Disqus – Why 95% Of Bloggers Should Switch

When Disqus first launched, I was a little critical because I like to maintain control of comments, give commenters the benefit of Dofollow links, and ultimately retain control of their user generated content.

I now feel that 95% of bloggers should switch to using Disqus, though I have some reservations.

These are some of the reasons why:-

  • Matt Cutts today confirmed that nofollow links can reduce the amount of PageRank that flow to internal pages. The easiest current solution to solve this problem is to use Javascript for comments.
    It is an external javascript file, which Google can’t really handle currently, and even if they did, the chances are it might only count as a single link to your disqus discussion.
    Blogstorm has gone into the problems facing comment links in more detail, something I highlighted when Matt first mentioned this clarification at SMX.
  • Matt Cutts in the same post highlighted again who you link to matters, and I think Google is going to place more and more emphasis on this. It is a lot of work for the average blogger to keep control of user generated content, and even the best comments sometimes come with spammy links. I have always maintained that “dofollow” isn’t for everyone because of the time commitment.
  • Disqus is universal – it can be installed on every major blogging platform – many SEO solutions won’t be universal or easy to implement
  • Can Spam & Email Deliverability – this is 50/50 – I have highlighted in the past that emails being sent from your own domain can be a significant liability

    It is your choice based on your own research and the legal advice you have received whether you think emails being sent from your domain which are not totally under your control could represent a problem.
    I honestly don’t know if Safe Harbour rules might apply to email delivery. I don’t know of any blog owner who has had problems either from a legal perspective, or with their hosting or domain registrars, but then I personally only know a few people who have been killed in car accidents – I know a lot more people who drive cars than publish business blogs.

  • Invalidated Cache – this is a major consideration for high traffic blogs, and potentially product launches. The javascript doesn’t change on each new page load, thus your cached content also doesn’t change (if you just use their javascript on your page) – this can represent a major reduction in server load, even if you are using some kind of Op Cache (eaccelerator APC Xcache), RAM based page cache (Memcached) or more advanced techniques using page chunking. Forget conventional WP Cache / Supercache for product launches, it just can’t cope on its own.
  • Social Media Viral Effect – the social media viral effect of using Discus is significant. Not many people are exposed to services such as backtype, but tons of people use Facebook – implementation of Facebook, Twitter and other logins for commenting whilst possible with WordPress isn’t trivial, and that is more plugins to deal with, more server load etc.
  • Get to visit Disqus more often – I sometimes leave comments on other blogs that are using Disqus, and sometimes the comment notifications don’t get to me (deliverability issues) – I just noticed on my Andy Beard Disqus profile that Scott Rafer responded to something important 2 months ago, and I didn’t see it.

Negative Side of Disqus

  • The SEO of the site needs some major work – it is almost insulting that the link to Twitter on my Disqus profile is followed, yet the link to my blog isn’t. The anchor text from a conversation on Disqus back to a blog isn’t exactly ideal. This is how Google sees my Discus Profile
  • Google is very bad at indexing content on Disqus – this is partially due to the Disqus SEO problems – certainly a conversation I took part in 4 days ago isn’t indexed.
  • I have heard reports that managing spam can be an issue, though I haven’t tested it, I rarely see spam on highly popular blogs
  • It isn’t suitable for private content – you would have to use alternative commenting on private posts if you are running your blog as a membership site. That is something that can be worked around.
  • It is hard, maybe impossible to market to people after they have left a comment. With standard WordPress comments, after someone has left an email, you could present a page offering site membership, a one time offer, or an affiliate product – even suggest related content of interest.
  • If you have lots of niche blogs, you will hardly want to include all of them on a single Disqus profile if you want to stay under the radar of your competitors. How would a blog network cope? Retain ownership? I can’t see B5 Network with a profile of 300+ blogs in Disqus and managing who can moderate comments.

The SEO problems with Disqus are fixable, and in the current Google climate could offer significant advantages – plus Disqus could conservatively gain at least 400% traffic even without new adoption.
It is possible even if they also gave much more SEO friendly links throughout the whole site.

I am recommending Disqus above competitors JSKit and Intense Debate because both of these services the email subscriptions don’t stack in Gmail – a nightmare if you subscribe to comments on a popular blog, plus I believe there is more chance of Disqus fixing problems for a win/win solution.

Who knows, we might even get Twitter to remove nofollows too… eventually

Disclosure:- I am recommending Disqus even though part of my startup plans would have involved an SEO, product launch and membership friendly system with refined marketing funnel. If I ever get it off the ground, there are ways to migrate back from Disqus.

