When you allow visitors to make comments on your WordPress posts, you’re increasing engagement, nurturing a conversation, tempting people to come back, and prompting others to generate buzz about your site. All of this is great news if you’re looking to build an online following.
Fortunately, WordPress offers several plugins that make commenting easy. With just a few clicks of your mouse, you can be on your way to creating a virtual water cooler where people share their thoughts.
However, comments sections are a prime target for abuse. People post spam, grotesque insults, and even threats of violence in the comments section of various blogs. While there’s no way to implement a solution that completely eliminates this potential, there is a way to reduce it dramatically: Use Facebook Comments as a solution. In this article, we’ll examine how comments benefit your site and explain why Facebook Comments is the best option.
How Comments Benefit Your WordPress Site
If you’re running a blog of any kind, you’re probably looking to build an online community. You’re targeting like-minded people who share the interests highlighted by the content on your site. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship: Your visitors get information that they consider valuable by visiting your site, and you build an audience.
However, it’s also a great idea to allow your visitors to interact with one another. One of the best ways to do that is with a comments section that allows them to not only leave you feedback on your content, but also to interact with each other. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from a comments section.
Every digital marketer is looking for engagement. It’s the initial germ that eventually creates virality. It’s what transforms your content from just another article in cyberspace to a must-read piece that people share with their friends.
Comments encourage engagement by allowing visitors to share their thoughts on your content. However, comments go farther in that they allow people to express their opinions on the same page as your content. When people share or tweet your article, they may offer some of their commentary, but it’s only visible to their friends and followers. However, a comments section allows them to share their thoughts just below the article itself. That’s a great way to build a community in which people feel like their voice is being heard.
A Social Community
A comments section not only increases engagement, but it also increases the likelihood of building a social community. If you view your website as a virtual couch where old friends can crash when they show up out of nowhere, then you want to establish a sense of belonging.
With a comments section, you’ll have people going back and forth with each other. They’ll discuss the article above the comments section. They’ll talk about their favorite places to eat. They’ll reminisce about old times. And yes, they’ll even argue back and forth sometimes.
What does that do for your site? It creates an online community that your visitors likely won’t be able to find anywhere else. That community makes your blog unique and keeps it in high demand.
What happens when people talk back and forth with each other? They have to reply to what the other person says. When people are engaged in discussions in a comments section, they’re going to want to reply. To do that, they’ll have to come back to your website to make that happen. That means more clicks for you, which in turn means more ad impressions and more revenue. Everybody wins.
The fact of the matter is that a comments section is one of the best ways to make your site “sticky”. If your visitors start buddying up and debating with one another, then they’ll keep coming back. You’ll build a loyal community that can’t be found anywhere else.
Introducing Facebook Comments
So how do you add Facebook commenting to your website you ask? Easy – with a plugin of course, and a free one at that. Facebook Comments WordPress, as the name implies, is a WordPress comments plugin that’s integrated with Facebook.
The immediately noticeable downside to this solution, of course, is that people who don’t have Facebook accounts won’t be able to leave comments. The immediate response to that objection is: Who doesn’t have a Facebook account? The Facebook community boasts of hundreds of millions of users worldwide. You’ll certainly be able to create your own online subculture from Facebook users.
Facebook Comments gives you a great, threaded commenting solution that’s integrated with the popular social media website. In fact, it’s may be the best commenting solution for your blog.
Installing The Plugin
If you’ve installed a plugin before, this process is going to be very familiar. just navigate to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard. Just search for “Facebook comments.”
It should be the very first plugin on the list. But if it’s not for some reason, just scroll down the page until you find the Facebook Comments plugins with the green comment logo and 40k+ installs. Just click the button to install and then activate the plugin.
Configuring The Plugin
Once activated, you should notice a new dashboard for “FB Comments.” Click on it to enter your comments settings. There are a lot of cool settings for fonts, text color, and more but we would recommend styling these to match the rest of your theme. But the two most important are the App ID (from Facebook) and the Display Comments On (to set where you want Facebook comments displayed by default).
