Customizing WordPress Comments

Customise Comments

Post comments are an important part of any blog, they give your readers a way of engaging with the author of the article. Comments are the main thing that makes a blog different to a normal website, websites will display information about a subject but don't normally allow readers to engage with the author. This doesn't give your readers a way to discuss any points the author makes in the article, this is where comments come in and are important for the growth of your blog.

Why Are They Important?
Comments allow your readers to provide their expertise to add additional points to the author article that they might of forgot. A good example of this is on this blog, here I blog about code snippets and web development tutorials. This type of blog it is so important to have comments as it means the readers can hopefully show me a better way to code what I'm trying to do.

Blogs are a two way conversion with the author and the reader I learn so much from the readers of Paulund and I hope they learn as much from my blog posts as I do.

Problems With Wordpress Comments
Above I have spoke about the benefits of having blog comments turned on and this is a massive benefit which is why the majority of blogs have comments.

But with the benefit of comments there is also a lot of disadvantages of comments especially with Wordpress.

Automated Comment Spam
This is main problem with Wordpress comments and because Wordpress is so popular it makes it an easy target for automated software crawling the web look for Wordpress and comment on the posts.

By default Wordpress allows any commenter to leave a comment with the following fields: Name, email, website and comment.

When these are displayed the website url will be made into a link around the commenter name making this an easy way to get links back to your website.

If you have a Wordpress blog you will see that as soon as you start getting visitors to your blog you will see the comment spam. These are fake comments made by bots to try to get links back to their website through a link in the commenter name.

If you don't have a way of protecting your site against comments then you could quickly build up a list of fake comments on your blog, which doesn't make your site look professional. With the new Google updates your website will be penalised if you are linking to bad websites, this means you need to careful when linking to another website.

The best to protect your blog from comment spam is to install the Wordpress plugin, this will check all your comments and see if it is a spam comment or not.

Manual Comment Spam
Akismet is a great plugin to protect your blog against automated spam but it can not protect against manual spam comments. These are humans which go on to your website and comment on as many posts as possible to get links back to their site. Most of these comments will be something along the lines of "nice post" or "great article" or "thanks for sharing".

One way of protecting against manual comment spam is to remove the link around the commenter name, if the commenter can see they don't get a link back most will not leave a comment. I tried this here on Paulund and the standard of intelligent comments has massively increased, now I know every comment is there to add value to the article.

You can remove the URL from the comment section by using the following snippet.

Time For The Author
Another problem with comments, which is infact a good problem to have is too many comments. If your blog has too many comments you need to make the choice of moderating the comments or not. If you don't moderate the comments then you can find people take advantage of this and you get more manual spam comments.

But if you start to moderate the comments then you could find it takes up valuable time moderating the comments which could be spent creating more awesome content. You need to make a decision, are comments more important than spending more time on creating content. For some people they are more important but others would argue that they would prefer to spend more time on creating awesome content and allow people a different way to discuss the article.

Some of biggest blogs in the world that have turned off blog comments are:

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