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Comments Box Best Practices | November 2011

Comments Box Best practices What is it? The Comments Box is a social plugin that makes it easy for people to leave comments on your site. Whether you have a blog, news site, or online store, the Comments Box encourages quality conversations, displays the most relevant comments first, and drives traffic to your site.

How does it work? With just a few lines of code, you can let people use their Facebook account to comment on content on your site and publish it to Facebook for their friends to see and react to.

‣ Quality Conversations: People that are signed in to Facebook can immediately see comments from their friends, and they can leave comments without needing to create another account. When Facebook users leave comments on your site, their content is associated with their real name, profile photo and other public information —encouraging civil and thoughtful conversations. The Comments Box also lets people login Yahoo!, AOL and Hotmail. ‣ Social Relevancy & Moderation: The Comments Box automatically promotes comments from friends, friends of friends, and the most liked discussion threads. Admins can alternatively choose to set the default sort to chronological or reverse chronological order. Moderators can also boost comments to pin them at the top and spur discussion. To minimize spam, the Comment Box enables you to hide comments, blacklist words and ban users. In addition, you can choose to make unmoderated comments visible to everyone or just the commenters’ friends.

We found using Facebook Comments increased the civility of our local news comment threads and greatly reduced the amount of abusive comments, doing away with nearly all anonymous users. Mitch Gelman Vice President, Product at Gannett Digital

‣ Social Distribution: When a user leaves a comment on your site with the “Post to Profile” box checked, a story will appear in his friends’ News Feed with a link back to your site. His friends can then continue the conversation right from their News Feed and those replies will be syndicated back to your site. Commenters can also @mention others in their replies to streamline long threads and notify the original commenter of their activity.


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Best Practices 1. Use the Graph API to get an SEO boost The Comments Box is rendered via JavaScript, which prevents most search engines from indexing your content. However, the comments that people leave on your site can be accessed via the Graph API. To increase the content on your site and improve SEO, you can render them in the body of your page behind the comments box. We recommend you cache the results, as pulling the comments from the Graph API on each page load could slow down the rendering time of your pages.

400% Increase in referral traffic from Facebook for their 20 sites with the Comments Box

2. Pin comments to encourage conversation

Monitor the discussion happening on your site and boost comments that you think will incite the most response.

3. Enable the grammar filter to improve comment quality

To ensure high quality posts, the grammar filter will auto-correct common grammar mistakes made by users. Enable the grammar filter to automatically:

DOUBLED Weekly average number of comments and referral traffic since launching the Comments Box in March

‣ Add missing punctuation (e.g. periods at the end of sentences) ‣ Trim extra white space ‣ Auto-case words (e.g. capitalize the first word of a sentence) ‣ Expand slang words (e.g. “plz” becomes “please”) ‣ Adds a space after punctuation (e.g. “Hi,Kate” becomes “Hi, Kate”) ‣ Fixes common grammar mistakes (e.g. converts “dont” to “don’t”)

400,000+ Number of sites that have added the Facebook Comments Box


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4. Have a call-to-action above the Comments box to encourage participation

Encourage conversation about your content by adding a call-to-action above the Comment Box. Whether you’re looking for quality conversation or feedback, a call-to-action will steer the discussion and give your users something to react to.

Online retailer, OpenSky asks their visitors to give suggestions on what they want to see in their next sales event

5. Use the moderator dashboard to review posts and blacklists users

You can moderate comments in-line from a particular Comments Box, or you can use the Moderation Dashboard to mass-manage all of the Comments Boxes across your entire site. On the settings page, you can also ban users and blacklist words.

Moderating comments is easy: you can do it inline or via our Moderation Dashboard


Northern Connector, March 01, 2012