Postmatic Basic & Subscription for WordPress Comments!
It’s time to run through the plugin that changed the conversation…literally. This one was saved for last because it was the most important of all of the other offerings from Postmatic. Postmatic is the single most important thing that has changed the entire way we see comments from just a quick “hit & run” to how Google engineered Google+ and Gmail for fast and easy communication. This is the only plugin that I know allows you to subscribe to the comments of a blog post and reply by email when going back to the website seems like too much. We can finally have an actual conversation that lifts the commentary to equal if not better than the topic itself!
Hopefully you can figure out that I am excited about this plugin and the ability to push my thoughts out to the world. I have been using this plugin for well over a year now and while my blog is small without too much traffic, there has been some and I have replied from my email while on the go with ease. It has worked 100% of the time without fail. My goal is to not just showcase this for another post under my belt, but to get you excited so you can give it a shot and think about going native with your WordPress comments.
Note: As always, I want to make absolutely clear that this is not for a favor, money, or anything else given to me for a review of any of their products. If there was ever a situation that I did exchange something for a review then I would fully disclose that upfront. This is part of the trust that I want to keep with my audience.
Postmatic Basic & Premium
I was offered free access to Postmatic premium to do this review and I respectfully turned it down. There were a few reasons to do so, and the biggest of them all is knowing that most bloggers aren’t going to jump straight into the premium plans. Most blogs don’t make money so they will naturally live off the free plugins to get by. My goal is to take the leap to the paid tier once I have proven that I need it and that the financial support is there to justify a subscription. For now, I am strictly talking about the free tier called Postmatic Basic. I do promise to write a separate post on the premium aspects when I get there.
I will also give Postmatic a try based upon your review. If all comment data stays on our site, then it would appear to be a much better alternative to the base WordPress system.
Thanks for posting this!
Postmatic has been clear that the premium version is what keeps them alive and developing more and more great stuff for sites like mine to work. Sometimes that path works, as long as, you have enough of the bigger websites paying into the system each month. I have another love and it’s called Coggle. They open their doors for donations once a year and I have always thrown in my $5, but WordPress is a different animal altogether. There are millions of blogs and a countless amount of free and paid plugins. This is a truly rough area to cover ground on, but I do hope with posts highlighting their existence and quality of their products that it will be enough to get them more clients.
For now it’s the basics for us. This free tier still gives us a set of features that work very well. I get lots of stuff that let’s me sample Postmatic before I reach the point of being able to upgrade. Currently, the major things I think are worth noting are:
- Create popups & opt-ins
- Import from Jetpack, Mail Chimp, and Mailpoet (bummer here since I use Sendy)
- Send posts to emails that can be responded to by simply replying back.
- The simple ability for people to subscribe to a post for updates.
- Customize my emails to fit my blog.
- Options to when subscriptions and emails are sent.
- and some others that are in their WordPress directory linked above.
There is still a lot of features before taking the next step of handing over your money, so please make sure you take a look at the WordPress directory so a deeper look. The point of this list is to show what your site might be missing. I have to admit that I have not truly setup the plugin in full. In fact the default settings have been just fine for the last year or so. If you are interested in checking it out then do a 30-day test and see where it takes you. If you run a bigger and busier blog then me, you will surely see the selling points of going native with Postmatic Basic.
Reasons to Go Native WordPress
I always heard about native comments and yet, I still used services like Disqus, Livefyre, Commenter and more. I had the most success with Facebook Comments, but those comments lived on their sites & servers…and not mine. With Postmatic the comments now reside on my server and I am not at the mercy of others. There was nothing I could do about giving up the control of the comments because WordPress’s out of the box comment system sucks, big time. Those third-party systems held my comments that could have raised my positions in search results, and yet I chose to give them away. I learned my lessons and it’s why Postmatic landed on my scope after days of searching for something better. I wanted the answer straight from the folks that created them. I had asked Jason the following:
Q: I was aware of Epoch and Postmatic free plugins, but how did the other 2 new ones come to join the lineup?
It’s a bit out of context, but I was asking about how their plugins basically came about and the backstory of why they did what, when. I did not edit the following response because it’s beautiful in it’s own right. I was sincerely thankful for the insight he gave. Here is the answer that Jason gave back to me:
A: Postmatic was the first thing we developed. We wanted to bring two-way email notifications to WordPress to power both post subscriptions and comment notifications. And we did. But then all of the cool sites we wanted to get using our service said things like we can’t use native comments because they destroy our server. So we had to build Epoch to get people off of Disqus. And then once we built Epoch we surveyed the landscape for social login plugins and realized everyone is doing it wrong. All of the social solutions for commenting involved using social profiles to actually log in. And create a user. And deal with the wp-admin bar. And backend access. And all that cruft. Why not just authenticate with the social profile instead? It’s faster, lighter weight, and less obtrusive. So that was the next logical step. Then it continued with decentralized moderation: WordPress Tavern had switched to our products from Jetpack and needed a good solution to deal with their comment trolls. We forked an abandoned Automattic plugin, brought it up to speed, improved it, and released it as Crowd Control. The latest plugin we released (Elevated Comments) is actually a spinoff of some tech we had to develop for Postmatic. The problem? Not all comments are actually worth emailing out to subscribers (nice post, dude). We needed something to perform some analysis on incoming comments and determine their reading level, relevance, and general quality. If they are smart and make sense, Postmatic will send them to subscribers. If not, it holds them back. Elevated Comments takes the same language technology and determines what the best comment is on a post and then features it above the fold. This brings the conversation up to the top of the post which frames the discussion and seriously drives engagement. ~ Jason Lemieux
There is a lot to digest in that answer and in many ways it was the most raw feedback I have received from a question I asked and it needed to be added to this post.
One thing that I have experienced in the past 15 years is the “dreaded logging back in syndrome”. People want to lay down their comment and move on with their lives. Rarely do I see someone followup on their comment unless it’s truly something they are passionate about. No one wants to go back to a site, login, and reply each time they have to add to the conversation. This is what Google+ got right by allowing users to respond by email. Even on my own blog I felt the syndrome when I am out and about. I can’t login, find the comment, and reply in with feeling like just forgetting about it. I can now open my email, read the message, and hit reply and it’s added into the comment section.
This has certainly lifted the conversation with my audience here and other blogs that I write on. People want a frictionless experience with an “easy in and easy out” process. I haven’t figured it out to this degree until the last few years or trial and error. Attention spans are shorter now and conversations are more vibrant because of sites like Reddit. This is what allows the conversation to go deeper because we are all focused on our inbox throughout the day. That inbox is the key to more conversation, and more search positions in Google. Your readers might truly appreciate this piece as well.
Look, we just went through Postmatic’s offerings over the past 6 weeks after using some of their plugins for well of a year. Putting these to the test and knowing I couldn’t have gotten this far without some amazing plugins. I run this on two other blogs I write on as well and I have seen positive results. If you have additional questions that I didn’t cover, but want an answer to, then please post it in the comments. I know Jason has a Google Alert or something that gets his attention and even if he is unable to, I will certainly try to answer it. If it’s significant enough to add to the conversation then I will edit & add it into the post as well.
I want to end it by saying thank you for taking the time to read this and if you do try out Postmatic for your site then let me know how it worked out for you. I think it would be cool to see them grow a bit more and become a true game changer in the world of WordPress!