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The ability to have an entire conversation in the comments section of a site is one of the great things about reading and writing blog posts.
Bloggers who practice good WordPress comment moderation can really witness their readership grow. But, bloggers who don’t prioritize spam control and who don’t reply to their comments might see less thrilling results, and won’t be able to foster that much-needed sense of community.
Readers don’t want to wade through fake comments just to take part in a discussion. This means they might stop commenting on and reading your posts. Thankfully, WordPress.com makes moderating comments and protecting your site from spammers easy.
Spam comments are a bit different from spam emails. You’re less likely to see promises of riches in comments, and are more likely to notice poor grammar and telltale generic phrases. They usually look something like this:
There are some rules of thumb to help you identify spam comments.
- The comment doesn’t reference anything specific about your post.
- The comment is so general that it could apply to just about any blog.
- The comment contains an irrelevant link in an attempt to siphon off traffic.
By default, a plugin called Akismet Anti-Spam is already active on every new WordPress.com website.
Akismet automatically eliminates the vast majority of spam before they even reach your comments section.
There’s even an Akismet widget to help you track the volume of spam comments filtered over the lifespan of your blog.
Although Akismet is a powerful tool, it doesn’t catch everything. Sometimes it’s necessary to manually moderate your comments. You can choose how to go about comment moderation from the My Site screen — just head to Settings > Discussion.
Here, you can decide whether you want to manually approve every comment before it goes live, or if you want to allow comments from visitors who you approve to post. This can save you time, as these will be users that you know aren’t spammers. It’s important to remain vigilant nonetheless, as some people do know how to game the system.
You can also choose to receive email notifications every time a new comment is posted. Commenters won’t have to wait very long for approval, particularly if you’re not in the habit of checking your blog’s dashboard daily.
In addition to approving non-spam comments, respond to as many as you can. This takes a little bit of time, but means a lot to your readers. Ultimately, this can boost fan loyalty and excitement.
If your blog takes off and you’re receiving more comments than you can keep up with, don’t worry. You don’t have to spend hours moderating and responding to comments if you don’t want to.
One of the easiest ways to handle this is by closing comments on your older posts or automatically disabling comments on your posts after a set time period.
To turn off comments on older posts, go to your Discussion settings — midway through the list, you will see an option to close comments on posts after a certain number of days pass since publication: just fill in the desired number of days and you’re all set.
Like most things on WordPress.com, comment moderation requires an initial setup and a bit of attention here and there to ensure that your blog is a safe place for your audience. Once you master WordPress comment moderation, you’ll be ready for your following to flourish.
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