Time for a confession – I am a comments whore. I love interacting with my readers, and I am disappointed when what I consider to be great posts get few comments (like Margaret’s guest post last week, which was brilliant!).
I had never really put any thought into the comments system on Leaving Work Behind until last week, when I wrote a post for the ManageWP blog – Choosing The Right Comments System To Maximize Blog Engagement. I did quite a bit of research for that article, and in my opinion me the clear winner was Livefyre. I try to take my own medicine whenever possible, so the next logical step was to fire up the Livefyre system on this blog.
You may however be wondering why I have chosen to go with Livefyre. And you may be wondering whether it will actually have a positive impact on interaction and engagement here. Below are the reasons why I have made the change, and why I believe that it will be a good thing for Leaving Work Behind – complete with screenshots stolen straight off the Livefyre site!
1. Comments Consolidation
Online discussion and debate now takes place over many different mediums. There’s no point fighting change, so why not work with it instead?
Livefyre uses clever algorithms to grab related conversations from social media outlets and pull them into the comments section. I do not yet know how effective this system is – only time will tell.
Any regular reader of Leaving Work Behind will know that I am a big fan of Twitter – it is just so easy to connect and interact with people. Livefyre emulates one of Twitter’s best features perfectly by allowing commenters to “tag” people from directly within comments (just like you would include someone’s handle in a tweet to get their attention):
3. Real Time Commenting
This is pretty awesome – fresh comments display in real time. No refreshing for Livefyre users. You may wonder if this is a particularly beneficial feature, but if it takes someone 5-10 minutes to read a post, new comments may well have been posted in that time. It’s certainly more useful for larger sites, but a cool feature nonetheless.
If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you will know that I respond to the vast majority of comments. But what’s the point in commenting if you never get to read the response? Livefyre has a pretty slick notifications system, and although I’m not sure how it works if you sign in via a social media account, I do know that Livefyre users receive an email by default if someone replies to their comment:
5. Multiple Sign In Options
Like most commenting systems of its ilk, Livefyre allows commenters to sign in via various methods. If you’re into social media, you can use your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account. Otherwise, you can use Google, OpenID, or sign up to an actual Livefyre account.
6. Post Promotion
People who leave comments get a link to their most recent blog post:
7. Comments Sharing
Ever commented on a blog post and been stunned by your pure incisiveness? With Livefyre, you can share your wisdom with your followers at the click of a button.
I don’t know how often this is utilized, but having the option surely can’t be a bad thing.
Yes, that is a made up word, but I’m running with it. Livefyre is apparently “the only platform that gives you SEO credit for all the comments happening on your site, Facebook and Twitter”.
I’m not entirely sure what to make of that statement, and whether Livefyre actually offers any additional SEO benefits beyond other comments platforms, but with the SEO community’s current obsession with social signals, it certainly can’t be a bad thing.
9. Spam Protection
In my humble opinion, Akismet is crap. On Leaving Work Behind, it is constantly spamming perfectly legitimate comments (usually for no obvious reason). I hate the idea of someone taking the time to submit a comment, only to find that it doesn’t appear. The general consensus seems to be that Livefyre’s spam protection system is stellar, so I look forward to an improvement on that front.
10. Awesome Moderation Features
I have only just started fiddling with the backend of Livefyre, but filtering, moderating and replying to comments looks like an absolute piece of cake:
Nothing is perfect. There are three potential shortcomings to using Livefyre that I took note of when deciding whether or not to make the switch:
Livefyre provides no backlink to a commenter’s site (by default). This doesn’t particularly bother me – the LinkBack feature automatically provides a link to a commenter’s latest blog post, and besides, I am not interested in commenters who just want to gain a link back to their site.
2. Import Formatting
I can be rather anal when it comes to grammar, sentence structure, and so on. I like to use carriage returns and other such structural elements. Unfortunately, the import process has removed all such things from my previous comments, which leaves me with a whole lot of hefty blocks of text. I don’t like this at all.
3. No Emoticons
I used to hate smilies and emoticons, before I realized that they are a very effective way of conveying meaning behind words that might otherwise be ambiguous. Now I have grown rather attached to them. Livefyre does not have emotions. Boo.
First Impressions – Who Knows?
I’m not really in a position to offer you first impressions yet, given that I have not seen or left a single comment yet! I’m going to jump right in and start testing the features out now.
As always, I hope you will join me in the comments section to let me know your thoughts!