Should You Use a Third-Party Blog Comment System?

By definition, a blogging platform includes an internal commenting system so visitors can publish comments on blog posts. Comments, conversation, and community are three of the most important parts of blogging, so it’s critical to your blog’s success that you use the best blog comment system to meet your goals. However, the internal blog comment system that comes with WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and other blogging platforms might not be the best one for your blog.

Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of the most commonly used blog commenting systems to determine if you need to move away from your blogging platform’s internal tool or not.

Pros and Cons of Blog Comment Systems

1. Popular Blog Comment Systems

By far, the most popular blog commenting systems are the ones built into blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, TypePad, and so on.

The most popular third-party blog comment systems are:

  • Disqus: Allows comments from anyone who creates a free Disqus account. Works with WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace, TypePad, Movable Type, Drupal, and Joomla.
  • Livefyre: Allows comments from anyone who creates a free Livefyre account. Works with WordPress, Tumblr, and Joomla.
  • Facebook: Allows comments only from Facebook users through  Facebook’s Comment Box social plugin. Facebook promotes the tool to its developer community as a way to enable people to post comments on any website.
  • Google: Allows comments only from Google+ users. Works with Blogger.

Keep in mind, every third-party system doesn’t work on every blogging platform.

2. Advantages of Third-Party Blog Comment Systems

There are a number of real advantages to switching to a third-party comment system for your blog. Consider your blogging goals and the preferences of your readers. Choose the tool that provides the best user experience to meet those goals without damaging the user experience.

Following are some of the key advantages to using a third-party blog comment system:

  • Multiple Logins: Many third-party comment systems allow users to log in to publish comments using a variety of social networks or OpenID. For example, if you use Disqus, your readers can create a Disqus account to publish a comment on your blog or they can log in using their Facebook, Twitter, or Google profiles to publish a comment.
  • Reduce Spam: If the third-party comment system you choose to use requires that people use their real names to create user accounts. That means their real names appear with their comments on your blog posts, and you can bet that comment spam will go down. For example, most people who use Facebook, use their real names and identities in their Facebook profiles. If you use Facebook as your blog commenting system, then you should definitely see fewer spam comments.
  • Rich Media: Many third-party comment systems, like Disqus and LiveFyre, allow people to include images and/or videos in their blog posts, which can add to the user experience and the conversation.
  • Functionality: You can use plugins and add-ons to add functionality to the built-in commenting tools on many blogging platforms, but third-party commenting systems include a variety of advanced features such as comment subscriptions, comment threading, and more. No need for all of those other plugins and add-ons! Furthermore, some third-party blog commenting systems like Lifefyre and Disqus include comprehensive analytics about your audience that could be very useful as your blog grows.
  • Social Media Integration: Some third-party comment systems allow users to bring social media conversations into your blog comments (e.g., Disqus and LifeFyre) while others allow users to share their comments on your blog on their social media profiles, too (e.g., Facebook). This seamless integration can be very effective if your community or your marketing is highly focused on specific social media sites.

3. Disadvantages of Third-Party Blog Comment Systems

There are a number of disadvantages to using a third-party comment system that you need to understand before you dive in. Don’t ignore the negatives because they could run counter to your audience preferences and your blogging goals.

Following are some of the key disadvantages to using a third-party comment system:

  • Fewer Comments: Some visitors won’t want to take the time to sign in to publish a comment. Some visitors won’t want to have to identify themselves because they’d prefer to remain anonymous. Since third-party comment systems require people to sign in and possibly provide personally identifiable information (e.g., Facebook), there will be visitors to your site who will not submit comments to your blog posts if you use a third-party comment system.
  • Slower Page Load Speed: Third-party commenting systems are hosted by a platform that is completely separate from your blogging platform. Therefore, they don’t load with your blog content into a visitor’s web browser. They load from a separate host that might not run as quickly as your own host does. That means there could be lag time for the user while they wait for your blog comments to load. Slow page load speeds can hurt the user experience and possibly cause your blog to lose some search traffic.
  • Another Tool to Maintain: While most third-party commenting systems require little effort to set up and almost no ongoing maintenance, you do have to consider your technical skills to get everything set up. Some bloggers prefer to use the built-in commenting system or add plugins or add-ons to their blogs to enhance commenting functionality.
  • Potential Unavailability of Comments: When you use a third-party commenting system, there is always the small possibility that the third-party’s system could go down, which would mean your blog visitors won’t be able to see published comments on your posts or submit their own until the commenting system is working again.

4. The Final Decision

Only you can determine if a third-party comment system is right for you, your blog, your audience, and your blogging goals. Remember, you can always test a third-party comment system and switch back to your blogging platform’s internal commenting system if you aren’t happy.

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