Disqus is a good commenting system. For most websites, Disqus works and for quite some time it worked for me too. I was happy with how it served as a replacement for the default Wordpress commenting system. Wordpress has a lot of features, not to mention it looks good on any website. Disqus also makes it easier for users to log in through different accounts like Facebook, Twitter and what have you and this is one of it attractive features. Everything seemed to be smooth sailing, until I discovered that there was a new version called Disqus 2012. The new version looked better, it was smoother and it had more to offer like real-time commenting, featured posts and a way to increase your blog’s earnings. Naturally, I updated to the new version, only to realize much later that it was a big mistake. Please note that there is no way you can revert to the old system if you update to the new one.
Disqus 2012, for all good features that it offers, is bad for this website, and it could also be bad for yours. I noticed that the readership for this website was negatively affected and I contributed it to Google’s Panda updates at first. Then I was forced to looked around the Google Webmaster Tools to see what was happening to the blog. I discovered that there were too many 404 crawl errors on my site and the number one cause is Disqus 2012. Crawl errors either refer to links that are broken or lead to posts or pages that no longer exist. If your site has too many 404s, it affects its performance and it also affects how Google views your site. It may not directly view it as negative but it will not look good overall. Google wants to improve search results and broken links is therefore not favored. Since Disqus 2012 is on every post, is called everytime someone views a post, and of course also everytime Google sends its bot to crawl the website. I suspect that the issue also affected other plugins which were otherwise harmless. I therefore had to remove some important plugins for fear that they are making things complicated for the site.
At first I was clueless what was causing the 404 crawl errors but a few Google search results after, I discovered that it was a function being called by Disqus 2012. The specific line causing the 404s looks like this:
The common issue involves the part embed.js?pname=wordpress&pver=2.74. I searched for solutions to this and there were some who suggested that the robots.txt file be edited to block Google from crawling that particular line. Some say that the .httpacces fill should be edited. These things are too complicated or me and I am afraid I will compromise the website further. And in any case, there is no consensus as to how this should be resolved. Disqus said it already resolved this issue but I still read complaints even after Disqus issued that statement. There is also now an option to load the scripts in the footer which is supposed to solve the issue but I’d rather try another commenting system than compromise this site further.
The initial solution for me was to revert to the default Wordpress commenting system but coming from Disqus, it looked too plain to me. Now I’m trying another popular commenting system called Livefyre which in most respects, work like Disqus. I’ll try to share my opnion about Livefyre in a future post. I hope the issue with Google indexing is resolved soon. If Disqus resolves the issue with Google’s crawlers, I might use it again but until then, I’m trying Livefyre.