If you own a blog or even read one recently, chances are you are familiar with the comments people leave, and you’ve read some here and there. And since over 43.5% of websites are powered by WordPress, the chances are that you already know what WordPress comments are.
WordPress comments are an essential component of any WordPress-powered blog. They empower your audience and encourage them to interact with your website.
In today’s article, we’ll go over the importance of WordPress comments and the benefits of offering your visitors the opportunity to share their thoughts, how to enable and disable WordPress comments, and how to manage them and prevent comment spam.
Ready to dive in?
What are WordPress Comments?
WordPress comments are the built-in commenting system coded into the WordPress core. It allows you to add comments to your blog without having to worry about integrating a third-party comment system unless you find WordPress’ comment system to be lacking in some way, but we’ll get to that later.
Visitors to your website can communicate with you and other readers through comments. They can comment on a specific article you wrote, ask questions, and provide feedback. Anyone with a valid name and email address can comment on most WordPress sites without verifying their identity.
A dynamic comment section can help you and your readers form a sense of community around your blog. Visitors can provide feedback, ask questions, and express their own opinions on the topic, among other things. The commenter’s name, the date, and the time they submitted the remark usually appear on your site right after the blog post text.
If you enable comments, they will show up on WordPress posts, pages, and other post types depending on the content your visitors talk about.
But first, let’s look at whether you should or should not accept WordPress comments from visitors.
Should You Accept Comments on Your WordPress Blog?
One thing is certain: no website should exist in a vacuum. This desire to interact extends to the websites users visit, especially blogs. The comments left beneath the articles you publish are the primary interaction source for WordPress users.
We think comments should be not only accepted but encouraged. For example, assume you want to create a successful website. Then, of course, you’ll need a devoted following who will return to your website regularly. Right?
The best way to encourage repeat visits is to create a community around your website rather than just a website.
Accepting comments allows you to engage your readership, allowing them to contribute and feel a part of the discussion — a prerequisite for feeling a part of a community.
Another way to lead to engagement on your website is by using chatbots. We’ve written a thorough article on what chatbots are and how you can use them on your site.
Now, let’s discuss the advantages of allowing comments and how you can benefit from this.
1. Social proof
Humans are social creatures by nature, and we value other people’s perspectives. If someone you know recommends something, you are more likely to buy it and have the same opinion of the product.
The same is true for comments: if you have an active comment section beneath each article, people will perceive the content to be good, increasing their likelihood of reading it and developing a favorable opinion.
For example, Neil Patel (a very influential online marketing expert) is even showing the number of comments underneath the featured image of the blog article, in the blog listing, instead of the post excerpt. When you see that an article has 100+ comments, you might be very tempted to read it.
2. Build a sense of community
A reader will feel like they are a small part of a website if they leave comments under its articles. This is amplified when the author responds to the words — the commenter feels validated and if their opinion matters.
Going back to the earlier example with Neil Patel, he always makes sure to reply to comments genuinely.
3. Boosts SEO performance
For two reasons, blog commenting can help improve your SEO performance and thus search engine traffic. For starters, it serves as a vote of confidence that your content is excellent and that your users are engaged.
Second, it contributes to creating what is known as user-generated content. For example, the fact that the words in the comment section were not included in the original article does not prevent Google bots from crawling and indexing it.
4. New content inspo
Finally, if you’re running low on ideas, a quick scan of the comments section of your published articles can help you generate outlines for new articles.
The comments left will frequently take the discussion in a different direction, leading to several topics for future articles.
Now you might be thinking, is there a way to get more comments? And the answer to that is, yes, there is!
How to Get More WordPress Comments on Your Blog
There isn’t really an exact formula to this; however, we’ve got some tips under our sleeve.
First, you must make it as simple as possible for readers to leave comments. It is critical to have multiple sign-in options and an easy-to-use process.
It also helps if you create high-quality content. The more effort you put into your content and the greater the benefit gained from reading it, the more likely it is that someone will take the time to respond — and, more importantly, something thoughtful.
It’s also a good idea to include a call to action at the end of your post. People are more likely to respond with a comment if they ask a question that encourages discussion at the end of the post. It also conveys to others that you are open to feedback.
And at last, make sure that you respond to all comments. When readers leave a message, it’s because they want to interact with you, the author. When you respond to comments, others are more likely to add their voice to the mix.
And now that we’ve got this out of the way, let’s see how you can enable and disable WordPress comments!
How to Enable and Disable WordPress Comments
To enable or disable comments on a single post, page, or custom post type, uncheck the boxes to disable comments and trackbacks when editing the post, or check them to enable comments and trackbacks. But we’ll take it one step at a time!
- How to enable comments
To enable comments on specific posts or pages, head over to your WordPress Dashboard → Post or Pages:
From there, click on the title of the post or page for which you want to enable comments:
This will take you to the page itself, from where you can allow comments. Once you have opened the editor page, go to the right-hand side editor and click on ‘Discussion.’ You will see a dropdown menu with the option of allowing comments. See the screenshot below:
On Pages, people won’t leave comments unless you enable them because WordPress disables them by default, so you need to consider this. However, you can always allow comments by following the steps we just covered.
But wait, what are pingbacks and trackbacks, though?
Trackbacks and pingbacks alert us when certain somebody mentions our blog. But let’s take them separately:
- What exactly are trackbacks?
To think of trackbacks, imagine someone tapping on someone else’s shoulder and saying, “Hey, can I reference what you said in my conversation?”
