Why Customize the WordPress ReplyMe Plugin?

I have to thank Hesham over at FamousBloggers.net for giving me the idea on changing the format of my ReplyMe email notifications.  Though FamousBloggers.net doesn’t use the ReplyMe plugin it virtually has the same configuration and I was able to achieve the end result with ReplyMe.

First, if you don’t know what ReplyMe is then I suggest you head on over and read my ReplyMe WordPress plugin review.  In short though ReplyMe is a plugin that will allow your blog to auto email commenters when their comment is replied to.  It does this without them having to checkmark a box to subscribe to comments and does this email only for replies to their comment thread and not for the entire post.

ReplyMe only works if you have Comment Threading enabled in your WordPress blog (if you don’t yet have a WordPress blog, MonetizePros has a great WordPress blogging tutorial that’ll help you get set up), so make sure you have the WordPress Settings -> Discussion -> Enable threaded (nested) comments checked.

image

So, now that I told you about the ReplyMe plugin (again) and what it does you are probably curious as to why you would want to customize it right?

Default ReplyMe Email Output

By default when you get an email from a comment reply, the format will look like this:

image

By default the plugin will let the commenter see all new replies via email and it shows the link of the comment thread, but doesn’t actually have a clickable link back to the post.  This is the default.

On FamousBloggers.net, they were doing a neat little trick in that they show you via email that you received a new reply, but you have to actually click the link back to the thread to read your reply.  This forces a commenter to go back to your site to read the reply, which will increase the odds that while they are there on the site, they may reply to the reply or possibly browse to something else on the site.

Customizing the ReplyMe Email Output

So I wanted to customize the ReplyMe email output to make it to where the commenter would have to return to the site to read the reply.  I also wanted to include additional information like how the commenter can follow me on Twitter or Facebook right from the comment reply.  This is also a good way to offer an eBook or mailing list enticement for those who want to implement that as well.

To customize the ReplyMe email message you just go to your WordPress Dashboard and under Settings click on the ReplyMe link

Here you are given a list of shortcode you can use for the email message which are very important as they will generate the links and info you need.

image

Using this shortcode information, I modified the follow code which is the default code:

<span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><p><b>Your comment on the post <a href="[posturl]">[posttitle]</a> has a new reply</b></p></span></span>
 
<span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><div style="padding:10px;margin:10px 0;background:#FFFBCC">
Here is your comment:<br />
<div style="border:1px solid #919191;margin:5px;padding:4px;"> [commentmsg] </div>
[commenter] -- [commenttime]
</div></span></span>
 
<span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><div style="padding:10px;margin:10px 0;background:#FFFBCC">
Here is the new reply:<br />
<div style="border:1px solid #919191;margin:5px;padding:4px;"> [newcommentmsg] </div>
<a href="[newcommenterurl]">[newcommenter]</a> -- [newcommenttime] <br />
Visit: [newcommenturl]
</div></span></span>
 
<span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><p>
Thank you for your commenting on <a href="[blogurl]">[blogname]</a> :) <br />
[blogurl]
</p></span></span>

To look like this instead:

<em><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><p><b>Your comment on the post <a href="[posturl]">[posttitle]</a> has a new reply</b></p></span></span></em>
 
<em><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><div style="padding:10px;margin:10px 0;background:#FFFBCC">
Here is your comment:<br />
<div style="border:1px solid #919191;margin:5px;padding:4px;"> [commentmsg] </div>
[commenter] -- [commenttime]
</div></span></span></em>
 
<em><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><div style="padding:10px;margin:10px 0;background:#FFFBCC">
</span><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="color: #0000ff;">You can read your comment thread here:<br />
<div style="border:1px solid #919191;margin:5px;padding:4px;"><a href="[newcommenturl]">[newcommenturl]</a></div>
</span><a href="[newcommenterurl]">[newcommenter]</a> -- [newcommenttime] <br />
</div></span></span></em>
 
<em><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><p>
<span style="color: #0000ff;">Don't forget to follow <a href="</span></span></span></em><a href="http://www.twitter.com/dragonblogger&quot;"><em><span style="color: #0000ff; font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;">http://www.twitter.com/dragonblogger"</span></span></em></a><em><span style="color: #0000ff; font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;">>@dragonblogger</a> on Twitter or Like <a href="</span></span></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/dragonbloggertech&quot;"><em><span style="color: #0000ff; font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;">http://www.facebook.com/dragonbloggertech"</span></span></em></a><em><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="color: #0000ff;">>DragonBloggerTech Facebook Fanpage</a><br>
</span>Thank you for your commenting on <a href="[blogurl]">[blogname]</a> :) <br />
</p></span></span></em>

So now with the ReplyMe plugin modified, when a commenter receives an email update it will look like this:

image

I did notice that previously I would reply to comments and sometimes not get any replies back.  Hopefully this will generate a few more interactions on the site and keep users replying to their replies.

Update May 11th 2011

Thanks to Brad Harmon who suggested consideration of people who mostly check email and websites via smart phones now, these users are less inclined to follow a link in the email without knowing the reply, but a good reply will make them want to return and visit the site.  At the thought of this I decided to modify the ReplyMe code a little to where it does show the full commment, but right under has a URL with a clickable link and invites the user to return to the site to continue the conversation.

So I have updated my ReplyMe Customization text to look like this now in the reply section under original comment:

<div style="padding:10px;margin:10px 0;background:#FFFBCC">Here is the comment reply: <br \><div style="border:1px solid #919191;margin:5px;padding:4px;"> [newcommentmsg] </div>Respond your comment thread by clicking here: <a href="[newcommenturl]">[newcommenturl]</a><br>	<a href="[newcommenterurl]">[newcommenter]</a> —— [newcommenttime] <br /></div>

-Dragon Blogger

Who else customizes their ReplyMe plugin?  How do you leverage the customization features?

Justin Germino
I have been obsessed with computers, tech, gadgets and games since the early 1980's having grown up on the Commodore 64 and Amiga computers. By day I work in the IT Security Industry and have been in IT for over 20 years. On my spare time I am a Vlogger, Blogger, Streamer, Gadget Reviewer, affiliate marketer, influencer and entertainer. I am also an avid movie fan, TV Show fan, Anime fan, video game fan and fan of trying anything and everything new.
Justin Germino

@dragonblogger

Content Creator/Owner of https://t.co/iWP6afuOc9 for Tech, Game, Entertainment and streamer at https://t.co/594fXMdMIA
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