Why I Like The Subscribe To Comments Plugin

by derek on May 4, 2007 · 26 comments

Yesterday I shared some of my thoughts as to why I try to respond to each comment from readers of my blogs.
In the ensuing conversation, Matthew from BlogAboutYourBlog.com shared the following:

i like that you reply to most all comments, it keeps me coming back to check what you said

This brings me to another topic that I often find myself thinking about as I make my rounds to my favorite blogs each day and night. As a reader, I think it is essential to have the Subscribe to Comments plugin (or another similar plugin) installed if you are running a WordPress blog.
As my list of regular reads continues to grow, I find myself commenting on more and more blogs. As a blog post drops down the main page, it is too easy to lose track of where you have commented and often results in the end of a potential dialog with the blog owner and/or other readers.
When I post a comment on another blog, I always look for the option to subscribe to the comments on that post. When the blog does not offer this feature, which I have to admit is quite a few of you guys out there, it makes it more difficult to keep up with the comments.
One common rebuttal to the subscribe to comments plugin is that one can always subscribe to the comments RSS feed. While this is true and is certainly a possibility, I find it time consuming enough to keep up with the RSS feeds of the blogs themselves. At the very least, I think it is beneficial to offer the plugin as an option for your readers. Some people may prefer the comment RSS feed while others may prefer the email notifications (I fall into that group) but always try to give your readers a choice.
With the plugin installed, whether you leave it checked or unchecked by default is a whole separate can of worms. But as a reader of your blog, I am personally much more likely to be a repeat commenter on a given post when I am able to subscribe to the comments.
If you’re not currently using a plugin to provide this functionality on your blog, stop what you are doing and go install it. If you don’t want to install the plugin, I challenge you to offer your reasons here. So what’s it going to be? 🙂

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Leo May 4, 2007 at 11:07 pm

I agree


Leo May 4, 2007 at 11:08 pm

U sick of me yet Derek? 🙂


derek May 5, 2007 at 1:13 am

Lol, not at all. I’ll get you back eventually. 😈


Matthew May 5, 2007 at 11:29 am

I know you love my comments, I’ll give you another to blog about sometime 😀


derek May 5, 2007 at 12:10 pm

I’m always looking for post ideas from the comments so keep them coming!


Vince Cordic May 5, 2007 at 2:22 pm

I also use this feature on other blogs quite often, it helps me to keep track and follow up on comments I’ve left. I seem to forget about all the comments I’ve left otherwise. In fact I’m going to use it right now 🙂
I’ve also been using it on my own blog for a while and noticed that some people have been taking advantage of it, so far so good!


derek May 6, 2007 at 1:40 am

As I was writing this post I took a look at how many people are subscribing on this site and there are quite a few people that have used it.
When I encounter a blog that doesn’t use this or a similar plugin, I try my best to remember to look for follow-up comments but I’m sure there are plenty that I have missed.


Staska May 5, 2007 at 4:51 pm

I’d say “Subscribe to comments”plugin is a must for any blog… Almost.
But if you are the owner of the blog there are some problems. Like you have in the options to subscribe to comments:
“Brians threaded comments at the top” and “Subscribe to comments” plugin at the bottom. And not all comments plugins are compatible with each other.
I think I’ve spent almost a week trying to work my comments area the way I wanted, until I gave up. It seems just impossible to have all the comments plugins with “Preview comments, “Edit comments”, “Sunscribe to comments”, “Popularity contest”, “Brians threaded comments” and others working together….


derek May 6, 2007 at 1:57 am

You’re absolutely right that there are quite a few options with the comment related plugins and it can be difficult to try and integrate all of them.
I’ve been living with the “Subscribe” link in the threaded comments and the additional subscribe option at the end of the comment section, but it is less than ideal I know.


Cheng Leng May 5, 2007 at 6:13 pm

I won’t get to install that plugin on my free wordpress.com blog, but they do give us something else for wordpress.com commenters.
Whenever I comment in another site, Wordpress.com will show me the comment before my comment and the comment after my comment in my Dashboard. Not perfect because usually the next comment is not the blog owner’s reply to my comment, but hey, it’s a free site.
PS: Your wife is a very smart woman. 😉


derek May 6, 2007 at 1:59 am

You’re right that the free WP “.com” version doesn’t allow you to customize with any plugins but it is nice to hear that they at least have a little something to help you out.
PS: How’d you know my wife is a very smart woman? 🙂


Kelly Cho May 5, 2007 at 9:32 pm

Subscribe to Comments is a wonderful plugin! It keeps people involved in your posts.


derek May 6, 2007 at 2:02 am

The reason I added it here was because I knew how often I relied on it at other blogs to keep me notified of new comments.
When I comment at another site, I like when the blog owner or other readers respond back and share a little dialog. Without the email reminder, I found too many times that I forgot all about a comment.


Saman Sadeghi May 6, 2007 at 11:01 pm

I’m surprised that no one has brought up the check/unchecked by default topic yet! I have mine checked by default, I thought it would keep people connected to the blog.


derek May 6, 2007 at 11:35 pm

Lol, I have it checked by default here as well and haven’t had anyone complain thus far. On Stephen Fung’s site, I know John Chow and a few others voiced their opinion that it should be unchecked.
Personally, I like sites that have it checked by default as then I don’t have to worry about remembering to check it. Anything that makes it easier for me to keep tabs is a plus in my opinion.


Staska May 7, 2007 at 1:30 am

I would be really careful with default checked option. It may be OK when you are getting a few comments on the post.
But suppose your post gets dugg. That may leave your first commenters inbox buried under tens or hundreds of “…great post”, …thank you”, trackback, pingback notification and other crap e-mail.
Here’s the ultimate Wordpress expert – Lorelles – take on this:


Saman Sadeghi May 7, 2007 at 2:00 am

It’s a good point – my site isn’t quite that large yet 😛


derek May 7, 2007 at 11:04 am

I’m not sure how this would work but an option might be to disable the subscribe plugin if you get dugg to avoid flooding people’s inbox with messages.
Lorelles makes a valid point about the checkbox but I guess it is just a difference between opt-in marketing versus opt-out marketing. To be truly user-friendly I guess you should use opt-in but I’ve taken the approach that until people complain about it, it will remain as it is now.


Programming Blog May 29, 2007 at 6:04 pm

I like that plugin, probably the most useful when I visit others blogs


Steven Snell September 13, 2007 at 7:51 pm

I love the plugin. Both on my own blog and on others.


derek September 13, 2007 at 10:47 pm

Steven, you and me both! Whenever I encounter a site that doesn’t offer the ability to subscribe to comments, I 2nd guess leaving a comment as then I have to remember to come back. Using the Comments RSS just isn’t as convenient.
Thanks for stopping by!


Steven Snell September 14, 2007 at 4:33 pm

Yeah, I never use the comments RSS either.


Mike December 13, 2013 at 11:59 am

While a subscribe to comments plugin is good, it is not of much use if not used properly. Most of the times users don’t pay attention to checkboxes (as I call them checkbox-blind). A plugin that allows default selected checkbox would be a good one. I guess I will have to cough one up soon. Do you agree or not Derek?


derek December 14, 2013 at 1:24 pm

While I agree that a lot of people have the checkbox (banner, ad, etc.) blindness, I have never personally been a fan of the default behavior being checked. Yes, I know a lot of people and companies do it but to me it always comes across as a little spammy.


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