5 Ways to Make Default WordPress Comments Better

A few weeks back I wrote an article about 7 reasons to avoid Disqus & similar 3rd party commenting system, pointing out all the flaws and problem that you might have to face if you stick with these commenting system and sometime there is even no way of coming back to the default WordPress comments, even though you have understand what a blunder you have made. Starting from that post I have received quite a few request on comments and email about how to improve the default WordPress commenting system.

Some realized the benefits of the default WordPress commenting system compared to the 3rd party ones but the only reason they still wanna use the 3rd party commenting system on their website is because of the amazing features that they provide. But, if they can get most of those cool features within the default WordPress commenting system, then they won’t go back to the third-party ones.

So, I spend my last few weeks finding out the loopholes (in terms of feature) of default WordPress commenting system and a way to incorporate those cool features into the default WordPress commenting system. No matter how much I love the extraordinary coding and cache functionality of default WordPress comment system and needless to say may other good things which I’ve already described in my previous article, but I do admit that it does lack quite a few important features which lure people towards these bad 3rd party commenting systems.

Before taking a dive into the cool stuffs, I must admit that this post is not just about adding a bunch of plugins into your website and activating it. In my quest to make default WordPress comment more feature rich, I have to write some code myself to give the proper nexus feel. But anyways, the point is, if you are not familiar at all with coding or how to add a function into your functions.php file or how to add a jQuery code into your website, you might find enabling some features a little difficult. But if you are well familiar with these basic things then we are all set to go.

1. Allow Anonymous Users to Edit Comments

This is one of the most favorite feature of popular 3rd party commenting system. So, if you post a comment and you feel like you have made a typo or you need to add some more texts into it, you can simply edit the comment and post your new thoughts. But this feature doesn’t comes with WordPress CMS default commenting system. But you can easily achieve this feature in your website just by using a plugin named Simple Comment Editing.

Simple Comment Editing

This tiny little plugin will allow anonymous users to edit and/or delete their comments for a period of time. The time period is set up by the website admin. This is really a great plugin and I use it on this website of mine. If you wanna increase the amount of time users are allowed to edit their comments. You can do that simply with a basic function like this:

<?php
add_filter( 'sce_comment_time', 'edit_sce_comment_time' );
function edit_sce_comment_time( $time_in_minutes ) {
return 60;
}

Not just this, there are many other hooks available for this plugin here at github. Which you can take advantage of, if you know when you are doing…

2. Create Account with Social Login

Though many people think this is a great thing, but I personally believe this is really not something that I should use on my website or suggest anyone to use this feature. Because if you are asking your user to register before they can even post a comment on your website, then they are simply just going to walk away from commenting. As they already have many things to do.

But every website has different needs and user base. So, if you really want to add a social registering system like we are used to see on disqus and other 3rd party commenting system, you should definitely try out the plugin named WordPress Social Login.

WordPress Social Login

With this plugin you can enable any social network through which your visitors can register in your website. But again I’m saying, I do not like these sorts of restrictions for basic task. It just makes simple things complicated and people just walk away from engaging with your website and doing basic stuffs. So, do not use this unless you really wanna use it on your website.

3. Mentioning other Commenters

This is another great feature that many of those 3rd party commenting system provides. You can mention any of the previous commenters in your comment and they get notified via email. Now this can be done in two ways, one is mentioning the user like we do in facebook, which I’m going to share in this point and the next one I will share at the point below this.

Mention comment's Authors

If you want to enable the facebook like mentioning system in your WordPress default commenting system, you should opt for a plugin named Mention Comment’s Authors. With this plugin your website commenters will be able to mention any previous commenters on that particular post and works just like facebook mention system. You just have to start with @ and then start typing the name. Cool right?

4. Better Email Notification to Commenters when Reply Received

This is one of the most important loophole in WordPress default commenting system. Though there are a few plugins and modules available to get rid of this issue, but let’s be honest, none of them work well. As an example WordPress’s own Jetpack plugin comes with a subscription module which gives two options to the users. One is to subscribe for the reply received on their comments and the other is to subscribe for the future posts by the author/website.

