Open yourself up to comments
Added on: Saturday 24th May 2014
Many webmasters are wary of adding discussion forums to a website because of problems with spam and the need to keep software up to date. If you write your own software then you have to include features to allow users to register and administrators to block or ban users and to moderate comments.
As a developer I have always preferred to use my own software rather than trying to integrate third party applications into a website. It is a bit like reinventing the wheel but at least it gives you total control.
Then there is the problem of spam filtering. You really need to use a service such as Akismet which is free for non-commercial sites but requires a monthly payment for any other sites.
I've recently come across Disqus which is a free to use blog commenting system. It seems to be in use on lots of sites now including Sitepoint - so if it is good enough for them it is good enough for me.
Installation on a website couldn't be simpler - just sign up for an account and identify your site with a unique 'shortname'. You will even get an email with the code you need to add to your web pages!
The code can also be accessed from your admin area.
There are options to style the comment area but I found that the default was nice and unobtrusive and fitted well with my site design.
I've just created a simple html file that I can include on any page so that a typical entry looks like the one below.
Although you still need to moderate the comments this can all be done from a simple admin area.
I've installed it on this site so please feel free to add comments.