Engagement – Disqus Comments vs WordPress Comments

I decided to do a 30 day case study on visitor engagement and comment counts by disabling my click to load Disqus commenting system setup and going back to the default WordPress commenting system. I have always been curious which actually produced more activity and the results were kind of surprising.

Here are the results of my case study.

disqusVisitor Engagement/Comments with Disqus

I received 65 comments to my blog between 10/15/14 and 11/14/14 with Disqus enabled.

Visitor Engagement/Comments with WordPress

wordpressI received 66 comments to my blog between 11/15/14 and 12/15/14 with native WordPress comments. This doesn’t include spam comments or you can then make the total over 1,600 comments, 96% which were spam. Is it just me or does it seem that the spam frequency has recently increased? Here is an interesting post from Kevin Muldoon on the Rise Forums: Influx WordPress Spam Comments.

False Pros of Native WordPress Comments

  • For many of you I know you use the WordPress comment system partially because of the speed increase. While that is a good reason, you can fix that problem by using the free WordPress DCL plugin with Disqus.
  • Some people argue for WordPress comments because they like how you can remain anonymous. Well what a lot of people don’t take the time to learn is that you can enable anonymous posting in Disqus comments as well. To enable this, simply login to the admin of Disqus and under the “Community Rules” enable “Allow guests to comment.”

guest commenting

Cons of Native WordPress Comments

  • One reason I don’t like the native WordPress commenting system is because it encourages other bloggers to comment just to get a link back to their site, even if it is nofollow. This usually decreases the quality of the comments. I only want people commenting on my blog if it pertains to my post.
  • Another issue is spam. Akismet catches most things and usually is about 98% accurate on my blogs but then you need to regularly clear out your spam folder. With disqus I would argue that it has been 99.99% spam free on all the blogs I have used it on for years.

Conclusion

Just by looking at that data is doesn’t really appear to have any affect. If anything Disqus actually received more comments because I ran a giveaway on my blog during my WordPress test and that generated a majority of those 66 comments. This can be a hard one to test because of seasonal traffic increases, running giveaways, etc… however after looking at this data I have decided to continue using Disqus on my blog. It might be interesting to run a longer case study as well for say 6 months or so and compare that data.

As always I would love to hear what you think below! You can comment using Disqus of course.

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67 thoughts on “Engagement – Disqus Comments vs WordPress Comments

  1. Hey Brian I actually like Disqus too. As a commenter, I personally feel more engaged when commenting with Disqus because of the notifications, threading and user profiles. However I don’t use it on my own site because I’m not crazy about its Sponsored Comments feature. Have you seen any of those? Also, your workaround for the additional load time makes it not responsive

  2. Jetpack comments are stored in your local database, and has social log-ins. There is also the option to subscribe to comments. I don’t like the sponsored comments and have had difficulty with Disqus when changing site navigation … even though article titles did not change.

  3. While Disqus does allow anonymous commenting, they don’t make it as easy as posting a native WordPress comment. What I want is a Disqus comment box with the “Name/Email/URL” fields. That’s it. I don’t want Disqus sign up, or anything else. For me, the biggest advantage of Disqus is the Ajax posting, and the “Read More” section when comment threads get too long.

    As for people leaving comments just to get backlinks – while that does happen, it’s never a problem. I have a host of other measures to prevent bad apples from coming onto my site. Some of my best blogger acquaintances I’ve built over the years have come about simply because I was able to visit their URL.

    Disqus ultimately has an agenda – they want to make anonymous commenting difficult. I don’t like that. So much as I like the other Disqus features, it’s going to remain a WordPress native comment system only…!

    • Hey thanks for the great comment! Actually you can comment on my disqus with only your name and email address. No need to signup for a disqus account. Many bloggers I have talked to don’t know about this :) Super easy. Just click the “I’d rather post as guest box.”

      I agree the threading is very nice with Disqus. I tend to disagree partially about the URL. Even in the 30 days I had people comment just to get a linkback and it had nothing to do with the conversation. It wasn’t spam but it also wasn’t contributing. Usually with disqus I have noticed a lot less of that happening. Although I agree with you on the URL being nice to click on their site. I too have found some great blogs and things to read just by clicking on people’s URLs. On diqus I tend to click into their profile and go over to their twitter profiles. But yes, that is definitely a little nicer in native WP.

      Thanks again for your constructive comment :) Great blog too! I see you get quite a few comments going.

  4. Good analysis overall. But what I really want to know is what you’re using for your social sharing buttons. They’re pretty :)

  5. it is good article. I am also working in a PPC field last 1 year,I am expert in PPC & Adwords agency, this is unique form of web advertiseing, and marketing. PPC is a wonderful option for your business as you can get the process running and have your advertisements displayed extremely quickly.

  6. Hello Blogger,

    Blogging is not just mindless blabbing into the nothingness of the
    Internet. It’s not just you shouting from your platform at the world.
    It’s you participating in the world from the perch of your unique
    platform. That’s what brings comments, participating in the blogging
    world. Try new things, deliver good content and go out and comment on
    the blogs of others whether you are using disqus or wordpress.. Only commenting is important not the platform …

    Regards,

    Techy Blog

  7. Hello , how about using Disqus Conditional Load?
    I think that could help in reducing load time. Please also tell me about how DCL plugin works ?

