Image by Tim Morgan
I’ve upgraded the commenting system on this blog to make it easier and more fun to use. And hopefully more useful to you. There are now three new features:
1. E-mail alerts of follow-up comments on a post
When you leave a comment, if you check the following box before submitting it, then you will receive an e-mail alert next time someone (either me or another commenter) leaves a comment on the same post.
I love this feature when I find it on other blogs – it means I don’t have to remember to check back later and see whether the blogger or anyone else responded. It makes it much easier to have a real conversation via comments. It’s done with the magic of the Subscribe to comments plugin.
If you decide you no longer wish to receive alerts for that post, you can always switch them off – there will be a link in every e-mail alert that takes you to the page with the ‘off’ switch.
2. Your picture next to your comment (if you want it)
Have a look at the comments on the post about my Time Management for Creative People E-book. You’ll see that several commenters now have their picture next to their comment. How does this happen? I’ve installed the MyAvatar plugin, which means that if you have a MyBlogLog account, it will automatically display the image from your MyBlogLog profile and the image will hotlink to your profile page. If you’re not a MyBlogLog member but have a Gravatar portrait, it will show your Gravatar.
If you see one of these silhouette images, it means you don’t have a MyBlogLog profile or Gravatar. If you’d like your picture to appear next to your comments, just visit Gravatar.com to sign up for a free account and upload your photo. Once you’ve done this, your picture will appear next to your comments on any blog with Gravatars enabled – such as Business of Design Online.
It’s up to you what kind of image you use. It could be a photo like these (click on the images to see who the commenters are):
Or you could use something more funky or abstract, like Nela‘s Gravatar of one of her fabulous paintings:
Or how about using your logo, like Brian Wallace of Nowsourcing:
The only fly in the ointment for me is that MyAvatar is bringing up the old photo from my MyBlogLog profile, even though I uploaded my new photo days ago – so my brand recognition isn’t seamless yet! Anyone know why it’s doing this?
3. Your latest blog post after your comment
Finally, if you have a blog of your own and you check the following box when submitting your comment, the CommentLuv plugin will look for your blog feed and post a link to your latest blog post immediately under your comment.
When you click the ‘Submit Comment’ button, a link to your latest blog post should appear after your comment.
(N.B. it’s not perfect and doesn’t always find the feed, I’m afraid I’m not qualified to help with this, but you there’s a discussion about CommentLuv on the WordPress forums, which might be helpful.)
Hopefully this will increase your chances of other Wishful Thinking readers visiting your blog, to see what you’ve written. Of course, the more enticing your headline, the more chance someone will want to read your post – Brian Clark has some excellent advice on the art of writing Magnetic Headlines.
Thanks to David Airey for the inspiration
I got the idea for these changes from reading David Airey’s blog – David’s comments section is a model for other bloggers to follow, both technically and in his prompt and generous responses to commenters. He introduced me to these three plugins via his post on Top Five Essential WordPress Plugins and (typically) in the comments on his post about How to Stop Image Hotlinking and Bandwidth Theft.
My unofficial comments policy
Some blogs have an official ‘comments policy’ describing what is/isn’t acceptable in comments left by readers. I’ve not felt the need to write one, given that 99.99% of you are so nice and respectful, even when disagreeing with me and among yourselves. Thank you, and long may it continue.
As for the 0.01% – as my friend Pete Black would say, If you’re just going to be abusive, remember it’s traditional to remain anonymous. Also try not to swear too much or you’ll get caught in the spam filter.
I’ll do my best to respond to all comments promptly. Sometimes I’m away on client business and it can take me a few days to catch up – so the e-mail alerts should be good to let you know I’ve got back to you. If I’ve not responded after a few days, feel free to prod me via e-mail.
What do you think? Please leave a comment…
What do you think of the changes?
Are there any other features you’d like to see in the comments?
What plugins do you use on your own blog comments?