One of the most important things about a blog is to have comments so that you can engage with your audience and readers. Creating engagement in your articles/website is a great way to create community engagement from your readers.
For years I personally have been using the Disqus commenting platform and I love it, but with more and more social integration becoming the norm, it is good to consider other alternatives such as Google+ comments.
Google+ Comments is essentially the commenting system that you see in the Google+ social network and on YouTube. Any activity that happens on your blog or website in regards to comments from users will also appear on that users Google+ profiles and network.
For some people, they may think Google+ is a dead social network, for me I think it is like the gold fields of untapped gold. It is a great platform but still in its early stages of growth. Getting in now (2014) can put you and your website in a really good position, and one way to help that is to add Google+ comments to your website.
There are a couple ways of adding comments to your website but the easiest way that we have found is to use the Google+ Comments plugin that we have found on the Joomla Extension Directory.
You can see an example displaying how the comments appear after I have interacted with an article.
Created by Joomla Community member Viktor Vogel, it easily adds in comments to your website right after installing and enabling on your site.
The plugin works for both Joomla 2.5 and Joomla 3 but there are versions for either one that you have to download and install separately.
To use it, simply download it for free from his website.
- Login into the admin area of your Joomla website and navigate to Extensions -> Manage Extensions. Please refer to the Joomla documentation website for information on how to install an extension/plugins.
Follow the steps to upload and install the plugin.
Once you're done installing the plugin, you will have to then configure the plugin.
- Navigate to Extensions -> Plugin Manager and use your filters to find the Google+ Comments plugin. (I just type in Google into the filter).
From here you can click on the link to view the plugin options.
The plugin screen with give you a few options in regards to setting up the plugin.
- Width of the comment box: This is where you can define how wide the comment box is. It doesn't look like it is responsive this plugin.
- Show counter: Shows how many comments you have
- Link to developer: Inserts a small link back to Viktor's website so others can find and download the plugin.
- Exclude articles using their IDs: Here you can enter in the article ID number that is shown in the article manager to stop the plugin from loading on those article pages.
- Exclude articles using their category IDs: This will stop the comments from loading on articles that are under any categories with those IDs that are defined. This is really good for a contact us or an about us category that may have many articles that shouldn't have comments.
Overall I think its a great plugin and makes it really quick and easy to get Google+ comments installed and working on your Joomla website. The only downsides is that you can't pick the positioning of the comments, and commenting area isn't responsive. I'll let Viktor know about this and perhaps these can be added in to improve the plugin for the community, but overall really good job!
You can find out more about Viktor's Google+ Comments plugin via his website where he details all of the documentation and how to use the plugin.