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Build community with message boards, discussion groups, chat, and comments

Add commenting to your website

There are a few good programs that allow you to enhance the commenting features of your blog or add comments to your website. Most of them are simple to install. Just embed some javascript and the service sets up the rest. As admin you have the ability to cusomize it. There are three services that are widely used:

Echo - An impressive feature set that includes the ability to upload pictures. It allows extensive customization and attempts to integrate all social networking sites into your comments platform. There are free and fee versions. It works very well, and techn support for paid customers is prompt and effective. I use this on my very popular barbecue website AmazingRibs.com

Disqus - Many consider this to be the best, but their support leaves a lot to be desired. Broken links on their website, and slow response times. There are two versions, a free option and a premium pay option. I am not impressed.

IntenseDebate - Super easy to set up and very powerful. Free. But erratic. On one site a page would have two sets of comments, one for http://page.com and another for http://www.page.com, the only difference being the www! Sometimes replies by the admin do not post at all. Support is poor. I used it for months and dumped it.

There are other services I have not tested:

coCommerce - French only. Doesn't like Safari.

CommentSystem - An inexpensive Dreamweaver plugin.

InstaComment - Simple barebones free system.

Polldaddy - Another way to add ratings to your site. Also does polls and surveys.

Rating System - Add ratings of products, articles, comments with this service.

Add a message board with these tools

There are numerous programs you can use to create message boards or interactivity. For a good article on the subject, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Internet_forum_software

Below is a fairly comprehensive list of the most popular tools available. Some are surprisingly inexpensive and others are free. Because their feature lists change rapidly, I have made no attempt to rate or compare them. When you are ready to add a message board, let me know, and I will study the options and make some recommendations.

http://groups.yahoo.com - A really good and powerful free system.

http://eve.groupee.com - This is the best system I have used.

http://www.invisionpower.com - Nice system with good quoting tool. Used by eGullet.

http://getvanilla.com - Vanilla is an open-source, standards-compliant, multi-lingual, fully extensible discussion forum for the web.



http://bbpress.org - For wordpress.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bp-template-pack/ - Buddy Press is a popular pwerful plugin for WordPress.










Blog software with interactivity

http://wordpress.com - Generally considered the best.



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