Having a comment section on your website is a great idea of interaction with your readers. Comments provide an avenue of knowing what your audience think about your website, any criticism if there is any, things they would like to have you address often and ideas which they may have in improving your delivery. As much as comments may be of great help to your WordPress site, they may sometime get out of hand if not managed in the right way.
Website owners who do not take control of the content posted on the comments section risk losing serious audience due to spam. Serious readers who may contribute by reading your content or contributing in the comments sections may be turned away by an unprofessional looking website when overrun by spam.
In some cases, visitors may post links on the comments section which redirects your readers to their sites. Since you do not have the time to verify the authenticity or safety of these sites, your readers may lose faith in your site when they click on malicious links where they are redirected to sleazy sites. Readers may lose faith in your site when they feel that you are not taking control of the content going into your blog.
There are various simple ways you can take control of the comments reaching your blog. This move will help you in maintaining your site’s reputation by allowing and monitoring only useful comments.
- Website Configuration
Configuring your website is the main step in controlling comments on your website. Start by visiting Settings > Discussion from your WordPress and on the ‘Default article settings’ tick the ‘Allow people to post comments on new articles’ box to allow readers to post comments on your blog. On the ‘Other comment settings’ tick the first box which allows only readers who fill out their email and address to make comments and the ‘Enable threaded (nested) comments box.
The crucial factors to consider when controlling comments on your blog are as follows:
– Allow/disallow pingbacks and trackbacks which contribute to spamming.
– Allow comments on new posts.
– Ensure only readers who fill out their email and name can make comments.
– Enhance comment control by making it mandatory for readers to log in to make comments.
– Control the number of comments on your posts.
– Threaded comments should be allowed and depth determined.
– Set comments to be arranged in a chronological order.
To ensure that you take supreme control of comments on your blog, ensure that you receive a notification every time a visitor comments. Notifications will help you go through the comments first to determine whether they need to go through the comments section by your approval. This process can take much of your time and is likely to apply on small websites with few comments per day. There are however easier ways to automate the verification process on your WordPress if the comments are overwhelming.
– Hold comments with links waiting for your approval.
– Force comment into moderation by specifying keywords.
– Force comments into the trash if they fall under your blacklisted keywords.
- Default Moderation
For small websites which owners decide to manually control comments, the task can be lessened by automating by navigating to Settings > Discussion and to the ‘Before a comment appears’ section. Tick the ‘comment author must have a previously approved comment’ box to allow comments from readers who have posted before to go through without needing your approval or attention.
- Use WordPress Plugins
There are many WordPress plugins available which can facilitate the way you control comments on your website. These plugins function by deleting comments which are suspected of being spam without notifying you. Alternatively, the plugins can hold suspicious comments waiting for your approval. Comments moderating plugins are part of WordPress and are free of charge to ensure simplicity in how bloggers monitor their website comments section. You can choose the way you need your plugins to function so as to receive such features:
– The number of past approved comments per reader.
– Status history of comments per user.
– Automatically filtering comments which look suspicious.
– Expose comments with misleading or hidden links.