Disqus vs Livefyre – Why I Switched Comment Plugins (And Back Again)
When it comes to blogging, comments are huge! They're not only an indicator of your effectiveness as a blogger, but comments are a good way to determine if you're connecting with your audience.
It's easier to click “like,” “tweet,” or “share this” than it is to leave a comment. If a reader takes the time to respond to your question or give you feedback, you know you've gotten their attention.
To capture comments and engage directly with your readers, you need a comment system. This usually means some sort of comment plugin.
When it comes to WordPress, there are four main comment plugins to consider – Disqus, Livefyre, Facebook, and the WordPress/Jetpack integrated one. Before I share about Disqus vs Livefyre, let's look at Facebook and WordPress.
Facebook is everywhere. No other social platform has more thoroughly penetrated society or changed our culture. But when it comes to their comments system, stay away.
When I tested the Facebook comments system, I learned 4 things:
- Their code loaded slowly on my site. People hate slow, and readers are people too.
- It requires unnecessary access. People are often hesitant to share their information across platforms. Just because you leave a comment on a website doesn't mean you want that comment tied to your Facebook account.
- Facebook owns the comments. If you own the website or blog, you need to own the comments. You may want to transfer them to a new domain like I did in April 2014. You may want to back them up for security. Using Facebook's comment system prevents both of these things.
- It excludes all other social networks. If you want to login with Twitter or Google+ you can't do it. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has a Facebook account. No Facebook means no comments.
WordPress (Jetpack) Integrated
While WordPress does many things well, creating an incredible comment system isn't one of them.
To prevent or minimize spam using the integrated setup, you have to add 3rd party anti-spam plugins. You know how much I dislike unnecessary plugins. If you're going to add a plugin anyway, why not install one that handles the comments and the anti-spam already.
Also, the integrated plugin doesn't have as many features. You can't “up-vote” popular or recommended comments. You can't feature a comment that adds value or answers the questions of other readers.
Plus, the integrated WordPress system looks plain and neglected. Nothing about it says, “Comments are not only welcome but they're encouraged!”
Disqus vs Livefyre
And now for the meat. I started using Disqus in the very beginning of my online journey. I took the recommendation of Michael Hyatt and followed his example.
However, in the summer of 2014, over two years after I began, I started to give Livefyre a serious look. Why I switched my comment plugin from Disqus to Livefyre (and back again) may help you determine which comment system you should use for your own site.
I switched away from Disqus because it was loading slow on my site. Sometimes not at all.
In April of 2014 I completely changed domains. I moved all my content, plugins, pages and posts from where they were, to where they are now on ellorywells.com.
Within the Disqus dashboard, under Discussions>Tools, I did what they call a “domain migration.” I'm fairly tech-savvy and I know what I'm doing. I followed the instructions and the comments moved over, for the most-part, like they should have.
That said, after the migration, the plugin would either load only after a long delay or maybe not even at all. When the plugin didn't load, readers would be prompted to refresh their page.
Remember what I said about slow?
Ya, readers hate slow. If your readers hate slow, so should you.
I switched to Livefyre hoping it would save critical milliseconds and load faster than Disqus. Or at all.
While you may not have this trouble on your blog, I had many people complain of login issues. And, not necessarily technical problems logging in. Many of my readers just took issue with having to create another login name.
Since I'd been using Disqus for two and a half years and had hundreds of readers leaving hundreds of comments, change was tough. Trying to move your readers from one platform to another could be more of a challenge than it's worth.
My readers weren't interested in created another account with Livefyre just so they could comment on my posts.
Since they already had an account with Disqus, they didn't want someone else having their email address. While they could have logged in with a social media account, they didn't.
These login issues lead me to my next issue, which is actually the most important of them all…
Building an audience who will comment and interact with you takes time. If you're not writing posts that insult one group or another (which often leads to comments), it's hard to get readers to pause their day and say something. At least it was for me.
Over two and a half years, I've been honored to have readers, like you, who've taken the time to give feedback on my posts. I love receiving emails from readers like you. But, comments add social proof to your posts and show the world that people are listening to what you have to say.
Before I switched to Livefyre I was getting a steady stream of comments on most of my blog posts. After I started using Livefyre I received a grand total of less than comments.
Since switching back to Disqus, I've started getting 4-5 comments per post again. It's a slow climb back to normal, but I'm working on it.
In the thirty days or so that I had Livefyre installed on AshleyandEllory.com I had over seventy spam comments. My wife and I started our podcast site in August of 2014 and have only a small bit of traffic.
With Livefyre we received more spam than we did of actual comments left by real people.
Yes, most of the spam comments were flagged as such and held for moderation, but I still had to log in and delete them.
I'm not sure if Disqus does a better job of filtering out known malicious IP addresses or what, but I never used to have this problem.
At the end of the day, what does this all mean?
It means reader engagement is key. It means slow is bad. It means spam comments create more work than I want to deal with.
Is one comment plugin better than another?
For me, yes. For my audience, yes. Your results may be different from mine.
Whatever comment plugin you choose to go with, stick with it. Just like your readers will expect consistency in your blogging schedule, they'll expect consistency when they go to make a comment.
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Question: What makes you want to leave a comment?