In my earlier post relating to Website and Blog Maintenance, I highlighted the importance of keeping on top of post comments. Today, we explore comment moderation in more depth.
Firstly, it is important to highlight the need to respond to comments whenever you can. Engaging with your followers and visitors is a very important part of building your platform. Without visitors, followers and, ultimately, buyers, you probably won’t achieve what you want from your blog (be that selling more books, reaching more people etc.). Responding to comments also helps to show that your website is active and that you care about your community.
Filtering Out the Spam
It is highly recommended that you have spam filtering set up on your blog as this is an important part of the comment moderation process. You don’t want to spend hours sifting through hundreds of comments to find that 99% of them are rubbish and end up in the trash. It is far better to spend your time responding to genuine comments and building a relationship with your followers.
Spam filters are a great way to cut through the spam and to leave your comment section clean and full of genuine comments. Obviously, some spam comments will sneak through but you can easily find those and deal with them accordingly. Equally, on occasion the filter will mark a genuine comment as spam, so checking comments regularly will mean you can catch these quickly and approve them.
Which Spam Filter?
There are several spam filter tools on the market and which you choose is down to personal preference and cost. A quick Google will soon give you lots of options to choose from. Two that I would recommend are:
Both of these tools offer free and paid plans depending on the type of blog you have and the level of protection you are looking for. Whichever tool you choose, please ensure that once you install and activate it, you also look at the settings. It’s all too easy to just leave it with the default or recommended settings but sometimes, these are not what is best for your site.
Akismet has a setting where it automatically bins everything it thinks is spam. This is great where it works, but for those comments that slip through the net and the tool marks as spam when actually they’re genuine, you loose those comments with no way to get them back. I’d recommend you set it to put every comment it flags as spam into a spam folder and you give them a quick once over before they’e deleted forever.
Automatic Approval or Moderate Every Comment?
The other important setting to look at is your blog comment section settings themselves. I personally have my site set so that all comments have to be approved before they go live on my site. This way you can be assured that nothing spammy or dodgy will show to your visitors. There’s nothing more off-putting than scrolling down to the comment setting of a blog post to find it full of spammy comments.
Comment Moderation Must-Dos
- Get a spam filter set up. It’s recommended you do this from day one – the more popular your blog becomes, the more likely you are to attract spam.
- Check the settings for your spam filter as well as your general website discussion settings.
- Check your comments on a regular basis. The frequency of this will depend on how well used your blog is, but try and check in daily or weekly. At the very least, make sure you check comments monthly, any longer than that and you’ll lose the power of community.
- Clear out the spam filter whenever you check comments – don’t wait for it to clear itself.
- Respond to genuine comments to build community.
How often do you check for comments on your blog? Do you have a spam filter set up? Did you ensure all your settings work for your blog, or did you just hope for the best with the default settings? Drop a comment below with your experience of comment moderation be it good or bad; as a blog owner or as a site visitor.