Last month, Theresa Milstein of Theresa's Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts guest posted on Bird's-eye View about getting blog comments to work for you, http://michellefayard.blogspot.com/2011/07/getting-blog-comments-to-work-for-you.html. Today YA fantasy author CherylAnne Ham of Making Words Happen is here to talk about a blog tool that can do some of that work for you—IntenseDebate, http://www.intensedebate.com/. Take it away, Cheryl!
Interacting with your blog's readers and making real connections with your followers is a challenge every blogger faces.
IntenseDebate is a comment-hosting service that makes connecting with your readers that much easier. It is super easy to install on your blog and works with WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and many other blogging/CMS platforms.
One feature I love is comment threading, also referred to as nested comments. Comment threading is the ability to add a reply directly to individual comments, turning them into organized conversations that are easy to follow for both you and your readers.
IntenseDebate also allows users to moderate and/or reply to comments by e-mail. For me, this feature is especially lovely because, as an admitted iPhone addict, I always have my phone with me, but I don't always have access to my blog through a computer.
When your post receives a new comment, you receive an e-mail notification. Simply reply to the e-mail with your response, and it's automatically posted to your blog, nested under the original commenter's message.
The greatest benefit of responding to comments quickly is the time it saves, and anything that can save us time is a good thing. Adding a personal reply to each comment takes time, and comments can pile up if you wait until the end of the day to respond—especially if you're lucky enough to have lots of people reading and commenting on your posts. Even if you're just starting out, as your blog grows, so will your number of comments. Why not get into the habit now of responding quickly?
If you prefer replying to comments by e-mail, then IntenseDebate has that covered as well. Comment notifications also include a link to the commenter's e-mail and blog URL. No more searching profiles for contact info or Googling the commenter's name in hopes of finding their blog. I absolutely adore this feature.
A few other things I like about Intense Debate.
- Mouse over the avatar of commenters who've signed in with their own IntenseDebate account (if they have one) and their profile pops up, allowing you to learn more about them at a glance.
- No IntenseDebate account? No problem. Additional sign in options include Twitter or Facebook profile, WordPress ID, or they can log on as a guest.
- Commenters can subscribe by e-mail to all post comments or receive notification only when there is a direct a reply to their own comment.
- Commenters can subscribe to the blog via their favorite reader right at the comment box.
- You can change the color scheme and design elements of the comment box to match your blog.
IntenseDebate is free service. There are other comment hosting services such as those listed below. These may or may not require a paid subscription.
Thank you very much, CherylAnne, for letting everyone know about this outstanding tool!
Your turn: What is your preferred method of responding to comments? What do you think about your blog's current comment system?