I received an email regarding an issue a customer was having with the Facebook comments plugin. He was using one of my WordPress themes, so I was confused why he was even bothering with a Facebook commenting plugin – WordPress has a fantastic commenting system already, right?
Here was his response:
“Facebook has a much greater multiplier effect. Today, 90% of the hits on my site is from Facebook. I also paid for an announcement and the result was very good.”
At face value, it seems obvious that visitors would be more inclined to comment if they don’t have to fill out their information. If they’re logged into Facebook, all they have to do is comment about it and that’s it. For some, there is the added benefit that their comment will appear on Facebook for others to see (if not, you can uncheck a box to prevent this).
The biggest downside I can think of is that visitors have to have a Facebook account to interact with your site. Obviously there are a lot of people on Facebook, but depending on your business or industry, this may be an issue.
Other potential problems are controlling spam, moderating comments and getting notified of comments. For me, I have an email alert setup through WordPress when I get new comments. As much as I can tell, I don’t see a good way to get notified about comments done via the Facebook plugin. For me personally, this could be a deal breaker.
Giving it a Try
On my personal website, I don’t really depend on the number of comments I get to determine how successful my site is, but it would be fun if visitors got more engaged with my content and were more inclined to leave a comment.
Without completely abandoning the WP commenting ship, I decided to have a test run and see if this claim is true. I’ll be the first to admit that my site isn’t the best testing ground – I don’t get that many comments – but I thought it would at least be something fun to try out.
For the trial run, I’m going to have two commenting options. Visitors can either leave a comment in the Facebook box or use the traditional WordPress commenting option. Where they leave your comment will communicate to me which one you prefer.
I don’t want to post a link to my blog, however, so feel free to voice your opinion here…
I was Googling this and found your thread.
4 years later, what was your conclusion?
Wow, can’t believe this was 4 years ago!
Facebook generated a ton of comments/traffic – WAY more than if I had only a WordPress-based commenting system – but it was tough keeping track of the conversation.
The long answer…
I did get a good amount of WordPress-based comments (more so than my other posts), but I have a feeling that the users who left WordPress-based comments did so only after discovering the post on Facebook. I also have feeling that the only reason most people left a WordPress-based comment was out of spite for Facebook. Had the post not provided an opportunity for people to hate on Facebook, I doubt I would have generated as much interest. This seems to be a pretty clear indicator that Facebook helps get eyes on your content. Period.
I had a VERY hard time keeping track of the conversation. I actually started feeling more like an audience member than a moderator. I would visit the post a couple months later to find a small group of comments that had gone unnoticed. One user mentioned a method for getting notifications, but how you go about doing that wasn’t clear at the time.
If your main goal is generating traffic, go with Facebook comments. If you’re worried about author engagement (and content ownership), definitely go with WordPress comments.
Hope that helps