How to Make a Page for Recent Comments in WordPress

Creating a page for recent comments in WordPress has the potential to ramp-up your audience engagement. It displays the latest activity on the site, so there’s always something new, even if you haven’t posted recently.

It also gives your visitors a chance to see what others think (as well as your responses). After all, comments can’t help but increase the level of discussion with an audience. And that improves the likelihood of return visits and the sharing of your brand with others.

I’ll show you how to create a page for recent comments in WordPress, or add them to an existing page. Using a comments display plugin, you can spotlight the messages from your visitors in a variety of ways.

What Can You Do with a Page for Recent Comments in WordPress?

One useful application for a comments page in WordPress is to use it as a shared element in social media. You could post a link to the page with a «Here’s what our guests think,» message.

You can also add a link to the page to a menu in the top navigation bar of the site. That gives visitors quick and easy access and may even inspire further exploration of your website.

Perhaps you have an important landing page and want to promote engagement. Using a WordPress comments shortcode lets you place the recent messages directly into that landing page. Again, boosting interaction with your target audience.

These are only a few methods of using a recent comment page to improve the engagement potential of your content. And that potential increases dramatically if you actively respond to visitors.

1. Using Better Recent Comments

In this tutorial, I’ll use the Better Recent Comments plugin. The plugin provides a widget and shortcode to display the messages from visitors. Not only display them, but also change the format, avatar sizes, and control the length of the comment excerpts.

The only real downside to this plugin is the lack of setting control in the WordPress admin dashboard. So if you want to modify how recent comments appear on the page, you’ll need to add those elements in the shortcode manually. But that’s not uncommon for plugins that use shortcodes.

You can find all of the shortcode options in section 4.

Install and activate «Better Recent Comments.»

Better Recent Comments

Go to «Pages» and click, «Add New.» You can also use a page you already have saved in WordPress.

Add Page

Paste this shortcode into the page:
[ht_message mstyle=»info» title=»» show_icon=»» id=»» class=»» style=»» ][better_recent_comments][/ht_message]

Paste Shortcode

If you’re using the Gutenberg Editor, you can also add a shortcode block to keep it separated from the other page content.

Once you publish or update the page, the most recent comments will appear.

Recent Comments

2. Showing the Full Comment

By default, Better Recent Comments limits excerpts to 20 words. But what if you want to show the entire comment?

Add excerpts=false to the shortcode. So, your code would look like this to remove word limits:
[ht_message mstyle=»info» title=»» show_icon=»» id=»» class=»» style=»» ][better_recent_comments excerpts=false][/ht_message]

Remove Word Limits

Remember, a list of the shortcode display customizations is available on the plugin’s page.

3. Adding the Page as a Menu Item

Now that you have a recent comments page, you have a link to share. But what if you want visitors to have easy access? Adding the page as a menu item can help your guests find the page easily.

The menu item is more effective if you display recent comments on a page of their own. If you add the shortcode to a page that’s already in use, you will link to that page. That may or may not be appropriate for a visitor who’s only looking for comments. It depends on how your site is set up and what you want to draw attention to.

To add a recent comments page as a menu item, go to «Appearance» and click, «Menus.»

WordPress Menus

Select the menu of which you wish to add the page. Depending on whether you’ve created custom menus in the past, your navigation bar may already be selected.

Select Menu

Check the box for the page under Most Recent and click, «Add to Menu.»

Add Recent Comments Page

Use the drag and drop feature to place the page where you want it to appear on the menu.

Place Recent Comments Page

Click the «Save Menu» button.

Save Menu

Now, the recent comments page will be an option in your menu.

Recent Comments Page Menu

4. Better Recent Comments Shortcode Options

Here are the options that are currently available via the plugin’s shortcode:

  • format – the format of the recent comments. The format option uses placeholders for the comment data when the comments are displayed.
    • The format placeholders are: {avatar}, {author}, {post}, {comment} and {date}.
    • {avatar} is the comment author’s Gravatar image.
    • {author} is the comment author’s name.
    • {post} is the title of the post and includes a link to the author’s comment below the post.
    • {comment} is the actual comment text.
    • {date} is the comment date. It uses the PHP date format.
    • The default if you don’t specify placeholders is: {author} on {post}: «{comment}» {date}
  • number – the number of comments to display. The default is to show five comments.
  • date_format – the date and time format to use. It uses the PHP date format. The default is ‘M j, H:i’.
  • avatar_size – the pixel size of the commenter’s avatar. It’s only used if you included {avatar} in the comment format. The default size is 50 pixels (square).
  • post_status – the post status you want to retrieve comments for. The default is «published.» But it can be set to any valid status or comma-separated list of statuses.
  • excerpts – set this to «true» to show a comment excerpt (maximum of 20 words), or «false» to display the full comment. The default is «true.»

Here are some options examples.

Display ten comments:
[ht_message mstyle=»info» title=»» show_icon=»» id=»» class=»» style=»» ][better_recent_comments number=10][/ht_message]

Show the full comment rather than an excerpt:
[ht_message mstyle=»info» title=»» show_icon=»» id=»» class=»» style=»» ][better_recent_comments excerpts=false][/ht_message]

Formatting the comments:
[ht_message mstyle=»info» title=»» show_icon=»» id=»» class=»» style=»» ][better_recent_comments format= {post}: «{comment}» {date}, by {author}.][/ht_message]

Other things You Can Do with the WordPress Comments Plugin

One of the advantages of Better Recent Comments is you can add the comment display to any page or post. You aren’t limited to a single location, page, or menu. The shortcode gives you the option to place recent comments virtually anywhere on the website.

You can add them to posts, pages, and most custom post types.

The tool also comes with its own widget. That makes it possible to add recent comments to a sidebar or any other widget area. The widget itself is a bit easier to manage than the shortcode mainly because it includes options such as showing or not showing avatars, post links, and other elements.

However, the widget doesn’t give you a few of the other options, such as removing the excerpt limit. Keep that in mind when you’re exploring your options.

Add Interaction with a Solid WordPress Comments Plugin

Better Recent Comments is only one of many plugins to offer visitor engagement through discussion. You could easily spend hours looking for the perfect comment plugin to fit your needs simply because there are so many excellent comment tools for WordPress.

Managing an active comment system can be challenging. But the benefits outweigh the time you’ll spend. People expect to be able to interact with the authors and readers of the content they consume.

Giving them that opportunity accentuates your content and engages your visitors. It may even help you turn one-time guests into long-term fans.

What are your favorite plugins for visitor engagement? How active are you in the comment section of your website?

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