First, let me introduce Andy Bailey. He is the developer of the famous CommentLuv plugin and has kindly agreed to participate in my A.S.K. (Answers Sharing Knowledge) series.
It’s not often a developer of a plugin stays as active in the progress of a plugin as Andy does. Since its inception, Andy has updated the CommentLuv plugin many times, with each update making it better than the last.
For those who use the plugin, the latest update includes a red heart. Hover your mouse over the heart and it will show more about the author of the comment, their avatar and what sites they’ve been visiting. (See question number two for the specifics.)
Let’s get started and listen to how and why Andy developed the CommentLuv plugin.
1) CommentLuv has become the most popular plugin used for building community on blogs. As the developer of this plugin, what inspired this idea?
Thanks for saying it’s the most popular! I hope it will continue to be a useful tool for bloggers to install. It always surprises me when I check the stats to see how many people are using the plugin; at last count it was processing up to and over 150,000 comments per day! It’s funny to think of how it started as a simple plugin for WordPress owners and WordPress commentators only. Since then, I’ve made quite a few updates to it and I think the latest version 2.5 CommentLuv is the most stable, compatible and feature rich version yet.
I made it partly as an opportunity to take my PHP knowledge a bit further, but the main reason was for comments and traffic. They seem to be the first things a blogger wants to get for their site and if I could provide them with a way to get more comments and traffic, then it would be a worthwhile project to do and may even increase my own traffic from the people using it.
It started last year when a widget called blogrush came out to display links to other blogs similar to your own. It was supposed to increase traffic for your site, but I thought it had its faults, mainly the fact that the more traffic you got, the more links of yours got shown. It sounded good at first but it seemed to be more beneficial to sites that already had a lot of traffic rather than the ones who needed it most.
I thought a better idea would be to link to the people who comment on your blog rather than some random site that happens to already get a lot of traffic. This way it can increase the amount of comments because of the incentive of a titled link and if more blogs use it and you comment there, it can increase your traffic too, all without doing anything extra than what you already do with your blog and your visitors.
I was pretty sure it would encourage comments and it would help to see what the blog visitors were posting about and give something back to them at the same time. Plus, I was interested to see if I could code it myself. (ever the geek I am!)
I spend the majority of my online time either on my own blog or at my commentators blogs. I am a busy guy so I don’t really have the time to log on to all sorts of social networking sites just to see what my visitors are up to. I wanted a little bit of community/social linking without having to leave my own site or the long process required to maintain a blogroll, so I guess you could say I made it because I’m too lazy to log on to social sites! Also, it feels nice to make something useful (even better when they post about it on their own site!)
2) You’ve recently updated the CommentLuv plugin to include a red heart. Can you elaborate on why you did, and how this feature can help bloggers?
I put the heart option in to give visitors to a Commentluv enabled site a bit of interaction with the page or posts commentators. I know on many occasions I look for other things to click when I’ve finished reading a post or after I have commented. Having the heart info box there helps me decide where to go next. Plus, I think it’s another incentive for someone to comment when they visit, and it also builds on the community feel of a site if a visitor can see the profiles of who comments at your site and what other sites they comment at. All without leaving your blog until they see a last blog post they like where they can click and do it all again.
Sometimes I follow a last blog post to a site and see they use CommentLuv too, so after reading their article I click on one of their commentators last blog posts and so on. Doing this can keep me going through CommentLuv sites until I go full circle and end up on the blog I started with. Having the heart and profile box enhances this even further by allowing me to see details of all the other commentators too. Things like noticing certain people popping up again and again at other CommentLuv sites make me realize how much of a community there is amongst bloggers. And of course, everyone likes to see their avatar and name displayed on someone else’s site!. I’m pretty sure it will help to generate even more traffic and comments which is what the plugin is supposed to do for a site owner, and seeing it happen to more blogs than ever, all from something I made myself is really satisfying. I feel kinda famous
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about CommentLuv, I’m always open to ideas for improvements or features so let your readers know they can visit my support forum or the ComLuv.com site if they have something to ask or tell me.
You can download the
2.5latest version of CommentLuv at ComLuv.com where you can also register your url and take advantage of the extra features for members on CommentLuv enabled blogs. You can also enter a description of your site to be displayed in the heart info box and specify things like your default cache age, feed location and more.
In Closing: Thank you Andy for taking time out of your busy schedule and answering my questions. I also want to express my appreciation for developing the CommentLuv plugin. Personally I appreciate it, and I know the readers of Blogging Without A Blog are grateful, as well.
Knowing many of you use the CommentLuv plugin, how has it helped you in your blogging activities?
Join in the conversation and share with others how using CommentLuv enhances your blogging experience. I’m looking forward to your answers.
Photo Credit: Andy Bailey @ FiddyP.co.uk