What Kind of Blog Comments Should be Approved?

Being an owner of 10 different blogs, I receive almost hundreds of different blog comments on daily basis. However, most of them are spam created by bots and automated software. I know that some of the high quality blogs receive over 500 blog comments per day, but only few percent of them are real comments made by real people.

Here is an example of comments that are so-called “spam”:
Blog comments made by spammers

As you can see from the picture, spam comments often look like this:

“Hey, I came across your blog and I found it very useful. However, what you think about my site here: hxxp://spam-site.com”

or this:

“Do you want to get better rankings on Google? Check my SEO services here: hxxp://seoservicesblabla.com”

Those people are only commenting your blog because they want to place their website links on your blog or get some sort of benefit from you. It’s wise to mark them as spam as soon as possible. However, it’s important that you still check all the comments manually because there may still be real comments that can be very valuable to you and your readers. Comments help to start great discussions and conversations, so this is the reason why you should check them through and always answer to your readers.

Comments made by real people are often expressing their opinion and views on the discussed post or topic. They can also be formed as questions. For example:

“Hey Mike, I read your post about blog comments and I was wondering maybe you can suggest me some plugins that automatically block spam on my site. Thanks.”

How to block “spam comments”?

Unless you receive over 20 blog comments per day, there is no need to use any special plugins. If you feel that you are tired of deleting those ugly-looking comments every other day then download the akismet plugin. There are also other options like deleting the “Website field” from WordPress comment section.

Akismet plugin

Actually, if you are using WordPress, it’s already pre-installed to your plugins section. You just need to activate it, but you also need to know that it will cost $5/month per one site. If you have several different blogs, it will cost you $50 per month. So it’s totally up to you whether you want to delete those spam comments manually or get them blocked by Akismet plugin. Always keep in mind that Akismet will not block all the spammy comments. The success rate is about 90%, which means it will delete 900 spam comments out of every 1000 spam comments that are posted.

In short, Akismet is a hosted web service that automatically detects comments and trackback spam. It will block most of the spam comments automatically, and if needed, it will also ask for a captcha code.

sample of akismet

 

Disabling or limiting blog comments

Another option is to turn comments entirely off. If you have a business site built on WordPress without a “blog” section, then contact form is more than enough to get information and questions from customers and visitors who are interested in your company. It do has one negative aspect which is no conversation and engaging with your audience, but for professional company site they are not necessarily needed.

I’ve been trying different methods and in my opinion deleting “Website” field from WordPress comments works best. If there is no link option in the comments section, a lot of spammers won’t post anything at all.

Here is the trick how to remove the field: Add the code below in your Functions.php file and you’re done.

add_filter(‘comment_form_default_fields’, ‘url_filtered’);
function url_filtered($fields)
{
if(isset($fields[‘url’]))
unset($fields[‘url’]);
return $fields;
}
 

Conclusion

The bigger your audience and traffic grows, the more you’re going to get spammy comments and at one point your quality comments get lost between them. So, there are some things you could do to prevent that. First, install the necessary plugins. Secondly, remove the “Website” field from the comments section and a lot of spammers won’t bother you anymore. This is how I’ve survived and managed to handle the spam stream.

I’ve done quite a lot of research on that topic and Disqus seems to be another good commenting platform for blogs and websites. Some old school guys only optimize WordPress settings and they say they have managed to keep their blogs free of spam comments. I’m probably going to write a post about that in the near future.

Update November, 2014: I’m now using the WordPress plugin Anti-spam cleantalk. I have to say that I’m pretty much blown away by this. It works brilliantly and 98% of the spam comments gets automatically blocked. It costs $8 per year, but you don’t need to spend hours to moderate spam comments out of real comments. They also run a free trial of 14 days so I highly suggest you to give it a try.

Let me know which tactics you use and what are the best anti-spam strategies for you and your blog.