Tuesday, 4 October 2016

What is CommentLuv?

What is CommentLuv? And why it's not just for WordPress users!

What is CommentLuv?

CommentLuv is a plugin for WordPress blogs which enhances the default commenting system. It comes in two versions, free and premium, with the latter offering extra functionality such as anti-spam and Twitter integration. The main draw of both is the 'recent post' feature. While your reader is typing out their comment, CommentLuv is pulling their most recent blog post(s).

On the one hand, including this extra backlink allows you to get to know your readers - and their content - better, on the other it offers an extra incentive for readers to leave a comment in the first place. Although a nofollow link by default, a backlink is a backlink, especially when it comes from a blog with good DA (domain authority) and social stats.

If you want to add a greater incentive, and are willing to put up with the potential additional spam from those just looking to drop links, you can make those backlinks do follow. More on the hows of that later!

(If all this talk of following and no following just left you bewildered, check out my guide to the difference between follow and no follow links.)


CommentLuv without WordPress?

It's no secret that I don't much like WordPress, and CommentLuv was one of the few things which I actively envied about the platform. I knew you could install CommentLuv on Blogger, and a whole host of other platforms, via IntenseDebate but last time I tried it, about a year ago, it just looked a hot mess. Seriously, it was so ugly I gave up after a few hours of tweaking and just reverted back to the default comment system.

Then, a week or ago, I was reading a FB discussion about bloggers' preferred comment systems. CommentLuv was the clear front runner, not least because of those extra backlinks, and I decided that as I had a free afternoon I would give the installation another go. I'm so glad I did! In the intervening months it had been fixed up and, while not as nice looking as the Disqus system I was using previously, it is less glitchy and has plenty of scope for modification when I get the chance to fiddle about with the CSS.


Blogger and CommentLuv

Okay, so here's a rundown of how to make CommentLuv work for your Blogger blog.

The first thing you need is an IntenseDebate account. It's free, and only takes a couple of minutes to sign up. Once you have an account, go to the 'Sites' tab and add your blog; you'll be prompted to choose the correct platform, etc. That done, visit your Blogger dashboard, click 'Template', and use the 'Backup / Restore' box in the top right hand corner to download a copy of your blog template in .xml format.

Upload the file to IntenseDebate and all the neccessary HTML changes will be made for you, ready and waiting in a text box on the next page. You just copy it and paste it over all your old Blogger template code. Hit save on Blogger, then 'configure this IntenseDebate account' back on IntenseDebate. Finally, make sure CommentLuv is activated under the plugins tab.

IntenseDebate Dashboard

That's it. CommentLuv will now replace Blogger default commenting on all future posts, and any existing posts which have yet to receive any comments. Posts with existing comments will remain in Blogger format. (Note: IntenseDebate comments do not sync with Blogger. If you revert to the default comment system, you will lose comments.)

Of course, there is still plenty of tinkering you can do. If you're logged in to IntenseDebate you can go 'Sites' -> your site -> Settings, which will let you do things like changing the avatar size, enabling Facebook and Twitter logins, banning users, and adding your own custom CSS.


CommentLuv and Follow Links

If you have the premium version of CommentLuv you have all kinds of fancy settings to make links follow, after a certain number of comments, for instance, or in particular circumstances. If, like me, you're a cheapskate - and not even on WP to boot - you can still make those links follow. On your blogger dashboard go to 'Template' then 'Edit HTML', then use Ctrl + F to search for rel='nofollow'. (There may be more one instance of this, look for IntenseDebate code in the vicinity.) Delete the phrase, hit save, and ta-da! CommentLuv will now be giving out follow links in your comments section.

To double check it's working, you can install a browser extension (I use NoFollow Simple), or use a tool like this website link analyzer to see how many no follow links are on any given page.



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