Comments Approved Plugin - Are you missing out?
Good day dearest WA-family! :-)
In one of the posts that I responded to, our very own cooking queen Haroda asked why I would recommend a "comment approved" plugin and then our lovely Pernilla prompted me to write a blog post about it and Mark turned the pressure on. :-) LOL! No, he didn't, he is a pure gentleman, as always. ;-)
So here we go, let's see if I can write another post about the same topic, without creating duplicate content, shall we?. ;-) LOL!
"What is a "comment approved" plugin?", I hear you ask. ;-)
In short, it is a plugin to let your website visitors know that you have approved the comment that they have left on your website. :-)
"But doesn't WordPress do that already?"
I know this sounds a bit confusing, but no, we are talking about two different things here.
You are probably thinking of the function in the WordPress (WP) back office where you can choose to approve comments before they appear on your website (which is the preferred option to prevent spam and bad quality comments), or where one can choose to automatically have a comment posted after the commenter had a certain amount of approved comments and has thus proven themselves as somebody whom you regard as welcome on your website or (the least preferred option, since it invites spamming) where comments are automatically approved.
Some WP themes may have a comment approved function, but that is not the norm.
The "Comments Approved" plugin which I refer to, sends an email to your website visitor, after you have approved their comment, to say "Your comment has been approved. Here is the link to it again." (Something like that - you get the idea, right?) ;-)
"Why is it important to send an email that their comment is approved?"
You have researched how to make money online, then found WA and paid your membership. Then you spend hours going through the training, you asked tons of questions and pulled your hair out a few times. Eventually your website was on the internet, wobbly and on a slippery banana peel as it may have been at times, it is there! It is live for the whole wide world to see! And you couldn't be more proud! Whoo-hooo! :-)
Then you started learning about traffic and you anxiously checked Google Analytics daily, sometimes hourly. Then you received your first visitor AND a comment! ;-) Euphoric!
Nervous with excitement you hit the WA Search Bar again to look for training on how to give outstanding replies to your comments. You then spend time to give a good answer, (and rewrite it a few times eh? Or is that only me?) and you carefully formulate a question to stimulate the conversation that you hope you can get going. Right? Is that not what we do? Of course it is! ;-)
And then you wait for them to respond and you nervously twiddle your fingers...
And you wait... uhm .... press refresh... and you wait ....
You check your email... everything seems to be working fine... so you wait....
You again make sure everything works...
And then the questions start like a flush flood across the Arizona desert. What if something is wrong that you are not aware of? What if they can't see your answer? What if they think your website is so bad that it is not worth coming back to? What if they didn't like ....? What if ...? What if ....? Oh, you know all those thousands of questions and insecurities that rushes through our heads, don't you? ;-)
[light-bulb moment] Then you ask your sister to leave a comment in order to check whether everything works as intended and whether she can see your reply. So she leaves a comment, you respond and then you wait... But since this waiting game is more than you can handle, you call her on the phone, and sure, you should have known.... she got busy with other things and left you treading water, waiting for a response. Okay, so she checks back and everything is 100% fine and she even leaves an unimaginative "thank you". Great, [roll eyes] so at least you know everything is working. Right? ;-)
Did I hear you laughing? So I'm not the only one who have done this then, right? ;-) LOL!
So what is the difference between your sister and your website visitor who just evaporated into cyber bits and bytes? :-)
The difference is: your sister received a call to say "Hey, go look at my website, I answered you back!", but your website visitor did not! Yeah I know - pretty obvious now that we think about it, isn't it?
And that is exactly what a "Comment Approved" plugin is - an email reminder that is send to your visitor to let them know that they can go back to your website to check on the comment that they have left there.
Real life example
In December 2017, I left a comment on a website. I immediately felt a connection with the website owner, she had an awesome sense of humor, she had a heartfelt way of writing and I really liked her. One of those people you wish that she lived on your street. ;-) But of course, we are all struggling through our WA training and living our lives and I totally forgot about this website.
Did I mention that I REALLY liked the website and the owner?
Just as well she had an easy to remember website name, that I could immediately type in without any searching or scratching around, yes, that is how big an impression she made on me, that I could still remember her website address almost 5 months later!
And what do I find there to my utter dismay? You want to take a guess?
A lovely answer to my comment, carefully crafted with great skill and her caring showing through and enough wit to make it a pleasure to be on her website, great value, with a link to one of her other posts which she thought may further clarify my question and a friendly and inviting question for me again.
She has done everything perfectly right, Kyle would have been proud of her, she was the perfect student! A+
I felt so terribly sad when I read her lovely response, because I know she must have felt that I don't care, that I just vanished into cyber bits and bytes. I thought of all the lovely conversations we could have had, how much I could have learned from her, heck, when I left the comment in December, I even thought that I can maybe employ her services!! Five months lost, because I didn't know that she responded to my message and I was so busy living my own life, that I forgot to check back.
Besides the courtesy of letting your website visitor know that you have responded to their comment, you are doing yourself a huge favor too. "How so?", I hear you ask. ;-)
Because your website visitor now has the opportunity to come back to your website - a repeat visitor! Whoo-hooo! And to respond to your carefully crafted comment! Whoo-hooo - another comment! Maybe they will see something else that they will read as well? Maybe they will stay a little longer? And the ever present Uncle Google will take note and reward you with some google-love too. ;-) [sigh] Awesome! LOL!
"So, have you now responded back to the website owner?", I hear you ask. This is the REALLY sad part. I have sent a message through her contact page and haven't heard a word from her. Then a PM through her WA profile and I still haven't heard a word from her. She hasn't updated her website since January. I have this nauseating feeling that she got discouraged, thought that nobody cares to read... While we just didn't know and were too busy with our own struggles with our websites.
For the simple install of a "comments approved" plugin, it all could have been so different! Don't you agree?
Which plugins can be used?
I am by no means a professional on this, but you can look at:
• "Lightweight Subscribe to Comments",
• "Email Subscriber + Newsletter"
• "Subscribe to Comments Reloaded".
• "Comment Approved Notifier Extended"
• "Comment Mail"
Pernilla responded in the comments below that she uses the "Comment Approved Notifier Extended" plugin, and I know that one works well, since I have received notifications that Pernilla has responded to my comments. ;-) A living example that it works! ;-) Thanks dear friend! ;-)
Just a word of caution: please test these plugins on a Test Website first (or here), before installing on your live website, in order to ensure that it is compatible with your Theme and doesn't break anything.
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I thank YOU for honoring me with your time by reading my post - thank you! I hope that you will be inspired to install a "comments approved" plugin. ;-)
And by now you know the drill, don't you? :-) Please like and share your thoughts and comments. ;-) LOL!
To Pernilla, Mark and Haroda - thank you for the inspiration! :-) (and the kick) :-) LOL!
Sharlee (Chocolate IceCream)
UPDATE: Hubby has tested the "Comment Mail" plugin. I like that it has different options, whether to subscribe to only the one comment or to all comments in the post. We have found that it only works when Hubby replies to a comment directly from the post though, not from the WP Back Office, not sure whether it is a theme problem or not. (He uses the Clean Commerce Theme).