One of the best parts about blogs is the direct communication with the readers through comments. Most blogs offer the opportunity to comment just about every post, but since post leave the front page fairly quick in the standard blogging format it’€™s easy to forget about ongoing discussions.
A solution to this is to display the latest comments on your site, which also helps to activate your visitors in terms of jumping into the discussion. The Blog Herald has its recent comments in the footer of every page, scroll down to take a look if you haven’€™t seen it.
A great WordPress plugin to display your latest comments is Brian’€™s Latest Comments by Brian Meidell. It does not only display the latest comments, but also how recent they are by styling the commenters’€™ name. Take a look at the screenshot from Brians’€™ site below.
You have the post title, the number of comments to the right of it, and underneath the plugin lists the names of the commenters. As you can see, not all names are in the same color ‘€“ the stronger they appear the more recent is the comment. A great idea, apparently suggested by Binary Bonsay’€™s Michael Heilemann.
If you want to use Brian’€™s Latest Comments in its original form it’€™s easy enough to implant, but if you need to tweak it you might run into trouble. Not that it isn’€™t possible, but because you need to be at least a little code-savvy to do it. An options page would be appreciated for upcoming versions. Besides this it is a great plugin that I’€™ve used for both major and minor projects. Recommended.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.