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WordPress Comment Management

Comments are of great importance for all types of WordPress sites. Although it is controversial that comments have direct influences on the search engine rankings, they do increase the freshness of your content, improve the user engagement, and help with community building. In the following, we have listed some top tips helping you get more comments easily.

Since you are landing here probably for the effective yet simple ways of getting comments, we have prepared what you need by collecting the best tips from our blogging experience and the ideas of our readers and peer bloggers. You can try all the tips below because you’ll never know which works best for you without enough practices.

And frankly speaking, having a large number of valuable comments on your website brings you the following benefits.

  • Act as the social proof for your web content quality.
  • Build up a large community among your readers.
  • Add the fresh and new content into your website so as to make your site updated constantly.
  • Set up the strong relationship with your readers.
  • Get the critical information of how visitors view your website and what they expect the most.

Before Trying Getting Comments

Before taking any action, make sure that you are ready for comments. This means much. For example, your blog has to be content rich, containing fresh and original content instead of suspicious ads. Besides, you have to pay attention to the following tasks.

Build an audience

Traffic is the basic of building an audience for your blog, as more visits mean more chances for you to receive feedback. Therefore, before you are able to get more comments, you have to increase the traffic first. This takes some time, but the following deeds will certainly help.

  • Share posts on social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Make your content shareable for visitors.
  • Allow readers to subscribe to updates.
  • Publish fresh content on a regular basis with the proper frequency for you.
  • Try paid search, guest posting, news, etc.

Find valuable or interesting topics

This is about making your content comment-worthy. People tend to respond when the topic is relevant or appealing to them and the content is valuable. So you should think carefully about the possible interests of your target audience, and then write about these topics with some freshness and creativity in your writing.

Also, those topics which have already attracted much attention and generated interaction on other blogs similar to yours are good ideas. Never stop learning from others.

As soon as you are well-prepared, you can start taking the following tips into practice.

Make Your Blog Easy to Comment on

Sometimes things do not need to be complicated. If your comment section is hard to find, or you require visitors to complete a lengthy form before they can leave a comment, you are stopping your blog from getting comments. To deliver a better experience, you can take the following suggestions into consideration.

Require the minimum information

Look at the fields that have to be finished before a comment can be published, and ask yourself whether you are willing to fill in them when you visit a website that you’ve never visited before. Our opinion is that you should only require the name and email for commenting, which can be configured in Settings > Discussion.

Require Name and Email for Commenting

If you have added CAPTCHA to the comment form out of the worry about comment spam, you can choose to remove it, and instead, requiring manual approval for the first comment of all visitors. This should stop most of the spam. You only need to make a small change to the discussion settings in the WordPress dashboard.

Approve First Comment Manually

Allow social logins

Most blogs require people to log in before leaving a comment. However, this stops many readers from commenting on your blog because some do not bother registering a new account just for one comment.

A solution to this issue is to allow social logins, so that visitors can log in with their existing accounts on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo!, LinkedIn and more. It helps achieve a balance between your requirements and the visitors’ convenience.

Also, you can add the anonymous comments capability to your blog in case that some people do not want their real name to be displayed.

Encourage Conversations in Your Post

Do not write posts in a way like talking to yourself and then wait for comments, because you will be disappointed to see no or little responses. To get more comments, you should ask for responses from your readers actively by sending them an invitation with some polite and encouraging words saying something like “What do you think?” or “Do you have a better solution?”

There are some tricks for encouraging interactions, and below are the most effective ones.

  • Ask a question at the end of each post to get readers thinking and talking about their ideas. This could also be a comment request which is unique, polite, and encouraging.
  • Raise a problem that stays controversial or unresolved and ask for solutions from the readers. This lets them know that you value their information, which is great for engaging them in conversations.
  • Share your experience or stories with humor. If some funny things happened or you had a failure doing something related to your blog topic, share them with your readers, and you will be surprised at how they will share their experiences with you, too. The common interests are the best starting points for meaningful and lasting conversations.

Reply to the Comments Your Receive

Conversation builds relationships. If you reply to comments, the conversion will continue, which not only impresses the reader, but also makes the conversation last. Besides, your replies show your respect to readers and your attitude of valuing their interaction with you and your blog. The interactivity will then add value to your blog and get more readers participating in.

After receiving comments on a post, try to respond to each of them as soon as possible. WordPress comes with a feature of sending you email notifications when a new comment is posted. You can turn the notifications on in the discussion settings.

Email Notification for New Comments

It could be hard to reply to each comment if you receive dozens or hundreds of them each day. In such a case, we still suggest you respond to as many comments as possible with respect and courtesy.

Bonus tip: To make those who have left comments more engaged in the conversation, you can ask them to subscribe to their comments, so they will receive email notifications each time their comments are responded, and possibly visit your blog once or several times more. This would bring huge traffic. If you don’t know how to do this, read this tutorial.

