The Pros and Cons of Using Disqus for Comments

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For most sites, engagement is the key to increasing revenue. Fortunately, today’s web makes it easy to form connections with followers. If you’re looking for a full-featured tool for managing blog comments, you have many options to choose from such as Livefyre and IntenseDebate. For most, the premier name in online comment moderation is Disqus. Before you install Disqus on your blog, there are a few things you should consider first.

The Disqus Proposition

No matter how you slice it, Disqus brings an awful lot to the table. For starters, it’s a versatile hosted commenting system that takes the hassle out of moderating discussions that stem from blog posts. Configuring Disqus on WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr is an absolute breeze. There’s robust social media integration, finely tuned spam controls and a raft of administrator notification options. Best of all, it’s free to use in most cases unless you’re running a massive site or require certain advanced features.

Main Upsides worth Mulling

One of the best things about Disqus is that it simplifies the management and moderation of blog comments. It’s easy to set up email notifications that webmasters can sift through to approve or deny comments. Single sign-on for Disqus users promotes interaction that can significantly increase the value of individual posts. The Akismet-like spam filtering functionality is seriously topnotch. Lastly, blacklisting problematic commenters is easy and webmasters can even modify the appearance of comments to complement their layouts.

The Potential Drawbacks

The most notable disadvantage is one that comes with any third party cloud service, which is a lack of control over data. If Disqus goes down, blog comments won’t be visible and could potentially be lost forever. In addition, there are several potentially show-stopping security and privacy threats that could hurt users. Even though commenters can’t be tracked in theory, analysis of IP addresses by hackers can de-anonymize users.

Convenience versus Autonomy

Before you install Disqus, it’s important to weigh the downsides of the platform against the probable value that it will deliver. Whether or not Disqus is right for you depends heavily on your audience. For instance, even some experienced bloggers find Disqus cumbersome and annoying. If readers dislike Disqus to the point where they’re not commenting or even visiting, that’s a major problem. Sometimes, it’s best to make comment moderation an in-house affair despite the added hassle.

Who Should Employ Disqus?

If you’re trying to make your blog a destination, Disqus can help you to attract a wider following via increased engagement. In that vein, users can leverage @mentions to attract Twitter and Facebook friends. Just be forewarned that Disqus might hurt SEO since comments are rendered with Javascript. Regularly survey your core readership to ascertain their preferences and do what’s best for your blog.

Disqus Done Right

If you’re going to install Disqus, a few simple tips are worth mentioning. For starters, it’s always wise to backup comments by exporting to XML. In addition, be sure to thoroughly review Disqus plugin settings when installing to avoid conflicts with your CMS. With a bit of planning and careful execution, implementing Disqus can have an extremely positive impact on your blog.

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