But the default WordPress comments system is basic, which makes it harder than it needs to be to create an engaging comments section on your blog.
That leads many bloggers to look for a better way. And that includes us!
If you’ve left a comment on ShoutMeLoud recently, you may have noticed that we’re using a new tool for handling our comments.
ShoutMeLoud’s comments system is now powered by Thrive Comments. And in my Thrive Comments review, I want to share a little more about what the plugin does, as well as how you can use it to upgrade the comments section of your blog.
What Does Thrive Comments Do?
Thrive Comments is an enhancement for the native WordPress comments system.
It works with any WordPress theme and completely integrates into the native WordPress comments functionality to ensure that:
- All your old blog comments continue to exist even when you start using Thrive Comments
- If you ever deactivate Thrive Comments, all your comments will continue to remain on your site as regular WordPress comments (you’ll just lose the more advanced features that I’ll discuss below)
Once it’s active on your site, Thrive Comments adds a number of features to make your comments section more engaging.
Five Features That I Like About The Thrive WordPress Comments Plugin
Here are some of the most helpful new features that you get with Thrive Comments
1. Upvotes/Downvotes On Individual Comments (WordPress comment voting)
Thrive Comments gives you the option to add upvotes and downvotes to individual comments, just like the popular social network, Reddit.
This makes your comments section much more engaging because visitors can vote on whether a comment is helpful or not (and sort comments by rating):
If you think allowing downvotes is too negative, you also have the option to only allow upvotes (or completely disable the voting feature, of course). There are a few options that you can configure to enable/disable voting feature including badges feature.
I’m yet to test the badge feature on ShoutMeLoud. You can also see how often the voting feature is being used by using the Analytics feature offered by the plugin. Here are the stats from ShoutMeLoud:
2. Social Login To Comment
Most WordPress sites have the same comment requirements. I’m sure you know them. You enter your:
- Website (optional)
And then you type your comment in the box and click submit.
Thrive Comments still lets you keep that formula, if you want. But it also gives you a new way to verify your comments with Social Login.
Thrive Comments supports social login for both Facebook and Google+, which makes it easy for visitors to quickly leave a comment just by clicking a button to verify their social profile.
3. Display Offer/Message After Comment
Thrive Comments gives you a chance to connect with engaged readers by letting you display a message or offer immediately after a visitor leaves a comment.
With this feature, you can:
- Display a custom message
- Ask them to share their comment on social media
- Display related posts
- Redirect them to another URL
- Display an opt-in form
Because users that comment are naturally some of your most engaged readers, and that gives you a good way to promote your site or offer a freebie to someone who you already know is interested.
You can also perform a different action depending on whether the user is a regular commenter or a first-time commenter. I really find the redirect feature to be powerful to convert your first time commenter into an email subscriber. You can also use this free plugin but this has not been updated for a while.
4. Dedicated Thrive Comments Moderation Area
Thrive Comments comes with its own moderation area that offers some improvements over the regular WordPress comments moderation area, especially for teams.
With it, you can:
- Mark a comment as needing a reply
- Assign the comment to another user for them to reply to which I find useful since ShoutMeLoud is a multi-author blog
- Feature the comment to give it extra visibility
This moderation area is especially helpful for big sites with lots of comments. But I think even smaller blogs can be benefitted from it.
5. Award Badges For Gamification
Thrive Comments lets you create special badges that commenters get when they meet requirements like a certain number of:
- Approved comments or replies
- Comment upvotes
- Featured comments
You can even upload your own badges and give it a custom name:
Gamification is another great way to increase engagement, so I think this feature is definitely worth experimenting with.
Two Things I Don’t Like About Thrive Comments
While I like the functionality offered by Thrive Comments, there are two small downsides to using the plugin over the native WordPress comments.
1. Thrive Comments Has A Negative Effect On Page Load Times
The first downside is that in exchange for all those cool features I talked about above, your site will probably experience a little longer page load times.
