When to Enable and Disable Comments on Your WordPress Site

Comments are an excellent way for your website’s visitors to engage with you and each other. However, maintaining a comments section can be time-consuming, and depending on what type of website you’re running, may not be worth the effort.

Fortunately, it’s a simple matter to enable and disable comments on your WordPress.com site. You can even choose to disable comments on individual posts if you’d like.

In this post, we’ll discuss which types of websites benefit from having a comments section, and which may be better off without one. Then we’ll show you four methods for turning comments on and off. Let’s get started!

Types of Websites That Can Benefit From a Comments Section

Whether or not to include a comments section largely depends on your website’s purpose. Any site that relies on active discussion and an engaged audience for success will likely require a comments section.

Blogs can benefit enormously from comments. If you’re looking to encourage engagement, comments provide social proof and are a convenient place to talk with your readers. This discourse is another chance for you to demonstrate your expertise in your chosen niche:

To get people talking, you might try ending your blog post with a question or discussion prompt. You could also invite your readers to ask any questions they have after reading your piece. Sharing your opinion, even if it’s somewhat controversial, can also spark constructive discussion.

If you do try incorporating these methods into your blogging strategy, be sure to reply to any questions or comments you receive. That’s especially relevant if they’re specifically directed to you.

If you’ve created your website in order to grow a community, you’ll almost certainly want to give your audience a place to share their thoughts on your posts. Try including a sentence at the end of your blog post that encourages your readers to answer each others’ questions or share similar experiences. 

Another reason to enable comments on your blog posts is to get help developing future content. Mining your comments section for questions, insightful observations, or just consistent and interesting readers can make your content brainstorming sessions much more fruitful. You might even want to invite some of your most engaged readers to contribute their own posts to your blog, which can offer you more exposure.

Finally, nurturing an active comments section can positively impact your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. When visitors spend time on your website reading and replying to comments, it results in a longer dwell time. This metric measures how long a person spends on a page after reaching it from search engine results. 

This metric is often overlooked, as you won’t be able to measure it using Google Analytics or other tools. However, studies do seem to confirm that Google’s algorithm does take dwell time into account when calculating rankings.

Types of Websites That May Not Need a Comments Section

While comments can be very beneficial, there are some types of sites for which they simply aren’t necessary. If having visitors engage in conversation with you or each other isn’t helpful, you might want to limit the posts people can comment on. or skip this feature entirely.

  • One example would be a website built exclusively for lead generation. In this case, you’d likely want potential customers to contact you directly as a next step, rather than leaving a comment that you may not have time to follow up on. On this type of site, you’d benefit from adding a contact form.
  • If you’ve designed a website to showcase your work in a single-page resume or portfolio, you may also not need a comments section. Again, a contact form could serve you well in this scenario. You might also direct visitors to a shop page where you sell your work.
  • Something else to consider is how much time you’ll have to moderate and participate in a comments section. If you never reply to comments, the discussion may dry up, and you could lose some of your audience. 
  • Likewise, if the section becomes clogged with spam or trolls, your readers are unlikely to want to spend time there. While you can install a plugin such as Akismet to help filter out problematic comments, you’ll still need to do some legwork yourself.

How to Enable and Disable Comments on Your WordPress.com Site (4 Methods)

Now that we’ve discussed whether a comments section is a good idea for your website, let’s look at four methods for enabling and disabling comments.

1. Enable or Disable Comments on Future Posts

If you know whether you’ll be using comments on most of your posts, this method is probably the way to go. To get started, navigate to My Sites > Settings > Discussion:

Next, under Default Article Settings, you can toggle Allow people to post comments on new articles either on or off. Note that you can override this setting on individual posts and pages, which we’ll explain further:

This option will be toggled on by default when you create your site, allowing readers to post comments on any posts you publish. If you disable comments from here, any existing comments will remain, but readers will not be able to create new ones.

2. Disable Comments on an Individual Post or Page

Even if you’ve decided to include a comments section on the majority of your posts, there may be times when you’d like to disallow them on specific content. You can do this from that post’s Discussion settings page.

You can find this page by navigating to My Site > Post, and selecting the post you’d like to enable or disable comments on.

Toward the bottom of the Settings sidebar, you should see a heading labeled Discussion.

Nested under this heading is the Allow comments option:

The steps are similar when toggling comments on an individual page.

Start by navigating to My Site > Pages, and select the page you’d like to edit.

In the Settings sidebar, select Page and then click on the Discussion heading.

You should see the option to enable comments.

Unlike posts, comments on pages are disabled by default.

Whether you’re editing a post or page, go ahead and click on the Update button to save your changes.

3. Toggle Comments for a Group of Posts or Pages

You can also toggle comments for multiple posts at once.

Head to My Sites > Posts to get started. Next, you’ll need to click on Screen Options > Classic View in the upper-right corner of your screen.

You should now be able to select multiple posts using the checkboxes to the left of the post’s title.

Select your desired posts, choose Edit from the Bulk Actions drop-down menu and click on the Apply button.

Now you can use the Comments drop-down menu to choose whether to allow comments for all of the posts you’ve selected. Once you’ve made your selection, you’ll need to click on the Update button to save your changes.

You can also bulk edit pages. The process is very similar.

Start by navigating to My Sites > Pages, and then enabling the Classic View from the Screen Options menu.

Once again, you should now see checkboxes to the left of each of your existing pages.

After selecting all the pages you want to change, choose Edit from the Bulk Actions drop-down menu and click on the Apply button.

The interface for updating pages is slightly different, but you’ll still select Allow or Not Allow from the Comments drop-down menu, and click on the Update button to save your changes.

Once you’ve made your updates, you can click on Screen Options > Use WordPress.com view to return to the default view.

4. Limit Comments to Registered WordPress Users

Finally, rather than disabling comments outright, you can limit them to registered WordPress users. This additional control may make moderating the section somewhat easier.

You can find this option under My Sites > Settings > Discussion.

Scroll down to the Comments heading. You should see a toggle labeled Users must be registered and logged in to comment.

If you enable this option, readers can only comment if they are logged in to WordPress.com.

As an alternative, users may comment using their Facebook or Twitter accounts. This prevents trolls and spammers from entering false details.

You can also allow unregistered users to comment, but require them to provide a name and email before doing so. This option is toggled on by default. However, keep in mind that people can enter fake information in order to post spam to your comments section. This anonymity can make it difficult to block unwanted commenters effectively.

Conclusion

An active comments section can bring your website increased engagement and a strong sense of community. However, if comments won’t serve your website’s goals, it may be best to disable them. Try experimenting with your own WordPress.com site to see what works best for you.

Let’s recap the four methods we shared for enabling and disabling comments:

  1. Enable or disable comments on future posts.
  2. Disable comments on an individual post or page.
  3. Toggle comments for a group of posts.
  4. Limit comments to registered WordPress users.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The WordPress.com Team

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