No matter which one you select, WordPress will send the user a notification to confirm their subscription. Which is great in terms of getting less spammed and being sure that the people who are opted into the subscription are really interested on getting emails from you and will not click “Spam” while they receive on their inbox.

But no matter how good the intention of most of these subscription plugins are, most people will never click the conformation link. Because people are lazy and clicking a conformation link feels like driving a car to the other end of the city. The other reason of people not clicking on the conformation link is because sometimes these verification emails land onto their “Junk/Spam” folder and most people barely look into it.

Subscribe To Comments Reloaded

The solution of this whole fiasco is to use a plugin which does the exact job much better way while reducing the user side effort just to receive updates on their comments. I personally use and suggest everyone to use a plugin named Subscribe To Comments Reloaded.

This small plugin does the job so perfectly like no other big brand plugin can do it. After you install this plugin into your website, it automatically subscribe all commenters for the replies posted on their comments, unless the manually turn it off from the dropdown. But with the default settings they get email notification when somebody replied to his comment. If he wants to receive updates for all the comments posted for that article, then he has to choose “All new comments” from the dropdown.

This plugin is a great alternative of the above mention system I’ve talked about. As this also send an email notification to the commenter when any reply gets posted under his comment.

5. Getting rid of Blank Comment Posting

The blank comment posting issue is one of the most hilarious issues present in WordPress comments. If a visitor visit your article and scroll down to the “Post Comment” section and just click the Post Comment button, instead of filling up the form, WordPress will take the user to the PHP page that handles the user comment and show a wired error message, without giving a link to getting back to the page/post when the user has accidentally clicked the comment button.

Now the only option the user has is to click on the browser’s back button and if it is disabled by some website’s theme then he is completely screwed. Unfortunately to get rid of this situation I didn’t find any plugin and hence I’ve to write code by my own. Anyways, there are two ways you can handle this situation.

Via PHP Function

If you add the following php function in your WordPress theme’s functions.php file, it will show the use a hyperlink to get back to the post from where he has come to the error page. Here is the code:

Via jQuery Magic

You can also add the following jQuery code into your website to create a client side validation before making the “Post Comment” button enable. So, by default the “Post Comment” button will be disabled so that the user cannot click it even accidentally. But when the user starts filling up the comment form and when all the validation gets checked, then the comment button gets auto enabled so that the user can post the comment. You can see this exact technique in this website’s comment form. I’m sharing the jQuery code that I’ve written for my website and if your theme is also coded following all WordPress coding standards and functions then it will work right out of the box. If your theme already has a custom.js file then add it within that file otherwise use a plugin like Insert Headers and Footers to add the following jQuery script into the footer of your website.

Please note I’m sharing these scripts with you for free of cost. So do not expect any free support from my end if you face any issue implementing them. If you need any support contact me for my paid support service.

Even if you use the jQuery based validation on your comment form, I will still suggest you to add the PHP based function in your website, in case someone visit your website from a JavaScript blocked browser. The jQuery validation won’t work from them and you will only have the PHP based option. In fact this is the exact reason WordPress uses that php based validation instead of using any client side validation.

Conclusion

So, now if you wanna quit using the 3rd party commenting system like disqus and others and make your website faster while taking all the benefit of awesome WordPress coding and amazing features of 3rd party commenting system, I think this is the right time to do it.

As I’ve already showed you how you can make your default WordPress commenting system more awesome and amazing, it’s your time to give it a try.

Feedback

So, have you ever used any of the plugins I’ve mentioned above? Do you use any other plugin besides what I’ve mentioned above to enrich the feature of your commenting system? I would love to hear your thoughts about this matter in the comment section below. Let me know what you guys think about these features, what other features you might want to see incorporate into WordPress default commenting system.

You can also connect with me via twitter @iSaumya. If you like this post, please don’t forget to share it with others who might enjoy reading it. Also if you have any other ideas or request about future posts, you can let me know in the comment section below or via twitter.

Published by Saumya Majumder

Passionate, Hard Worker. Love to develop new things, Singing Songs, playing computer Action Games, tweaking with computer languages, Riding Bikes, Love long driving, love books, web & Photography. You can follow me on twitter @iSaumya
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