I had the opportunity to catch up with Andy Bailey, the creator of CommentLuv. Since 2007, the plugin has been downloaded over 126,000 times! Believe me, he is a busy man, but it was great to interview him. I hope you enjoy! 🙂
ME: When did you become motivated to create CommentLuv and why?
ANDY: A plugin came out to put links to peoples sites based on how many visits they got. I didn’t think that was fair because the popular blogs would end up having the most links shown so I sat down and tried to write something that would reward the readers of my blog by parsing the feed at their url when they comment and adding the latest post to the end of the comment text.
It was also a great way for me to see what my community of commenters was writing about, all their last posts were easily clickable from within the comments of my posts.
ME: What was the hardest thing you had to get through when creating the CommentLuv plugin?
ANDY: The hardest part was releasing it as a plugin on the official WordPress repository. Making something work and be able to change it’s settings on my own site was fine. I knew the code and how my server worked but once it went out to the public, I quickly realized that not everyone has the same type of hosting features. So the hardest part about creating the plugin was making it compatible with all the different types of systems that users have.
ME: What is the best thing about the CommentLuv plugin that has happened?
ANDY: Probably the best thing so far has been seeing my plugin make a difference to peoples sites, I get messages all the time how it has helped a blog get more comments or how it’s led to new and interesting site discoveries because the last blog post links. Being able to expand my programming knowledge and learn new skills has been pretty great too.
ME: What are some of your hopes for the future for the CommentLuv plugin?
ANDY: I would really like to bring out a CommentLuv 3.0 with all the features that have been requested by users. I have to work hard in our family business pretty much every day so finding time to do it is hard. Sometimes I have to take unpaid days off from work so I can have time to do a needed update or bug fix for a new wordpress release.
I’d really like to take the plugin more seriously by giving it some dedicated time to code. I am considering moving 3.0 to be a premium plugin where a user who buys it can install it on any of their blogs and register it direct from the dashboard. Proper support would be much easier if the plugin went premium too and it’d make taking days off from paid work a lot easier! 🙂
ME: What other WordPress-related projects are you on or are in the works to start?
ANDY:My multiuser site ComLuv.com is starting to take shape, lots of new blogs are being created. Quite a lot of promotional sites coming in but luckily nothing too spammy or splog like. I’d like to get the comluv server paying for itself with ads and sponsorships, once that can happen I’ll be able to start paying for some staff to take care of tutorials and some simple support.
I have some sketches for a new ecommerce plugin which can turn any post into a shop item. It’ll work with an AJAX shopping basket and integrate with google checkout or paypal but it’s on the back burner while the busy holiday period is on.
ME: Anything else you might like to say? Any shoutouts to your developer team or anyone?
ANDY: I’d love to thank my developer team but, I don’t have one! I’m a one man band for the site and plugin and support. I would like to thank all the users and bloggers who write posts and tutorials for commentluv, I don’t always have time to respond personally but I love seeing users help out other users with things.
Andy Bailey uses his pc in my spare time to create and code useful things that make life easier. He can spend 5 hours coding something that’ll save 5 minutes and feel completely satisfied. He works with a partner and her brother in a Chinese takeaway in the North of England. Andy also runs The ComLuv Network, the only free blog site where anyone can start a WordPress blog with the CommentLuv plugin installed.