Subscribe to Comments

Award Your Readers for Comments

Offering prizes is a great way to stimulate comments from your readers, especially the first-time commenters and new visitors. People are more active when there is a motivation. And generally speaking, when someone has done something for the first time, he/she will find it easier to do it the other time.

Below are three creative ideas about awarding commenters. Of course, you can work out a unique one, too.

Run contests on your blog

A good suggestion is to write a post about the prize, stating what the prize is and what the competition rules are. For the selection of the winner, the easiest way is to select a random one from those who leave comments during a given period of time. This does not require any technical skill. Just ask your readers to take part in.

Make use of polls

Interesting polls attract people and bring a large number of participants as they only need to make a selection among the available choices. This does not seem to contribute to comments directly, but the more participants you have in a poll, the more people will come back to your site for the results and leave comments about the topic/result.

Creating polls is easy in WordPress because there are many plugins dealing with the technical parts.

Display a commenter ranking

You can add a points system on your WordPress blog so that each time when a user posts a comment or replies to a comment, he/she gets a certain amount of points. Then, you can display a ranking of the users with the highest scores in the sidebar, and offer prizes to those commenters gaining the most points during a given time. If you don’t want to try user points, the Top Commentators Widget provides another way out.

Displaying a ranking tells potential commenters that you value their comments and their contributions to your blog, which will in return accelerate the building of your community.

Display a Commenter Ranking

Solve the Problems Raised by Your Readers

To encourage people to leave comments on your blog posts, one of the best ways is to try your best to solve their left problems. Actually, people comment on your content for 3 main reasons.

  • Show their appreciation.
  • Hold a different opinion.
  • Ask something related to the topic.

As researched, the last situation accounts for more than 56% of the comments left on most blog sites. In this case, if people find that they can get their problem solved or discussed on the blog comments, most of them are willing to leave some words on this area.

Personalize All the Comments

Actually, for everyone, the name might be the sweetest word in the native tongue. In this case, when reply each comment, you’d better try your best to include the name of the commentator into the response.

It is true that this might be a little bit time-consuming. However, it is worth your efforts. After all, being personal is a perfect way to build the strong relationship and friendship with your readers.

Conclusion

Besides the tips discussed above, there are still some other methods you can try to grow the comments on your WordPress blog, for example, leaving thoughtful comments on other blogs with the similar topic as you.

No matter which way you try, remember that interactions are important. Your respect and the sense of value you deliver to the commenters are the motivations for people to respond to your content. With these conceptions in your mind, the barriers to comments can be got rid of soon.

At last, getting comments is a natural process of building relationships with your readers, so try not to be harsh with yourself or any reader.

Prevent Spam Comments in WordPress

A great many webmasters have the experience to receive spam comments in WordPress. This is also likely to be a problem in your process to run a WordPress site. Based on our years of experience, a professional answer to “How to prevent spam comments in WordPress?” is available in this article.

1. Nofollow Comment Links

Some newbies take it for granted that dofollow links will better work as an encouragement to leave comments than nofollow links. Therefore, they decide to replace nofollow links with dofollow links in the comment section. But as a result, more spam comments will come to your website.

2. Activate Akismet

From the beginning to install WordPress, the Akismet plugin which can prevent spam comments waits for you to activate. That is, you have no need to install the plugin but to activate it. Then API key can be used to fight against spam. The fact is that Akismet will make some mistakes to regard good comments as spam. But you have the freedom to recover them on a regular basis.

3. Enable Honeypot Protection

The honeypot protection, which the WP Spam Fighter plugin provides, will do you a favor to identify spam bots. This can be enabled on the Settings > WP Spam Fighter. After that, your comment section will come with a hidden form which can only be seen by bots. As usual, spam bots will fill in all the blanks without any hesitation.

4. Reduce Comment Spam Using Cookies

Most spam comments come from spam bots which are automated scripts. Without the need to download any stylesheets or image files, spam bots can leave more spam comments within a shorter time. The Cookies for Comments plugin can change this situation, identifying those who automatic load the files as spammers.

5. Add Captcha Verification

Adding Captcha verification is also an effective way to block spam bots. WP-reCAPTCHA is a recommended plugin for you to check whether users are human. With the use of the plugin, your comment form will have an image which contains characters. Users cannot leave comments until they prove that they are not a spam bot by typing the characters.

But Recaptcha also comes with some potential problems. It has no influence on real users who submit spam comments. And some users will be bothered to type the characters before submitting comments. From this perspective, this is not an encouragement for users to leave more comments.

6. Use Math Quiz

Math Quiz plugin is a good alternative to Captcha verification. With the adding of simple question, commenters will feel it easier to verify their identity. So far, this has been only a very minor possibility that bots can answer your question. The question should be easy to understand so that real users can answer it in a quick way, for example, simple mathematical questions.

