BloggingPro recently changed from a standard WordPress commenting system to the Facebook Commenting platform, a move that now allows our readers not only to engage with one another but also post comments to their Facebook page, inviting their friends into the mix. While Facebook continues to make their commenting system a more robust offering users who simply ditch their old platform for the new Facebook platform are instantly crippling their blog.
From an SEO standpoint every single comment entered into a blog provides additional information for your post, that content is read by search engines and becomes included in search results. If the blog has dozens, hundreds or even thousands of previous comments simply removing those comments completely changes the “digital landscape” of your content, possibly removing your high ranking posts from their search engine placement.
From an engagement standpoint your most loyal users may feel slighted after they took the time to create many dedicated conversations on your blog only to have them removed for a new system.
So how exactly do you make sure you don’t cripple your blog and visitor loyalty when switching from a legacy system to Facebook Commenting. The most obvious and effective measure is to disable new comments on your old commenting system but allow those conversations to remain below the Facebook system. As you’ll notice at the bottom of this post our new Facebook system reads “Comment with Your Facebook Account” and below that system “COMMENTS” are still displayed from past posts.
On some websites the old commenting system is left open for new comments, while others close old comment threads. Leaving your old system open will allow users to receive notifications when new comments are added to threads where they are subscribed, however it could also lead to fractured comment threads that don’t allow users to fully engage by breaking up potential threads into different systems.
Special note: If you use a system such as Echo or Disqus there is an option to import comments from those systems into your standard WordPress commenting platform, make sure to import all of your users comments before closing the comment thread, this will allow you to save comments that have been posted. After you import your comments remove the old third-party commenting system to help page load times which can be hindered by third-party scripts.
Finally, if you plan to use Facebook as your commenting platform of choice, write an entry explaining the switch, showing your users the advantages of the new system, your non-tech savvy user base will be more likely to enjoy your new system and engage if they understand how it works.
Facebook Commenting is a powerful system for engagement that is easy to install and simple to manage, with a little bit of work it can even improve discussion and reach for your blog without destroying the community you have already built.