One drawback to using a static website generator is that there is no built-in platform for comments. You must use a third-party service that provides commenting capabilities or roll your own solution. ThreadHunter has almost no traffic at this point so it did not make much sense to spend a lot of time on comments. The easiest solution was to take a quick look at three popular third-party services that provide commenting and discussion capabilities and choose one. In this post I will describe my initial impressions of Muut, Discourse, andDisqus.
Muut is a commenting and forum platform with plans ranging from free to $96 dollars a month. The Muut forums were easy to integrate into ThreadHunter, all that was required was adding a couple lines of HTML to a template but I initally had some trouble getting the comments to work. The code I found under ‘Settings’ to ‘Place on you site’ for commenting did not work and I could not find a link to help on the settings page. After locating the Muut Help, I quickly found the correct code to add comments to my posts. I didn’t like the default presentation for post comments, which was just a simple comment box, so I decided to move on.
Discourse is an open source discussion platform. Monthly hosted plans start at $200 but you can pay a one time install fee of $99 to get installed in the ‘cloud’ or install it on yourself. For a site with little to no traffic, it is not worth the effort or cost to use Discourse. I did click the ‘Try It’ link to try the Discourse sandbox but I found it to be a bit busy and confusing for a platform that claims to be ‘simple, clean, and straightforward’.
Disqus is a free commenting and community building service that is easy to setup and embed. Disqus makes money through advertising and shares a portion of that revenue with publishers. It is the most popular of these three platforms, has the best documentation, and the commenting system gives a good first impression to the user when embedded in your posts.
Disqus is the obvious choice for ThreadHunter. It is the easiest, cheapest, and most popular platform. I’m not sure I like the idea of a third-party hosting the comments for this site or the idea of advertising in the comments so I may revisit this decision if ThreadHunter ever starts to generate any meaningful amount of discussion.