For example, assume Jim wrote a blog post about how much he enjoys traveling. You should also write about it and include something he said. So you do that in exchange for mentioning his post.
Then, you paste his trackback URI in your own blog post. When you do this, Jim will be notified about the trackback and will be able to read what you had to say.
- What exactly are pingbacks?
Pingbacks are similar to trackbacks, but there are some distinctions between the two. For example, you create an article with a link to another website. If pingbacks are enabled on that website, they will receive a notification.
They can then choose whether or not to allow a link from your article to appear on their website. The most common way for this to occur is as a comment. They may appear differently depending on the WordPress theme you are using.
- How to disable comments
To disable comments, you can choose to uncheck the box we’ve previously mentioned simply, or you can do so from the Settings tab from your Dashboard.
Click on Settings → Discussion, and uncheck the box that allows people to submit comments on new posts.
While allowing comments has its advantages, it’s important to remember that it’s not always a rose-colored situation, and things can get messy. How? Two words: spam comments. Yes, they are annoying, and we understand. But we may know a few tricks to get rid of them.
How to Get Rid of Spammy WordPress Comments
You’ll need to find a way to stop comment spam in its tracks if you don’t want your site to make a wrong first impression.
While you may not eliminate spam for good, you can do a lot to slow it down by performing a variety of simple tweaks to block or hide these comments before their visitors see them. You can even strengthen your defenses by using a powerful anti-spam plugin.
1. Create a system for comment restraint
Comment moderation is when you require that a person approve some or all comments before they appear on your site. This can be a good strategy if you have the time and resources.
In WordPress, this simply means going back to Settings → Discussion and checking the ‘Comments must be manually approved’ box, and you’re done.
By choosing ‘Comment must be manually approved,’ any comments left on your site will be marked as Pending until they are reviewed. You can then go through each one and decide whether to accept it or reject it.
2. Limit commenting privileges to registered users only
Most spammers aim to post on as many pages and websites as possible. You can counteract this by only allowing comments from registered people on your site. This adds a barrier between spammers and your comment section. It encourages visitors to create an account or join a membership as a bonus.
This option is also available in WordPress’s Settings Discussion section. In addition, it can be found under Other comment settings:
Simply check the box labeled ‘Users must be registered and logged in to comment’ and save changes.
3. Use an anti-spam plugin
A plugin can provide a powerful way to prevent comment spam and sort the good comments from bad ones. And you won’t have to deal with it manually this way. So it’s essentially a win-win situation.
Below we made a list of some anti-spam plugins that you can use:
This anti-spam plugin connects to a constantly updated spam database, so it’s perfect for identifying which comments are problematic and filtering them out. It also shows you which words have been flagged.
This plugin checks your comments and contacts form submissions against their global spam database to prevent malicious content published on your site. You can review the comment spam it detects on your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
WP Cerber Security, Antispam & Malware Scan has its anti-spam engine that protects your forms and automatically detects spam comments, either rejecting them or moving them to the trash. In addition, this plugin prevents spam bots from submitting login, registration, password recovery, comment, and WooCommerce forms by using invisible ReCaptcha.
Thanks to its algorithms and global spam database, Titan Anti-spam & Security can hide spam from your site, and it’s more than just a spam filter; it’s a full-fledged security plugin that can scan system files, themes, and plugins for malware, invalid URLs, backdoors, and SEO spam.
Stop Spammer is a free plugin that uses honeypots to prevent spam emails, comments, registrations, and form submissions. Honeypots are hidden from everyone except spambots.
This plugin includes a plethora of features and settings that give you complete control over the security of your website. Spam words, URL shortener links, suspicious behavior, and entire countries can all be blocked.
You can manually deny IP addresses, email addresses, and usernames. In addition, you can enable a members-only mode, which restricts access to the site to logged-in users only — and much more.
And because a spam plugin is not the only one you can use for WordPress plugins, below we’ll present a list of different plugins with different functionalities that you can use to boost website engagement.
Other WordPress Comment Plugins for Increasing Engagement
This plugin is fantastic, and it provides numerous options for customizing the default WordPress comments. As the name suggests, wpDiscuz positions itself as a native WordPress comments alternative to Disqus. So essentially, you get most of Disqus’ benefits without any complications.
Features of the plugin:
- Real-time commenting and live comment updates;
- Sorting comments by “New,” “Old,” and “Most Voted”;
- Commenting anonymously (as with native WordPress comments);
- Long comments can be broken up with a “Read More” button;
- Readers can quickly sign up for email notifications of new comments
When it comes to images and videos, lazy loading is critical. So with WordPress 5.5, lazy loading became a core feature of WordPress.
Lazy Load for Comments does not add any new front-end functionality, but it does improve your website’s performance. Users are happier when a website loads quickly. And in general, happier users are more engaged users.
This plugin achieves these performance gains by delaying the loading of your comments section until the user begins scrolling down the page. Because your comments section is always below the content of each post, this has no negative impact on the user experience.
Features of the plugin:
- Load comments only when necessary;
- Increase page loading speed; decrease the number of HTTP requests;
- Support for Genesis and Divi;
- Translation ready.
Over to You
Commenting is an integral part of creating a community around your website, and it is one of the best ways to help your site thrive. And as you can see, there are numerous ways to optimize, get rid of, or interact with them. Each has its own set of advantages.
Give it a shot; it’s not like you can’t turn them off if you feel like it.