Elizabeth has doled out some sage advice on being a good host, being a good guest, and starving trolls to help you cultivate a vibrant and engaged comment section. Hopefully, you’ve now got some good conversation going on. Why not highlight it with the Recent Comments widget?
Comments are content just as much as your posts, and the Recent Comments widget elevates them to your sidebar; it gives commenters some extra love and lures more readers into the conversation by shining a spotlight on the scintillating discussion that’s already happening. The widget also shows the title of the post each readers is commenting on, which helps both emphasize posts that are already generating a lot of buzz and point up that older post that just got a one-off comment.
Either way, showing off your commenters draws people deeper into your site and your community. It also gives your regulars a quick way to see who’s been weighing in. You can even personalize your blogular community by including commenters’ Gravatars next to their comments, helping readers put faces to names.
To add the Recent Comments widget, just head to your widgets page and drag the Recent Comments widget into your sidebar. Make sure to configure all the options — the number of comments to show, whether and what size Gravatars to use — and to give it a title that jives with your blog. (Sure, “Recent Comments” is clear, but “The Latest and Greatest” or “From the Peanut Gallery…” are just more fun.)