Moderating Comments on your WordPress Blog

Using the comments section of your blog posts can be an easy, fulfilling way for your readers to engage with you. When it comes to asking questions and getting to know you, the “comment” button is often the first thing your potential clients will reach for. If your comment section is filled with spam, though, readers who are genuinely interested might be discouraged from interacting with you.

What is Comment Moderation?

Simply put, moderating comments is like child-locking your comments section. When you turn on comment moderation for your blog, comments will pass through an approval process before actually appearing beneath your posts. Comment moderation is just a process where, when people enter their text and then hit the “comment” button, that comment will stay hidden until you approve or trash it from the admin panel.

Is Moderating Comments Right for You?

Moderating comments can be a great way to form a deeper, stronger, and less cluttered connection to your readers, but it’s definitely not the best choice for every website in the world. Due to spammers, many site owners have chosen to eliminate the comments section altogether, or rely on spam comment blocker plugins rather than moderating the section themselves. Below, we explain which choice might fit based on your unique scenario.

Reasons to Consider Moderating Comments

If your website is on the small side in terms of readership and you are trying to boost your subscribers, viewers, or customers, the comment section could be vital. If you are in this situation, there’s also a good chance that you struggle with spam comments. The last thing you want is for your live, genuine, interested readers to have to wade through pages of spam comments before being able to interact with you or other readers. 

Spam comments are distracting, and many of them contain links to malicious, offensive, or pornographic websites. By eliminating the presence of spam, you can build your own site’s trust and credibility.

Good quality comments, on the other hand, can really boost your engagement from readers when commenters ask thoughtful questions or continue the discussion. This is yet another reason why eliminating the comment section altogether can actually be detrimental to your site.

Reasons why Moderating Comments May Not be the Right Choice

There are some circumstances in which choosing to moderate comments may actually be the wrong fit. While this isn’t the case for the majority of websites, it certainly does occur from time to time. Comment moderation can be really time-consuming. If you have a large website with big readership numbers (and therefore lots of comments, both spam and real), comment management might be best done with a 3rd-party plugin or software tool. 

Conversely, if you feel that you very rarely get comments from real readers and the comments section of your site doesn’t generate much value for users, you might consider shutting down the comments section entirely.

While these circumstances are unusual, you should always choose what is right for your website – you know your business better than anyone!

How to Moderate Comments in WordPress

If you do decide to moderate comments, the process is fairly straightforward. WordPress makes it as easy and painless as possible. While you can always go to an individual post within the admin to manage the comments on that page, most users will find it easier to moderate comments right from their dashboard. 

Under the Activity panel of your dashboard, you will be able to see recent comments on posts. When you hover over them, a full menu of options will appear – Approve, Reply, Edit, Spam, or Trash. You can do all your comment management from here, choosing the appropriate option for each comment. It’s also worth noting that whenever you approve, spam, or trash a comment, these options are replaced by an Undo button, which you can use if you’ve made a mistake.

Screenshot of WordPress admin dashboard comments section

What’s the Difference Between Spam and Trash?

Many users treat spam and trash as the same thing – after all, in both cases, the comments go away without being posted. Functionally, they do serve the same purpose. However, keep in mind that marking a comment as Spam helps train WordPress and the other software that gets its data; over time, WordPress default filters will get better and better at detecting spam.

What About Third-Party Spam Filters?

There are many options for third-party plugins to help reduce spam in WordPress comments sections. Several are quite popular. They work fairly well, and if they’re included with a development or maintenance package, they may be worth it. However, we find that most small business owners have an easier time just managing their own comments section rather than paying for and setting up an external spam filter.

Well, that’s our two cents when it comes to moderating comments on your WordPress blog! If you’re a site owner, what has your experience been? We would love to hear from you!

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Chantelle Gossner

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