Before plying with your settings you’ll first you’ll want to create your Facebook App ID to sync your Facebook with your website. Click this link to create an app to handle your comments. This will take you to Facebook, where you will see the option to become a Facebook Developer. Click the green button to register and then follow the on-screen instructions.
Once registered, your screen should now show a green button to “+ Add a New App” like the one below. Click on it to get started.
Next you’ll choose your app type. Since we’ll be using this for your WordPress site comments, select the WWW: website option.
After selecting you should see a screen to start your website app page, but since we’re really only doing this for the App ID just click the righthand options to skip the setup and create the App ID.
Now you get to create your ID! Just add a display name & namespace you’ll remember, choose a category, and click the blue button the create the ID.
Ok, now you have a Facebook App ID! Just copy it, and go back to your WordPress dashboard to paste it on.
With that done, you can go through and add your FB Comments settings. When you’re done just click save – that’s it!
With this plugin you also have the option to disable the automatic inclusion of Facebook comments on every post/page, and to use a handy dandy shortcode instead. This way you can include Facebook comments only on specific pages or page templates that you create.
Note: You can of course also upgrade to Pro for access to color schemes (dark/light), customizable backgrounds, 39+ animation effects, a multi-site use premium plugin license and premium support. Though if all you want to do is tweak some colors, it’s likely something you can figure our with a quick Google search and minimal CSS>
Why You Should Use Facebook Comments
There are plenty of reasons to adopt Facebook Comments as your solution of choice (whether or not it’s via the FB Comments WordPress plugin), and we could go on and on. Here are just the top five though, just to get you started:
1. Reduced Trolling
With few exceptions, people use their real identities on Facebook. That stands in contrast to other commenting solutions, such as Disqus and Livefyre, in which people can generate an account with any name or handle. Facebook requires people to specify valid identity information.
That cuts back on trolling significantly, because online trolls love anonymity. If people want to lash out at a fellow commenter with a juvenile insult, they’ll have to do so using their real name (and, probably, their picture) with a Facebook Comments solution.
Yes, as noted above, there are always people who learn how to beat the system. However, people aren’t typically going to go out of their way to create a fake Facebook account just for the opportunity to insult people online.
The reality is that, while you can never eliminate trolling, you can cut it down significantly by forcing people to comment with a real identity. That immediately makes Facebook Comments better than other solutions.
2. Reduced Spamming
As we have seen, SEO professionals who’ve succumbed to the dark side of the force use the comments sections of blogs for spamming purposes. Simply put, that’s more difficult to do with Facebook Comments making it an excellent method to add to your list of ways to prevent WordPress spam.
That’s because Facebook will immediately ban any account that’s suspected of abuse. So the black hatters will have to go through the arduous process of creating a new Facebook account, complete with an identity that fools the company into thinking that the person is real, before starting their spam efforts anew.
3. Increase Social Engagement
Facebook is still the most popular social media site on the planet. If you have a commenting system that’s tied to Facebook, then you’ve just opened up a whole new opportunity to increase engagement.
With Facebook Comments, you get the best of both worlds. You get engagement from the comments and you also get additional exposure because those comments are tied to Facebook. People who might not have visited your site, but noticed that one of their friends commented on an article at your blog, might be tempted to check out what you’ve posted. You could end up with a new loyal visitor.
4. Most “Liked” Comments Go to the Top
Another way that Facebook Comments cuts back on spam is that it puts the most “liked” comments at the top. That way, the first thing that your visitors see at the top of the comments section is the comment that was appreciated the most. That’s (typically) not going to be spam.
Putting the most liked comments at the top also puts the inane, insulting, and otherwise pointless comments at the bottom, where they’re less likely to be seen. That keeps the trolls from being fed.
5. Improved Credibility
When you see a comment by “xyzzy2122” on a discussion board, how seriously do you take it? That could be anyone. However, with Facebook Comments, people will be offering comments under their real names and profile pics. That will increase their credibility, which in turn improves the quality of the overall discussion.
Wrapping it Up
In summary, Facebook Comments should arguably be your “go to” comments solution. It will reduce the troll count, help eliminate spam, tie you to a vast social network, and improve the overall integrity of the discussions on your site. What’s your favorite solution for comments on your website? Feel free to sound off, appropriately enough, in the comments below.