I were to stop using Disqus, I wouldn’t really lose anything. Brilliant.

Setup is quite possibly even easier than setting up WordPress in the first place. You simply setup your Disqus account (or login, if you’ve already created one for commenting on other sites) and then walk through the 4-step process to add your site to your account. For WordPress self-hosted sites, there’s a dead-simple plugin that you can install, and that’s really it.

Another major bonus, in my opinion, is the easy integration with other services, specifically for my readers. You can now login and comment on any of my three sites by using either OAuth, Twitter, Facebook, or Disqus. You can also comment anonymously, if so inclined. Not only is this more convenient for my readers, but it also gives them easy options to post their comments (or the post) on Facebook or Twitter easily. Brilliant.

You can completely customize the Disqus comments box with all sorts of various settings, and can easily access the CSS, if you wish to change the colors and all.

One important factor for me, however, is mobile access. Many of my readers use their phones to access the site, and making sure that would work with Disqus was a top priority. I’m pleased to report that, although slightly more resource-heavy when loading, Disqus works great on the mobile versions of my sites, which is awesome.

The best part? Setting up and implementing Disqus on three separate blogs took a grand total of 20 minutes, kid you not. That is, without question, the fastest, most headache-free thing that I’ve done to improve my site, ever. The other awesome part is that, since all of my sites are connected to my single Disqus account, I can moderate comments on all three sites from the same page – without having to reload or re-login or anything. It’s completely brilliant.You can see Disqus in action at the end of this post.

What’s the last thing you did to improve your blog experience for both you and your readers at the same time? Did it work?

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