Do you have to log in to leave a comment? No…at least not yet, anyway. Trust me, though…if you intend to take the time to comment, you should take the extra 8 seconds to log in first. No, really…you SHOULD. Why? Two reasons…
First, you should know that I have just installed “Social Profiles“. It is likely one of several in a series of WordPress Plugins from Sugarrae.com due for release in the coming months. It was developed as a result of Rae Hoffman and Joost de Valk joining forces again. Without a doubt, it’s a great plugin! I can’t say enough about it. And unlike some plugins I’ve tried, I’ve not had any issues with it whatsoever.
No installation problems. No functionality issues. No lack of compatibility with any other plugins. What does this mean for commenters? It means that you can now register, input your social profile information and have links to those profiles included along with the link to your website/blog URL each time you leave a comment. This is, however, only available to registered users that have logged in prior to commenting. Ah…there’s always a catch! ;) Hey, you can’t expect just anyone to be able to take advantage this, right? :)
Second, I recently wrote a post entitled “Why NOFOLLOW My Comments?” indicating that I had elected to remove the NOFOLLOW commands from the comment links within my blog in an attempt to improve the number of comments left, encourage discussion and build a greater sense of community in general among regular contributors.
I’m not an idiot…I didn’t JUST remove the NOFOLLOW commands. I did so using the “NoFollow Free” WordPress plugin and have customized the settings to help avoid potential abuse by spammers. Thus far, it’s working perfectly. That said, the number of comments a registered and logged in user must leave is considerably less than an unregistered user must leave in order for the plugin to remove the NOFOLLOW command from your comments. That’s one of many configuration options available with NoFollow Free.
I thought long and hard about whether or not to do it…and then long and hard again whether or not to announce it. Because one of the primary goals of my blog is to encourage discussion, I ultimately decided that the pros outweigh the cons…especially for me at this point. Anything I can do to encourage people to visit and/or participate in discussions is certainly worth trying! The new plugin just released at Sugarrae is yet another step in the right direction.
I see a pattern forming in the plugins that Rae has released thus far. The first, “Customize Your Community” (a.k.a. “CYC”), was developed to help blog owners create customized login and admin pages that flow seamlessly with the design of a site, rather than having to accept the default WordPress design for user pages. While I’ve not tested the plugin myself (yet…sorry, Rae), I have reviewed it in all its glory having logged in to my profile at Sugarrae. Works like a charm! Would you expect anything less from those two? ;)
Rae & Joost’s second collaboration is no less dedicated to promoting a blog’s sense of community. This plugin, on the other hand, has nothing to do with design or aesthetics – it’s about taking advantage of the many popular social networking sources on the web and rewarding those who contribute to your blog’s comments with links to their individual profile pages. On blogs with a large readership, this plugin could provide individual commenters with a great deal of potential exposure! It will help blog owners express their dedication to helping visitors build a rapport with other users, as well.
Worried about all that link juice flowing out from your posts? Don’t be! If you’re concerned about that, simply select the “nofollow” option in Social Profile’s settings. I really can’t say enough about how great I think this plugin is. I believe it will not only create a greater sense of connection and community with commenters, but it also provides some additional exposure and lends greater credibility to the individuals taking the time to comment. Kudos on both the concept and excecution! This plugin has officially been added to my “Must Have WordPress Plugins For Newbies“!