7. Remove Website URL Field from Comment Form

Spammers, bots or human, won’t miss the chance to spam your website, when your comment form has a URL field. Their submitted comments often have no relationship with your discussion. In fact, website URL field can be removed from your comment form. This will discourage those who are on the purpose to leave spam comments via website URL field.

8. Turn Off Comments

There are some instances where you have no need for comments in WordPress. Or you encounter the failure to moderate comment. No matter what time it is, you can switch off comments as you like. Below options are available for you to choose from in the Settings page.

The first option is to leave ‘Allow people to post comments on new articles’ unchecked.

Prevent Spam Comments in WordPress - New Articles

The second option is to turn off comments on older articles.

Prevent Spam Comments in WordPress - Older Articles

Disable HTML in Comments

Here is easy to understand for disabling HTML in comments. Peter’s Literal Comments plugin will provide you the easiest way to get the job done. Upon activation, WordPress filers will parse all HTML inside the comments users have submitted to your website.

To do so, you can change “comment_form()” in comment.php file to “comment_form(array(‘comment_notes_after’=>”)). However a better way might to use WordPress plugins, such as:

  • Simple Tags
  • Ginger Tag Remover
  • Discard HTML Tags in Comments
  • Auto More Tags

Disable Trackbacks

Trackback is the procedure of interaction between two blogs. In simpler words, it is a process allowing one blog highlights its comments, which is in connection to another blog, in front of its subscribers. Gaining the attention of a remarkable amount of bloggers, trackback has lately been a source of sending spam that harms a blog.

There are a couple of ways helping bloggers completely prevent trackback option from a blog. Following the principle “Prevention is better than cure”, this method prevents the trackback content from entering a blog. This method is suitable for bloggers who desire the utmost security of their blog. Discussed here are the methods of preventing trackback from new posts as well as from existing posts.

Trackback can be completely prevented from new posts by making some easy customization. To do this, you can login to your WordPress administrative panel and click the Discuss button under the Settings tab. Here, you can find a “Default Article Settings” area. Simply uncheck the second box as the image showed in the following.

Default Article Settings

Note that this practice can block all the trackback spam on your future posts. As for the existing posts, you have to remove them manually.

To do this, you can delete them one by one from your WordPress sites. Or, you can make use of a SQL query. For this, you should firstly log into your control panel and then enter the phpMyAdmin. Here, you can find a SQL tab. Click it and enter the following SQL query to disable trackback features of WordPress.

UPDATE wp_options SET option_value = 'closed' WHERE post_status ='publish' AND post_type = 'post';

The majority of trackback comments and notifications are received on an old or existing post. Most of the webmasters find it a hectic task to find and remove trackback spam from existing posts. However, there are two easy ways of preventing spams from existing posts on a WordPress site.

Firstly, you can go to different pages that contain posts and disable the trackback option one at a time.

Or,you can visit the “Posts” menu by logging into the WordPress admin. Click on the Screen Options available in the top right portion of the screen. Customize the frequency of posts views as per the amount of existing posts and click on the “Select All” box. Then, click on “Edit” tab presented in the Bulk Action Dropdown menu. Lastly, check the “Pings” dropdown and select “Do not Allow”.

The two methods are preferable by different bloggers depending upon the size of their blogs. Method 1 is appropriate for blogs that have only a couple of posts whereas Method 2 is recommendable to bloggers who have too many posts in their blog.

Ban Spammer’s IP Address

The IP address can be seen from your dashboard, coming along with comments. You have the freedom to add suspicious IPs into your blacklist. Then your website cannot be accessible to these IP address. But there should be enough evidence to confirm that spam bots are behind the IPs.

Moderate WordPress Comments to Prevent Scam and Spam

In fact, WordPress itself has a default comment moderation feature. With it, you can prevent the comments from showing on your website without your approval. These comments will be put into the queue for moderation. And you need to approve, reject or delete them manually.

For this, you simply need to hit the Comments button from the WordPress admin. And then, you can find all the comments that are in three types mainly – Pending, Approved and Spam. For the comments that are waiting for the moderation, they will appear in the Pending group.

Pending Comments

Now, you can do the following actions based on the real situation.

  • If you feel the comment is great and meaningful, you can click the Approve button to make it publicly available on your website.
  • You can reply to that comment. If so, the comment is approved automatically.
  • If the comment is good, but contains some keywords or links you do not like, you can edit the content as you want.
  • If the comment is a bad one, you can mark it as spam or simply delete it permanently.

Make Use of the Akismet Plugin

For the proper comment moderation, you can install the Akismet WordPress plugin. It will check all your comments against their global database of scam and spam. In this case, you can have your website protected effectively from the malicious contents.

In addition, each comment will have the status history. Thus, you can easily know which comments are cleared and which are caught as the spam. Also, with the clear reports and statistics, you can see the number of approved comments effortlessly. Here, you can check this guidance to learn how to keep WordPress comments safe with Akismet.

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