When you’re operating a blog you want to make the most of the commenting features. Many years ago when I built some of my first websites, I’d search for solutions which would allow ways for people who visit my pages to interact with me. Back then, one of the best options was to use a program called Matt’s WWWBoard. When I first found this script I felt like I had landed on a goldmine. And as it had turned out, Matt had many other scripts that I started using at the time as well. FormMail, GuestBook and the Free for all Links were some of my favorites. The crazy thing is that many of these scripts is that are still used today!
A lot has changed since then. Today, we have blogs… mainly WordPress. These broadcast and publishing platforms are much more powerful, automatic, and economical compared to the methods of the 90′s (aka. NotePad.exe). Out of the box, WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr provide a commenting system that offers more ease in interacting with site visitors. But, things have stepped up even higher. Today we have systems that enhance things even further. The question remains, which system is the best for your blog?
Two of the more popular ones that I have tested are called DISQUS and IntenseDebate. Both have the same goals in mind, but both also have their own unique flavors. I’ll point out a few of their features, but in the end, it’s up to you to decide which one is best for your blog. To rest your mind, I’ll tell you up front that I prefer IntenseDebate. The reason why is because in my experience, DISQUS simply didn’t perform well with fighting spam. That might not be the case with your blog, so if you decide you like the features offer by DISQUS better than the ones offered by IntenseDebate, you should give it a shot.
I’ll start by mentioning some of the things I like about DISQUS. For starters, I really enjoy how they split their system into DISQUS Comments and DISQUS Profile. This is clever because not everyone has a blog of their own and yet these people comment on an array of others. The DISQUS Profile system keeps track of comments made on multiple blogs and the discussions within. The DISQUS Comments system is for blog owners. Inside here, you’re able to moderate comments (something I found myself doing a lot), reply directly to comments made on your blog, and a few other tasks. All in all, I am impressed with DISQUS; however, their lack of support with preventing spam caused me to eventually switch to IntenseDebate.
IntenseDebate offers some very promising features unlike DISQUS. For starters, IntenseDebate offers a quick and simple way for readers to subscribe the the RSS feed and comments. Something else worth mentioning is the fact that IntenseDebate is practically native to WordPress. The Automattic team (creators of WordPress) had a hand in developing IntenseDebate. As it turns out, it works very nicely in WordPress. Secondly, it fights spam hard! When I removed DISQUS from my blog, it literally took me hours to review existing comments and remove spam comments.
IntenseDebate, in many ways, might be too strong. Meaning, I spend a little more time approving comments that I would like. But in my opinion, I would rather approve comments rather than remove comments. I feel like once a spam comment is approved, slight damage is done. While it’s obvious that I like IntenseDebate more than DISQUS, don’t let that influence your decision. I recommend that you try both and see which one is best. To level the playing field, IntenseDebate doesn’t offer the Comment / Profile system like DISQUS. Give both a try, and then drop a comment and let everyone know which one you like the best.
I decided to launch a new site recently to promote computer repair products and services locally within the town I live. I am very comfortable building with WordPress, and it’s a very stable program. Commonly, most people use WordPress as blog publishing software; however, WordPress can also be used as a content management system. And that is how I use WordPress most of the time. In other words, I use WordPress to build and maintain websites. The reason why is simple. WordPress is easy to install, configure, customize, search engine optimize, and use.
That said, I needed to build an online store so that I could promote and sell my products and services. What I wanted was WordPress shopping cart software. Amazingly, this software exists, and more astonishingly, it’s also free. The software is called WP e-Commerce and comes in the form of a WordPress plugin. Dan Milward, Thomas Howard, Chris Beavan, and Allen Han are responsible for the creation of this work of art. It’s a full featured shopping cart program well-suited for selling products, services, and even processing online fees or charges within your WordPress blog. It also integrates seamlessly into your current theme and ties directly into Google Checkout or Paypal. Manual payment processing is available as well.
WP e-Commerce is ideal for anyone who has a blog and has products and services to sell. The creators of this state-of-the-art e-Commerce platform placed a lot of focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. Their claim is that WP e-Commerce is both free and priceless at the same time. There may be other options available; however, I am already sold on WP e-Commerce. The software has been downloaded over 300,000 times, it’s very stable, updates are made available frequently, and WordPress integration is stupendously simple and painless.
WP e-Commerce is also marketing and promotional software. To help ensure that your store is a success, WP e-Commerce comes with social networking tools that allow you to import products directly into FaceBook Marketplace and Google Base. Also included is the popular “Share This” plugin which can be used to encourage customers to share your product pages on their blog, by email, in popular social networks such as StumbleUpon and Twitter.
Check out this YouTube video created by Adam from Hungry Dog Media who demonstrates how quickly and easily WP e-Commerce can be installed on HostGator.com.
Have you ever wanted to search multiple search engines at the same time? I am sure you can imagine the time it would save if you were able to use one search bar to pull data from popular search engines, social networks, and blogs. Now you can with a site called Addict-o-matic. (more…)
Today marks Blogger’s 10th year being online and to commemorate the moment, birthday presents are being released as a way to show gratitude to the number of people who have used Blogger. Back when Google acquired Blogger in 2003, the site had around 250,000 visitors per month. Today that number has jumped to over 300 million. You can check Blogger Buzz for the full list of Birthday Presents. I’ll talk more about my favorite Birthday Present below.
Of all birthday presents available, the gift that interests me the most is the new and free Blogger App for the iPhone called BlogPress Lite. The full version of BlogPress has been around for some time, but it isn’t free. Not that I am opposed to spending money on an iPhone App, it’s just nice to see free things for the iPhone. BlogPress Lite was created to celebrate Blogger’s 10th Birthday. (more…)
Have you seen the People of Walmart website? Perhaps, you’ve already contributed and uploaded a picture or two? I find it interesting how certain things go viral on the Internet. Typically, I see low grade YouTube videos or cheesy webpages hit it off on the web. And so is the case with a newly launched blog called People of Walmart. It went viral, people love it, and the way I see it, for site owners, there is a lot that can be learned.
People of Walmart is very simple self-hosted WordPress blog that allows users to contribute content. In this case, it can be a picture of an unusual person found at Walmart. Users who want to contribute must submit the photo by email and manually include a title, description, and include tags. After editors review the picture, it will be published on a blog post. These are called Wal-Creatures.
With over 15,000 fans on FaceBook, People of Walmart has grown very quickly and has captured the interest of thousands of people almost overnight. The site has been of huge interest to FaceBook users, and with over 700 people following on Twitter, awareness of the site seems to be spreading into other networks as well. But, what about SEO? Once the viral buzz wears off and the sudden spike in traffic dwindles down to a trickle, where will the site stand in the SERPS?
My prediction doesn’t look very promising. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether the owners of People of Walmart make changes or not, one thing remains possible: You can make changes to your own site. Granted, your site might not go viral like theirs, but if it does, you’ll at least be ready. And as I had mentioned above, a lot can be learned from People of Walmart. And no, I don’t think People of Walmart will last very long after the buzz wears thin. The reason why is because of their lack of SEO. (more…)