Before the rise of social media, bloggers used to live and die by the number of comments they received on their posts. Aside from email communication, blog comments were how bloggers knew someone was “out there,” reading and enjoying (or arguing with) their content. I remember my early 2000s Livejournal and how I would obsessively check my comments.
Where are the conversations happening now? On Facebook. It’s frustrating, but it’s simply a fact. About 70% of Americans are using Facebook, and 70% of those Facebook users check it every day (Source: VentureBeat). Basically everyone is logged into Facebook all the time. Now bloggers post a link to their latest post on Facebook, people click and read the article, and then go BACK to Facebook to leave a comment. Why do they leave comments on Facebook instead of on the blog post? Because it’s so much easier. So … if you can’t beat them, join them. The light bulb moment happened when I was telling someone they were wrong in the comments of a Buzzfeed post (yes, I am that person, apparently). And I realized I was compelled to leave my opinion because it was SUPER EASY – I was already logged in to Facebook so my profile popped up. I didn’t have to enter my info into a bunch of text fields, and I didn’t have to worry my comment would get lost upon refreshing. Because Facebook just works. So I started to research how I could add a Facebook comment widget to my own blogs. I read a lot of tutorials and researched a lot of plugins and it seriously took about half a day for me to get it installed on just one blog. Then I tested it out for a couple months before writing this post. Everything seems to be working well and I’m definitely seeing an upswing in comments. It’s not a perfect solution (more on that towards the end of this post), but I’m happy I installed it!
If you want to try out the Facebook comment widget for your own blog, here is what worked for me. These instructions are just for WordPress.org users.
1. Install the plugin “Facebook Comments” by Alex Moss. I tried a few different ones and this one, by far, was the easiest to follow.
2. Once the plugin is installed, go to the Settings.
3. At the top of the settings page it will ask you to set up your Facebook App ID. Click on the hyperlink “Create an App to handle your comments.”
This part caused me a TON of confusion and I ended up spending HOURS trying to figure it out, and in the end it ended up being SO SIMPLE. Read on …
4. Once you click the link, a Facebook branded page will open. (Here is the link, by the way: https://developers.facebook.com/apps.) Click on the green “Add a New App” button. A popup will ask you for your platform. You want to select the last one, “website.” It’s a grey circle with “www” in the middle. Click that one!
5. When the page refreshes, Facebook will ask you to “choose an existing app or type the name of your new app. You’re creating a new app. Chances are you do not and will not ever have a ton of apps, so if you have one website, your app name can be something as simple as “comments.” Since I have multiple blogs, I named my apps to identify which blog they belong to.
6. Once you have your app name chosen, Facebook will start walking you through the “setup” and will tell you to enter a bunch of code into the backend of your site. IGNORE ALL THAT. Scroll down to the bottom where it reads “Tell us about your website.” Type in your URL there (no need for the “http://www.”). Click “Next” but don’t do anything further on that page.
7. Go back to your blog plugin settings and type in the name of your app (“comments” or whatever you chose) into the top field that reads “APP ID:”. Once it’s saved, scroll down and look over the settings. You shouldn’t have to change anything. Click “Save Changes.”
8. Refresh one of your blog posts and you should now see the Facebook comment box at the end of your posts! This is the default location; if you want to put the comment box somewhere else, you’ll need to use the short code. This is where my Genesis theme and the Simple Hooks plugin come in REALLY handy! I was able to put the comment box below my signature and share buttons, because I like having those two widgets immediately after my posts. If you do use the shortcode, be sure to uncheck the box for “Singular Posts” under the Display Settings, or else you’ll end up with two comment boxes!
9. Just one more step and you’re good to go. Go to this link: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/comments. On the right side you’ll see “Settings.” Click on this. In the pop-up box, where it says “Moderators,” you will need to add your name. It’s a little weird, right? Since it’s YOUR app, and all. But this is just what you have to do. Also, bookmark this page and check it once in a while … you can’t set up email notifications, so you’ll just have to check this page to see if you’re receiving any comments. Once in a while you may get a notification lumped in with all your other Facebook notifications, but it’s not reliable.
That’s about it! I’m not joking when I say I spent a few hours researching the best way to do this … and then kicking myself when I finally got it working and how easy it was. Setting it up for my second blog took about 10 minutes. I really could have used a tutorial like this one – haha – so hopefully it helps some of you out!
Just a quick recap, here are my “PROS and CONS” regarding Facebook comments on your blog:
Easier for people to comment, likely leading to more comments (aka engagement) on your blog.
If the commenter leaves the “post to Facebook” box checked, the comment and a link to your blog will post on their Facebook page, introducing your blog to a new audience.
Difficult to access/moderate comments on mobile.
Facebook comments don’t “count” towards your comment count, if you have that listed at the top of your posts (like I do).
For me, the pros far outweigh the annoyances of the cons, but the good news is, if you end up hating dealing with Facebook comments, you can simply deactivate the plugin. But you’ll lose those comments from your posts, obviously.
If you’re frustrated with lack of comments on your blog, I’d give this a try and see how it works for you. It’s working for me!