Liking comments came up as an expected issue related to my recent search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, which have focused on making my site faster. One of the things that Google cares about is how long it takes your posts/pages to load when someone pays them a visit. Google and various SEO tools I use have been telling me for a while that my site was on the slow side, so it’s been a bit of a mostly mindless project to try to tease that out. It doesn’t actually matter that much in my world, but I like mindless projects for times when my mind isn’t interested in working.
The (unimportant) behind the scenes
When you load a web page, there are a lot of different things that happen. If you’re curious, which you probably aren’t, Google Chrome developer tools will show you all of it, and GTmetrix will show you a fancy waterfall diagram. The point is, the less that has to happen, the faster your page shows up and is interactive.
When you have comments on a post, not only is your browser showing you the comments, it’s fetching all of those Gravatars that are associated with the comments. If you have quite a few comments, that takes a while. We’re not talking old-school dial-up internet takes a while, but it’s still something.
Okay, so comments can slow things down a smidge. A way around that is to use a plugin to “lazy load” your comments. Comments are down at the bottom of the page, so your browser really doesn’t need to load them right at the beginning. Lazy loading tells your browser to wait to load the comments until you scroll down to that vicinity rather than right at the start.
Getting to the point (sort of)
An unexpected side effect of the plugin I’m using is that something about the way the comments are loaded means users aren’t given the option of being able to like them, even though my WP settings enable comment likes. (it doesn’t affect being able to like the post itself). I wouldn’t have had a clue if another blogger hadn’t pointed it out to me, because I do all my comment liking and replying within my notifications in the WP Reader, and that’s not affected.
Once I was aware of it, I was faced with a decision, hence this post: do I care more about comment likes or my pages loading faster?
Granted, I don’t actually care all that much about either. I’m a big fan of the like buttons for posts, but with comments, it’s more of an acknowledgment than anything.
I realized, though, that I have no idea how other people manage their comment back and forth. As I said, I do all my back and forth in my Reader notifications, regardless of whether the original comment was on the site itself or in the Reader. One of the reasons I’m so pro-Reader is that it makes the comment back and forth so easy.
For me, lack of being able to like comments on the site itself makes no difference; being able to like comments and see comment likes in the Reader is working exactly the same as it did pre-plugin.
Actually getting to the point
So, my rambling up until this point aside, I thought I would ask, because I’m curious—how do you manage your comment back and forth-ing, and is the ability to like comments on a blogger’s actual site important or relevant in any way to you?