"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Disqus

Regular readers may have noticed I have added a new comments gadget powered by disqus. I have seen it on other websites and as it's so easy to use, especially in comparison to the awful blogger comments system I wanted to use it on here. And now I have added it I wanted to show others how easy it is in case they want to switch to using disqus.

The first thing you'll need to do is register. Once you enter your details you'll be presented with the menu to select where you want the comments gadget to go. Note, if you don't have a blog you can still register or you can sign in via twitter or facebook.

This guide is going to focus on blogger, so after we click blogger you're taken to a new screen with three options numbered 1, 2 and 3.

At the moment we only need to worry about 1. This is to import the disqus gadget into your blogger. Once you click this you are taken to a new screen with a drop down menu to decide which blog you want to add your comment gadget to. This is handy if you have more than one blog registered to your account.

Under that menu is a text box where you can name the comment gadget. It will be pre-filled but if you want to change it you can.

Once you are happy with this you click add widget and you'll be taken to your blog layout screen. The gadget will be called Disqus for 'your blog name' (or whatever you renamed it) and will be added somewhere on the page depending on your blog template. Drag and drop this gadget to where you want the gadget to be located. Depending on how many gadgets you have you may have to drag and drop, scroll the page down then drag and drop some more. In my case I moved it to below the posts.

Once you are happy with the location you can save and view your blog. At this point you'll probably panic and wonder where all your comments have gone from your previous posts. Don't worry they haven't been deleted. What's happened is that Disqus is now your blogs default comment system, all the previous comments were on your old comment system so they are still there but not visible.

Just under and to the right of the new comment box is a drop down menu. Click edit settings to be taken to your Disqus settings page.

From here you want to select admin (top right of page) and then discussions (just below admin). Now click on import and select Blogger. You'll then be directed to a google headed page stating "An anonymous application is requesting access to your Google Account for the product(s) listed below."

Click grant access and make sure you have the correct blog listed (if you have more than one). Click import and wait for the magic to happen. Blogs with lots of comments will take far longer to import than blogs with less comments.

Once complete your old comments will now be visible via the disqus comments gadget as if they were created using that gadget not the blogger gadget.

If you delete the gadget from your template then the old google comment system will kick back in. Although it's worth noting than any comments created via the disqus gadget will not be visible if you disable it. But all the comments created via the old blogger system will still be on your blog.

Some benefits to the new gadget
  • It looks better.
  • It's easier to use.
  • Better for mobile users.
  • It's easy to integrate.
  • It's easier to log in as it allows people to sign in via facebook, twitter, google or disqus.
  • Disqus has an 'artificial intelligence' spam detection so you can get rid of captcha forever.
  • It tells you when someone has replied to you on another website that uses disqus.
  • Comments are saved via disqus not google, ask Jac why that could be beneficial!
  • It automatically adds links to your other posts below (can be turned off).
  • Comments can be upvoted or downvoted.
  • It has it's own advert system so it could earn you money (can be turned off).
  • It has far more options and settings than the default comments system.
  • Comments can be shared via twitter, facebook or direct link (original system just allows direct link).
I'm sure there is far more that could be added. Most of which I only realised after I decided to give it a try and now I'd hate to go back to the old system. This guide is for blogger as that is what I use, wordpress already has a far better comments system so the benefits of swapping for those users are not as great as for blogger users. Do whatever you want to do but there are alternatives if you should want them.

Disqus this via twitter

Edit
There is an advert system integrated with the Disqus posts. In the two weeks this has been left active it has somehow earned $0.05. The minimum amount before payment is $100 and by my calculations this means that at the present rate of five cents a fortnight it would take 77 years for me to receive. So I will now switch these off.

To explain the system further there are four settings. The first two are for adverts and links to your own content. Originally I had it set to the first option. The third is just links to your own content and the fourth switches these off completely. I have set this to the third option, likes to my own content.

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