Check email deliver-ability

Comment Display Order ~ Newer/Older at the top! What do you think?

Though the comment display order has not been a big topic of discussion online, the comment section is a very active and attention-grabbing spot on every blog that has it enabled. It’s where bloggers and readers interact the more.

As a matter of fact, some readers spend more time on the comment form than on the post itself. The reason is that they skim through and then scroll to the comment section to drop a comment. Most do that to get a backlink (which is not a good reason to comment)

If you are running a heatmap tool on your blog, one thing you’ll discover is that the comment section on your blog posts (mainly, the comment form) has more clicks.

Look at the clicks on the comment form on this post on my blog:

comment display order

Just the comment field on the form has 75 clicks. The Name, Email, Website and Anti-spam and CommentLuv check boxes even have more clicks.

Now, this is just to tell you the impact of comments on blogs.

NB: Some heatmap tools I have mentioned on this blog: Ptengine, Lucky Orange, Hotjar

Comment Display Order ~ Newer Or Older at the top?

The default display order on WordPress blogs is Older at the top. That means the first comment ever made on the blog post remains stuck to the top of the list forever.

What’s the effect of this default comment display order?

Generally, commentators scramble to be the first to drop a comment so as to maintain that top position. The advantage is your comment gets more exposure. If you do a “wow” comment with a commentLuv link, there are chances to get even more clicks and traffic.

Some commentators who come in late, in order to benefit from the top position, drop a reply to the first comment. I have seen that happen on this blog a couple of times. Some replies are completely not related to the comment itself. You see clearly that the commentator simply wants that position. I delete such comment replies.

WordPress has an option to change the default display order. You may want to display older comments first.  Go to Settings -> Discussion

comment display order change

In this case, the first ever comment will be pushed to the bottom of the list and the last comment displayed on top.

What’s the impact of this comment display order?

Some readers who covet that first position become disinclined once they know their comments will be pushed down.

Often, this comes from commentators who want to drop a comment for traffic and other reasons than connection. They want that first position for the exposure they’l get.

I think if you want to connect with the blogger in question, the position of your comment doesn’t really matter. That’s because the blog owner will always read the comment.

One very attractive impact of the reverse order is the fact that old blog posts will keep getting more and more comments. Older posts become freshened with new and new comments if readers are allowed to list their comments on top of the list.

Not only that…

Some readers have the habit of sharing on social media after dropping a comment. That means these older posts get a little more shares if their comment ordering is reversed.

What do you really think about your own comment display order?

Recently, I noticed one of my favorite bloggers, Adrienne Smith reversed the list order on her blog. It may be too early to conclude as she just made that move but I’ll still like to hear her out.

older comments first

You notice that these comments were dropped on her blog same day (22 of Feb 2016) but Monna Ellithorpe’s comment which was dropped earlier (at 8:17pm) is listed under Suprabhat’s which came later (at 11:01pm)

Don Purdum, an outstanding business blogger and friend has his comments reversed too.older comments first

Sherman Smith’s comment which came just 5 hours ago is on top of Peter Beckenham’s which was dropped 2 days ago.

NB: My comment orders are reversed and I get many more comments and shares on old posts.

Questions!

  1. What is your current comment display order?
  2. What do you think about listing newer comments first?
  3. What do you think about blogs that list newer comments first?
  4. Do you consider changing your order?

Drop a comment and let’s interact. If you like this topic of discussion, please share it on social media.

About Enstine Muki

Enstine Muki, Money making blogger, author of Blog Promotion Network and BlogExpose and MyCommentAuthors Wordpress Traffic and Engagement free Plugin

Say something:

*

CommentLuv badge

This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 3 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)

Comments

  1. Hi Enstine

    I can see that you have set up your comment order as “newer at the top”, which is personally I think a bad idea. As you are well aware of that, very of total comments you get are genuine. Rest of it, are just backlink seekers. So why not you stuck them on your page letting them scrolling down to bottom of the page? So, I would recommend, newer comments and comment box should be at the bottom.

  2. Does it really matter? That’s indeed a million dollar question. I don’t really pay attention at the position of my comments as what matters for me is for me to just add my contribution to the subject matter on board.
    Many do maintain the default WordPress commenting system which I do think is not all that bad. I for instance will go in for the old comments on top.

  3. Enstine,
    Very informative post you’ve written.
    I never knew that new comments let the commentators get more page views and more attention.
    I had always been using the older one, but now, I would like to get later comments to try. 😉
    Thanks!
    Vishal Sharma recently posted…These Bloggers Proved That Age Doesn’t Matter To Get Success!My Profile

  4. Hi Enstine

    My comment order is older first. Until today, I have never really seen the significance though I know blogs that show the newer comment first.

    I sometimes feel that blogs that show new comments first are doing it for engagement purpose. I never knew that some bloggers would take advantage by trying to be on top to get more traffic.

    I don’t think I am changing my comment order.

    Thanks for sharing. Take care

  5. Great topic, Enstine.

    Let me answer your four questions:

    (*) What is your current comment display order?

    Newest first. I have it set this way both for WordPress comments (newer posts) and Facebook comments (older posts).

    (*) What do you think about listing newer comments first?