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  1. says

    Disqus isn't very intuitive for new users

    I have comments on this post that Disqus suggests have been imported into Disqus, and they even appear on the Disqus site, but they don't appear here on the blog post.

  2. says

    I think Disqus is one of the few to really keep up with the developments on other social networking sites. They adopted Facebook Connect rather promptly, now I see they offer users to comment using their Twitter credentials. Not sure if I will go back though. I will wait until Andy Beard feels that 99.9% of bloggers should use Disqus :) .

  3. says

    I tried Intense debate on my site and was never able to get the sync to work correctly. I still wanted to manage the comments (spam,approve,delete) through my wordpress admin site or atleast have it sync with wordpress admin site if I moderated them through the ID site. But they would never stay in sync.

    I’d approve or spam something on the ID site and it wouldn’t update in my wordpress admin dashboard.

    It wasn’t worth the trouble.

    I’ve been thinking of trying Disque, but I need to findout if the comment status will sync with the wordpress dashboard.

    • says

      Well in theory my primary online dashboard isn’t WordPress but Gmail – I am planning on testing for a while if only to streamline comments a little

  4. says

    So where did the previous comments on this post go? My beef with Disqus in the past was always associated with load time. I would like to see what do you think about it on posts with more than just a few comments.

  5. says

    I am guessing Disqus is still trying to sync your comments. I was trying to find older posts to see how the posts with good number of comments would behave.

    I am surprised at how fast Disqus is on your blog. I may actually consider using it again.

  6. says

    Well I suffer from load time on posts with 100 comments and 300 trackbacks yes Disqus have close to 7000 comments to sync
    Interesting as well that Tweetmeme didn't pick up your comments here as links to this post.

  7. says

    It isn't bad, but I would much prefer that they didn't have to reload the whole page considering they are not really modifying it.
    That is going to add to server load, which I could avoid with Ajax and chunking.

  8. says

    I wish I had a post with that many trackbacks! I am confident than that Disqus can handle well any of my blogs. I have also noticed that it reverts nicely to WP's default commenting.

  9. says

    My Twitter account posted every comment I have made so far (although this on I am making using FB Connect).

    Maybe it is not suppose to pick the Twitter references to this post- I wonder if it was just Mashable's hack?

    I wonder if you test the pagination in comments and whether or not that would improve the page load on the post with 100+ comments?

  10. says

    To test the pagination and speed, Disqus first of all have to import the posts with lots of comments.

    For some reason I also couldn't get it to work on posts that have comments closed, old comments appeared.

    I should note that I am using WP 2.8, so some problems might be present due to that

  11. says

    I am also testing it it on a WP 2.8 – none of the posts on that blog has more than 15 comments.

    As I was pocking around your blog, Disqus still does not show comments besides the ones made here. It is probably due to the sync process.

    In any event, it looks good and works fast on this post so far. Can't wait to see some of your other posts.

  12. says

    Once Disqus is optimized for SEO, I wouldn't mind using it on any website. I think it's a great concept, much like Gravatar – there are universal tasks/things about the way we interact with the internet that is just duplication … centralization of these tasks is necessary and inevitable.

    Disqus has an interesting opportunity to capitalize in this area if they do so right now. Information indexing is at a strange crossroads, indeed.

  13. says

    It was a valid point then too, Vlad. We've actually rewritten Disqus and the effects are huge.

    I hope you're not having latency issues anymore.

  14. says

    There's actually a pretty boring reason why we have to reload the page. Since the posting action is done through an iframe (for security purposes) we need to refresh the page in order for the content to reload itself.

    Not as snazzy, but we're working on a better approach which will mimic an Ajax post.

  15. says

    To be honest I haven't spend anytime ever looking into what Disqus was (except for a pain that would recognize my FF easyComment plugin entering the URL). Maybe the pain comes from not having a profile and not caring one bit for using twitter? But since I trust Andy I better go spend 5 minutes looking into it.


  16. says

    The alternative has been around for quite a long time, but I am still a proponent of “dofollow” – installing the plugin in many ways contradicts a lot of what I believe in, but there are side benefits to Disqus, if I can influence them to fix things that may counteract the lack of comment links form this blog.

  17. says

    Intense Debate was purchased by WordPress

    In some ways that makes Disqus the underdog, looking for a benefit to leverage, but at the same time Disqus have wide adoption in the tech industry, and very prominent investors who really understand blogging

  18. LA_PC_Repair_GURU says

    I'm fairly new to Discus so I can't say I have encountered the load time problem.

