Comment Functionality Comments are one of the most important aspects of blogging, and something that all bloggers appreciate. And yet, comment areas are a typically boring affair.

By making commenting a more enjoyable experience, you will encourage more commenters to return to your blog to check up on previous comments, and to leave new ones.

Use A Visual Text Editor

The default comments field is boring, and quite limited. It is possible to write your own HTML tags in the comment, but that’s a nuisance that you won’t do often. It’s usually easier to just leave out the formatting, isn’t it?

NicEdit is just 30kb in size, and gives a full featured text editor. Check out the comments field of this post to see it in action. It’s much easier to format a comment this way.

For anyone; NicEdit.

Let Users Edit Their Comments

We all make mistakes. Most of us like to correct those mistakes though. Give users the ability to do so, so they aren’t annoyed at their comment (At you!), and also so that you don’t have users making double and triple comments to fix those mistakes.

The Edit option is a necessity for code blogs in particular. Anyone who has ever written snippets of code into WordPress knows how many mistakes you (or it!) makes.

For WordPress users; AJAX Edit Comments.

Subscribe To Comments

It’s hard to keep track of all the comments you leave around the blogosphere. Subscribing to comments lets you keep track of the most important ones. At the very least, this is a good way of bringing people back to your blog.

For WordPress users; Subscribe to Comments.

Publish The Commenter’s Latest Headline

Being honest, we’ve all left comments hoping that someone will notice it and click back to our blogs. Why not encourage this with your readers?

CommentLuv tries to find the commenter’s RSS feed, and from that it will post their latest headline underneath their comment. Readers will see that their blog gets more exposure on your site, and they may take note of that.

For WordPress users; Comment Luv.

Threaded Replies

When you get a large number of comments, it can be hard to keep individual conversations straight. Threaded comments let you leave replies directly underneath others, so conversations are much easier to have. A good conversation is one of the best ways to win a person over to your blog.

For WordPress users; Brian’s Threaded Comments.

Post Comments Via AJAX

When a user posts a comment, they’re more-or-less finished with that particular page. AJAX allows the comment to be posted without reloading. It saves the reader time, letting them head off to other pages on your blog before they get bored.

For WordPress users; Moojax Comment Posting.

List Recent Comments

A sidebar widget listing the latest comments on your blog can be a good way of showing that your blog is alive, but also that you take the time to interact with your readers (Try to get your own name there as often as possible!). A reader will always respond well to seeing a blogger take an interest in their readers.

For WordPress users; FreePress Recent Comments.

Offer Customised Clickable Smilies

I think smilies are under appreciated in the blogging world. They’re a fun way of showing your mood while you write, and they let you make a joke and show that what you said is actually a joke.

Or perhaps I just overuse them?

For WordPress users; WP-Grins.

DoFollow Back To Their Site

Stop worrying so much about Google. Your readers are more important. DoFollowing back to their site is not about the tiny amount of link juice they might get. It’s about showing that you appreciate their comment and their time.

Update: I don’t use NoFollow on this site anymore, but CommentLuv instead. See this post to find out why.

For WordPress users; NoFollow Free.

Add User Avatars

Amidst a long list of comments, a single comment can get lost quite easily. Avatars add distinction between individual comments, and it will make you smile when you start seeing faces you recognise. You might even consider having the image link back to their blog as well (Remember how the readers love that little touch of publicity?).

For WordPress users; MBLA.

As an inspiration to us all, have a look at regular commenter Pelf’s blog. She has 7 different comment enhancements installed! And you notice it.

What have you done for your blog’s comments, and what more could you do?

Here on Pro Blog Design, I’ve always had DoFollow and Subscribe to Comments, but only recently added the visual editor, AJAX comment editor and avatars. I’m thinking about adding threaded replies as well because I do respond to every comment. Would you prefer that?

NB – I’m a WordPress user, so WordPress plugins are the only ones I know off-hand. If anyone knows Blogger equivalents to those mentioned below, let me know and I’ll add the link. Sorry!

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