A conundrum faced by many website owners is how to increase user / reader engagement; how can we provide quality content while getting our readers to interact with us. One way many (most) websites use is the comments or reviews section — a place where website visitors leave thoughts, have conversations, or *gasp* troll.
Our sister site SharewareOnSale is booming — we are now a top-ranked website, have over 300,000 members, and every software or product sale we post spreads like wildfire over the interwebz. However, SharewareOnSale is struggling in user interaction. We are able to get people to visit our website and download software from us, but we could not get people to engage with us.
In a bid to increase user interaction, a few months back I replaced SharewareOnSale’s native WordPress commenting system with Disqus (a third-party commenting platform). Disqus has a lot of good features, and for a while I enjoyed having it around. Soon, however, I realized Disqus was more of a crutch than a solution; it didn’t really increase user interaction and I was exporting a valuable part of my website while forgoing features — features that I wanted to add to our comment system but couldn’t because Disqus doesn’t allow customizations. Essentially, there was no advantage of SharewareOnSale using Disqus but there was plenty of downsides.
As such, I decided it is time to switch back to our native commenting system. That is when I hit a brick wall.
You see, Disqus has a plugin for WordPress websites that makes it easy to automatically sync comments made on Disqus back to your WordPress database. In other words, if you ever decide to no longer use Disqus, you won’t lose your comments. Unfortunately, Disqus fails to mention that the automatic syncing only works for comments made on WordPress posts and pages — it does not work for comments made on custom post types, like WooCommerce product posts. Seeing as SharewareOnSale runs on WooCommerce (which is built on WordPress), switching away from Disqus means we will lose all the comments people have posted over the last few months.
I contacted Disqus support about this issue and they said Disqus can only sync comments to comments on WordPress posts and pages — not custom post types, like WooCommerce products. When confronted about why Disqus does not make this clear and when the feature will be added, I was ignored. You can imagine my anger.
Right now I’m a point where I’m forced to continue to use Disqus on SharewareOnSale until I can find a way to export all comments made on Disqus and import them into WordPress. (Disqus has a manual export feature but the format they use to export is not supported by WordPress, which is why one needs to use the Disqus WordPress plugin to auto-sync comments.) Don’t make the same mistake I did: do not use Disqus for your WooCommerce website — or any other website that uses custom post types. You’ve been warned.