Two Plugins To Increase Blog Comments

I recently installed two new WordPress Plugings designed to increase comments in the blog. It’s a bit too early to tell what kind of impact they will have but I think it will be positive, especially after I explain the benefits.

Subscribe to Comments 2.0

The first Plugin, Subscribe to Comments 2.0, adds a “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” check box below the submit comment button so users can keep track of the comments. When a new comment is made to the post, an email is sent to the subscriber notifying them. This is a much better system than subscribing to the individual comment RSS. I make over 70+ posts per month. That’s a lot of individual RSS subscription to manage. Only readers who have made a comment can use this feature. That in itself encourages comments.

The Plugin is very easy to install – just upload two files and activate the Plugin in the WordPress Plugins control panel. If you’re running an older version of WordPress, you’ll have to add a piece of PHP code to your template to call up the plugin.

Show Top Commentators

The second Plugin is call Show Top Commentators. This Plugin encourages feedback and discussion by rewarding reader for making a comment. The top commentators are displayed on the right sidebar (under Categories) along with the number of comments made and a link back to their site or blog.

Here’s the real incentive – unlike links in the comments, the links on the Top Commentators are full links without a nofollow tag. That mean you’ll get loved by Google as well as traffic! Over 60 bloggers submitted a review of my blog so they can get a linkback without a nofollow tag. This is another way to do the same thing, and on an ongoing basis. Just make sure your comment is a real comment and not spam!

To install the Plugin, upload the single file to the Plugins folder and
activate it in your WordPress Plugins control panel. Then add <?php
ns_show_top_commentators(); ?> to the part of your template where you want the top commentators to appear. The sidebar would be the most common place.

Right now, the Top Commentators are reset once per month. I may change that to once per week depending on how things go. The Plugin gives you the option to adjust the resetting from a day, a week, a month, a week, or never.


77 thoughts on “Two Plugins To Increase Blog Comments”

  1. Mubin says:

    Well John, its working. You got me commeting already.

    But one question will this not lead to comment spam? I mean what if people are just going to start leaving comments for the sake of it?

    BTW, I got 3 referrals in agloco, and its currently in the top 37% of members if that helps with your equation in anyway.

  2. John Chow says:

    Comment spam is something I already monitor quite heavily. If I feel a comment is spam, I remove it or don’t allow it to get posted.

    BTW – The real top commentator is me. However, I disallowed myself from the ranking. 🙂

  3. Mubin says:

    Heh, is there anyway to find out how many comments each person has?

  4. Matt Berman says:

    Your right, this does work…comment comment comment.

  5. Michael Kwan says:

    Mubin: Well, that’s pretty much what the top commenters thing does, except it only shows the top 10.

  6. Robert says:

    The followup notification is really nice and I recently added it to all of my blogs as well. I wish more blogs had this as I tend to forget where I had left comments and so I rarely return to see what was said. I wouldn’t be surprised if your return visitor traffic goes up a little because of it.

  7. Leroy Brown says:

    I’ve been using Subscribe to Comments for awhile – it’s just necessary, and every blog should have it. I think I might consider adding the top commenters to a few of my blogs. Like you said – that link may be all the incentive that people need to comment more often.

  8. girlrobot says:

    wow, i noticed your rss subscribers dropped significantly! what happened?

  9. John C (not John Chow) says:

    Thanks again for always sharing great tips. I take special note of the plugins in particular as I’m hoping to launch a blog myself soon using wordpress. Also I’d say yes it is working. I feel suddenly compelled to comment more. Good job!

  10. Leftblank says:

    Those plugins seem to be quite useful indeed, I’ll install those on my other weblog as well, hopefully I’ll manage to port it to my favorite CMS later, if the authors allow it.

    And like girlrobot (and some others) already mentioned; what happened to the RSS subscribers? Did Feedburner have an unannounced update in their way of counting?

  11. ashwin says:

    hey john,

    great blog. I am thinking of starting my own. I was wondering. where did you get the template from for this blog?? Also, is it powered by wordpress???

    please let me know in an email. I knoq you are an extremely busy man, but for a 17 year old entrepeneur, this would be extremely helpful.

    thank you

  12. Michael Kwan says:

    I think I just need to increase comments in general, as all the people commenting in my blog are people that I know personally. Very rarely is a random stranger. It could have a lot to do with the restrictive blog software offered for “free” by godaddy.

  13. Thomas says:

    The top commentators system will certainly help to engage your readers in discussion, at least more frequently.

    Girlrobot and Leftblank – I think John already explained in a previous posts comments that the drop in RSS subscribers was due to Christmas – less people online.

  14. Bryce says:

    I wish I had something to offer people to comment on my blog 🙁

  15. Andy says:

    Wow, thats a great way to increase comments – I am going to install these on all my blogs

    Thanks a Lot JohnChow

  16. Andy says:

    OK – I think I figured this out – thanks for the help over MSN John

  17. HMTKSteve says:

    Wow…

    I’m your top commenter!