To combat this, you can use lazy loading to delay loading the comments, which is what I’m doing on ShoutMeLoud. But that leads to another issue…
2. The Lazy Loading Feature Isn’t Always Smooth
To help combat the slight slow-down in page load times, Thrive Comments offers a lazy loading feature.
With lazy loading, the comments section doesn’t actually load until a reader scrolls all the way down to the bottom of a post.
This is good for performance, but the lazy loading feature isn’t always as smooth as we’d like it to be.
Sometimes, readers scroll to the bottom and still have to wait a second for the comments section to load, which can be a bit confusing for readers. However, this is a small trade-off for the features that this plugin offers. Here is a preview of speed optimization settings offered by Thrive comments:
Now you know the pros and cons of Thrive comments plugin and you can decide if whether or not this is for you. However, I believe with the kind of features this plugin offers, it is definitely worth trying. It gives the default WordPress comment system a much-needed upliftment and is far better than Disqus. Another reason for vouching for Thrive comments is that it keep all the comments in your WordPress database irrespective of whether or not you continue to use this plugin in the future.
How To Use Thrive Comments On Your Blog
Because it integrates with the native WordPress comments system, Thrive Comments is easy to start using on your blog. As soon as you configure the plugin, all your old comments will automatically start working with Thrive Comments.
Here’s how to get your site up and running with Thrive Comments:
Step 1: Install And Activate Thrive Comments
You can purchase Thrive Comments from the Thrive Themes website.
Once you have a copy of the plugin, upload the ZIP file to install it like you would any other premium plugin.
Go to the new Thrive Dashboard tab in your WordPress dashboard and click the button to ACTIVATE LICENSE:
Step 2: Configure Thrive Comments Settings
Once you activate Thrive Comments with your license key, you can configure it by going to Thrive Dashboard → Thrive Comments.
Here, you’ll see a variety of different settings areas, as well as a live preview of what your actual comments section will look like on the right side:
As with most Thrive Themes projects, the interface is fairly easy to understand, so I won’t cover every single setting.
But here are some of the important things that you should configure in these various tabs:
- General Settings: Activate Thrive Comments on your site, require users to log in to comment, automatically disable commenting on old posts.
- Comment Conversion: Choose what happens after a visitor leaves a comment.
- Comment Sign-In: Choose whether or not to enable social login for your comments section.
- Customize Style: Change the style of your comments to match your site.
- Voting and Badges: Choose whether to enable upvotes and downvotes (or just upvotes). You can also turn on the award badges here.
- Notifications: If desired, you can connect to a third-party email service to deliver customized email notifications.
- Advanced Settings: Lets you configure performance optimizations, like lazy loading, as well as some moderation settings.
Once you finish configuring the plugin, your new comments section will be live.
It will apply to both new and old posts. And, like I said, any old comments that you have on your site will automatically start working with the Thrive Comments interface.
How To Moderate Comments
To access the special Thrive Comments Moderation interface that I showed you earlier, you just need to go to Comments → Thrive Comments Moderation in your WordPress dashboard:
Conclusion: Is Thrive Comments WordPress plugin worth our time?
Want to see what Thrive Comments looks like in action? Just scroll down and leave a comment on this Thrive Comments review! You’ll get to see exactly what it’s like.
If you like what you see, Thrive Comments starts at $39 for a single site license.
Or, you can also get access to it as part of the Thrive Themes membership.
The plugin comes with a 30-day no question asked refund policy which is a good assurance in case the plugin doesn’t fit your requirement or you are not happy using it. I have been using Thrive Comments for a while and in my opinion, this is the first time a WordPress comment plugin has excited as much.
Since the plugin is developed by ThriveThemes, a popular company that always releases quality products, it’s a good plugin to buy for making your WordPress blog more engaging.
Feel free to ask your questions related to Thrive comments WordPress plugin and I would love to find an answer for you. If you are already using it, I look forward to hearing your review and feedback on this plugin. For now, go ahead and test out the plugin by commenting below and grab a license for your blog.
If you liked the feature of Thrive comments plugin, do spread the word by sharing this review post on your social media platform. I will see you in the next blog post.
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