  19. says

    Primary problem with Intense Debate is that email notifications don't cluster in Gmail – when you get 50+ commments a day, that is a major problem.

    As a commenter on blogs running ID, that was a problem, thus I am not going to subject my readers to the same problem.

    There are other reasons, but they would be purely speculation.

  20. says

    Disqus is definitely taking it's sweet time to sync your comments :).

    Andy, you said that it would be hard or maybe even impossible to market to those who comment. If you want to do that in an automated manner (Comment Relish comes to mind) it may be difficult. You still have access to e-mail of comment authors via Disqus dashboard.

    Any word from Disqus how much longer will it take for your comments to sync?

    • says

      No word on syncing time

      Many of the additional forms of commenting, such as Twitter doesn’t really work with something like comment relish

      At least for now some of my readers benefit from comment subscriptions, but I have no idea how Disqus handle bounce management

  21. says

    Andy, here I am commenting using DISQUS :)

    I 've tried it before over other blog and find it useful however my 2 cent problems are:
    1. the leakage of their SEO not merely the 'nofollow' but 'search engine indexing''
    2. loading the whole article after loging-in to comment

    I think once those two problems are fixed, many bloggers will switch off to it specially that self-hosted bloggers don't need to make more server load due to reloading the whole page. Actually it refresh the page.

    • says

      Depending on how your server is set up, a page refresh isn’t a major problem, just a little bandwidth. Webservers returning static documents either (preferably) from memcached or (not so good) a disk based cache can handle it, but it would be better for it not to be necessary.
      The bigger problem is invalidated cache – rebuilding pages.

  22. says

    1. I think a good SEO could turn Disqus into an asset both to the commenter and blog owner though it remains to be seen if that will happen.

    2. the reloading on login in a pain, much better if you are using it on a regular basis so it remembers you.

  23. says

    I swear I commented on this post last night, but I don't see the comment. Odd.
    Can you still use your wordpress admin dashboard to approve and delete comments? Does it scan old post for commnet spam?

  24. says

    Jason, you might have commented before Andy actually activated the plugin, as did I. I think Disqus is still in the process of sync all of the comments on Andy's blog. Your comments will probably show up after the sync process is c0mpleted.

  25. says

    excellent post! since im pretty new to the blog world this is excellent bit of info. i want to writing my first blog page soon. thanks again and don't forget t keep us updated.

  26. says

    Amazing! it keeps getting better and better.Thank you for the mention! I guess this means I better try to knock out a blog post before heading off to the day job.

    It’s Powerful


    By the way, I found out about this post when one of my new Twitter followers sent me a message saying she found me.

  27. says

    I just added Disqus to my site and I did try intense debate and didn't like it. I really like Disqus so far.

    I don't understand how the Top Commenter system works. The description on the site is vague at best. Is it just how many people say they like your comment?

  28. ChrisAllison says

    the trackback feature seems pretty broken as well. I tried leaving some feedback at my blog and linking back using the trackback link, but the link went to a 404 page. Anyways, some thoughts on how the adoption of disqus could be a huge boon to facebook and others: http://www.neboweb.com/blog/centralized-comment

  29. says

    WP > WP normally works using a pingback, and apparently all pingbacks are still handled by WP, and Disqus just displays them.
    Thus they go into my moderation queue and take a little time to get unearthed.

    It could potentially be a boon, but for marketers you really want to be able to market to people. Facebook might reduce friction, but it is hard to then market to someone.

  30. says

    I tried Disqus and really wanted to like it but…

    First, the “generic code” doesn't seem to work well with Firefox and I have way too many Firefox visitors to put up with that. I can't login using Firefox and a post brings me to the Community page rather than staying on my page – unacceptable.

    Second, I really would need a way to bring comments back to the fold in case Disqus ever closed up shop.

    I need to be able to reassign comments to a different post at some times (comment was appropriate but belongs somewhere else).

    I'd like to use it but really cannot.

  31. says

    As I am exploring Google Friend Connect and it's widgets, I think it would be great idea for Disqus to incorporate it into their plugin. Hopefully they are still following this discussion.

  32. says

    Moving a comment to a different post is a little dangerous, as the originator might not be aware it has happened or a problem with context

  33. says

    It must be the Mac version then.. something subtle and no doubt stupid. I just tried the 3.5, same problem. Can't login and after posing as Guest it lands on the Community page.

