Get Visitor Comments on Websites at RootsWeb

Enabling – and encouraging – your visitors to contribute to your website through comments is a great way to develop an interactive and engaging website, and build a regular audience. And a powerful way to gain invaluable feedback so you can adjust your website to meet the needs and expectations of your audience.

Although I had a Guestbook on my website, Chris Korte’s New Zealand Genealogy Project, it was not really adding to the website, with comments being viewed on Rootsweb. It was obtaining some comments, but relatively few.  Also, because I did not have an email link, I did not review visitor comments frequently enough.

I hope I have fixed this now by using some software from htmlCommentBox on my website.  The javascript code was flexible enough to meet my needs and has several advantages when used on free Rootsweb websites:

  • The comments are stored and the scripts processed on htmlCommentBox, not Rootsweb.  Rootsweb limits the processing of some code needed for adding visitor comments to a web page.
  • The same code script can be inserted on the pages where you want to get and display visitor comments.  Only comments for that page are displayed.
  • You are emailed when visitors leave a comment, providing an alert.
  • Moderation of comments is easy; that is approval of comments so visitors can view.
  • The code can be modified to meet different requirements.  I have a new Guestbook, and can now accept visitor comments on Family notes pages (e.g. see comments on biographical notes for Korte family).  In addition, I am able to show recent comments from the whole site on the home page.
  • Visitors can be emailed automatically when a person replies to their comment.

If visitors provide comments to the pages I have set up, it will be easy to add additional code so comments can be added to other pages.  I am waiting to see how useful it is for visitors.

Image showing Example of htmlCommentBox
Example of htmlCommentBox showing input form and a posting.

Visitors adding comments to this blog is easy.  I hope it will be just as easy now on my website, Chris Korte’s New Zealand Genealogy Project.


5 thoughts on “Get Visitor Comments on Websites at RootsWeb

  1. Hi Chris,
    I was reading this post with interest and noticed it is about 3 months old. I was womdering if you have anything to add now that you’ve been using htmlcommentbox for 3 months more (assuming you are still using it). Does it have any advantage over the comment system here at wordpress? By the way I am here at too at

    1. Thanks for the comment Jack
      I am still using htmlcommentbox but no one has left a comment with it yet. It worked fine in my testing though. My site was only getting occasional comments previously, so I was not expecting lots of comments. I did not want to miss comments though, which I was doing previously.
      I get more comments on this blog.
      Comparing htmlcommentbox and the comment system here, there is no advantage of htmlcommentbox – they do the same things. However the comments system at Rootsweb is inferior to both, at least in my opinion – especially as it does not email an alert when a comment is left.

      1. I recently discovered that there had been several comments left but I had not noticed because I had not checked my gmail. I approved the messages and they now are displayed.

        I also changed an option so comments display without approval. I will moderate by removing comments.

        htmlcommentbox uses gmail for logging in and for notifications.

  2. Thanks, Chris. I do have a gmail account. This is good to know if I do comments at rootsweb and maybe elsewhere.I do have a rootsweb account but I haven’t put comments on it.

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