How to subscribe to WordPress comments

One of the difficulties of leaving comments on blogs is that you don’t always get a follow-up email if somebody replies to your comment. Here on WordPress, if I leave a comment on another WP blog, then it shows up in “My Comments” when somebody leaves a comment after me. However, if I go to, for instance, a Blogger (blogspot) blog, and leave a comment using my WordPress “OpenID” identity, I have to try to remember to go back and see if anybody answered my question, agreed with my comment, disagreed with me, etc. Most of the time, I forget. I have a Google identity, but my “birth” identity is associated with this blog, so I don’t want to cause confusion and have people wonder who this “Kathy” person is that’s posting a comment from a Google account, and “where the heck has ‘Kathy from w2wcbe’ gone?” If I leave a comment on a Blogger blog and use my Google account, I can opt to have follow-up emails sent to the email address associated w/Google.

I assume people who have other blogs have this same kind of problem — they have Blogger accounts so don’t receive follow-up emails to WordPress blogs, such as this.

Here is the way to get all comments from WP blogs of your choice, whether you are a WP user or not. Some blogs have a design which makes it very easy — mine happens to be one (I wish all designs had this, and don’t know why they wouldn’t — I didn’t pick it for this feature, and didn’t even notice it until today, to be honest) — at the top of the blog, on the header, are two orange buttons for you to subscribe to the blog and to subscribe to all comments. This will take you to a page where you can view all the comments so far, and choose to subscribe to all comments if you wish — the default in Internet Explorer is to add it to your “Feeds” folder, and I’m pretty sure it’s similar in Mozilla Firefox. If you have something like Google Reader (which is how I keep up w/my blogs), you can choose to subscribe that way — from the “subscribe” page, just copy and paste the URL into your Google Reader “Add Subscription” box.

If the WordPress blog you want to follow does not have this button, it’s still very simple to follow it in Google Reader (and I would assume via IE or Firefox as well). Take the URL of any WordPress blog (http://independentchildbirth.wordpress.com) and simply add /comments/feed to the end of the address (http://independentchildbirth.wordpress.com/comments/feed), and put that in your “Add Subscription” box (probably “Add Feed” in IE or Firefox).

I’ve noticed on some Blogger (blogspot) blogs, that there is a widget to follow all comments, but not all blogs have this. Just for the heck of it, I started a Google (Blogger) blog to make it easier to “follow” other Blogger blogs, and it works out great in cases like this, because I found out how to add a “subscribe feeds” button to your blog. In WordPress, it’s called a “widget” but in Blogger, it’s a “gadget.” From your blog dashboard, click on “layout” and then “add a gadget”; it’s currently 4th one down — “Subscription Links” — just add it, and you’re done!

Here’s how you can do it in WordPress, without changing your look:

Go to “Design” and “Widgets” and add a “text” widget. Save changes, but stay at this page. I don’t know why, but for some reason, I’ve had to save changes before I could actually edit the text box. (I also moved the widget to the top of the sidebar, fwiw.) “Edit text” and put a title (such as “Comments Feed”) in the title spot, and insert a link in the text spot. (See examples here, if you don’t already know how to do it.) I tried this on my personal blog, and what I did looks like this:

<a href=”http://katsyfga.wordpress.com/comments/feed”>Click here</a>

In this example, the link that you click on will be the phrase “click here”, and when you click on it, it will take you to the “subscribe feed” page on your web browser, where you can add it to your browser’s feeds, or you can copy & paste the URL into Google Reader, etc.

Obviously, this will be much easier if you can just “add a widget” to subscribe to your comments; but this way, you wouldn’t have to change the blog design. If you add this text widget in WordPress, or add the Subscription Links gadget it Blogger (or however else you do it in other types of blogs), it’d be great for you to post about that, to bring it to your readers’ attention that it is possible, since it’s a new Blogger feature, or since you will be adding that new text on WordPress.

Update!! — If you want to subscribe to all comments on Blogger but they don’t have the widget/gadget for it, I figured out the link to add to your Google Reader or Feeds or whatever you use: http://BLOG NAME HERE.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default (just type “/feeds/comments/default” at the end of the blog whose comments you want to read all of).

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