  18. Justin says:

    lol I was going to say you were the top commenter but you cant take part ah

  19. Tony says:

    Top Commentators are “reset”? I would think that right after the said reset, the list would be empty until 10 different people post a single comment each.

    It would make more sense to have “top commentators in the last [time period of choice]”

  20. Mubin says:

    YOu may have started a comment war here John.

  21. Alex Becker says:

    well John you got me. I will make sure to add my 2 cents to every post you make.

  22. David Mackey says:

    WOOHOO! Hey John – I’m in your top commentators! Hopefully I say something worthwhile once in a while. But now I’m going to start having some serious competition for comments. 🙁 Thats no fun. But I’ll look forward to see what the increase in traffic looks like and whether my blog takes a jump up. Maybe Technorati will up my ranking b/c of you? Anyways, here’s hoping I can stay up there.
    Also, wanted to note that the first plugin sounds okay, but not that great. I don’t usually followup on comments on a post. Its hard enough keeping up on the posts themselves. I think what we really need is something that threads posts, that it only sends you an email if a person directly responds to you.
    I really like the second plugin. I wish there was a plugin like that for Telligent’s Community Server (what I use for my blog). Awesome feature and thanks for the link.

  23. Kenric says:

    These are pretty cool. I was just about to post my review of your site based on how it has helped my blog in terms of SEO. I guess I have to add these two plug-ins to my list and into my review before I post it.

  24. Andy says:

    WoHoo! I am in the Top 3 and will continue to comment
    Great Blog John!

  25. Eliza says:

    That’s neat, and I can see the competition rising to be the top one. You are going to have trouble John. As for the person that made the comment on dropping comments, we won’t be able to tell until after the new year begins. Hope everyone had a great holiday and lasting memories.

    John, loved the picture of your little girl.

  26. ashwin says:

    john, please let me know about the template

  27. HMTKSteve says:

    The thing that some bloggers do not understand is that when a user leaves a comment they are making your blog better.

    Providing a link back to them is the least you can do. It costs you nothing and it encourages them to keep commenting and adding value to your site.

  28. true steve. . .its a very good incentive. BTW John, whts up with your Agloco referrals? I am kinda trying pretty hard, but then, no many takers. . .how about a post on how to increase affiliates? lolz, just some idea…

  29. nsusa says:

    Real comments are unique content and therefore are excellent value for any blog. I like the top commentators is motivating readers to comment = good. Thanks for sharing.

    Christoph

  30. Gdog says:

    Nice idea with the top commentators plugin. That will definitely drive more traffic to your blog! The notify feature I think is super handy…nice picks!

  31. Michael Kwan says:

    I agree. This top commenters thing is going to increase traffic if only people want a linkback to their site via the sidebar.

  32. Nomar says:

    Wow, great idea,

    I see I am on spot 3

    thats cool.. Might be thinking of installing it on my own blog to,

  33. HMTKSteve says:

    It’s features such as this that make me consider dropping Serendipity and going to WordPress.

    The only problem is with the URLs.

    My blog puts the entry number ahead of the title when generating a URL. If I went to a different blogging platform that did not follow this naming system I would lose a ton of linked traffic!

  34. Leftblank says:

    HMTKSteve, “I would lose a ton of linked traffic!”. I don’t think that’s really necessary, you could give the visitors are (301) permanent redirect by using a .htaccess file, I can’t help you much with that, but if theres always a number at a certain point in the url it shouldn’t be too hard to filter it out and send the visitors to the new place. I guess it’s worth looking into if you’re interest in switching.

  35. HMTKSteve says:

    Leftblank – True, I could also make up a series of redirect html files that have the same name as the current blog files and use them as re-directs.

    I’m not familiar with using a .htaccess file for redirects on a per file basis. Is there a particular resource you recomend for learning more about this?

  36. Thanks for the plugins John. Just installed them on my site and hopefully will help retain some commentors/readers.

    FT
    http://www.MillionDollarJourney.com

  37. Does the top commentators work with Blogspot as well? Basically all blogs are generally the same whether one is through a major company like blogspot or one that is private made, correct?

    SIK
    http://www.studentinkorea.blogspot.com

  38. I guess the proof of the pudding is in the tasting and since you integrated the commentators plugin, your comment levels have risen dramatically. Great idea – I’m considering it myself.

  39. HMTKSteve says:

    SIK – no, all blogs are not the same. John uses wordpress which is not the same as the software blogspot runs AFAIK.

  40. Tony says:

    @HMTKSteve – with WordPress, you actually have an option to construct a custom URL format.

    Actually it’s all redirects anyways, so it’s possible to hack WordPress / .htaccess to accept a dual format for post naming if needed.

  41. HMTKSteve says:

    @Tony – Thanks, I was unaware of that. I will have to look into that and see about changing my blog’s format and engine.

  42. Oh cool, don’t know how I missed this post – good stuff John, I’ll be sure to keep bugging you with my comments 🙂

    I’d noticed the Top Commentators plugin appear on a couple of other wordpress blogs I follow lately – is it a new plugin?

