I’ve had a number of people ask me, “How can I get my comments to look like yours.” Now there are two parts to that question, the formatting of the comments and the formatting of the comment box/form. While I do love formatting tutorial posts, I think there are some misconceptions that need to be cleared up first.
There are many different commenting systems to choose from, although that will be more limited for a Blogger blog. Today, I want to talk about 4 of them: WordPress, Disqus, Intense Debate, and Blogger. Each of these are separate commenting systems and work in different ways. I’m going to go over each of these 4 commenting systems and discuss the benefits and draw backs of using each one.
Many people do not like the Blogger commenting system. The default look is very plain and can be difficult to change. Many bloggers also don’t disable the ever annoying captcha. So what can and can’t you change about this commenting system? One thing that can’t be changed, and you should never try to mess with, is this comment form:
Not the prettiest comment form, but it works well and serves its purpose. Honestly, I don’t think comment forms are all that important when it comes to the overall design of your blog. However, the comments themselves can be formatted for Blogger. The problem with this is that the HTML is fairly complicated and can’t be moved around in your template. It all gets generated behind the scenes. You can use CSS to make changes like background colors, borders, etc., but you have to know what IDs and classes to target.
I did create a tutorial on how to format the comments, but it was fairly minimal. I have a more in depth tutorial formatting tutorial planned and will write that up sometime in the future.
Disqus is what I would consider the best “out of the box” option. It’s very easy to install, use, and the design can fit well in almost any theme.
It gets installed as a gadget too in Blogger, so whenever you switch around templates, Disqus isn’t changed or deleted. It has some great features like mobile design and a great admin dashboard. I also think it’s really cool that you can reply to comments through email when you get notified of a new comment.
Intense Debate is actually an option that I used for quite a while when I was on Blogger. I personally don’t like the default layout at all. It’s not very pretty compared to WordPress or Disqus. However, the great thing about Intense Debate, is that the comment form and comments can be edited with CSS. There’s actually a custom CSS box you can insert CSS into in the admin panel.
If you know what you’re doing with HTML/CSS, are on Blogger, and want your commenting form to look more like WordPress’s, then this is a great commenting system for you. Configuring this does take some work though and I’m not going to create a formatting tutorial for Intense Debate, so know what you’re getting into before you sign up.
I personally like the WordPress commenting system best. It’s easy for me to design all aspects of the form and comments. I can also add functionality through plugins like WP Ajaxify Comments. By default, the WordPress comment form usually looks like this:
Having the name, email, and url input boxes all next to each other, in a line seems to be a popular look for the WordPress commenting form (ie. my form). Configuring this form or the comments, just takes knowledge of HTML and CSS. Know what IDs/Classes to access and then make the changes with CSS.
In a nutshell, there are 4 things you can do to format your commenting system:
- Learn HTML/CSS and do it yourself.
Frantically search the internet for formatting tutorials. Which, if you don’t know how to use HTML/CSS, you may still be confused.
Purchase a theme that already has the comments formatted.
Hire a developer.
I hope this helps you make a more informed decision on what direction you should take in choosing your commenting system :)
Let me know if you have any questions!