A WordPress Comments Plugin That Creates Conversations

A WordPress Comments Plugin That Creates Conversations

When trying to draw visitors to a blog or website, the best advice you can can get is to spend your time making sure that your content is great: finding interesting and unique topics, researching them thoroughly, writing out your ideas intelligently and clearly, and then editing them carefully.

One part people often forget, though, is the comments section.  They think that that bit, at least, is beyond their control.  “You can’t just invent good comments,” they say wistfully.  “Can you?”  In general, the most one can do is to moderate the comments that do come in and maybe try to stimulate conversation a bit with your own replies to commenters.

But what if you could do more?  What if you could make your comments section one of the most stimulating parts of your website.  There are blogs that are worth reading just for the comments section.  What if you could make yours one?

Urtaking About Me?

This is where an outstanding new offering, Urtak, comes in.  Their service aims to change the way that your visitors interact with each other by allowing them to ask each other questions.  Placed where your comment section would normally go, an Urtak window displays questions that your users have submitted for each other to answer and records how they answered in a little interactive pie chart [Want to see what it looks like?  There is an Urtak display at the bottom of the post.  You can skip ahead.  I don’t mind].

So why bother, you might say?  What can it do that the standard comment section does not (if you still like your old-fashioned comments, you can still keep them enabled with Urtak as an add-on)?

  • Users are more likely to engage with your content. Accordingly to their internal research, “on average, Urtak users spend 90 seconds more time on articles or videos”.
  • Keeps the conversation fresh.  They do that by using an algorithm to ensure that the questions people care about most get thrown to the top of the pile while those which people don’t care about get dropped to the bottom of the list.
  • Get feedback from your readers.  Ask them what they think of a post or page, then Urtak will not only save the results, but also allow you to dig deeper with their cross tabulation tools and find out how different types and demographics of users responded.
  • Urtak is politer and friendlier than your standard comment section.   You can pose thoughtful and conversation staging questions to your readers to get the ball rolling.  Before adding their own questions, users will be required to log in with Facebook and Twitter, cutting down on the number of people who are up for serious trollery.  Still too much risk for your taste?  You can choose to personally moderate all questions that are submitted, rather than relying on community moderation
  • Easy of use.  It’s easier and faster to moderate a yes/no questions than a comment.

For those of you worry about Urtak slowing down your site, it is designed to handle the traffic of mega blogs like Mashable, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post.   For those of you who worry about price … it’s free!  At least for now. To learn a little more about what Urtak can do for your site, check out this demo video/explanation below:

Urtak Demo from James Cooper on Vimeo.

Use Urtak's WordPress Comments Plugin To Moderate Comments.
Good Moderation Make For Good Conversation.


Here’s how you get Urtak running on your WordPress website.  First, sign up for their service.  Signing up is mandatory, but just requires an email address (you can also use Twitter & Facebook to connect).  Once you have created your account, you can choose between two methods for installation:

  • The first is to simply install their WordPress plugin.  Helpfully, they have a dialogue box on their front page where, if you enter the URL of your site and are logged in, it will automatically find the plugin in the WordPress directory and display it on your plugin install page.  Otherwise, simply install it in the normal way.   They provide detailed step-by-step instructions here.
  • The other method is to install Urtak through a JavaScript code snippet.  Simply navigate to your Urtak.com Dashboard (you did sign up, right?)  and click on the strangely difficult to find “Create an Urtak” button.  Click on the button and name your Urtak in the field that opens.  Press Create and it is ready to go.  Copy the embed code from text area at the bottom of the page and paste it in your post or page’s HTML section.
Once installed, you can begin toggling the Settings: Community Moderation vs Publisher moderation, disable “normal” commenting or leave it on, insert Urtak manually or have it automatically appended to your posts, and a host of other small changes and options.