Reader interaction is a fundamental element of a successful blog, so allowing people to comment on your posts and pages can really establish your website as an authority in its niche. However, while embracing comments, it is important to remember that while your blog is a reflection on you, it will be necessary to manage and moderate comments to ensure your posts are free from offensive and spammy feedback.
Configuring comment settings
By default, WordPress allows comments on posts and pages, but it also provides you with options to control exactly which comments are allowed to be published.
To set up how comments are managed you will need to go to Settings > Discussion on the left-hand menu of your WordPress dashboard.
On the Discussion page, you will find a number of options that can be changed, depending on your needs. These options are as follows:
- Default article settings – here you can select whether or not to allow comments on new posts.
- Other comment settings – here you can decide whether users must first register to comment. Limiting comments to registered users only will improve the quality of comments, but it will also reduce the volume.
- E-mail me whenever – here you can select whether you wish to be notified by email when a comment is posted.
- Before a comment appears – this setting will allow you to approve comments before they are published.
- Comment moderation – this will allow you to block messages containing excessive links.
- Comment blacklist – here you can block comments using the same IP address that contain spam.
- Avatars – this setting allows user avatars to be displayed alongside comments.
With the settings changed accordingly, click on Save Changes to confirm the new settings.
Comments that your website receives can be found in the Comments section of your blog (below Pages on the left-hand menu of the dashboard). Here you can choose to Unapprove, Approve, Trash or declare comments as Spam.
To select any of these options, simply check the box on the comment and select your chosen action from the Bulk Actions drop down menu. Alternatively, you can place the mouse over a comment to reveal a popup menu featuring the same options.
Spam is a constant problem with WordPress and any other CMS that opens itself up for comments.
Using the Comment moderation and Comment blacklist options for the Discussion settings is one way to combat spam; another way is to use a plugin.
There are numerous plugins available to help tackle spam; however, the widely used Akismet is the standout choice.
You can install Akismet by going to Plugins > Add New from your dashboard, entering “Akismet” into the search field and following the installation instructions. Once the plugin is installed, go to the Akismet website and click on Get a WordPress key. Go back to WordPress and select Activate your Akismet Account. You will then be taken to a settings page where you can select I already have a key and paste in the key code. Click on Save Changes and you’re all ready to go.
For more information about SPAM, read our How to prevent SPAM on WordPress article.