    I think it makes sense to show recent activity first, much like how a social media timeline shows us newest posts first. Reverse chronological is always the way to go.

    It also might encourage someone to keep scrolling down to the comment box to have their say if they see the conversation still active.

    If the first thing they see a 7-month-old comment from my grandma, and all it says is ‘F1RST!!!!!’ then my visitor will be less likely to engage, I imagine.

    (*) What do you think about blogs that list newer comments first?

    See above.

    Further, if you split your comments into multiple pages — say 50 threads per page — it means a lot of scrolling to get to new comments, and that’s lame.

    (*) Do you consider changing your order?

    I recently changed the Facebook comments on my older posts to sort newest first rather than by social weight. Social weight is subjective and it results in a different experience for different users. I want to keep things consistent.

    Hope that helps!

    Brent
    Brent Jones recently posted…An Intense, Ready-Made Weekly Schedule for FreelancersMy Profile

    • Hey Brent,
      That’s an excellent comment 😉

      It’s crazy how I get comments on old posts these days. I think that’s an incredible way to empower conversation on ones blog.

      Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. I’m sure that’s going to help some readers in the right direction.

      I hope you are having a wonderful week

  6. How can we get more traffic from this method?
    But older comments should be at top position. 🙂
    Kamlesh Sharma recently posted…Helpchat Loot: Get Rs 50 Cashback on Rs 50 RechargeMy Profile

  7. Hello Enstine Muki, How Are You? Hope You Are Fine!

    Best post I have ever seen on this blog 😛 Seriously!

    Yeah If Older Comments Come First Then More People Engage To Comment Because Of The Top Position!

    Thanks For Sharing Dear!
    Abdul Samad recently posted…Make $1000 From A Single Post – Sure-Fire Trick Revealed!My Profile

  8. Hi Enstine,
    Intersting article! The order of comments is something I’ve never really given much thought to, to be honest. I do see the value in trying to be “first” but I do also think that point is becoming moot as most bloggers do read all their comments, and more and more commenters are taking the time to read other comments, regardless of what position they are in.
    Corinne Kerston recently posted…Want to Know Why People Unfollow on Twitter? Cause I Asked!My Profile

  9. Hi Enstine,

    I don’t know what’s better but I’m using “recent” on top. I prefer it that way. I’m interested to see what you readers say.

    Bren
    Brenda Pace recently posted…Virtual Assistants: We’re Not Your Daddy’s Old SecretaryMy Profile

  10. From the readers perspective, I would say that “new comments first” is a better choice because all the hottest discussions appear on the top and it is easy to find them. Especially this problem arises with blogs that have 50 or more comments on every article. It might take too much time to look through all these comments until the end.
    However, the biggest problem about this choice might be for the website owners. When the older comments are shown first, the most important goal for traffic-seekers is to leave a comment first. So only the first one gets the desired result. But when you put comments in reverse order, then the last comment always appears on the top, and everyone will want to be in that position. So there’s a great chance that spammers might flood your comment section and it might be too hard for the owner to control it.

  11. Hi Enstine,
    What an amzing post about a topic I never realized you could vary around so much.

    I’m always so grateful to the visotrs to my blog who take the time to leave me a comment.

    This is such a powerful thing for me as a relatively new blogger and I truly appreciate the value my commentators add to my posts.

    I use CommentLuv and appreciate the help it gives me re encouraging engagment but I did not realize you could actually reverse the order of the comments – I love this idea.

    Better go and do some homework on this importat concept.

    Many thanks for sharing this important information Enstine

    Best wishes from the remote Thai village blogger

    Peter
    Peter Beckenham recently posted…Affiliate Marketing – Profit By Not SellingMy Profile

    • Hi Peter,
      Wow! That’s the second comment you are making on this blog today. What an encouraging act. I’m so impressed and I’m fueled with excitement. Ok go change that order and let’s see what effect it has on your blog buddy.

      I hope it makes even old post look freshened 😉

      I hope your business is growing

  12. Hi Enstine,

    I have always felt that the better the comment was, the relevant it was to the conversation and the more engaging it is; it ought to be rewarded.

    I actually have DISQUS set to show the “Best” comments first. The posting time is really not all that important to me. I want my readers to see those comments where someone actually took the time to think about what they wanted to say and then said it.

    And here is the key, I want my readers to see when someone says “OMG, how did you know…?” or some variation of that.

    Thanks so much for including me in your article!

    Have an awesome week Enstine!

    ~ Don Purdum
    Don Purdum recently posted…How To Build an Amazing Business Through Networking That Really Works!My Profile

    • Hey Don,
      I think that’s the best option to display based on other factors than time. How does DISQUS determine “BEST” comment? Is it based on comment length?

      I think this is something WordPress should think about 😉

  13. Hi Enstine, I think I may play with mine and put the most recent first. I think it would receive more comments as people see the activity as being recent rather than old. They will want to comment more that way I believe. I know I would. If I land on a blog and the comments are old I may think twice before leaving one.
    Thanks for sharing this one with us. Have a great week there Enstine!

If you want search traffic to your blog, try out Wordpress SEO Plugin by SEOPressor It is the most recommended SEO plugin