What, Why, and How-To’s of Livefyre for WordPress

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In the past two weeks, you probably noticed that we switched our commenting system. We made this crucial decision after attending BlogWorld Expo and WordCamp Raleigh. Thanks to Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy) for suggesting this platform in his presentation at WordCamp Raleigh, and Lewis Howes (@LewisHowes) for introducing me to the Livefyre team at BlogWorld Expo. Many of you have asked us the benefits of this switch, and our experience so far. In this article, we will cover what is livefyre, why we are using livefyre, and how you can use livefyre in your WordPress site as well.

Note: After a whole year of using Livefyre, we decided to switch back to the default WordPress comments. Here are 6 reasons why we switched away from Livefyre.

What is Livefyre?

Livefyre is a real-time engagement focused on building a community around the content of your website. It replaces your default WordPress comment system with a live stream of comments, images, tweets, and facebook posts. The whole purpose of Livefyre comment platform is to bring the social-web conversation about your content back to your content. This gives your community the most quality online conversation experience possible.

Why use Livefyre?

There were various features that influenced our decision on using Livefyre as our comment system. One of the coolest aspect about livefyre comment system is that it is in real-time. Users can actually have a chat-like experience in the comments (believe it or not this has happened already with us interacting with our users). The next most awesome feature is that it reduces comment SPAM to almost zero. The reason for that is user-authentication. Most spammers are not willing to connect their social accounts (twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc), or register with livefyre to comment. There is a centralized admin panel that lets you flag comments as spam, ban users from commenting, assign multiple moderators (for each post or the entire site), and white-list users. Users can also flag comments or like comments which shows up as points on your community profile which is visible to everyone (so it is like a reputation system). Right now, there is no award system or cool titles for users with good reputation, but it would be a cool feature to have.

Livefyre integrates with the social web to boost social interaction. Users can connect their twitter account and facebook account. This lets them tag their friends in your site’s comments. For example when we comment, we can mention any user that we follow by simply adding the @username. It will also notify the user in the specific network. If that person choose to reply to the tweet or facebook status, that conversation will be pulled back to the specific post.

Want to try a live demo of how all this work? Simply comment on this post. Connect your twitter and facebook to see what we are referring to above (Yes you can disconnect if you don’t like it).

It has built-in threading of comments, live listener count, mobile-specific interface, new comment indicator, gravatar support.

How to Install Livefyre in WordPress

You would probably think that integrating a system with so many features would at least take a while. The truth of the matter is that we installed and deployed Livefyre on WPBeginner in less than 10 minutes at the Livefyre booth at BlogWorld Expo. (No lies, ask @lewishowes he was there).

All you have to do is install the LiveFyre plugin for WordPress (Use our Step by Step guide to Install a WordPress plugin).

Once you activate the plugin, it will ask you to register an account with Livefyre, so your user can be assigned as an administrator of the site. After you create an account, Livefyre will be ready on your site. Really the steps are this simple. If you don’t believe us, then check out the video that the Livefyre Support team put together (its 1 minutes and 13 seconds long).

Questions that we had prior to installing?

It would be silly if we didn’t have questions about the platform before we installed it. (Heck we made a live change from the middle of an expo hall at a conference).

How easy it is to get all the older comments to be on Livefyre?

It’s very easy. You don’t have to do anything. Depending on the amount of comments your site has time varies. For our site it took roughly 10 minutes. But that also depends on your internet connection (conference internet are not the best).

How does livefyre affect site speed?

It is a relatively light weight script, so it doesn’t slow your site down too much. We haven’t heard any complains.

How easy it is to revert back if we did not like the system?

Livefyre follows the command of your WordPress database. Each comment is stored in the database by default, so it is fairly easy to switch back.

Our Experience

We have been using Livefyre for a little over two weeks. Its been a great experience using this platform. You are probably wondering did the number of our comments went down because it now requires users to login before commenting. The answer to that question is NO! Did the number of spam comments went down? The answer to that is significantly.

Some users complained about the platform because they did not want to log in to comment. But to be honest with you, it is not that bad. There is way too much SPAM on the web. Same user commenting twice on the post just to get backlinks while they try to stuff keywords. This is the vary reason why top tech sites like Mashable, TechCrunch, TheNextWeb etc. all use user-authentication. TheNextWeb actually uses Livefyre. You just need to login once, and then forget about it. You will be able to comment without any issues. Some folks think that connecting their twitter or facebook account will somehow give us permission to post on their account. NO, it does not. There is a check box that says Share on Twitter and Facebook which by default is UNCHECKED. Unless that field is checked, the comment will NEVER be posted on any of your social media profile.

Loving the chat style system. We have actually had real-time conversations in our comments answering support question. The users were so impressed that the response was almost instant. It was a great experience for us as well. There is one email that is dedicated to receive notifications from Livefyre. We check it regularly and do our best to respond.

Instead of moderating for SPAM, we can now spend that time engaging with the users in comments. This is a lot more productive way of spending our time.

Want to try a demo? Just comment on this post below.

See the Full list of LiveFyre features