    In any case, cheers!

    Matt

  43. HMTKSteve says:

    I’m noticing a few “hey man this is great” short comments on the blog now. I think some folks might be trying to “game” your blog now John!

  44. Nomar says:

    no offense, but it looks like your doing the same steve, you responded already 7 times in this blog post

  45. HMTKSteve says:

    Nomar –

    My first comment “Wow… I’m your top commenter! ” could fall under that heading as it adds nothing to the blog or the discussion.

    My second comment is completely on topic.

    My third and fourth comments are off on a tangent and are not in any way related to the topic of the post they are comments under, they could be removed and I would not shed a tear.

    Comment five is a response to a question asked in a previous comment.

    Comment six is a thank you for information posted in another comment.

    Comment seven can be deleted after it has been read as it is also off topic.

    This is now comment eight and is written in response to your comment!

    The real target of my comment #7 is that I have seen a sudden surge in comments being added to articles that are over six months old! Comments that add nothing to the old post, are not on topic and are nothing more than, “man, this is a cool post, thanks!”

    I feel this is occuring because John has set up a reward system based on leaving comments. He has said he does moderate comments and he edits/deletes them as needed so I’m sure he is on top off all of this!

    I get comment spam all the time on my blog, mostly from shady sites looking to get some linkbacks by going after old articles. That is why my blog is setup so that anything older than 30 days has to be reviewed before it will show up as a comment.

  46. Andy says:

    I completely agree with HMTKSteve
    If the comment does not subtract value from the page (like those posts with liks to pill or shady finance sites I know many get) I don’t see a problem with it

  47. HMTKSteve says:

    John,

    Now that my email box is being pounded with “new comment on xyz” emails from johnchow.com how do I unsubscribe?

  48. John Chow says:

    There should be a “Manage Subscriptions” link under the Submit Comment button.

  49. HMTKSteve says:

    Nope, just a box to check for “notify me of followup comments via email”

    I’m using FF2 if that makes a dif, is it an IE setting?

  50. John Chow says:

    I assume you figured it out. I just check your subscription and it shows you’re subscribed to three posts and this is not one of them.

  51. HMTKSteve says:

    I never subscribed to this one… and all of the ones I do subscribe to offer me no way to unsubscribe!

  52. Leftblank says:

    HMTKSteve, hit the link at the bottom and delete the subscriptions you don’t like? Works fine for me.

  53. HMTKSteve says:

    Leftblank,

    What link? Is it in the email notification?

  54. Andy says:

    Hey, do these reset every month or every year?

  55. Hi John, presumably you’ve got your plugin setup to reset every month? I just noticed it had clicked back to zero.

  56. John Chow says:

    Yes it reset every month.

  57. HMTKSteve says:

    Yeah for monthly resets!

    I’m glad to see you are reseting this monthly. I imagine it must be intimidating to someone new to your blog to see a list of “top commenters” on the side all the while knowing you will never over take them without spamming the comments.

  58. Rob Neville says:

    I like the link love idea, but it of course assumes that someone’s reading the post in the first place 🙂 – not a problem for you but it might be for a new blogger.

  59. TBC says:

    Now maybe we’ll all be superfluous to try for a non-nofollow link from a Page Rank 4 site!

  60. Interesting suggestion on the Show Top Commentators plugin. I hadn’t come across this one before — I’ll be installing it later today to check it out. Thanks John!

  61. Jane says:

    I really like the Comments 2.0 feature because it gives you an option to recieve the emails or not. The worst scenerio is that you get the emails regardless of wanting them or not. Sure glad that’s not the case.

  62. Raghu says:

    John,

    I have said it many times before – your ‘Top Commentators’ link has really got me commenting on your site.

    And needless to say it has paid off reasonably well. There has been a definite surge in the traffic from your blog to mine.

  63. Markus says:

    I like the show_top_commenters one. It’s installed now 😉

  64. Kalle says:

    The Top Commentators works well I guess. Will install it on my blog. One of the reasons that many, including me, mind commenting is that they want to reach the top of that list. The more traffic you get, the more will people like to get to the list, so the more comments you will get 🙂

  65. Great post… I’m going to install both of those. Thanks John!

  66. The subscribe to comments has worked well for me on some of my blogs. The Frequent commenter has also done well on a blog or two.
    That kind really depends on what type of blog it is.

  67. LR2 says:

    I wonder how big of an impact plugins like these will have in the future.

  68. Oya says:

    Hello John,
    I have been a silence visitor of your blog, till today:) I have started blogging around one month ago. Since I am not a computer genius, it takes time for mee to figure out things. I mean all this taggings, feeds, layouts…etc..are all new for me. I am not in a hurry. I take time to make my blog better and increase the traffic. So far, my point of view is the most important thing is, having good content. Then ofcourse, you need to let people know, that something is going on there ..Your ideas to encourage visitors to leave comments are really good. I will try them. You are doing a good job. Thanks for all sharing this…

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