When setting your podcasting website up, one of the things you will be looking to quickly activate is a User Engagement System. This is most often referred to as your Commenting Plugin. There are several great commenting plugins available in the WordPress repository. I have used a few myself throughout the history of TeacherCast to varying degrees of success.
Do you NEED to use an official commenting plugin? Can you simply keep the standard WordPress commenting system? Absolutely, but the addition of a friendly plugin to handle your comments is certainly a plus.
My Two Favorite Commenting Plugins
My first major commenting plugin was Disqus. Free to download and install, Disqus seamlessly loads into your website and takes over the position of Commenting Watchdog.
The one thing I enjoyed about Disqus was the extremely easy to use the mobile application it provides you. Through the mobile app, you can check up and approve all of your comments on your blog. You can approve, not approve, mark as SPAM, and of course reply to all of your messages. This was a major time saver for me as it was one of those things I would do in the morning as my car was warming up for a long drive to work.
Through Disqus, users can leave comments by signing in through their social media accounts. This provides a quick and easy interface for your guests to identify themselves and leave your blog a message.
The commenting system that I am currently using on TeacherCast is Live Fyre. I honestly can say that I made the switch because I was bored with Disqus and wanted to try something new. Live Fyre has some great features including analytics telling you exactly how many people are looking at the very page you are on at any given moment. This is referred to as Real Time Content.
There are several other commenting systems that you should try. No one commenting system appears to be head and shoulders above the rest. If you have a plugin that you like… my advice is to stick with it. If you would like to switch your commenting systems each week, have fun!
Here are some links for your Commenting System Research.
How Do I Encourage User Comments?
The best way to encourage users to comment on your blog is to simply ask them their opinions. Are you writing about your favorite microphone? In the last paragraph of your show notes, ask them to comment on your microphone choices and leave their favorite in the comments below. If you don't ask… you will never bring about dialogue on your website.
Do you have a commenting system of your choice? If so, please leave a comment below.