Creating an active comments section on your blog is difficult, but it is one aspect that you should work on as your blog grows.
Not only do blog comments help you engage with your readers, they can even help your site rank better on Google, at least according to my experience.
To help make it easier to create an engaging comments section on your blog, you can find lots of helpful WordPress plugins. They are, in fact, available in such huge numbers that you might feel overwhelmed trying to find the absolute best options.
To help, I’ve collected 8 of the best comment plugins for WordPress.
Some of these are standalone plugins that make huge changes to your comments section, while others have smaller features that you can combine with some of the other plugins on this list.
1. Thrive Comments
Thrive Comments is a relatively new plugin from the stable of Thrive Themes. It is actually the exact comments system that we use here at ShoutMeLoud – so if you want to see it in action, just scroll down.
You can also read my Thrive Comments review for a more in-depth look at how the plugin works.
Thrive Comments integrates with the native WordPress comments system to add a completely new interface:
All your old comments will continue to work in the new interface. And if you ever deactivate the plugin, your comments will go back to the normal version displayed by your theme.
In addition to the new design, Thrive Comments adds helpful engagement-boosting features like:
There are also a couple of other neat features like:
2. No Self Pings
No Self Pings is a simple plugin that helps keep your comments section free of clutter.
By default, every time that you link to an internal post on your WordPress site, your site will leave a pingback on the post that you linked to.
If you’re following good SEO principles and including lots of internal links, this can quickly start cluttering up your comments section with lots of pingbacks.
When you install and activate this plugin, you’ll get a new box when you go to Settings → Discussion that lets you enter domains to exclude from pings. By default, the plugin already includes your own domain name, but you can also add additional domain names if you want to exclude external websites:
3. Jetpack Comments
It doesn’t affect how your theme displays comments – it just affects the form that your readers use to actually leave comments.
Visitors can still use the default “Email, Name, Website” method, but they also gain social login buttons for:
Another benefit that Jetpack Comments comes with is the ease of use to enable in comparison to other social login plugins. Most plugins make you create a Facebook App before you start accepting social login, but with Jetpack you just need to click a single button:
Consider Jetpack if you already like how your comments section looks but just want to improve the comments form and include a social login.
Similar to Thrive Comments, it completely replaces your comments section design with a new one.
Here’s what the default styling looks like (they also have some other style options, though):
In addition to the new design, here are some other features that wpDiscuz adds to your comments section:
There are also a lot of smaller features in wpDiscuz. If you’re interested, I encourage you to check out the demo.
5. Thank Me Later
Thank Me Later lets you connect with your commenters via email after they leave a comment on your site.
The plugin lets you automatically send an email to your commenters at a specific time after they leave a comment. You can specify the timeframe – so this could be 5 minutes or 5 days after they leave a comment.
You can use this email to:
What’s cool is that you can also use shortcodes in your emails to automatically insert the commenter’s name, which gives your thank you email a more personalized touch:
If desired, you can also create different thank you emails for different categories on your site.
6. WP First Letter Avatar
By default, WordPress displays a grey “Mystery Person” avatar whenever a user doesn’t have a Gravatar image associated with their email.
WP First Letter Avatar helps you avoid a bunch of anonymous grey “Mystery Person” boxes by adding an avatar with the first letter of the commenter’s name when WordPress can’t find a Gravatar image:
While the plugin comes with its own set of letters, you can also upload your own images to use for each letter if you really want to personalize things.
7. Yoast Comment Hacks
Yoast Comment Hacks is a plugin from the Yoast SEO team that makes a few minor tweaks to how your comments section functions.
One of the neatest features is a new button in your interface that lets you email all commenters on a specific post. The admin users also get new links in the comment section to email individual commenters directly.
Another helpful feature lets you redirect first-time commenters to a special thank you page. Like Thank Me Later, you can use this to connect with your commenters and thank them or promote something. Only, with this feature, you connect on your own site rather than using the email.
Other helpful features include:
8. Simple Comment Editing
How many times have you left a comment on a blog only to realize that you made a mistake right after hitting the submit button?
Simple Comment Editing helps your visitors avoid that feeling by giving even anonymous commenters the option to edit comments after they click submit.
Don’t worry. They can’t edit comments forever (that would cause all kinds of problems).
Instead, they only have 5 minutes to edit their comment. This ensures that they have enough time to fix mistakes, but not so much time that they can change a comment’s meaning after other people have interacted.
To use this plugin, you simply install/activate it and it starts working right away – no configuration needed:
Note: If you decide to use wpDiscuz, you don’t need this plugin because wpDiscuz already includes comment editing for anonymous users.
As you can probably guess, I like Thrive Comments the best (otherwise I wouldn’t be using it on this site).
wpDiscuz is also another good option to add a lot of functionality to your comments section using one plugin.
And if you want some smaller enhancements, all of the other plugins add valuable features – they just don’t completely replace your comments section like Thrive Comments or wpDiscuz.
Want to talk about comments even more? Leave a comment and let’s see an active comments section in action!
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