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Joomla! Blogging and RSS Feeds : Commenting anyone?

1/15/2011 6:07:15 PM
One of the most important features of a blog is the commenting system, where visitors can respond to the articles posted on the blog. Comments can be a direct response to a post, questions, or additional information that can help others who read the article.

Joomla! at its core doesn't have a commenting system, with anti-spam features in place, so we need to look for third parties to provide this feature. You can choose from several components and plugins to get a commenting system in place. There are commercial ones such as JomComment and JXtended Comments, and free components such as !JoomlaComment, MXComment, and yvComment. Of the commercial ones the JomComment seems to be the most widely used, and of the free ones for Joomla 1.5 yvComment seems to be the most popular.

Why comments are important

From an SEO point of view, commenting is very good, as people will create extra content for your page with their comments. Those comments are mostly on the site's topic, so without writing the content yourself, your page content will grow. But it has another benefit, and that is the interaction with your visitors.

Interaction with your visitors

If you respond to the comments of your visitors in a respectful way and engage in the discussions, people are likely come back to your site to read your responses to questions.

They will eventually start asking questions and tell other people where to go to get answers to their questions. It will give you the possibility to get word of mouth advertisements that will increase the number of visitors to your site. They will share links on those articles and discussions, which leads to more incoming links to your site. As you can see, interacting with your visitors is really good for your Search Engine Optimization efforts.

However, there are people who will use your commenting system to spam your site with their own links and that is something we want to avoid. Therefore, a good anti-spam system and comment moderation facility needs to be in the system as well.

I am going to show you how to implement a third-party service that does all that and more. It is called Disqus and it's a free service.

Installation and configuration of the Disqus plugin

Disqus is not a component that you install on your Joomla! site, it is a free service provided by www.disqus.com.

To be able to use this service you have to get a free account on www.disqus.com.

Setting up your commenting service on Disqus

To get your configuration set up, log in to Disqus.

Once you are logged in look at the top right menu, there you will see small link that says Add a Website, and that is exactly what you want to do.

These steps are really simple—the first line is the URL of your site, the second is a description to identify the site in your administration and moderation panel.

You will need the Short name later on, make sure it is short and simple without spacing. You can even choose to remove any hyphens or underscores as well.

The next thing you need is to choose your platform.

Joomla! is not included in this short list, so move to the option other platforms. In the list that follows you see a link called Joomla, following this link will take you to the site www.joomlaworks.gr.

Find the plugin DISQUS comment system for Joomla!.

Download and install this plugin, it is also free. Install the plugin like any other plugin and we can get into the configuration of this plugin. The configuration of the plugin is really simple, but make sure you have the correct Short name for Disqus at hand´╗┐´╗┐.

Change the content of the field Your DISQUS subdomain to the Short name. Your subdomain should be something like Short name.disqus.com.

After you enable the plugin you are ready to moderate the comments and trackbacks received through the Disqus web site. If you look at the pages on your site you will see that the comment feature is now in place and integrated into the site.

Disqus has the following advantages over comment components:

  • Very good anti spam database that filters spam directly at the source

  • Easy moderation panel

Can be used for different web sites and still have one moderation panel for all those sites

  • It has a trackback system in place that most of the Joomla! comment components don't have

Limitations of Disqus

Are there any drawbacks of using this system? Yes, there are:

  • You don't have control over the content of the comments like the real Joomla! comment components.

  • The data is not stored in your database, but is with Disqus. If this service stops in the future, you could lose all your comments.

  • You are also relying on servers that are not under your control, so if they have an outage it could hurt your site because of long loading time.

  • You cannot limit commenting to one section of your site, so if you want to limit comments to the blog section only, you will notice that you cannot do that.

This commenting system is for your whole site, so please be aware of that. This means, not only your blog has the possibility to receive comments, but all the other articles on your web site will receive comments as well!

Putting your RSS Feeds to work

Now that we have the blog and the commenting system in place, it is time to focus on your RSS Feed(s).

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it simply means that the content of your site can be viewed easily using a RSS reader. More important is the fact that people can subscribe to your RSS Feed and get the new articles delivered to their reader or mailbox.

Search engines are looking at these feeds as well and they take them into their index really fast. You saw how fast you can get indexed in the blog search of Google. The only way it will happen that fast is, if you provide them with a sitemap and a RSS Feed. First you need to activate the RSS Feed option for the blog on your Joomla! site. To do that go to the Module Manager section in the Extensions menu and add a new module.

Do not choose the Feed Display module, choose the Syndicate module!


With a syndication module you are going to publish your content, with an RSS Feed module you are getting the feed from another site. Configure and publish the module to be active for the blog overview menu item only. For best results set Format on the right side to Atom 1.0.

On the blog overview page you now see a small icon

Click on that Feed Entries link and copy the URL it goes to so that you can use it later when you are going to improve your RSS Feed to have the best possible effects for Search Engine Optimization.

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