    Macs using Firefox are about 7% of my visitors – not a whole ton, but that's over 15,000 visits a month and I don't want to tick off anybody.

    I've left one page using Disqus – we'll see how it evolves over time. If it gets better, I'll flip the switch again.

  34. says

    It must be the Mac version then.. something subtle and no doubt stupid. I just tried the 3.5, same problem. Can't login and after posing as Guest it lands on the Community page.

    Macs using Firefox are about 7% of my visitors – not a whole ton, but that's over 15,000 visits a month and I don't want to tick off anybody.

    I've left one page using Disqus – we'll see how it evolves over time. If it gets better, I'll flip the switch again.

  35. graceglmcooke says

    WordPress blogs have trackbacks enabled (without approval) by default. I believe blogger blogs do as well. Not sure on others. Backlinking occurs in the commentors name, when they fill name hrsaccount and web address in a blog comment form (like yours here). That help?

  36. Paul Williamson says

    Hi Andy, your article about Disqus is very interesting. I would like to know if Disqus is search engine friendly. I have a friend who told me that even if some blogs who use Disqus are DoFollow, it can't help improve page ranks because Disqus comments can't be crawled by Google, how true is this? Please clarify me about this because I really want to switch to Disqus and I also want to give my commenters the benefit of DoDollow links. Thanks!

  37. says

    Well first of all 95% of bloggers shouldn't be dofollow, because they have no time to handle moderation, or don't have the technical expertise to spot human spam.

    If you look at my code on this blog, you will see that content can be indexed, but the links are nofollow.

    In many ways, based on current messaging from Google, and with the lack of conclusive testing (and complexity of doing so), that configuration is poor SEO.

    It is sad, but it might be best to use the pure javascript version (the old Disqus plugin for those using WordPress)

  38. chiropractic management says

    Disqus is awesome, their feature on networking all of your comments is cool and an ease of time to check out and edit again

  39. says

    Recently I came over a fantastic artcle about exactly that. You can google it – It's called: Intense Debate vs Disqus: Why I Nearly Switched

  40. says

    Recently I came over a fantastic artcle about exactly that. You can google it – It's called: Intense Debate vs Disqus: Why I Nearly Switched

  41. serkankoak says

    Moving a comment to a different post is a little dangerous, as the originator might not be aware it has happened or a problem with context

  42. says

    After using Disqus for two weeks, I can say that it's not only improved commenting, but increased the amount of comments, plus zero spam.

  43. says

    plus one
    I added your blog to a bookmark!
    the post Excellent but your design no correctly displayed on my mozile and badly read . But I suppose that I have temporary problems with the Internet. please Write more. but I will try to build system and i will be happy to read more.

  44. JustinVR says

    Thanks, I never heard of Disqus before, I'll check it out shortly. From my experience, spam comments has decreased greatly after I installed recaptcha plugin for WordPress.

  45. says

    I share your sentiments. So far as of now, I still have Intense Debate in my blog (deuts.net), and it gave me nothing but headache. The selling point about ID and Disqus is the moderate by email feature, that which ID simply failed to deliver perfectly.

    I have tested and used Disqus in other platforms (blogger and tumblr) and it worked so far like a charm. I haven't tested rigidly it yet with WordPress (self-hosted). I still have to find out.

  46. StevenTaylor says

    The answer is quite simple: I nearly switched because Disqus is so great, but I can't give up on my old blogging habits. It is a simple answer or not?
    Austin Used Car Sales

  47. thebloghouse says

    Great post and Disqus comments!

    I was having a bit of a wobble in whether I was making the right choice in using Disqus over Intense Debate but this post and thread has calmed my fears so thanks again.

  48. says

    Because Disqus make comments easy and more interactive.. And that “do follow” and “no follow” are really affecting the page rank of internal pages.


  1. [...] So what is the solution to fix this issue and not lose an important PageRank? According to Disqus, the best solution (though not yet proven) would be to include a JavaScript on your blog which Google is not able to handle. Another solution being used currently is to turn off your comments. [...]

  2. [...] As you can see this is going to be a big problem for bloggers , especially for blogs that gets lots of comments. Even though you add nofollow to the links they are still leaking page rank. A possible solution is to have a third party comment system like DISQUS , Intense Debate which are based on iframe or java script. In one of my previous posts I blogged about the benefits of using DISQUS. Andy beard gives a much deeper look into DISQUS comment system and why a comment system like DISQUS is a good solution to the page rank leakage. [...]