  8. We just released a native WordPress commenting plugin (Epoch) that is realtime, cache friendly, and improves site performance. It’s free, too. Check it out at http://wptavern.com/postmatic-brings-100-realtime-commenting-to-wordpress-with-epoch-plugin

    Here are some of the benefits of using Epoch:

    1. Both loading comments and submitting comments are incredibly fast. Way faster than Disqus. Faster than any comment system we’ve seen.
    2. For the first time someone can say this: running native WordPress commenting will actually increase your site performance.
    3. It is fully CDN and cache compatible.
    4. Commenting is realtime and updated without page refresh, all the while being incredibly gentle on the server.
    5. Epoch offers three ways to integrate with your theme.
    a. The first tries to continue using your existing comment template but giving you the performance gains.
    b. The second overrides your comment template but inherits typography and colors from your theme.
    c. The third totally replaces your comment template ala’ Disqus or Jetpack Comments.
    6. Since it uses native commenting it is completely private. No farming of user data. No profiling. Your data stays on your server.
    7. It’s compatible with dozens of other commenting plugins to add things like social login, toolbars, attachments, subscriptions…
    8. Epoch and Postmatic are integrated to play well together. For example when leaving a comment in Epoch, Postmatic can pop up an optin modal prompting the commenter to subscribe to new post notifications with just one more click.

  9. Thank you, I was getting so upset with the spam comments because I was testing out a few plugins, but this post was really helpful. But you could just install recaptcha for wordpress. Question is if allowing anonymous still stop spam or not?

  10. It’s hard to know that you can post anonymously, since that “I’d rather post as a guest” checkbox isn’t visible until you click on “Name”, and even then it’s at the very bottom.

  11. Thanks for this. Just starting out with my site, and I’ve been on the fence about switching with all the hoopla over performance. I’m probably going to make the switch in the coming weeks. The only kicker for me is the “hidden” guest posting option.

  12. Hi Brian, did you have any recent suggestions or recommendation on whether using Disquss is a worthy comment option or not.

    I’ve been looking for a good alternative to native WP comments and have been using facebook comments but FB continues to make it increasingly difficult to set up an app in order to activate moderation plus the lack of notification functionality is a real pain.

    I’ve never liked using Disquss as a commenter but I don’t want to use native WP comments for the very reasons you’ve mentioned.

    I have yet to find a solution that doesn’t drag down page load speeds, require a boat load of customization (or fee based third party solutions to fix), prevents anon comments, keeps spam under control, and provides admin moderation.

    I’d love to know your thoughts on this.

    • Hey Drew, ya unfortunately I went back to native comments. I actually love Disqus, but right now there is no good way to lazy load it while also allow comments to be crawlable. I need comments to index for SEO purposes. Right now I just use Akismet and have everything with manual moderation… and just go in and approve/reply to comments in batches once in a while. Seems to work ok for me.

      • Many thanks Brian. It seems like this is a really good area for a provider to explore. I still won’t go back to native comments becasue the trolling and verification process is overwhelming on my blogs.

        I also have a very difficult time with the reliability of notification email messages delivered by the the default WP cron. I’ve noticed they are getting flagged as spam by major email providers at an alarming rate; meaning, messages are getting snagged at the server level and never even make it to individual email clients.

        Using transactional email providers helps, but only a little. Perhaps this is another good topic for you to explore.

        • Yes, I’m about to switch everything to Disqus, though it’s good to keep the SEO aspect in mind. But, for me, the UX of Disqus is so much better that that is going to take priority.

          This is a HUGE hole for someone to fill in the WordPress eco-system. A few combinations of plugins can get a bit close (in functionality), but they are too clunky overall, especially to the end user.

          The big one for me is the notification system of Disqus. What good is leaving a comment on a site if you can’t reliably get notified and get back to it easily.

          I’m curious why you said you didn’t like using Disqus as a commenter, though? My experience has been opposite.

          • I always get snagged by the Disqus login. There’s always an issue, even across entirely different machines. It never remembers using social logins and direct account logins end up triggering their email marketing flood. Add to the the litany of nonsense others have already mentioned make it a “best worst option available” solution. And that’s being generous.

          • Thanks Drew. I didn’t see a way to reply to you, but hopefully you’ll see this.

            I’ve never had an issue with Disqus login (or heard this complaint before). That said, I don’t use (I actually avoid like the plague!) social media logins, though I know that’s a feature.

            re: email marketing flood – do you mean promotional emails? I get one every now and then, but nothing I’d complain about in comparison to other services I use (far less than some). And, I always login directly… use it often, and have 3 accounts.

          • Correct, I was getting them with LinkedIn level frequency and changing the settings was neither simple nor intuitive.I attempted to unsubscribe entirely but that didn’t work either. Ultimately, I had to add them to my email client blacklist.

          • Interesting. I generally don’t mind a few promotional emails, and what I get from Disqus is certainly less than LinkedIn (and I don’t even find that level to be a problem… I can delete quickly.). :)

            Maybe you’re signed up for a different level account or something.

    • I think everyone has their ‘secret sauce’ when it comes to native WordPress comments and avoiding spam. Akismet helps some, but I always found that it wasn’t enough. I tried a ton of stuff over the years, but finally settled on adding the following:

      Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (Andy Bailey)
      Simple Trackback Validation with Topsy Blocker (Tobias Herde)

      I also set things to put comments in moderation (always). This worked fairly well, but I still had to go through the spam tab, as every once in a while something got put there that shouldn’t have been. But, I didn’t get too much in the ‘waiting to be approved’ that wasn’t supposed to be there.

      But, as indicated above, I’ve moved the opposite direction towards Disqus. I don’t have the level of traffic to deal with though that this site does.

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