Blogging is important for many reasons, but it plays a special role in allowing individuals and businesses alike to reach out and communicate directly with an audience. And just as the prominent social media sites allow, it’s imperative that your site visitors have a way to provide feedback and interact with one another on your blog. This is how you build a community, and a lively community is one of the key assets that keeps people coming back to your site time and time again.
However, blog comments aren’t like social media sites, where notifications pop up on your phone or computer screen when a new mention, like, or comment is posted. You have to go back to the blog and manually check the comment section on the post on which you commented to see if anyone is engaging in a conversation with you. That is, unless comment notifications are enabled.
Why Comment Notifications Are Important
Allow us to paint a picture for you. Imagine you’ve visited a website, read a blog post and left a comment. You then go about your day. What are the chances you’ll go back to that website and check the comments to see if anyone responded to you? Slim to none, right?
This is why comment notifications are important. They turn potentially one-time visitors into repeat visitors and allow readers to keep tabs on conversations with ease.
Now, on the admin and author side, there are numerous benefits as well. For instance, if you run a multi-author site that uses comment moderation, each author can be notified when a new comment is made on their posts. This ensures they can read and respond to comments in real time.
Email Comment Notification Basics
WordPress comes automatically equipped with a function that notifies you when a visitor has left a comment on your posts. We’ll briefly summarize it here though.
To find out what email notifications are set as the default on your site, go to Settings > Discussion in the Dashboard. You should see a couple of options for when emails should be sent out, including when someone posts a comment and when a comment is held for moderation.
If these items are checked, an email notification will be sent to the author of the post on which the comment was made.
The next settings are related to the admin for the site. Before a comment is published, the admin can opt to be notified when a comment must be approved. There’s also the option to automatically approve those from visitors who’ve had approved comments in the past.
If you require more options than what’s provided in WordPress by default, there are several plugins available to help kick your email notifications up to the next level.
You can’t get much simpler than this, and since Jetpack is a plugin mainstay for many developers, it’s even better. Subscriptions makes it easy for site visitors to subscribe to your blog and to the comment threads for individual posts by adding sign up check boxes at the bottom of the comment input field.
With the click of a checkbox, your visitors will be prompted whenever a new comment is made on a post, encouraging them to come back to your site over and over. This is a great way to build long-term relationships with new readers.
Another straightforward plugin, Comment Notifier allows visitors to subscribe to the comments on individual posts. According to the plugin’s description, this can improve site traffic and loyalty. Having your users receive a notification on their comments increases their chances of revisiting the post and the site.
What we like about this plugin though is that the emails can be customized by inserting a variety of tags. This allows you to display the author’s name, post title, post link, as well as several other options to make the emails more personal.
Better Notifications for WordPress
Better Notifications for WordPress enables you to customize all of WordPress’ email notifications. You can send emails to multiple users at once, target both individual and multiple roles, and send out messages to single users. Once you’ve installed the plugin, you’ll see a Notifications menu added to your sidebar. You can use this menu to customize which users and roles you would like to receive customized notifications.
The plugin’s developers also offer a large number of premium add-ons, which can enable notifications through SMTP rather than the standard WordPress email system. They also let you set reminders for specific user roles. For example, if a user hasn’t made an update to a page or post in a certain amount of time, you can automatically send a message nudging them to get it done.
This wpDiscuz plugin was designed to take native WordPress comments to the next level. It is a Disqus alternative that enables you to keep all your comments in your database. You can also use it to replace other comment solutions such as Livefyer, Jetpack, and Facebook.
In addition to providing multiple features enabling you to customize your notifications, this plugin integrates with popular anti-spam tools like Akismet and WPBrusier. If you are running an e-commerce site using WooCommerce, you can use this comment system easily by installing and activating WooDiscuz.
Subscribe to Comments Reloaded
Subscribe to Comments Reloaded enables your commenters to sign up for email notifications. Its full-featured subscription manager also lets users unsubscribe from certain types of messages, or suspend notifications for specific posts.
Other features offered by this plugin include the ability to easily manage your subscribers, fully customizable messages (including HTML capabilities), and the option to unsubscribe users with one click. As an added bonus, Subscribe to Comments Reloaded includes language localization for global users.
cbnet Multi Author Comment Notification
The last plugin we’re going to discuss here today is called cbnet Multi Author Comment Notification. It lets admins set up email notifications for new comments, even if they are not the author of the post in question.
Setup is relatively simple. Once the plugin is installed and activated, simply go to Settings > Discussion in the dashboard and select what email notifications you’d like users to receive based on user role. Or, you can manually insert email addresses for those you’d like to be notified. You can also disable email notifications for comments left by registered users.
Each user can also enable their email notification settings on their own by going to their profile in the dashboard and making the appropriate selections.
Email notifications for comments aren’t all that complicated, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. Enabling such notifications ensure comments are approved shortly after they’re made. It encourages authors to respond and interact with visitors. It also gives site visitors a nudge to come back to the site again, which is definitely good for building a loyal following.
As with anything related to WordPress, there’s a multitude of tools available for the job. Do you use any of the plugins described above? Or do you take a different approach? We’d love to hear your input, appropriately enough, in the comments.