A very simple way to retain visitors to your blog is to allow them to receive a response notification to a comment. In other words, they will be notified by e-mail when you have replied to their message or when someone posts a new comment on an article.
The impact is very positive: regulars see that you have replied to their message, which can encourage discussion or confirm that you are listening to them. Transit visitors do not always think of coming back after leaving a comment. The mail will act as a little reminder prick!
On Blogger and WordPress.com, this comment subscription feature is offered by default. If you use WordPress with a host, today I suggest you discover and configure together the Subscribe To Comments Reloaded plugin. It allows you to send a notification if you reply to a comment.
After being abandoned for a long time, this plugin has been taken back in hand and I have therefore rewritten this article entirely to take account of updates to Subscribe To Comments Reloaded.
Subscribe To Comments Reloaded: presentation
This free plugin allows visitors to subscribe to comments, either by a simple check box (they are then informed of all comments posted on the article of their choice), or by a drop-down menu with three possibilities:
- Post a comment without subscribing.
- Post a comment and be notified only when someone replies to that comment.
- Post a comment and receive an email each time someone enters the discussion of the article.
Subscribe To Comments Reloaded offers a lot of customization possibilities. The plugin also automatically creates a page on which each reader can manage their subscriptions and unsubscribe at any time, in accordance with French law which requires that we offer the possibility of unsubscribing.
Come on, let’s start with install it and activate it from the Extensions / Add menu:
This creates a new section in the WordPress Settings menu, called “StCR”. This is where we will configure the plugin now.
Configure Subscribe To Comments Reloaded
You will quickly notice in the administration of the plugin that there is lots of options available. It’s a bit confusing at first, but in reality it’s just because Subscribe To Comments Reloaded allows you to customize EVERYTHING if you want (messages to your readers, style of the subscription form, etc.).
You have a menu on the left of your WordPress administration:
The items in this menu are also repeated in the form of tabs at the top of each section:
The essential parameters
I will guide you through the personalization of the essential elements for the proper functioning of the Subscribe To Comments Reloaded plugin: first go to the “Comment form” menu.
“Comment form” menu
Activate the checkbox by default : By default, the subscription option appears under your feedback form. It seems to be the most logical place so I advise you to leave “Yes”.
Checked by default : you know this principle well with newsletters on the web. Either you are automatically subscribed (“yes”) or you let the visitor decide (“no”). Since the entry into force of the GDPR in Europe, it is prohibited to automatically subscribe a person to a feature without their express consent. Therefore, you should set this option to “no”.
Advanced subscription : by default, the plugin offers your visitors to subscribe to all comments. The advanced subscription offers your visitors 3 options: not to subscribe, to subscribe to everything or to be notified only when they reply to their comment. In my opinion, it is preferable to activate this option: receiving an email with each new comment is very intrusive, so it is good to offer a lighter subscription option.
Checked by default : When the advanced subscription is activated, this is where you choose what happens by default. Again, since the entry into force of the GDPR, you cannot subscribe a person by default, so the default option must be set to “No” subscription.
“Management page” menu
Once your visitors subscribe, they can access a page that allows them to manage their subscriptions.
Virtual management page : by default, the plugin creates this page itself. This is the simplest solution because everything is done automatically. However, if you want to create the page yourself, just choose “Disabled”. This Github tutorial can help you set up a hand-created page.
Page title : This title will appear on the page on which your visitors will manage their subscription (s).
Management page : The page that will allow your visitors to manage their subscriptions will have this address there, followed by a unique identifier specific to each subscriber.
You absolutely must choose an address that respects the structure of your blog’s permalinks.
In other words, if all your articles have addresses of the type monblogparfait.com/?page_id=1000, the page for managing comment subscriptions must also have an address of the same kind, for example monblogparfait.com/?page_id=99999. If your articles have rather addresses like monblogparfait.com/mon-super-article/, you can for example call your page monblogparfait.com/abonnement-aux-commentaires/
By default, the page in question is not not indexable by search engines (“noindex” instruction) which is ideal.
When your visitors subscribe, they will receive one or more emails, in particular to notify them of a new comment. You can choose the name of the sender that will appear when sending these emails, as well as the sending address. By default, the plugin uses the name and address of your WordPress account.
This tab offers you an important option: you can ask your subscribers to confirm their email address for the subscription to be active. I strongly advise you to activate the option: it prevents people from finding themselves subscribed by third parties, it avoids the use of “false addresses” to comment …
Choose “Yes” in the line “Allow verification”.
Subscribe To Comments Reloaded allows you to go further in personalization.
Messages sent to your subscribers
You can act at 3 levels :
- Personalize the messages displayed under your comment form (in the “Comment form” menu);
- Customize those displayed on the subscription management page (in the “Management page” menu);
- Define the emails your subscribers receive when a new comment is posted, when they have to confirm their email address or when they want to modify their subscriptions (in the “Notifications” menu).
The principle is simple: you write your message in good French and you use predefined “tags” for all the “variable” parts of the message.
Take for example the email sent to a subscriber to notify them of a new comment. In this email, there will be not only a fixed part of the type “Hello, there is a new comment” but also elements which vary from one article to another (the title of the article, a link to article, etc.).
The principle is that each tag will be replaced by “good information” when sending the email. For example, (post_title) will be replaced with the title of the article to which the visitor subscribed, completely automatically. (post_permalink) will be replaced by the article link, (manager_link) by a link allowing the person to manage his subscription / unsubscribe if necessary … and so on.
How do you know which tags you can use? It’s simple: click on the blue question mark next to the name of each field, you will have a list of allowed tags.
In the “Comment form” menu, you can act on the appearance of the area which allows you to subscribe by entering a few CSS instructions or custom HTML.
In the “Options” menu, you can also choose whether the emails are sent as simple text or in HTML (which allows further formatting). I advise you to activate sending by default in HTML, by setting “Yes” in the line “Activate emails in HTML”.
Other options to respond to a comment
The plugin offers many additional options (in the “Options” menu) which will concern a minority of users.
If you have multiple authors on your blog, you can, for example, have each author automatically subscribe to comments published on their own article, by choosing “Yes” in the “Subscribed” line.
You can be informed if there are people who subscribe to comments without having commented themselves, by choosing “Yes” in the line “Send subscriptions without comments”.
You can choose to limit response notifications to comments posted on articles (excluding pages and types of personalized content): just choose “Yes” in the line “Enable only on blog posts”.
A still imperfect notification plugin
Subscribe To Comments Reloaded is a very complete plugin that will help you retain the people who take the time to comment on your blog. he works with most WordPress themes and it’s a real added value to send a response notification to a comment.
This WordPress plugin is not without its imperfections. It can happen that your readers receive emails with non-clickable links: either because their mailbox blocks content sent in HTML format, or because the notifications have been misconfigured (if you just entered a tag like ” (post_permalink) “without transforming it into a link, the link may not be clickable).
In addition, the plugin may not work on your blog if the comments form code included in your WordPress theme has been customized. In this case, you often have to go and modify the code yourself by hand in your template (plugin technical support forum can surely give you some food for thought).
Despite these few pitfalls that can cause problems when installing the plugin, Subscribe To Comments Reloaded is a useful ally to help maintain the link with its readers!