WordPress is a popular platform for bloggers and website owners, and one of its key features is the ability to engage with readers through the comments section. However, with the rise of spam and low-quality comments, it’s important to consider comment moderation. In this beginner’s guide to WordPress comment moderation, we’ll explore the reasons for and against moderation and provide tips on how to effectively moderate comments.
What is Comment Moderation?
Comment moderation is the process of approving comments based on a set of restrictions. Instead of allowing any and every comment on your site to be posted, you can manually approve comments or enable settings to filter and selectively approve comments automatically.
Reasons for Moderating Comments
Moderation gives you full control to display comments only from trusted users, thus weeding out spam and other low-quality comments. Engaging trusted users builds confidence and your blog will quickly gain authority in your chosen niche.
Spam comments typically contain links, some of which may redirect to potentially malicious websites. With moderation, you can block potentially malicious links.
A well-moderated comment thread can add value to an otherwise dull post. Good quality comments attract knowledgeable people that will add valuable info and this is what you want for your post. Remember, comments become part of your blog’s content for as long as the post exists on your blog.
Reasons Against Moderating Comments
Moderation can be time-consuming, especially for larger websites with good readership. It can also frustrate genuine users who want to engage in the discussion.
Dealing with comment spam can be done using a plugin like Akismet that comes with the basic WordPress software.
Tips for Effective Comment Moderation
1. Limit Email Notifications: If you log into your website every day, you probably don’t need the comment notifications enabled. Scroll down to the section for Email me whenever and disable both options.
2. Moderate First Time Authors: Enable automatic approval for comment authors who have been approved once. To enable this setting, go to Settings > Discussion and check the box that reads Comment author must have a previously approved comment.
3. Disable Trackbacks: Consider disabling trackbacks and pingbacks as they don’t add to your SEO.
4. Filter Out Obvious Spam: Use the Comment Moderation and Disallowed Comment Keys options to block obvious spam from being published on your site.
5. Comment Requirements, Cookies and More: Require commenters to provide a name and email or only allow subscribers to comment. Consider enabling the setting for Show comments cookies opt-in checkbox for GDPR compliance.
6. Comment Order: Change the order of comments to show the newest comments at the top.
7. Turn Off Comments After a Specified Period: Consider closing comments after a specified number of days, depending on the nature of your website.
8. Use Plugins to Filter Comment Spam: Plugins like Akismet and WordPress Zero-Spam can help filter comments that appear like spam.
9. Allow Users to Moderate for You: Consider allowing certain editors or authors to manage moderation.
In conclusion, comment moderation is an important aspect of managing a WordPress blog or website. By carefully weighing the pros and cons and implementing effective moderation techniques, you can create a valuable and engaging comments section for your readers.