Interview With Ryan Imel Of CommentBits.com

commentbitslogoYesterday on Twitter, a number of WordPress faithful were passing around a link to a site called CommentBits.com. The site focuses on designs specifically for the comment section of a WordPress blog. I got in touch with Ryan Imel, the guy behind the service and received the inside scoop. Oh yea, at the end of the interview is information on how you can get half price for the lifetime pass.

What is CommentBits.com?

CommentBits.com is just a little shop I put together for selling a few different comment designs for WordPress. Right now there are three different sets, available on their own or together, and pretty cheaply. I hear every now and then that people hate developing their own comment areas, so this is one idea I have to remedy that problem. Each set comes with the PHP, CSS and images you’ll need to incorporate it into your theme. Oh, and the PSD too, to make tweaking easier.

Is this aimed for those putting a theme together where they can quickly add in a comment style you created? Or is this more for people who simply want a fresh new look for their comments even if it looks nothing like the surrounding design?

I guess I was thinking mostly of myself and people I know when putting it together. I’m not one for hypothetical customers, or anything like that. I know that I, myself, have come to the point in a site design where I hit the comment area and just cringe. So I tried to build something that would be attractive to me, and to people like me, in that situation.

So each style comes with a 4-8 color options, which is one way to make it a little bit easier to fit into your themes. At the same time, customization isn’t difficult either, as all of the markup is clean and valid.

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So if you don’t have a comment design that matches a customers site, are you willing you whip one up for them?

Sure. The site mentions that we’ll take any PSD design and whip it into a comment setup for them, same as any other style on the site. Just get in touch with us via the site’s contact form and we’ll set it up.

Speaking of implementation, is it a simple matter of copy and paste?

I would call it an install process. But easy enough for someone running their own site, downloading and installing themes/Plugins, etc. Just drop in a comments.php file and a matching folder (for images, if necessary) and add a single line to the functions.php file. Not exactly copy/paste, but some solid instructions are included on the site, and with every purchase.

I have to say that after looking at the prices, a stylish comment form design could be had for just $7.00! That is pretty darn cheap.

I’m glad you think so.

I also noticed you have an affiliate program already lined up. What are the details regarding that?

The prices are set up that way specifically to lower the barrier to entry. They are just comments, in the end. But hopefully, at that price, some might consider giving one or more of them a shot when taking on their next comment styling project. Handy for you, a little money for me. Win win.

The affiliate program is pretty straightforward. The payout is 20%, and works just like you would expect. For now we have the one 125×125 button, but will add more as the demand shows.

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I think what you have here is a great idea and could prove to be quite a little niche for yourself in a big market. Other than providing stylish comment forms, would you be interested in doing outsourced development of a comment section of a theme if a theme author hired you? For instance, being the go to guy for comment form design?

I’m always interested in particular work, sure. Not sure that I’m up for being typecast that way, ha. But comment styling can be a real hangup at times, especially when you want to get just the right design in there. I’ve done my fair share of nested comments, in WordPress and elsewhere, so it’s not the worst thing I could be doing.

It’s also worth saying, I think the direction to go right now is stylish theme niches, whereas the big theme shops have a lot of clout right now, dominating most of the commercial WordPress world. We little guys have to think cleverly and move quick to keep up.

We haven’t mentioned this but how is support handled?

For now I’m channeling all support to either the contact form for one-on-one support, or to the Theme Playground forum if the customer so chooses. If it becomes clear that a CommentBits specific forum is necessary, I’ll happily put one up. Besides, I’ve been wanting to play around with bbPress 1.0 since it poped up this last week.

Thanks for giving us an inside look at CommentBits. I’d say your launch was a success as a number of WP folks took notice on Twitter. What plans or ideas do you have for the site that we can look forward to?

I’m looking forward to seeing these styles in use, and getting feedback from the community most of all. These are the sorts of ideas that get me excited, so I hope to be able to spend time on more like it in the future. Regarding the future of CommentBits, expect more styles in the near future, and perhaps a user gallery to show off the comments in use in the field. Thanks for the interview, Jeff!

Half Price Special

Ryan was kind enough to give WPTavern readers a special discount code that can be used within the next 24 hours to receive half price off of his lifetime pass. When checking out, use the coupon code DrinkUp.

12 Comments


  1. Man I hate styling comments sometimes. $7 for a nice clean design? What a great deal, nice work Ryan.

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  2. @Paul Thanks Paul, I’m glad you think so.

    Thanks again for posting this interview Jeff. It’s kind of fun to be one of the guys producing stuff worth talking about, rather than talking about everyone else’s stuff :)

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  3. @Ryan: Love the work you’ve done with this project, and am contemplating getting the Lifetime pass, but have a question: You’ve included threaded comments, but do these packages include code to list trackbacks in a separate list from regular comments? I currently have my trackbacks listed below the actual comments in a section of their own, and I’d like to retain that capability.

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  4. I see that the, buy current packages for $10 link has been replaced with a lifetime membership package. I would have been happy to spend $10 on 3 comment themes but $50 is to much for me. Is there any plan to add the $10 option back? Either additional or replacing the lifetime package.

    Conorp

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  5. @Kim: Yes Kim, every style includes trackbacks, and it sounds like they work the same way, in a list right below the comment form. I’ll go add that to the features list at CommentBits to avoid any future confusion. Thanks!

    @Conorp: It was based on some initial user feedback that I switched from the bundled rate to a Lifetime Pass. I’d like to be able to freely talk about new styles coming along without causing people to hold off on buying a combo pack because they know something is coming next week. This way, they can buy a combo pack with the peace of mind they won’t be missing out on anything.

    BTW, the discount code Jeff mentions in the post will get you 1/2 off that $50 Lifetime Pass. But just for the next 24 hours ;)

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  6. @Ryan Imel -Thanks for the response Ryan, will be heading over to the site to purchase the Lifetime Pass shortly.

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  7. i really dislike styling comments, best $25 i’ve spent this week.

    i like your LLC name. :)

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  8. Another paid service rolling out (but pretty reasonable)
    But no thanks for me, I’d rather import the comment form of other GPL themes to my themes to have it look great or start to mess with the code around on my own.

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  9. Glad to see that the post generated a few sales for you Ryan. Hope this works out for you.

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